With the recent Google update of Panda attacks, now more than ever retailers need to focus on creating unique content that’s also high-quality. An easy way to get this content is to ask for help!
Today, I’m going to cover how you can optimize customer product reviews to make more with your online store. By asking your customers to give you feedback on the products they buy, you get inside your customers’ heads and you get killer content for your product pages.
Before my column ran last month, I was embarrassed that I didn’t have any reviews on the example product I was writing about! I decided to go all out and email every single person who ever bought this product to see how many reviews I could get before my next deadline.
Well, Shazam, Pee Wee! I got hundreds of reviews! And it worked so well, I started rolling this out to some other products immediately.
In this week’s column, I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.
Benefits Of Products With Reviews
Products with reviews convert better
- Social proof: People buy this and it works!
- Real people actually shop with you
- Show additional benefits
- Stories sell stuff
Product reviews have SEO Benefits
- Get more unique text content with reviews
- Beef up existing product page content
- Sometimes enough text for an additional page
- Panda-proof: reviews not syndicated via feeds
- Get more keywords with reviews
- Better long tail SEO
- Customers use different keywords than you do
- Rank for your best keywords + “reviews”
- Get activity related keywords:
- Excuse to get breeds of dogs worked in to the page
First, just offering product reviews isn’t enough. We’ve been doing that on the store for over a year. A certain percentage of your customers would love to give you feedback on what they bought and why, but you just need to remind them. Email is perfect for this.
Mamaw used to say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!” She’s right! Take one SKU at a time. Start with your best-sellers, and fire up your email software.
What Do Customers Really Think About This Product?
Seeing all the feedback for one product from dozens and dozens of customers was mind-blowing. It’s easy to see trends when product feedback comes in one big blast in one afternoon.
After we got over 250 reviews, I stuck them in a text file where I was looking for three different things in the text:
- Customer success stories
- What people liked and didn’t like
- Customer keywords — the language regular people use to describe this product.
Customer Success Stories
I like customer stories and reviews. The more I feature them on a product page, the more conversions I get!
Here are three examples:
Example 1 — Being able to see the improvement has helped my sanity greatly. Especially when dealing with my neighbor who believes he is entitled to utter and complete silence living in a condo. I have yet to tell him that he sounds like a rhino when he walks around upstairs.
Example 2 — I bought this to train my Jack Russell Terrier because we were gong to be taking her on a long flight from Tokyo to the US. Anyway, she learned very quickly, on level 1, that barking was a no no while wearing the collar. Now, I just have to show her the collar when she’s barking and she gets quiet. This makes the product worth the extra price.
Example 3 — I work the night shift, & my german shepherd / black lab mix never barks when I am home. However it turns out when I’m away he goes into guard-dog mode and barks at everyone (even my landlord neighbor). … It turns out this amazing little gem trained him to stop barking after only 3 corrections. 3 corrections, on level 2 no more barking. Worth every penny!
What Customers Like & Don’t Like
The second thing that I like to look for in these customer reviews are recurring themes. After you read 250+ reviews, you’re going to start to seeing the same things over and over again. And with this product there were several recurring themes.
- Quick results – stops barking now
- Multiple levels for different dogs
- Sleep feature saves battery life
- Bark odometer/counter shows it’s working
People didn’t like:
- Smart dogs can become collar-wise
- Too sensitive for some dogs
- Short product lifespan (after warranty expires)
- Buttons aren’t very user friendly
- Contact points too short for thick hair
I got this summary over to our customer reps and product experts for feedback, and got several pages of notes to update the product page to reflect what prospects want in this product.
Language Lesson: Customers Use Words You Don’t
One of the advantages to asking your customers for these reviews is you actually get to see the keywords that real customers use to describe what you sell. We got over 15,000 words from our customers in these 250+ reviews of user generated content filled with keywords, filled with customer stories, using different words that customers use to describe these products — including misspelled words.
Customers wrote 15,000 words of unique text:
Content Length Unique Words
Original text ~1,000 words 400 unique keywords
Reviews text ~15,000 words 1,600 unique words
Keyword cloud from original product description
This tag cloud below shows frequency of keywords from the product description. I wrote an extended caption field. Notice how it focuses on brand, features, and benefits.
Help Yourself By Asking For Types Of Keywords
In the reviews form itself you can ask questions designed to get keyword loaded answers. In this example, we asked for breed of dog and activities owners did with their dogs.
Here are just the ABC’s of the breeds customers volunteered:
aussie shepherd, australian shepherd, beagle, bearded collie & cavachon, beauceron, belgian tervuren, black lab, black labs, black & tan, blue heeler/bull terrier mix, bluetick, bluetick coonhounds, border collie, border collie mix, bouvier, boxer, boykin spaniel, brittany, brittany spaniels, cairn terrier, cardigan welsh corgi, cattle dog/aussie and border collie, cheasapeak bay retriever, chesapeake bay retriever, chesapeake retriever, chihauhau, chocolate lab, cocker spaniel, collie, corgi mix, corgies…
This tag cloud shows the frequency of keywords from 15,000 words of text in 250+ customer reviews. All the words here were not contained in the original product description. Notice how this keyword cloud focuses on dog breeds, problems, situations, and results.
Once we get this page spidered, based on previous successes, this will likely more than double the number of keywords driving traffic and sales to this page.
Homework For You
Email every customer who ever bought a SKU and:
- Ask for a review
- Put the reviews form in the email itself.
- Have a contest to increase response rate
- Ask product-centric questions
- Ask for success stories
- Give folks plenty of room to write
Deal with customer service issues:
- Don’t do it on a Monday
- Let customer service know it’s coming
- Respond to problem reviews as they come in
- Fix customer service issues
- Address product issues in page content
Organize review content:
- Pull out good customer stories
- Organize content into themes
- Grab “quotable quotes”
- Summarize pros and cons
- Make sure reviews are in plain HTML on the page
As retailers, we deal with products on a daily basis. We are jaded. We may talk to customers, but we are not customers. Customers have a completely different vocabulary.
You need to learn how customers view a product, use the terms that they use in your product page copy, and solve the problems they have in their terms if you want to sell more on the Web. It’s that easy!