Web Profits BlogContent MarketingHow to Use Your Customer’s Voice to Create Powerful Content that Converts

How to Use Your Customer’s Voice to Create Powerful Content that Converts

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Since the days when snake oil salesmen still walked the dusty streets of the Midwest, consumers have developed a (healthy) skepticism of promises made by businesses. In fact, consumers are skeptical of anything said by anyone trying to sell them something. Think about your own experience – nearly all of us have been disappointed by a purchase that didn’t live up to our expectations. As a result, many of us have learned to adjust those expectations (and our hard earned dollars!) until a product or service proves itself.

Recent studies have confirmed the fact that people are more likely to believe a personal recommendation over promises made by marketing materials. For example, one Nielsen study states that consumers find branded websites a less trustworthy source of purchasing information than personal recommendations from friends and family. Not only that, but around two-thirds of potential buyers trust online customer reviews as well.

“A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

~ Scott David Cook, co-founder of Intuit

The point is this: as consumers, we tend to trust the opinions of those who have nothing to gain from our purchase over those actually selling the product or service. But what does this mean for you, as a marketer? The truth is, it presents both a challenge and opens up an opportunity for marketing. So let’s dive into how to use your customer’s voice to create content that converts and convinces.

The Foundation: Leveraging Honest and Authentic Reviews

Even if your company truly does offer the undoubtedly best product on the market, putting this into marketing language (or even shouting it from the rooftops) won’t necessarily earn you the trust you are looking for from your target audience. This is the foundational truth of why using your customer’s voice for marketing content is so important. A marketer’s voice just does not carry as much weight as the voice of your current customers.

There are plenty of review sites available to leverage the honest and authentic reviews you are looking for. By taking your time and doing your research, you can find one that fits your context well. Once you find the right fit, you can invite current customers to submit reviews about your product or service. The result will be a pool of quality and honest reviews about your company – which can only mean good things for you! There are few specific benefits to leveraging these kinds of reviews:

  • Credibility: Opening up your service or product to authentic reviews shifts the focus of marketing. Instead of having to convince potential customers yourself, you allow current customers to do that for you. The more detailed the review, the better.
  • Exposure: Customer reviews give your brand more exposure across social media. As people like and review pages, this activity is likely to show up to their friends, family and networks.
  • Search Rankings: As a consequence of more exposure, customer reviews are likely to land you a better ranking for your landing page. Including reviews on the landing page itself undoubtedly helps your SEO ranking.
  • Engagement: Taking the time to encourage customer reviews (and respond to them) opens up a new avenue of engagement with current customers. This may not be the intended purpose of customer reviews, but it is an added benefit.
  • Content: This, of course, is the major benefit under review here. By encouraging authentic and quality reviews, you ensure that you have a pool of customer feedback. From there, you can incorporate this feedback into your marketing content! The sky’s the limit here (almost): customer feedback can be used for website content, blog posts, social media, videos and more.

The long story short is that leveraging the online tools available for customer feedback is one of the best ways you can improve your products and services. By constantly improving, you provide both a better customer experience and open up the opportunity for a trustworthy start with potential customers.

Of course, it is inevitable that you will encounter some negative reviews. But even in this, you should recognize the value of honest feedback. A bad review can simply be a valuable resource for improving as you move forward. Not only that, but responding to these negative reviews can show your target audience that you are ready and willing to engage.

Using Feedback and Your Customer’s Voice to Your Advantage

While opening your company up to honest feedback is an important first step, it won’t be enough. You can’t simply open your product or service up to authentic customer reviews without taking the time to promote the opportunity to leave a review, engage in these reviews, and use these reviews for marketing content.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. The phrase may be antiquated, but the sentiment still holds true: there are a lot of ways to go about using your customer’s voice to your advantage. Here are a few ways to do it.

Claim Your Listings

You can’t exactly choose to engage with potential customers – or respond to angry reviews – if you don’t know where to find the feedback. The very first step you should take is to spend time making sure that you claim all of your online listings. Taking this time up front means that down the road you will be able to stay up-to-date on customer feedback – responding to both negative and positive reviews. A negative review you know about is an opportunity for growth; a negative review you don’t know about is just negative. Claiming your listings also means that you will be able to correct any incorrect or misleading information about your company.

Add a Testimonials Page to Your Website

Third-party review sites are fantastic for building trust with potential customers – but it is important to feature reviews on your own website as well. Consumers are increasingly reliant on websites to find the information that they are looking for about your product or your company. Make sure that your website acts as a centralized source for every bit of information a potential customer could want. Yes, this includes customer reviews! Start by adding a testimonials page that features detailed and positive reviews from current customers. From there, you can choose to feature snippets of this positive feedback on other landing pages – and even on your homepage.

Reach Out to Current Customers

If you set up a testimonials page and claim all of your online listings, it’s not exactly guaranteed that the customer reviews will start rolling in unsolicited. This will take more than a little work on your end to let people know that they can leave a review, how they can leave a review, and where to leave a review. While it may not be a good idea offer incentives for good reviews, you can certainly let customers know that they have the option to provide feedback. This can be as simple as including the offer to leave a review in every newsletter, sending out personalized emails, or even talking to customers about it in person.

 

Encourage Authenticity & Be Responsive

It’s definitely tempting to add incentives to leave positive reviews – or even paying others to write good reviews. Avoid this temptation. Paid advertisements are never quite as authentic as the real thing – and your target audience is smart enough to tell the difference. For authentic, negative reviews the answer is not to cover them up, but provide a thoughtful response – and to take the feedback seriously! Taking the time to make things right with unhappy customers – or even just to apologize – will mean a world of difference for your target audience. If you’re doing it right, reviews will improve with time.

Use the Feedback to Improve

I’ll say it again: customer reviews give you the opportunity to improve your services and your brand. Instead of writing off negative opinions, take the time to shift your perspective and honestly assess where they are coming from and how you can improve. This is less marketing advice than business advice, but it certainly applies to leveraging your customer’s voice into compelling content.

The Takeaway: Promote, Engage, and Use Customer Reviews for Content Strategy

The steps provided above go more into how you can leverage authentic reviews to bring your customer’s voice into content that converts. At the basis of these steps is the same idea: at every stage, you should be promoting, engaging and using customer reviews for your marketing content strategy.

The bottom line is, customer experience speaks louder than marketing language. By taking the time to promote customer reviews, you add authenticity to your brand. By taking the time to engage with customer reviews, you create a new avenue for interacting with both current and potential customers. And by taking the time to use customer reviews, you add a new voice to your marketing content.

Taking these steps can be equated to building a foundation of trust for your company’s brand. Now that you have the knowledge, take the time to build that foundation.

Brooklin Nash

Brooklin Nash

Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.

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