I bought an electric lawn mower this morning. It runs on a rechargeable battery and it is both incredibly light and much quieter than the old gas-powered thing we’ve had for decades. That it’s more environmentally friendly goes without saying – no fumes means no pollutants. Yes it was a higher investment cost initially but over time it will just as cost-effective to cut the grass as with the old thing.
Obviously I didn’t just grab the first mower of this type I spied. I went to the internet to do research and there was lots of information about battery-powered mowers generally and every model specifically. That’s not news to you but it reminded me of a few points that might be applicable to your sales efforts so let’s review.
First, the single most important information upon which I relied was user reviews. Putting together a list of the purchase candidates was relatively easy – I just searched for “battery-powered lawnmower reviews” and found a few professional sites that had side by side comparisons of features. As an aside, most of these contained affiliate links to purchase the mowers which reminds us that having an active affiliate program is something every online seller needs. Once I had sorted out my choices down to my three top candidates I went to Amazon to read reviews. Any mower without at least a dozen recent reviews became a questionable choice in my mind. Why rely on real people rather than the professionals? Both because of much higher volume and due to the fact that I have no way of knowing who is being paid to say nice things (thanks, content marketing…).
That activity is typical. A Bazzarvoice study looked at how reviews can impact sales and return on social media investment. You can read it here. The big takeaway is you must get users to write reviews. They help with search results (SEO benefits) as well as with conversion:
As the number of reviews ticks higher, businesses start to see increases in the conversion rate. Just one review can increase the conversion rate by 10 percent. At 100 reviews the conversion rate can be boosted by up to 37 percent, and by the time there are 200 reviews, the rate can be boosted as much as 44 percent.
The fact that these reviews exist is just as important as what they say, as it turns out. They add authenticity, and in addition to the types of ROI already discussed, authentic content also positively impacts overall consumer trust in a brand. Even negative reviews (which you MUST NOT edit or delete) can help. I found many of the one or two star reviews were based on some nit or an unrealistic expectation (no, the battery doesn’t last for three hours before it needs recharging).
The only thing the folks at Home Depot won’t understand is how I came to choose their store and that model. They have no clue how I did my research and the folks at Amazon won’t understand why I did all this research and never bought (their prices were hundreds of dollars too high). That cross-channel measurement is a much longer topic but it’s a critical missing link in much of our marketing.
Think about your last major purchase. Did it flow something like mine? How are you serving all the folks who are doing their research right now? How are you encouraging reviews and getting them front and center? Make sense?