Read time: 5 mins
You’re looking to make an important purchase. Be it a pricey exercise bike, gourmet meal kit subscription or an outfit for a glitzy event, you want to be sure you’re picking the one that’s going to make your heart sing.
There’s a lot to consider before splashing your hard-earned cash. Are you really getting what’s being advertised? Is the quality top-notch? Does it justify the price?
To help you assess your options, chances are you’ll check (and trust) customer reviews. And you’d be in good company: nearly nine out of ten consumers read reviews before buying something online.
If you’re a brand delighting customers with a brilliant product or service (and an equally brilliant customer experience), you’re likely capturing these fuzzy feelings through reviews.
But what are you doing with this gaggle of gold-star givers?
Sure, you’re probably displaying these raving reviews loud and proud on your site. If you’re leaving them at that, however, you’re only unlocking half their growth-driving potential.
There’s a secret weapon that goes hand in hand with reviews to maximise the value of your happy-as-Larry customers.
Spoiler alert: it’s referral.
While reviews provide a broad view of how people see your brand, a recommendation from a friend or family member magnifies these opinions through a far more personal lens.
Think about it. If you’re treating yourself to a new bag, are you more likely to care about Hannah from Liverpool’s 4-star review, or your best friend excitedly showing you its many pockets?
Individually, reviews and referrals are powerful marketing devices. Together, they’re a dynamic duo of trust-building and advocacy-driving.
The proof is in the purchase
The fact is, most consumers will only shop with a brand they trust — 81% of consumers, to be exact.
Seeing a flurry of four- and five-star reviews builds trust.
Being told your best friend loves a particular brand builds trust.
Put the two together, and your target customers will be racing to check-out their latest buys.
Not only is a referral trustworthy; it’s also highly relevant. Because the best thing about a personal recommendation is that it’s tailored to you.
Whoever refers you to a brand is doing so because they know you’ll be interested in it. Their recommendation acts as a filter for other positive reviews from anonymous consumers. So you know exactly why this brand is just what you’re looking for.
While MakeupLover4938 might be raving about the shade range of the lipstick you’re eyeing up, your sister knows what you really care about is if it’ll stay on until your late-night kebab.
Humans are instinctively social creatures. We can’t help but rely on social proof to build our confidence in something, whether that’s a brand, person or product.
Reviews create social proof by telling consumers how others feel about a brand. Referrals intensify this social proof by making consumers feel safe in the knowledge that this brand is also loved by someone they care about.
And what will this solid social proof lead to? Content consumers heading to the checkout.HonestBrew highlights social proof by showing its Trustpilot score when promoting referral.
Don’t let your glowing reviews go to waste
They know this collective endorsement sends a powerful message to consumers: this is a brand they can count on for an exceptional product or service.
But if you’re not adding further credibility to these endorsements by encouraging personal recommendations through referral, you’re missing out on their maximum impact.
The fact that these satisfied shoppers are taking the time to review your brand shows that they want to recommend you to others.
Don’t believe us? Scroll through your top reviews and see how many of them feature phrases along the lines of “I’d definitely recommend”. We’ll wait.
So, you’ve got customers willing to give you great reviews and recommend you to others. You just need to give them the opportunity to make these recommendations.
With a precision-engineered referral programme, you can capitalise on their willingness to share your brand. Engage customers with unmissable referral incentives and a streamlined experience, and they’ll be itching to refer you to their friends and family.
How reviews encourage referrals (and vice versa)
Including a referral channel and customer reviews as part of your marketing strategy doesn’t only increase your chances of turning browsers into customers. It also increases the effectiveness of both channels.
As an example: Mention Me lets you integrate referral with Trustpilot, so you can display your score when people sign up to claim a referral reward. This unmistakable social proof will make these consumers (who’ve already been recommended by someone they trust) feel even more confident about their purchase.
But it’s not a simple case of asking customers to refer and review at every stage in their journey. You need to show the right message at the right time (to the right customer).
In some instances, such as a customer who’s bought several times in a short time period, it might be more relevant to encourage them to review your brand than to refer.
By targeting customers basking in the glow of having made another great purchase, you’ll drive more reviews. And once they’ve sung your praises in a review, they’ll be feeling even more positive about your brand — making them extra likely to refer next time.
And as part of Mention Me’s integration with Feefo, you can promote referral to customers who’ve left a four- or five-star review. These shoppers are clearly thrilled with their experience, so it’s the perfect time to nudge them to share your brand with like-minded friends and family.
Turn five-star reviews into a five-star strategy
Don’t just leave your buzzy reviews sitting on your website looking pretty. Turn this critical acclaim into a powerful growth-driving machine by encouraging these reviewers to recommend you to others (and reward them for it).
Soon enough, your reviews and precision-engineered referral channel will be an unstoppable force of brand advocacy and growth.
Ready to find out how this could work for your brand? Get in touch.