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Written by Caroline Cox on Jun 16 , 2021

Customer reviews don’t just serve as helpful feedback for your brand — they can also be repurposed in your digital marketing. 

Here you’ll learn:

  • Why customer reviews are a valuable asset
  • How to use customer reviews for search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Ways to use customer reviews to build brand awareness
  • Why negative reviews are worth addressing

Happy customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can get. Their feedback doesn’t just help you adjust your sales or customer service strategy. It can also strengthen brand loyalty, convert more prospects, and power up your SEO efforts.

Data shows that 89% of consumers don’t take action until they read reviews. Knowing how to best present reviews to your target audience can help you achieve noticeable results without a high marketing cost. 

Below, we highlight a few creative ways to inject customer reviews into your digital marketing strategy.

customer views in google maps

When you can use the testimonials of others to speak for you, you can foster credibility in a way that’s more “show” than “tell.” (Image via Unsplash)

1. Enhance your landing pages with reviews

While it may seem obvious to use customer reviews in the products or services sections of your website, many people ignore their value when it comes to landing pages. 

For example, you can include reviews at the bottom of landing pages connected to your ads so the client immediately sees how happy others are with your offerings. This doesn’t just increase the overall value of your website, but it also gives your SEO efforts a serious push.

To make sure customer reviews contain the necessary keywords, you may need to tweak your questions when asking for testimonials. You could ask, “What service or product did you use and what do you like best about it?” or “Which one of our branches did you visit?” Gently push the client toward describing the experience while inserting the necessary keywords.

Pro tip: Don’t paraphrase or significantly modify quotes that you’re directly attributing to a person or company. Shortening long sentences or taking out phrases like “um” or “you know” from verbial testimonials is fine. But you may get into hot water if you attribute a quote to someone who knows that’s not what they said. 

2. Add reviews to marketing emails

When creating emails for your next email marketing campaign, don’t hesitate to include top customer reviews when it makes sense. 

About 93% of consumers trust recommendations of friends and families over any other form of advertising. Meanwhile, 88% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Sure, a lot of marketing is about showing leads the value of your company. But when you can use the testimonials of others to speak for you, you can foster credibility in a way that’s more “show” than “tell.”

3. Use customer reviews in your paid ads

Google offers the option to use information from the review section of your Google My Business page in paid ads. Bonus: You can do it without paying extra. By clicking the review link, the customer is redirected to the review section to learn what others are saying about your business.

To take full advantage of this feature, you need to optimize your Google My Business listing. Make sure all the information is filled out properly and the elements accurately reflect your brand. Once reviews appear, do your best to reply to all of them in a timely, professional manner to show customers that you care about what they have to say.

4. Implement reviews in your blog

Inserting appropriate reviews in your blog posts is another creative way to attract customers’ attention. After all, if a visitor comes to your website in search of information, seeing a carefully integrated review can drive them down the marketing funnel.

If you can’t insert the review in the blog post organically, you can create a dedicated review field on the side or at the bottom of the article. These reviews can help to establish your company as a thought leader in the industry and make your content appear more trustworthy.

5. Place reviews next to the CTA

We place a lot of emphasis on calls to action (CTAs) around here. That’s because we know they’re key to getting users to take the desired next step after clicking an ad. One way to reinforce your offer when someone gets to the CTA is to leverage a review.

By showing someone else’s positive opinion about your products or services, you’re one step closer to getting that visitor to click a button or fill out a contact form. (Reviews are also an excellent way to capitalize on the clients’ herd mentality.)

Pro tip: Republishing reviews on your website is a great way to aggregate testimonials posted on various websites. This way, anyone who lands on your site has an opportunity to see what others are saying about you without having to check Google or dedicated review sites. 

marketing team looking at customer reviews

Out of ideas for your next piece of content? Look at your reviews. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Share reviews on social media

When people are researching a brand, service, or product, social media is often a part of that process. It makes sense: You can get a feel for a company’s tone, aesthetic, values, and more by looking at their social media profiles. 

One of the best ways to share reviews on social media is to harvest user-generated content (UGC). If someone publishes a tweet, post, or photo about your business and tags you, you can ask the user for permission to repost the content and credit or tag them. 

This is a cost-effective way to create content, and it shows your customers that you’re paying attention to them.

7. Turn customer reviews into success stories

Out of ideas for your next piece of content? Look at your reviews. They can make appealing success stories and inspire you to write about a particular aspect of your company that you haven’t touched on before. 

You can also draw details from clients’ purchase history and reviews to come up with a story others can relate to. This can be especially effective since studies show attaching names, faces, and job titles to testimonials can help readers trust the story you’re telling.

8. Don’t ignore bad reviews

While you can’t exactly use negative reviews to promote your brand, it doesn’t mean you should ignore or try to delete them.

Negative reviews don’t just help adjust your marketing, customer service, and sales strategies. They can also give credibility to positive reviews. A company that has solely positive reviews may raise suspicions.

Most review platforms don’t let businesses simply remove bad reviews unless they fall under guidelines like obscenity, spam, or malicious content from a competitor trying to bring your score down. (Here’s a helpful explainer for getting reviews that violate guidelines removed from Google.)

Replying to bad reviews can also show your professionalism and willingness to solve issues. And if a bad review stemmed from a simple misunderstanding, you can always reach out to the person and ask them to amend their review once their problem has been solved.

Pro tip: Including keywords in your review responses (when it’s appropriate and makes sense) is another clever way to boost SEO efforts.

The takeaway

Customer reviews can be highly efficient digital marketing tools. By taking full advantage of them, you can tweak your marketing campaign while raising brand awareness and retaining existing clients.

Make it a habit to pay attention to your reviews on all possible platforms. You can leverage the positive ones to strengthen your marketing strategy, and use the negative ones as a learning experience to better your business in the future. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in August 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Feb 9 , 2021

The Google Seller Ratings ad extension could be the key to boosting your CTR & more.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why ratings and reviews matter 
  • How to garner more reviews for your brand
  • Steps to add reviews to your paid search ads
  • Common missteps to avoid

Across industries, new brands and products seem to crop up every day. Because of this, ratings and reviews have quickly become one of the top ways customers determine which offering might be right for them.

Data from the Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief show that one-to-one peer recommendations, original research, and product reviews are the most influential content affecting purchase decisions. 

Looking to amp up your paid search performance? Adding reviews and ratings to your Google Ads might be just the ticket.

Using reviews and rating in ads can help your business gain trust and credibility with your target audience.

Using reviews and rating in ads can help your business gain trust and credibility with your target audience. (Image via Unsplash)

What are the benefits of using reviews and rating in ads?

Using reviews and ratings in your ads can be a great way to make your brand stand out. Think about it: You’re searching for a particular product or service. You see ads highlighting what each brand offers. Then there’s an ad with 5 out of 5 stars and a glowing customer testimonial. Which one is most likely to catch your eye?

Another benefit of using reviews and rating in ads: it can help your business gain trust and credibility. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, according to Spiegel Research Center. They also report that displaying reviews can increase your conversion rates by up to 270%. 

While e-commerce businesses may be the first that come to mind when thinking about what industries benefit from reviews and ratings in ads, it’s certainly not the only one. As long as brands meet the guidelines below and have the ad extension active, they too could see an increased clickthrough rate (CTR) by adding Google Seller Ratings. 

Other industries who have seen success after including reviews and ratings into their ad campaigns include:

  • SaaS startups
  • Marketing and PR agencies 
  • Repair and other service-centered companies 
  • Healthcare facilities 
  • Financial brands

Using ratings and reviews is an effective way to sway customers’ final purchase decisions. A 2020 BrightLocal survey found that positive reviews make 94% of consumers more likely to use a business. Not only that, but 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations by friends or family members. 

Pro tip: Ads with extensions are charged just like normal ads clicks, so don’t worry about paying extra.

How do I add seller reviews and ratings to ads?

Google collects feedback from customers who have purchased a product or service from your site through their free Google Customer Reviews service. From there, the search engine allows you to include seller ratings as an automated extension type showcasing advertisers with high ratings.

The Google Customer Reviews service takes reviews customers leave on Google. They also work with other reputable review sites like Trustpilot and G2 to aggregate those reviews for inclusion. Since different sites use different metrics, Google rescales the ratings on a scale of 1-5 to compare reviews from different sources more easily, according to Trustpilot.

HawkSEM: Using Ratings & Reviews in Google Ads

Simplesa’s paid search ads include ratings.

You don’t need to have a Google Merchant Center account or Google Shopping ads running to use seller ratings extensions on Google’s Search Network. And if you no longer want seller ratings to show with your ads? Simply remove the extension.

Since this service is automated, you don’t need to do anything special to set it up after activating the extension. You do, however, need to meet certain qualifications before your reviews will show up, which brings us to…

What are the guidelines when it comes to reviews and rating in ads?

For ratings to show up in your Google Ads text ads, you must have an average composite rating of at least 3.5. (Though Google Shopping can show seller ratings of less than that.) Also, the ad’s visible URL domain must match the domain connected to the respective ratings. 

For seller ratings to show up in paid search ads on Google, they must meet one of these Google requirements in each country the ad is to be shown in:

  • At least 100 unique reviews for the country submitted within the last 12 months via Google Customer Reviews or a third-party review partner
  • Google or one of its partners has completed a research evaluation of your site
  • Google has evaluated of your site via Google Consumer Surveys

Things that could keep your seller ratings from being visible (along with there being no guarantee your ads show at all) include:

  • Not meeting the minimum seller requirements
  • Not having enough information for your business online
  • Having invalid or incorrect URLs as they relate to your reviews

How does Google obtain ratings?

Internally, Google incorporates data from Google Customer Reviews, Google Consumer Survey ratings, and shopping reviews for our store domain. They also pull reviews from other sites including:

  • Bizrate Insights 
  • Feedback Company 
  • PowerReviews 
  • ResellerRatings
  • Reviews.io
  • Shopper Approved
  • Trusted Shops
  • TrustPilot
  • Verified Reviews

Google calibrates the ratings from all these sources to ensure consistent ratings across the board.

FYI: While Google states that it doesn’t modify existing ratings, it does work to filter out untrustworthy or questionable ratings during the calibration stage. 

How do I get more ratings and reviews for my business?

It’s no secret that more reviews can result in increased sales, better rankings, and more revenue. The trick is getting them! 

There are a handful of different ways you can attract more ratings and reviews for your brand online. For starters, you can look into creating an email campaign. This campaign can be sent out to all current clients or can be segmented by those who meet a certain requirement, like a high average Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a management tool that helps companies gauge the loyalty and happiness of a customer.

Even when emailing multiple people, personalization should be priority. Using templates can be a timesaver when creating email campaigns, but you don’t want your message to come off as impersonal or too automated. (After all, you’re essentially asking for a favor.) A token that pulls in each person’s name can make recipients feel like the message was tailored to them. 

Other ways to increase the amount of feedback or ratings for your business include baking these requests into customer phone call scripts or talk tracks. For service industries that rely heavily on building relationships, such as real estate, asking for a review after the transaction is common. 

Another way to increase ratings is by asking via your email signature. This is a non-intrusive way to request comments and ratings about your offerings. Be sure to include a link that goes directly to the place where the person can leave the review. This may increase the likelihood they’ll actually follow through.

Pro tip: While asking for reviews is perfectly acceptable, make sure not to fall into “bribery” territory by offering an incentive in exchange for a positive review. 

HawkSEM: Using Ratings & Reviews in Google Ads

Experiment with creative ad copy, consistent testing, and other relevant extensions like those for location, price, and promotion. (Image via Unsplash)

When should I not use ratings and reviews in ads?

Reviews and ratings can be a great way to stand out against your competitors — unless theirs are higher. If you’re hovering around 3.75 stars while your competition is displaying 5 out of 5, you might want to remove the extension until you’ve increased your score.

This doesn’t mean your ads won’t stand a chance. While you aim to amp up your reviews, you can still work on beating out similar brands in other ways. Experiment with things like creative ad copy, consistent testing, and other relevant extensions like those for location, price, and promotion.

Pro tip: You can check out your company’s seller rating profile (if applicable) by going to https://www.google.com/shopping/ratings/account/lookup?q={yourwebsite}.

The takeaway

Including your company’s ratings and reviews in your PPC ads can be just the boost you need to up your CTR and performance. It’s a simple way to make your paid search ads eye-catching, while showing your target audience that your brand is credible and trustworthy.

By meeting the proper requirements, staying on top of customer service, and ensuring your offering is high quality, you’ll garner reviews worthy of showing off.

This article has been updated and was originally published in March 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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