Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Email Marketing Sales

Improve your EDM performance by 40%: ratings and reviews

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Email Marketing Sales

It has been increasingly understood by marketers that ratings and customer testimonials on websites drive conversion and sales.

Users love testimonials and as anyone who has purchased a product online would know, we seek out customer testimonials and reviews before we purchase. Indeed, my wife purchased a cheap DVD player for my son’s Sesame Street collection online last weekend and while she found the product on website A, she purchased it from website B; in her search for reviews of the DVD player, she stumbled across website B and only started that search because website A had no reviews or opinions of the product.

(If you ever needed proof that ratings were much more than a hard-to-moderate novelty, there it is).

Indeed, I read a piece of research out of the States the other day, that where a product had an average star rating over 4/5 and where there were more than 10 ratings of the product, return rates of the product (i.e. users returning the product due to dissatisfaction) halved.

Of course, this could well be because the product is in fact very good though the research also surmised that by virtue of the many positive ratings, users had an unnaturally positive perception towards the product.

The lesson here is simple. Allow users to rate and discuss your products; accept positive and negative reviews. Implement programs to encourage rating and reviews – for instance, setup an auto-responder to email every customer after 7 days to ask them to rate their experience with the product.

The basis of this blog however is not to discuss ratings and testimonials on websites; frankly, their effectiveness has been known for years and serious online marketers should have well-established programs already in place.

Instead, the basis of the blog is about using ratings and testimonials in email marketing, something that is much less known and utilised.

Email marketing is an effective and powerful way to drive return traffic to a website. We all know that.

Serious marketers spend considerable time building email lists, segmenting their lists and targeting their messages for optimal conversion rates. Certainly, many of our clients will experiment with different offers and headlines to find the most effective approach before launching their email campaign; this is commonly known as split or A/B testing.

Any yet how many clients include star ratings and bold customer testimonials about their products and services? Not many.

An article in Dynamic Business cites email campaigns run by Vodafone Hutchison where the inclusion of customer ratings and reviews in their EDMs improved the click-through rate of their emails by 40%.


Not only that, there was also a higher conversion rate of customers at the cart: more traffic from the email, and a higher percentage of that traffic purchasing. Win and win. In fact, Vodafone Hutchison claim that customers on their website who read reviews are 40% more likely to purchase.

So it’s simple. Nurture and encourage reviews and ratings. Reward customers for doing so. Outsource ratings and reviews if you really must, but try to keep them in-house and full integrated with your website for maximum effect.

And make sure the first thing your customers see when they open your email are 4 and a half big, gold stars and “this product is just awesome” – Kathy, Cremorne Point, wrapped in big inverted commas.