S1:E7 – Good and bad reviews matter, and why you should get more of them

Hello marketing mindset club crew, how are you doing today? We are in season 1 episode 7 right now, which means we’re almost coming to the end of this season. I’ve loved reading the reviews you guys have left so far, it’s really helped me direct the content of the episodes and I want to continue in that way. So if there are any bits you’ve particularly liked in the series so far, or any topics you’d like me to review, please do send me a DM on Instagram @MarketingMindsetClub.

The creation of this club and the podcast has been something I’ve had in my heart for sometime but didn’t really know how to deliver. And this season has been a bit of a testing ground to find out what works and what doesn’t in terms of the content that works for you, so I can’t say this enough, I really do value your feedback. And it’s not over yet. Part of what it means to have a marketing mindset is to be open to change, to continually evolve in order to deliver the best value.

Next week’s episode will finish up season 1, but don’t worry - there is plenty more good stuff to come. And you have a key role to play in that. What challenges can I help you solve? How I can help you develop your mindset towards a place of growth, positivity and success? - whatever success looks like to you.

It continues to be a very challenging time for marketers everywhere. It breaks my heart that every day I see more and more posts on Linkedin from people who are experiencing redundancy. But I read something very important this morning - you have to remember it’s the role that has been made redundant. You are no less competent that you were yesterday, no less deserving of that role and no less brilliant at fulfilling it. It’s really important that you separate feelings of doubt, inadequacy, or any imposter syndrome from your search for whatever is next. I always believe there are brighter things ahead, and you can cultivate them with a positive, abundant mindset.

Now, onto the show. If you’re new here, this is how it’s gonna go. Each episode is split into three bits:

  • The digital news bit and what matters about the top stories

  • The learning bit where I’ll deep dive on a tool, technique or strategy you can use

  • And the real-life lessons bit

So let’s get going.

The digital news bit

Web spam, phishing and scammers is unfortunately something we live with in life online but this week we saw something weird and worrying. The Twitter accounts of several high profile individuals including Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Barak Obama were compromised in a massive bitcoin scam. The attack targeted an estimated 130 accounts, and hackers were able to gain access to a bunch of them in order to post a bitcoin wallet address that encouraged followers to send bitcoin. The tweet I saw on Elon Musk’s account said he would double any bitcoin payment sent, so I can only assume other similar messages were posted on other accounts.

I’ll post a link to the full story covered in The Verge. The reason this caught my eye is that it’s odd for such high profile accounts to be targeted, and it turns out that Twitter thinks their internal systems were compromised in the hack that targeted some of their employees. They reckon the scammer amassed about $120K and they can see this because the bitcoin transactions are public - which I didn’t know. The BBC also covered the story, and this quote caught my eye:

"If you were to have this kind of incident take place in the middle of a crisis, where Twitter was being used to either communicate de-escalatory language or critical information to the public, and suddenly it's putting out the wrong messages from several verified status accounts - that could be seriously destabilising," Dr Alexi Drew from King's College London.

I wonder what changes in comms through Twitter we’ll see in the future. The platform has temporarily disabled all users from tweeting Bitcoin wallet addresses, but will it remove all future requests for money? In which case, where does that leave charities and fundraisers who tweet valid links to platforms like Just Giving in order to raise funds for legitimate causes.

The next story that caught my eye is about Wimbledon. Last weekend would have been finals weekend, but this weekend the courts were silent due to COVID-19. But Wimbledon fortnight generates an estimated 75-80% of the All-England Lawn Tennis Club’s (AELTC) annual revenue, so this year could put a big dent in their figures - much the same as any business that relies on in-person events as a core revenue driver. But they’ve been incredibly inventive in order to drive engagement and build a sense of nostalgia for all that Wimbledon means to its fans.

  • They partnered up with an outdoor media company to show highlights of past championship final games on screens in Piccadilly and Westfield shopping centres.

  • They devised a fan engagement campaign called ‘Wimbledon recreated’ to drive online activity on social media

  • The BBC aired over 50 hours of footage from past championships over the fortnight to help build that sense of nostalgia

  • They launched a brand new e-commerce platform to shift the merchandise that was already made and warehoused ready to go.

  • They’ve hired into their e-commerce team to make sure they’ve got the skills in-house to keep driving the project forwards.

It was the first championship to be called off since World War 2, and it seems fans have been clamouring to get their hands on the dated merch for this unique year - they’ve seen a 200% uplift since March! This piece in Essential Retail gives a great run down of the whole approach.

It’s a really great example of how an engaged, loyal fan base can rally around and support your business when it really counts. People didn’t just buy products because they felt sorry for the organisation, it’s about making sure something that’s treasured and important is still there next year.Wimbledon has delivered so many emotional moments - connections between family and friends and encouragement to every budding young tennis pro - these things are not easily replaced. This is true value creation.

Did you know it was World Emoji day recently? No.. me neither. Until I saw there were new emojis coming our way. Is there anyone who hasn’t used an emoji? Well, yes apparently but only 8% of people. So, to celebrate World Emoji Day 2020, Facebook messenger has released a set of new animated emojis whereas Google has added more diversity to Android, coming soon from Autumn. There’s the absolute perfect one for me - a teapot! But there also an anatomical-looking heart in the collection, and I’m not sure what that’s for. There’s also going to be a permanent emoji bar in Android messages, which as an iPhone user, Apple could really do with adding. We have stickers permanently accessible, and store and memojis etc but not a permanent emojis bar.

But Apple haven’t disappointed, there are now face coverings and head gear include hijabs, coming to their Memoji collection in iOS14 - which is expected to be between 14th - 18th September this year. You can read more about the changing collections on socialmediatoday.com, I’ll post a link in the show notes on MarketingMindset.club.

The learning bit

So, onto the learning bit. Today I want to talk about reviews. The how, why, where and when to get reviews and testimonials. I’m talking about Google stars, comments, video reviews or customer feedback in any other format that’s available in a public space. Whether you use a review host like Trustpilot or a website plugin like Woocommerce in WordPress - let’s start by thinking separately to the mechanics of it and start with the why. Why should we care about feedback?

We’re curious creatures we humans, and we’re more likely to copy others when we’re not sure what action to take ourselves. We see the results someone else has achieved and we copy them to try and replicate that for ourselves. And that principle is called Social Proof. The phrase was coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book called Influence and it describes the psychological phenomenon where humans will copy behaviours of another in order to replicate the results in a given situation.

It’s a type of conformity, which leads me to the second reason why we should care, and that’s about tribe or herd mentality. As social beings, we’ve evolved to have contact with other humans in small groups and we’re influenced by our peers to adopt certain behaviours. Our emotional brain takes over the rational one because the need to fit in can be so powerful. So when we read reviews of the successes of our peers, we want to get in on the action.

There’s also the power of community when it comes to reviews. As we discussed in episode 6 of this season, community has once again become essential for our collective existence. Supporting local businesses has been reignited by COVID-19 and a survey I covered in that episode said that 80% of those who shopped locally during the pandemic would continue to do so after this is all over. Leaving reviews and testimonials for local business helps us elevate our own standing within the community.

According to a Trustpilot customer report, there are three reasons why customers think they leave reviews

  • to help others make a better buying decision

  • to share an experience

  • to reward a company for good performance

You can see there’s a strong sense of community coming through in all those areas.

Now we know why reviews are so important, let’s talk about how we incorporate getting them into our marketing communications activities. Customers are more inclined to write a review when we’ve had an experience that struck an emotional chord - for better or worse. That time happens after the moment of purchase or service delivery - when we start to experience the product. If you go back to episode 6 of this season, we talk about the customer decision-making model. It’s a framework for understanding the customer journey and the phases that consumers go through. The post-purchase experience is time to nudge customers.

Those customers who have had an overwhelmingly positive or negative experience will be highly motivated to seek out places where they can leave a review. You should have a plan in place to monitor your social channels, business listings (especially Google My Business) and website comments (if you have them) for incoming reviews and feedback. Proactive reviewers will need no prompting to get involved, so you should have a strategy for a quick and effective response. This is when it’s really important that your team know how to respond openly to reviews and also resolve problems in an open forum where possible. Review management is a whole other topic of discussion, but suffice to say that it forms part of the social proof requirement for potential customers to see how the business resolves issues when a negative review is left. Whoever is delivering that online customer service needs to be empowered to deliver solutions that are timely and relevant for the customer. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works and doesn’t serve customer needs.

So, assuming we’ve got the proactive reviewers covered by good customer service principles and empowering the team to engage with each person, we can think about those passive customers who may still be encouraged to leave a review. Fast, enjoyable or effective service alone aren’t usually enough to provoke an unsolicited review but are enough for a customer to leave a favourable comment if prompted or incentivised. So, you’ll need a comms strategy to prompt that review - which means there are some factors to consider.

  • Timing

  • Channel

  • Personalisation

When it comes to timing, you as the marketer need to make the judgement call on how much time a customer needs to decide how they feel about your product. Do you sell something that’s used immediately like gifts, pet food or clothing where a customer may be inclined to leave a review pretty soon after receiving the product? Or do you sell something like cars, insurance or consumer electronics, which may require some time on behalf of the customer to use the product and familiarise themself with it before they feel confident to leave a review? Service providers may need a different approach, as the customer will develop their opinion over time as they use the service - which means the optimum time will vary for everyone.

The channel you use is closely linked with the personalisation challenge. In order for the communication to be effective in prompting a review, the personalisation has to be on point. You will need to speak to the customer specifically about their purchase, their experience using their preferred communication method, name and title (if appropriate). So, this relies on some technology in the background, probably driven by your CRM system or e-commerce software. If you’re not familiar with CRM, it means customer relationship management and we discussed it in episode 5 of this season.

So, let’s get into some practical examples of how you can drive more reviews and hopefully grow your business.

  1. Emails - the most common way to follow up after a purchase. It’s easy to deliver personalisation through email because you can create a communication that will merge individual data such as product purchased, date, first name, last name, title etc. I’ve used Mailchimp for this most recently and it conveniently hooks up to Salesforce. So, if you have your customer data in Salesforce, you can set up some really simple triggers that will push out review emails to customers at the timings you decide, complete with personalised content about their individual experience. You should include a clear call to action that links to the place where you want to gather the reviews. This will depend on your strategy. If you’re trying to improve your local search exposure, you may direct them to your Google My Business listing. If you’re trying to build your website trust signals, you may use a third-party provider like Feefo or Trustpilot.

  2. Social media - you should already be engaging with anyone who comments, shares or likes anything on your social profiles, and you can solicit reviews through these channels. If you do, be sure to ask permission to use their comments in your marketing. It’s not strictly needed, because they’ve already shared it in a public place, but it’s good practice to do so. It also helps build your relationship with them as a customer that will hopefully be with you for some time.

  3. Incentives - let’s talk about incentives for a minute. It’s pretty common to see businesses offering incentives for reviews. You quite often see ‘leave a review to be in the draw’, or ‘get x% discount off your next order’, or a ‘free whitepaper report’ and that’s all fine but be careful you don’t cross the line into buying reviews. Reviews should always be genuine and as unbiased as possible - ie free from the influence of the business receiving it. Fake reviews or purchased reviews are not only bad for business, it’s probably illegal. In the UK, it’s definitely illegal and in 2016 the Competition and Markets Authority took action against a marketing agency that was creating fake reviews to game Google. It may also constitute unfair trading and could land you in some serious hot water - so don’t buy or fake reviews.

The real-life lessons bit

So, onto the real life lessons bit. And this isn’t about marketing results today this about self-care as a marketer, as a human being. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind, and the circumstances you find yourself in right now might be making that battle even harder. Are you taking on more work because your team has gotten smaller? Is the business under threat so you’re pulling out all the stops? Or does it take every single drop of energy you have just to keep doing what you’re doing every day? Whatever you’re battling, I know it’s no small feat and I want to help make the journey easier, however I can.

The reason I’m bringing this up is I think it’s important to be real, and burnout is something that’s been on my mind a great deal recently. I find the challenges of my day to day reality right now and the scale of the challenges we face as a global community hard to comprehend and rationalise, if that is even how I should be approaching it. Remaining open and receptive to change is so important, but every single pillar of life is changing right now and everything feels so uncertain.

Have you started to feel like you’re in Groundhog Day? If it’s not a film you're familiar with, you need to watch it. It perfectly describes the here and now of our pandemic reality. And it also carries a pertinent message - that when you stop focusing on yourself and focus on how you can help others, you can break the cycle. And while I wholeheartedly agree with that philosophy, after all that’s the whole ethos of this club, I also believe you can’t pour from an empty cup.

If you’re not taking care of yourself and doing the things that give you energy and life, how can you serve those around you? So, my real life lesson for you is to make sure you’re including yourself at the top of every list you write, the time you plan and where you keep your priorities. You are so powerful and I firmly believe you can create the results you want to see, but not if you’re suffering from burnout.

For anyone who wants to join me on a journey to put some energy back in and to readdress the list of priorities - I have a challenge for us. For the month of August, I am committing to the following:

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night

  • Turn all screens off 1 hour before bed

  • Drink 2L of water every day

  • Social-media free 1 day a week

  • Walk or run for at least 30 minutes a day

  • Write down 3 things I’m grateful for each day

  • Start journaling every day

The reason that I’ve picked this list is that it’s a collection of activities that I’ve seen shared many many times in the self-care space. By no means is it an exhaustive list of how to take care of yourself, but I can confidently say I rarely do more than 1 of these in any one day. And I know I need to shift my energy, so this is where I plan to start.

I’m going to vlog throughout the month and you can keep up with that on Instagram @MarketingMindsetClub. If you want to do this challenge with me, please let me know. Share your profile with me, let me know where you’ll be posting about it because I’m really keen to learn from you too.

And that’s all I have for you this week. Thank you so much for being part of the Marketing Mindset Club. I’m so glad you tuned in! Thank you to everyone who has left a review so far, I can’t tell you how appreciated you are and how thankful I am for your support.

If you haven’t yet subscribed or left a review, please consider doing so if you’re getting value from the show - it really helps me out in my goal to grow this club. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and questions so head over to Instagram @MarketingMindsetClub and I’ll see you next time.

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