Digital Reviews Are More Powerful than Testimonials

Testimonials have become standard for just about every website. It is time to move beyond the glowing praise that clients sent to you and that you post to your site. Tap into the credibility and authenticity of online reviews.

The impact of online reviews is sizeable. In fact, 90% of consumers say their purchase decisions have been shaped by reviews they have read about a brand or a product.

No one expects to go to your website and see a bad testimonial. People are savvy. They know testimonials are carefully curated. They are quasi-authentic at best.

People give more credence to reviews at Google, Yelp and other places that they know authenticate reviewers. They know that businesses do not control these reviews, and that’s a good thing.

People want an opinion they can trust as authentic. This has led to an increased level of dependence on online reviews. Research has consistently shown that people seek information from several sources before making a local purchase. In a recent study by Yext, reviews increased click-through rates from search by as much as 153%.

Embrace credible review sites. They provide social proof that no website testimonial could ever offer.

Your website should at least link to these review sites. Often, it is easy to feed the reviews directly into your website. Further monitor reviews and respond to them. Your engagement with your reviewers will only improve consumers’ perception of your brand.

Reviews are also great intel for your marketing and customer service. Pay attention to the language people use to describe their interactions with your company. This gives you some great keywords and phrases to use to optimize your search engine optimization.

Review comments also offer insight into ways that you can improve your services and your customer service.

How to Succeed with Email Marketing

Email is still one of the most effective tools for online marketing. Average open rates are better than average views across social media channels. You can control the look and feel and specify the call to action.

Yet many marketers fail to invest in an effective email strategy. Common mistakes include:

  • Lack of a tie into an overall digital marketing plan
  • No segmentation – everyone gets everything, reducing the percentage of meaningful messages
  • Creating recipient confusion with inconsistency of content and timing
  • Unclear and non-compelling subject lines
  • No call to action. What do you want the reader to do?

Successful Email Marketers Do This

Emails that incorporate segmentation and personalization are more effective than one-size-fits-all emails.

Set up a welcome email.

Create and send your welcome email to everyone who signs up for your list. This message should not be about you. It should be about how the subscriber will benefit. Make sure it speaks to the needs that you will serve. Show your value.

Engage based on the data.

Some people on your email list will open every message. Engage with them over their engagement! Thank them for their interest. Ask them for input as one of your VIPs.

Some subscribers may never open a message. Find out why. Ask what you can do to better serve their needs. Let them know you care.

Look for other meaningful segments of your list. Customize messages that are on target with how they are interacting with you. Let them know they matter.

Plan for regular interaction.

People sign up for and stay on your list because they want to remember you. Don’t let them down. Have a plan for regular interaction – a weekly insight or special, a monthly newsletter, a customized message.

Create a plan and stick to it. That is how you create value and maintain a connection.

3 Tools to Spy on the Competition Online

Call it spying or marketing intelligence – if you are not paying attention to what your competitors are doing online you are missing out. What everyone else is doing is an important piece of research that needs to factor in to your successful digital marketing strategy.

To help, here are three free tools that help you monitor your competition.

Facebook Pages to Watch

Facebook offers page admins the opportunity to watch other Facebook pages. To create a watch list, go to the page Insights tab and find the field to add the names of pages you want to monitor.

You can see each the pages follower growth, engagement, and you can click on any to see the competitors’ top posts from the past week.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts enables you to monitor the internet for anything, including topics and brands. Set up alerts for your industry keywords or for mentions and articles on your competition.


Hootsuite is a publishing tool. You can set up streams to monitor brands or keywords.

There are also numerous in-platform apps that can help. The free app TrendSpottr enables you to set up multiple “streams” in your Hootsuite dashboard to watch trending topics, keywords, brand reputation and even identify industry influencers.