How to boost sales with a well-executed product reviews programme

How to boost sales with a well-executed product reviews programme

Tom Reynolds

Tom Reynolds

Reviews can make or break a product. From the opinions of experts who have thoroughly examined the intricacies of a product, through to opinions – positive and negative – of fellow customers, reviews clearly matter.

According to a survey by TrustPilot, three out of four British shoppers (77%) consult reviews online before they buy anything.

As a recent example, my wife decided she wants to buy a new phone, but finds herself torn between getting the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. For what feels like the past month, she’s invested hours into watching videos, reading reviews and consulting forums as to which is the best phone for her. She’s still yet to make a decision, but the value of those reviews in the media for her are far more valuable than an advert in the Metro.

Reviews offer a means for companies to engage with media influencers, who in turn can start the sales lifecycle by attracting early adopters to the table. These early reviews set the tone and help to create a sense of anticipation for the product, with early adopters creating their own word-of-mouth and, literally, showing off on social media. All this could come from just one review, so imagine the buzz that could be created when you ramp this up.

Tech product reviews

In order to fully maximise this opportunity, a well-run and effective review programme needs to target the right publications that reach early adopters. You may think this means the site with the most readers, but that’s actually not always the case. You need to think about the best audience for you to target.

With a recent launch campaign we ran with Crucial Memory, we know the buzz can be generated best on specialist PC component websites such as eTeknix, Hardware Heaven and bit-tech. These sites have a community of dedicated PC component and upgrade enthusiasts, all of whom would be most likely to become Crucial SSD early adopters.

You can also use reviews, if you have permission to do so, to further promote your product by highlighting scores and quotes on your website or in marketing materials. Good reviews should be something to shout about and be used as another proof point as to why consumers should buy your product.

In order to run an effective PR reviews campaign here are a few best practise tips you should implement in order to reach early adopters in your desired audience:

  1. Try to gather as many samples as you can as early as you can, the more you have available to you the better
  2. Have an effective logistics set-up so you get samples out in a timely and efficient manner. Make sure product samples are trackable (especially high value ones!)
  3. Ensure you have all product, pricing and availability info to hand (it's amazing how many companies don't provide this)
  4. Provide high resolution imagery of products and/or screen shots. It's useful to have some that are 'isolated' with a white background
  5. If you can afford to, let reviewers keep any samples you send their way
  6. Keep an ongoing dialogue with reviews editors. There are always extra opportunities to contribute to their publications if you keep in regular contact and build up a reputation for being reliable and responsive
  7. Make sure you promote any positive reviews on your social media feeds and encourage your staff to do the same – this’ll help to further amplify the buzz online
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