Copywriting Friday: Your superhero salesperson

Published: June 2024

Copywriting Friday highlights the tools and techniques of creating persuasive content. Enjoy.

A superhero standing, hands-on-hips, beneath a 5-star review.
This article is about a superhero within your business—your Ultimate Salesperson.

But who is this hero? It’s actually not an individual—we’re referring to your reviews. Consider how valuable these persuaders are:

  • They work for you 24/7/365.
  • They can cover every product or service you have.
  • If done correctly, they’re trusted by prospects. In fact, reviews are often the element that closes the sale.

But in our experience, few companies take full advantage of the sales power of reviews.

In this article, we’ll discuss four dimensions of reviews. If you get these right, they can inject persuasion into your copy in ways that few other things can.

The four dimensions of product and service reviews

Dimension 1: Quantity of reviews

If you’re a Kickstarter product, you can be forgiven for not having lots of reviews. Even then, you can ask alpha or beta testers to give you feedback.

But suppose you are well-established and your site has only a few reviews. That’s a potential disconnect and warning sign for visitors: If a site seems good, but we only see the company’s words about itself and a handful of reviews, we start to wonder—is it because they can’t get positive reviews?

Similar issues exist with “Likes” and other forms of social media feedback. These are highly influential for some audiences, and lacking them can be an issue.

We worked with one client that marketed to college students. Their product was great, but the widget on their homepage showed that “likes” and “shares” were in the single digits. Our hypothesis was that college students were more sensitive to this than other groups, so we tested removing the widget, and conversions rose.

Make sure that the number of reviews you display is consistent with your messaging about the success of your business. And if you need more reviews, start proactively collecting them.

In our book, Making Websites Win, we describe how we gathered hundreds of reviews for one client by surveying their existing customers. The resulting page grew the company’s sales by more than 20%.

Dimension 2: Quality of reviews

We’ve all seen fake review sites that compare web hosting, lawnmowers, and countless other products and services. One red flag is the “Check Price on Amazon” affiliate button, which suggests misaligned incentives. Another clue is how gushing the reviews are about one product.

We are therefore on alert to discover if we’re reading legitimate reviews or wasting our time. This is a copywriting opportunity to be transparent and earn some trust. If the reviews you display do not include affiliate payments, say so. If they are from verified buyers, say so. And if you’ve provided an incentive, say so.

For example, Amazon has a “Vine” program that sends free products to established reviewers, but they clearly label those reviews (highlighted below):

A review of a fan on Amazon, which reads: I am a fan of this fan. I needed something for my counter at work while I worked at the terminal. Its strong, quite and looks nice like its part of my desk. My boss loved it so much he asked me to order him one which I did and he loves it at well. Scored a few points with him to boot!

The important thing is to not make visitors guess about any conflicts of interest.

The next aspect of quality is specificity. Consider this litmus test: Could someone have written the review without ever having used the product? If so, it’s weak copy.

We see this all the time with book reviews—and even ones that make the back cover of a book. We’re often told that the book is a “must read” or an “important contribution” to a field. If it’s a product, then the review may say: “Just buy it!” or “Love love love it!”

Those may be actual reviews, but they have little influence on visitors who are weighing features and options. In contrast, read this review of scissors designed for first responders:

They’re my daily drivers on the meatwagon, and have been for years now. Easy to clean, easy to maintain, great customer service/support, VERY durable, and comtortable to use. The tagline was no joke, I cut the bumper off of a car with this (because the extrication team was taking too lon- I mean, was otherwise occupied) and it still worked to cut the leather chaps off of a motorcyclist immediately after. Seriously a great product for a great price. I’d take them over the leathermans every single time. Love to see one that was rated for autoclave down the road, just for kicks, but I’ve not been disappointed with this set, and I’ve definitely not been gentle. 10/10, would recommend.

Note how the slang and details telegraph that this is a professional. Also, note how the reviewer would like to see an improvement but still loved the scissors. It’s more powerful than claiming perfection.

Another aspect of review quality is to consider the source. Aside from reviews your company collects, there are well-regarded sites like Trustpilot and Google Reviews. But it’s worth scouring the internet for even more influential reviews for targeted audiences. Consider this YouTube channel, Project Farm.

This guy accepts no advertising and buys all the products himself. He then does rigorous testing that sometimes takes a year to complete. Just read some of the YouTube comments; they’re incredibly grateful for his testing. If a company’s product rated highly in one of his tests, it would be insane not to link to that review.

Dimension 3: Where and how reviews are used

This is a screenshot from a site that sells camping tents:

A superhero standing, hands-on-hips, beneath a 5-star review.

At first glance, this is impressive. We’re being told the company has 56,830 reviews and that they are all five-star ratings. This may be true, but seems unlikely. Ideally, we’d like to click on the stars and see the individual ratings, but there’s no link.

Customers are likely to ask themselves, “Why?”

Again, it’s better to be transparent: At least give a weighted rating like 4.9 out of 5; then show 4.9 stars and not five full ones. Finally, link to the reviews so people can see for themselves.

Just as we talked in this article about how testimonials should be in many locations on your site, so too should your reviews. They’re so powerful that it’s worth testing them above the fold, on the pricing page, and in the checkout area. Keep up the proof elements from the beginning of the sale right through to the end.

Dimension 4: Paying regular attention to reviews

This powerful persuasion element does not lend itself to “set it and forget it.” Multiple tasks need tending:

  • Always be seeking more reviews, both in terms of sheer quantity and breadth (to cover more of your products or services). Be on the lookout for new sources of reviews, too.
  • Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Responding to negative reviews gives you the opportunity to be respectful and set the record straight. If, for example, a customer used a product outside when it was designed for indoor use only. Responding also exhibits an active service mentality, which in itself is a rare and welcome behavior.
  • Avoid cookie-cutter responses. If someone took the time to write a review, it’s disappointing to see case after case where the response is: “Thank you for bringing that to our attention. Customer satisfaction is important to us. We will pass on your comments to the appropriate department.” Uh-huh.
  • Time stamping your reviews can be persuasive, but if you do so, guard against staleness. Visitor enthusiasm can quickly take a hit if the last review for a product was two years ago.

Even superheroes have needs

Superheroes can work wonders for your sales, but even they need care, feeding, and thoughtful management. If you commit to that effort, leveraging reviews is one of the most powerful ways to grow your sales.

See you next time on Copywriting Friday.

How much did you like this article?

What’s your goal today?

1. Hire us to grow your company

We’ve generated hundreds of millions for our clients, using our unique CRE Methodology™. To discover how we can help grow your business:

Schedule your FREE strategy session

2. Learn how to do conversion

Download a free copy of our Amazon #1 best-selling book, Making Websites Win, recommended by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Moz, Econsultancy, and many more industry leaders. You’ll also be subscribed to our email newsletter and notified whenever we publish new articles or have something interesting to share.

Browse hundreds of articles, containing an amazing number of useful tools and techniques. Many readers tell us they have doubled their sales by following the advice in these articles.

Download a free copy of our best-selling book

3. Join our team

If you want to join our team—or discover why our team members love working with us—then see our “Careers” page.

4. Contact us

We help businesses worldwide, so get in touch!

© 2024 Conversion Rate Experts Limited. All rights reserved.