eCommerce Townhall Ep8: Leveraging Reviews in your Marketing Strategy with Adena Merabi of Okendo
Reviews are the backbone of all marketing success. Not only are they essential to boosting your product’s conversion rate, but they also help you build brand awareness and customer loyalty
In today’s episode, I’m joined by Adena Merabi, Agency Partner Manager at Okendo, a customer marketing platform and an Official Google Reviews partner that helps brands capture and showcase high-impact social proof such as product ratings & reviews, customer photos & videos, and Q&A message boards.
During this episode, Adena shares about best practices and mistakes to avoid when trying to get reviews for your brand, how to optimize your reviews and the level of success that you expect to get by using Okendo’s approach.
Reviews are the backbone of all marketing success. Not only are they essential to boosting your product’s conversion rate, but they also help you build brand awareness and customer loyalty.
We’ve got an awesome episode for you! We chatted with Adena Merabi from Okendo. Okendo is a customer marketing platform and an Official Google Reviews partner that helps brands capture and showcase high-impact social proof such as product ratings & reviews, customer photos & videos, and Q&A message boards.
During this episode, we discuss how to customize reviews based on visitor preferences and the type of information they’re most likely looking for so that you can drive conversations that way. We’ll also talk about the mistakes to avoid when requesting reviews and how to integrate reviews into Ads to use those in your actual Ads copy.
We also discuss about the overview of what Okendo does and why it’s the most preferred agency, the starting point of a typical Okendo user and how it can maximize your sales and the level of success that you expect to get by using Okendo’s approach
Don’t miss this episode with Okendo. Stay tuned, dig in and be sure to implement what you’ve learned.
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
[00:01] Today’s focus; Leveraging Reviews in your Marketing Strategy
[02:46] Meet our today’s guest; Adena Merabi – Agency, Partner Manager at Okendo
[04:22] Overview of what Okendo does and why it’s the most preferred agency
[06:47] The starting point of a typical Okendo user and how it can maximize your sales
[09:52] The level of success that you expect to get by using Okendo’s approach
[11:54] Best practices and mistakes to avoid when trying to get reviews for your brand
[14:41] A roadmap overview of how you can optimize Okendo in your sales
[18:09] Adena’s recommendations as she has seen them work for most clients
[21:45] What comes next after you have put the foundations in place
[25:07] More takeaways to optimize your reviews
[26:22] How to reach out and learn more about Okendo
[27:05] In summary…
[27:43] Episode wrap up and calls to action
- “Directing traffic to your product pages is good, but leveraging the conversions is the king of marketing.”
- “Any delay in page load and speed will deny you a review for your product and a reduction in conversions.”
- “Customers are influenced by the reviews of other clients.”
- “Make sure your review platform is not affecting your site speed.”
[Jon Tucker 0:00] Hey guys, in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about how to leverage customer reviews across your entire marketing stack to really supercharge results. On the show I had Adena Merabi from Okendo, Okendo is a killer platform that really enables you to get customer reviews and effective ways. And then leverage those in a lot of different aspects of your marketing. And so we go into a whole bunch of different stuff in the episode. But a couple that stands out is we talked about how to basically customize reviews based on visitor preferences and the type of information they’re most likely looking for. So you can really drive conversions that way. We also talked about how to integrate reviews into ads so that you’re using those reviews in your actual ad copy. We also talked about mistakes to avoid in terms of how to do you request reviews and a range of other things. And so if you’re not using reviews strategically across the entire marketing stack, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities. And I think that this episode is going to spark a lot of ideas for you. So dig in, and let us know what you implement. And I hope you find a lot of value from Adena Merabi at Okendo.
[Voice over 1:09] Welcome to e-commerce townhall 467 and eight-figure eCommerce store leaders learn how to scale and streamline to get to the next level. In each episode, you’ll see strategies from the industry experts behind successful stores that you can take back and apply with your teams right away. The show is brought to you by HelpFlow.com. HelpFlow provides 24/7 Live Chat teams to over 100 eCommerce stores and can help you drive more sales while providing an awesome customer experience through their live chat agents. Check them out at HelpFlow.com. But for now, let’s dive into today’s episode.
[Jon Tucker 1:50] Hey guys, welcome back to the show super excited for today because what we’re going to talk about is basically how to drive conversions and also long-term lifetime value by basically leveraging data from your customers. So leveraging content they create, whether that’s reviews, Q&A, videos, all that type of stuff. And, you know, everyone focuses on acquisition channels, right, and important conversion. But most people are really heavily focused on, you know, paid traffic or organic, social or SEO, or you know, getting email, right? But customer-generated content is something that if you get it right, and you layer that into all of those different things that I just mentioned, it can really supercharge the results of all of them. And so today, we’re gonna dive really deep in basically how to do that and try to give you a roadmap that you can use to get to the point where you’ve got this dialed in, in the business, and to do that I’ve got Adena Merabi from Okendo on the call and she’s partner manager at Okendo where she helps eCommerce agencies really increase client performance by using Okendo. Well, that’s the key part, right? Knowing when to layer in reviews and when to layer in customer-generated content. She was also head of partnerships at one of the biggest digital marketing agencies in the e-com game. And so, she’s got a lot of experience on the E-commerce side. She was an Oracle before that. And so she’s got just good context to know what it takes to scale e-com. And so I’m a wanted to have Okendo on because there’s a lot of people in this space. Right. But Okendo is always the one that I see mentioned by our customers, as you know, the best platform to use for customer-generated content, reviews, ratings, etc. And so I’m super happy to have Adena Merabi on the call. So Adena, welcome to the call. Thanks for joining us.
[Adena Merabi 3:40] Thank you what an awesome intro. That was so nice of you. Thank you. I’m very excited to be here and tell you a little bit more about OKendo and why having customer reviews is important as a brand, as well as a prospective customer of a brand.
[Jon Tucker 4:02] Awesome, awesome Why don’t we kind of kick-off with that, like, give us a high-level overview of what it can do doesn’t, and also, I want you to flex a bit on this one of like, Why do stores frequently choose a candidate over the other players that have been in this space some of them quite a bit longer, like I see that as a trend. Let’s dig into that part two of it.
[Adena Merabi 4:22] Yeah, sounds great. So, at a super high level, Okendo, we’re a ratings and reviews platform. We work with over 5000 fast-growing Shopify DTC brands, some that you might recognize, I’ll just name a few skims Buck Mason, Carbon 38 Moon juice, just to name a couple. And when it comes to why customers end up going with Okendo other over other ratings and reviews platforms. It really comes down to we say three main components. And funny enough, if you read through any of our own reviews on the Shopify app store we have, I think we have now over four or 500 reviews. On the app store, you’ll notice that brands are talking about our product or service and our pricing. And that’s really why they choose Okendo. So, when it comes to our product, we have the most flexible reviews widgets on the market. Meaning the degree to which you can go in and customize straight out of the box with no custom code writing necessary. No other reviews platform can do that when it comes to service being super hands-on. You know, I work with brands I work with agencies hands-on, we have customer service reps, and we have software developers who are accessible to our customers. And then lastly, which I feel like is always the cherry on top and very important is pricing. We’re really about a third of the price of what’s out there. So it’s really a no-brainer. When you’re looking at our platform versus others. And you’re like, they got the product, they have the pricing. Let’s do it. So yeah, I would say those are some of the reasons.
[Jon Tucker 6:14] Awesome. That makes sense. I’m curious. So, our customer bases, you know, kind of sweet spot in that three to US$5 million range. All e-commerce, obviously. And they typically tend to have an acquisition pretty well figured out. They have email marketing going, sometimes there’s some room to improve there. But they definitely really haven’t leveraged or maximized retention. And so, I’m kind of curious, you know, without a frame, what’s the starting point of a typical Okendo user that really has the potential to get a lot of value out of the platform, like how does that align?
[Adena Merabi 6:47] Yeah, John, that’s a great question. So, I would say if you’re a brand, your kind of in that sweet spot, you’re growing really fast, your kind of dialing in on your customer acquisition strategies, as well as your retention strategies. Okendo really comes in to enhance that, and to boost your conversions on site. So as a marketer, you’re driving a ton of traffic to your PDPs your product pages, and your website in general, you want to make sure that it’s converting. And so one way to do that is to leverage your customer community. So leverage your customers and what they have to say about your products. So you know, adding things like customer attributes, and product attributes to your review process. So what that means is adding things like, you know, the texture of your product sizing, quality fit, things that are kind of helpful, and getting new customers to take a look and be like, Wow, okay, you know, this is how I can view the product, as well as customer attributes, which allow the customer to align themselves with other people that look like them. So, you can collect information around skin type, size, normally worn age height, you know, whatever it is. So that’s one layer of it. The second layer, which is even more exciting, is what you can do with that data. So, you’re collecting a ton of data directly from your customers, what can you do with that to help increase your retention strategy, as well as maybe acquire new customers. So, a couple of things that you can do. One, we have an incredible integration with Klaviyo, it’s the best integration with Klaviyo out of all the reviews and rating platforms on the market. And that’s coming directly from the Klaviyo team, not for me. So basically, a couple of things you can do specifically with the data is you can take Okendo data. So, skin type, skin tone, age, you know, city, whatever you’re looking for, sync that over into Klaviyo Customer Data profile, and use that to segment your email campaigns and send much more targeted emails based on that data. So helps increase conversions helps increase your you know, email, open rate, your click-through rate is all of it, it’s pretty impressive to see what merchants can do.
[Jon Tucker 9:19] Awesome. I want to kind of help listeners see the result like basically, you know, for a brand, you know, doing somewhere in that three to $5 million range or sub 10 range. What does it look like once they have it really dialed in? And um, you know, it’s, it’s touching different parts of their marketing process and really producing well, like, what does success look like? What do you guys measure success by and really help us understand like, what’s the result that a brand should focus on getting to with this type of approach?
[Adena Merabi 9:52] Yeah, great question. So, a couple of different ways that you can measure the success of having Okendo. A good you know, or good ratings and reviews platform come down to an increase in your customer LTV, your customer lifetime value, as well as an increase in revenue per recipient. So if you are using that Klaviyo integration, and you’re implementing Okendo, Canada, you know, reviews and ratings and your emails, or maybe you’re utilizing the data that we’re collecting to segment your email campaigns, the targeted end goal is that you’re getting an increase in revenue from that campaign. Another thing as well that I didn’t talk about is you can also use Oh, Okendo star ratings and reviews in your performance marketing campaigns. So, you can integrate with Google Shopping, the end goal is that having those star ratings and your Google Shopping ads will increase your click-through rate on those ads, as well as your revenue received. So those are a couple of ways that we look at it. Another as well, kind of taking a step back, is having customers leave reviews. So, you know, you’re obviously going to send them review request emails, you’re going to make sure you’re timing it so that it gets to your customer’s inbox at the right time, they’ve tried your product, you’ve given them a few days, a few weeks. And the idea behind it is they love your product so much they love the experience; they’re going to leave a review. And also, you want to make that review process super easy and simple and streamlined so that they don’t feel like it’s a burden to actually go in and leave that review.
[Jon Tucker 11:37] On that part. What do brands get wrong when it comes to like trying to get reviews and making sure that process is streamlined? Because even just as a customer myself, I get all types of requests for reviews. And so, here’s like, what do you guys see work really well? What are the best practices there? And also mistakes to avoid?
[Adena Merabi 11:54] Yeah, that’s a great question. And, and me too, I get review request emails all the time. And I’m like, Okay, I click on it. And depending on sort of that the factors that go into it, I either leave a review, or I don’t. So, a couple of things that we do, that help increase that review collection rate. One is just how lightning speed fast is, you know, review collection pages, you click on it, it loads within a second helps, of course, we know that any delay in page load speed, results in abandoning that site, whether it’s spending cart, abandoning whatever. So, you want to make sure it’s lightning-fast, too, I would say make sure you have a single-page review collection process. If you have multiple pages where let’s say, you know, one page, it’s your name, the next page, and it’s your email the next page, it’s, you know, like a few filters and things to fill out, you’re going to have an abandonment on that collection process. So, you want to make sure that everything is on one page. And it’s not super long, you’re not asking a ton of questions, you’re just collecting the valuable information that you need. That way people are going to feel compelled and they won’t, you know, abandon that process again. And then the last part I will say is with your actual review collection, email, you want to make sure it looks like it’s coming from your brand, you don’t want it to look like it’s coming from a third-party app, a lot of our competitors in the space, their review collection, the email looks very janky. It looks generic, it looks like it’s coming from their platform and not from the brand. And so, you’re not going to see a huge review collection rate on those kinds of emails, you want to make sure those emails are branded, they look good, and they’re coming from your brand. So those are some of the ways that we, you know, tell brands to do it.
[Jon Tucker 13:56] Awesome. Yeah, that makes sense. Like the product, the way that you asked for those reviews, I think matters so much. And so, you know, having those pieces well designed, I think is obviously going to increase the number of reviews you get, I want to transition into the kind of talking about the roadmap. And so ultimately, what I want listeners to get out of this is kind of like a roadmap that they can follow over, you know, 90 days or a couple of quarters to know basically how to go from, you know, having acquisition relatively dialed having email marketing in place, but probably not fully dialed. They’ve got a reasonable amount of revenue, like what do they do in the next quarter or two to maximize it Adena Merabi like kind of paint that picture so you can help us understand how they would get there.
[Adena Merabi 14:42] Yeah, that’s a great question. So, let’s say you know, let’s say you’re a brand and you have existing reviews from another platform. Great. That’s honestly, you know, it’s a great way to kind of already come in with something out of the gate. So what we would do in the first, let’s say 30 days, while we’re onboarding you, we would have you import your existing reviews into the Okendo app. So, you already kind of have ground zero, you’re coming in, you have something ready to go. Another thing as well is, if you’re worried about not having a ton of reviews, we always recommend doing a look back. So, what we can do using our app is we can take a look at your last 30, 60, 90 days of purchases, and send those people review requests to help increase your review generation rate. Because ultimately, you’re looking to, you know, get more reviews, that’s really kind of the point of having Okendo. So that are a few things that we would recommend. After that, we recommend integrating your tech stack. That’s super important. So we have integrations with Klaviyo, as I mentioned earlier, we also have integrations with SMS providers, so attentive and postscript so that you can start collecting reviews from SMS and mobile devices as well, that helps increase your review collection rate, and also helps you target your customers in a way in which they prefer to be targeted. We also and this kind of goes back to what you guys do, we recommend integrating Okendo with your customer service tool to help your customer service reps to help your team whoever’s kind of controlling that side of the business. You know, reviews and customer service kind of go hand in hand, if you’ve got a bad review, how do you go about it, so that you look good as a brand. And you’re helping your customers at the end of the day. So, we have integrations there where you can publicly or privately respond to reviews, whether they’re negative or positive. And you can also automatically create tickets when they are negative so that your customer service reps know exactly when things are being said about your brand. So those are a couple of things. And then lastly, I would say make sure that you have a rewards program in place so that you can incentivize your customers to actually leave reviews. So, you’re asking them to review asking them for reviews, what are you giving them in return? Right? Give them a coupon, give them a discount, and maybe give them some loyalty points. We have really great out-of-the-box integrations with loyalty, Lion, smile.io, and rise.ai. So that you can do that like the brand. And its kind of takes the heavy lifting off of you. So, I would say, yeah, that’s kind of like a nice 3060, 90 roadmaps.
[Jon Tucker 17:51] Awesome. I’m curious. So, when somebody is, you know, integrating into Klaviyo or attentive or those types of channels? What are some of the things that you’ve seen work really well and your success stories around? Like how to ask for reviews, or how to showcase those reviews on those channels. Like, let’s dig a little bit deeper into those parts.
[Adena Merabi 18:09] Yeah, so it’s pretty amazing what Klaviyo can do. I think we all like it as a community. We’re like Klaviyo does a great job at email, marketing, and SMS. So some of the things that we recommend are actually, you know, forwarding your review request emails to be sent out of Klaviyo instead of Okendo, what that allows you as the brand to do is it allows you to go into Klaviyo use their robust design capabilities. They’re really great A and B testing capabilities, and go in and design a beautiful on-brand email. Again, going back to what I was saying earlier, you want to make sure that your review requests and emails look like they’re coming from you and not from Okendo or XYZ. So that’s really important. Definitely recommend that as, as you know, we’re talking to brands. Another thing as well is to set up conditional splits within your review request sequences, so that if someone has opted in to receiving text messages, you’re going to send them a review request via SMS, this customer has told you hey brand, I’m okay with you sending me texts. If they do that, you should send them a text, and utilize that channel. It’s definitely a huge revenue-driving channel if you don’t abuse it, of course. So those are a couple of things that I would say when it comes to some of those platforms. You know, we love working with them, they have great capabilities. And we work very hand in hand together.
[Jon Tucker 19:32] And what about on the customer service side like with like a Gorgias integration or something along those lines? Like how specifically Have you seen it integrated really well into the customer service process?
[Adena Merabi 19:58] Yeah, so we actually recently released version two of our integration with Gorgias, which is even better than it was before. So, a couple of things that you can do there, one, you can automatically create tickets within your Gorgias dock dashboard when someone has left a negative review. So let’s say you have customers and they’re like, the product broke within the first few days, or I don’t know how to use this, the instructions are horrible as the brand, you can go in and actually take a look at that and make sure that you’re responding to that appropriately, that you’re showing that you have amazing customer service. Another thing as well as you can actually, privately, or publicly respond to those reviews. You can do things like offer more instructions, you can offer a refund, you can offer an exchange, you know, maybe you just say you’re sorry, whatever kind of fits your brand tone. And that’s something that is a huge game-changer. And we’ve seen, I have some case studies on it, I don’t have it off the top of my head, but we’ve seen brands increase their customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value, just by having integration with your customer service tool.
[Jon Tucker 21:22] Nice, I’m curious, what comes next after kind of getting those things in place? Like, think of like clients? Do you guys have to really like push the envelope of the platform? I’m curious, like, what are some of the crazy things that some of these, some of these brands do? You know, once they’ve got, you know, the foundation in place?
[Adena Merabi 21:44] Yeah. There’s so much you can do. I feel like I can talk forever about it. But I think that you can always optimize on anything, you can optimize your emails, you can optimize your Facebook ad campaigns and your Google ad campaigns. Something goes with Okendo, you can always go in and refine what you’re doing. So, what I would recommend is to go and take a look at your actual reviews and how it looks on your site. Does it look native? Does it look on brand? Does it match the rest of your website? Can you make it even more customized? Those are some of the things that you can do just straight out of the OKendo app, we have seven out of the box, you know, designs, you know, a million different ways you can customize star size or color display borders, text font, format, anything really. And then also go in and see can you add product attributes? If you’re not collecting them already? Can you add customer attributes? If you’re not collecting them already? Those are some things I would say. And then what else? I would say really, that is the main thing. Like, once you’ve got all your integration set up, you know, you’ve integrated with Google you’ve integrated with Klaviyo you have a rewards program, your reviews look really good looks like you know, looks like a continuation of your website and not a no Okendo reviews widget, then you’re really doing it right. I mean, you know, making sure that you’re taking that feedback from your customers. One thing as well. So, this is totally unrelated to like, review, like, I would say how you can optimize your reviews on your site, and more. So how you can use reviews in your product generation process. Take a look at what people are saying about your product? Do they want it in a different color? Are they asking for it to you know, be enhanced? Take that and use that to reiterate your product and release something new. That’s always something that I think brands get as a result of having reviews and they don’t really think about it, but it’s just an open dialogue between you as the brand and your customers and what they want.
[Jon Tucker 24:14] Absolutely, yeah, I think the attributes side of things has really like enabling a custom experience for people of what reviews they see. And you know, what’s most relevant to them is super powerful. Just because everybody uses products in a different way, and I think I’m thinking of like how I use Amazon like when I use Amazon reviews like I use the search a lot to like search through like really specific things in the reviews. But that’s I think that’s a nerdy thing that most people probably don’t do. And so, I imagine the attribute part makes that a lot easier to do at scale. And so, if you know somebody’s across fit, you know, related customer, like a show like prioritizing those reviews, right, it’s going to convert way back. Yeah, awesome. I want to ask you what the best way to kind get started looking at what Okendo is but is there any other you know, big takeaways you think are important to share with everyone before we wrap up?
[Adena Merabi 25:09] I would say make sure that your reviews platform is not affecting your site speed and optimization. That is something I think people tend to overlook. A lot of the reviews rating platforms do slow down your site. If you have any questions around that, go and look at Yodas’s third party performance report, they just released the newest one, the 2022 version, and just go and take a look at some of the apps on there or any of the ones that are that you are using slowing down your site. Again, we all know any delay in your site speed will result in a reduction of conversions on site. So, one thing to note, oh, Okendo does not slow down your site. We were built in a way to protect the integrity of your site. We don’t think the branch would have to choose between having reviews or having a fast site. So, I would say that’s kind of one thing we didn’t talk about, but definitely important as a brand.
[Jon Tucker 26:11] Awesome, What’s the best way for people to kind of dig into Okendo and see if it’s a fit for them to understand what the migration process would be like? Kind of the point, point the listeners in direction?
[Adena Merabi 26:22] Yeah, great question. So, feel free to add me on LinkedIn. My name is Adena Merabi. And send me a message if you’re interested in learning more. The migration process is super easy. We just need a CSV download of your existing reviews. We’ll upload it into Okendo and then you’ll be ready to go. But definitely reach out. We’re always offering promos and different things around pricing. So, feel free to add me and we can get the conversation started.
[Jon Tucker 26:55] Awesome. We will add your LinkedIn in the show notes for sure. But for the listeners, we’ll summarize everything in the show notes. But I would say the big takeaway for me is making sure that you’re using reviews strategically making sure that you’re collecting those reviews in a strategic way, making sure that it’s fitting into the brand and fitting into all the other marketing that you’re doing. And then also making sure that you’re leveraging some of these features of Okendo to be able to really showcase those reviews in a strategic way, not just you know, on the product page and in a well-branded way, but also like in a custom experience for what those visitors care about. So, there are a lot of different things here. Hopefully, you guys are able to implement what you’re hearing and definitely check out OKendo will have their details in the show notes. But Adena, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
[Adena Merabi 27:46] Yeah, thank you for having me. And I’m so happy to just chat about e-commerce and what’s going on and, you know, hopefully, we get to it again.
[Jon Tucker 27:57] Awesome. Thank you so much. Take care.
[Outro 28:00] Thanks for tuning in to e-commerce Townhall. For more resources related to today’s episode, visit e-commercetownhall.com. And don’t forget to check out HelpFlow provides 24/7 Live Chat teams to over 100 e-commerce stores and can drive more sales while providing an awesome customer experience through their live chat agents. HelpFlow those done for you. 24/7 live chat team can predict and save abandons directly on your website by engaging with chat. They can also use conversational upsells to increase average order value in a way that feels good to visitors. Ultimately, they’re going to provide an overall amazing brand experience to your customers. Learn more today at HelpFlow.com