Getting Better Quality Reviews

Let’s look at these 2 reviews:

A: Generic and just adds cognitive load:


B: Specifically addresses shopper concern about mattress delivery to buildings (Narrative Control):


Which one do you like better?

Instead of sending out a generic post-purchase email that says, “Hope you are enjoying product X, please write a review” study the product and the reviews you have already collected. Is there a feature that isn’t talked about enough? Is there a feature that is unfairly criticized by a tiny minority? You can identify 15 such scenarios specific to you.

Now that you have the most promising ideas craft a review request email.

Look at an example CAMINO CARRYALL 35 on is marketed as a rugged bag. But most of the reviews don’t talk about that feature. So what can one do? Simple, send an email to people who purchased the bag in the last 6 months. Here is my example email:

Subject: Camino Carryall is rugged, right?

Hi, Steve.

You’ve had your Camino Carryall for the last 6 months. We hope you’re using the heck out of it. We also hope you’ve been rough with it because ruggedness is a feature engineered into the bag. But you know what? We have 853 reviews and only 6 talk about the ruggedness of the product. That sucks because we went through 38 prototypes just to maximize ruggedness.

If you’ve taken the bag through the paces we would love your feedback on the ruggedness of the bag.

[review link]

We need your help, Steve.


This email works for a number of reasons:

A: We’re asking Steve for a very specific thing
B: We’re challenging Steve to tip the balance of ruggedness reviews (they’re just 6 right now)

Words Work When They’re Readable

10 years ago the web was slow as a snail so websites were simple: black font with a white background. Today, because CSS is a thing and slow internet isn’t we’ve started designing the crap out of pages.

I can’t tell you how many sites I encounter that use a charcoal gray font color. It looks pretty but causes so much eye strain. And because CCS allows for it we also have pages with fancy shiny buttons, an incredible array of color shades, gradient backgrounds, shadow effects, parallax effect (example: a background image is moved at a different speed than the foreground content while scrolling), etc.

If your objective is to have visitors read your page content (and I hope it is) then just get out of way and follow the universal comfort reading formula: black text, nice big font size, eggshell white background.

Books and newspapers have used this formula for centuries.

This is ESPECIALLY important when talking about mobile pages. has some of the best graphic designers on staff. They could easily design the most beautiful pages in the world. But they don’t do it. Here is a snippet of the page they created to promote their latest book “Calm” (



[My screenshot doesn’t do justice. Check on your phone for full effect.]

We think visitors will not read long text. They will not read long text if your site is over-designed (design can cause distraction fatigue). They will also not read if your text isn’t in the right size proportion. And finally, they will not read if your content is boring. But if you don’t commit those sins your shoppers will read.

And you can take this to the bank: of all the things one could A/B test, words have the biggest influence on converting browsers.

Use Customers to Craft Better Product Pages

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote an article (link) explaining how you can improve product descriptions by studying submitted reviews. Reviews are a great way to see why customers actually “like” the product you are selling. We received some very interesting comments and questions:

— What happens if your product page doesn’t have a lot of reviews?

— How are you supposed to know why customers are purchasing if you don’t have any reviews?

There are two ways in which you can deal with a product page that either has a low number of reviews or low purchase numbers:

1. Send an email to people who have purchased your product asking for feedback.

This is a great way for you to increase feedback from your customers. Generally speaking, 1,200 purchases will generate 1 organic product review. Sending an email to each customer might sound tedious, but 71% of customers will leave a review for a product when asked (source). What does this mean for you? A potential of 852 new reviews from those 1200 customers when normally your site would only be getting 1.

Now we come to the question of what if the purchase numbers for this product are low?

2. If the user is on the page, engages with the page, then starts to exit, show them a message.

Not everyone is going to interact with the prompt, but it slows people down. If someone takes the time to read that prompt and enter their email, you can collect feedback on what you need to do to improve your product page. For the sake of continuity, we’ll use the same site ( that was used in the previous article.

The first image is the default state of the product page:

Spin life control.png

Once the user navigates towards the close button, a popup will appear with our messaging:

Spin life exit prompt.png

You don’t need to have high sales numbers to figure out what’s on your customer’s mind, you just have to ask.

Competing with Self

I’m reading a book about Andrew Carnegie. Mr. Carnegie used a clever strategy to maximize productivity at his steel plants. He would pit plant against plant. You might be wondering, “How is what happened at a steel plant relevant here?

I’m mentioning this because I believe you can use a similar strategy for your site. Let me explain … is a major retailer of hearing aids. Their 2 top-selling products are:

MDHearingAid PRO

MDHearingAid AIR

Both sell in high volume.

To boost sales further I’d break my marketing team into 2 groups and assign each one of those 2 best sellers. I would then have them compete. The goal is to see which team is able to drive more first-time buyers. Here are the ways in which the teams will be able to compete:

1: Each team can rewrite their product description as long as the look/tone of the page remains consistent with the rest of the site.

2: Each team will get their own online ad budget so they can drive traffic to their own page (Facebook, banner, affiliate, influencer, AdWords, AdSense, it doesn’t matter.)

3: Each team will be able to create new video content for marketing purposes.

4: The teams will be allowed to update the product images and thumbnails on their product page:


5: Teams can email past purchasers for ideas to improve the product descriptions and generate new reviews, video testimonials, or word-of-mouth marketing.

6: Teams will be allowed to configure special marketing campaigns on their product page. For example, the PRO team might want to add custom code on their page so that after 2 minutes on the site page visitors get a prompt that says, “sign up for a secret to buying the perfect hearing aid”. On the backend of the signup, we will have an automated email series. See the image below for a mockup of this idea:


7: Teams would even be allowed to offer special discounts/incentives on their product pages, as long as the discount doesn’t negatively impact net profits for that item.

8: Teams can decide if they want to focus on the mobile or desktop version of the page. For most sites, the mobile product page has way more upside potential so the team might decide to focus their entire effort on the mobile experience on the page.

9: Teams can even take over “chat” for their designated pages. When customers click chat they’ll be talking directly to the team.  In fact, you could even apply that to the incoming calls associated with each product page.

The bottom line is we’re treating MDHearingAid PRO and MDHearingAid AIR as their own independent units with profit and loss responsibilities.

This is just a small listing of the ways in which these teams can compete. I’m sure you’ll be able to add to this list for your unique site.

The next part is measuring success:

A: We would run the challenge over a 60 day period.

B: The winning team would get an $8,200 prize.

C: Success will be measured by new sales.

Why this would work: Humans love competition. This will shake things up. Marketing teams would enjoy having more voice over their work. It would help build team learnings. It would build teamwork (no more fighting between the AdWords team and customer service). It’s no longer the boss saying, “we can’t do that.” Now the team can see first hand why some ideas work and others fail.

Know Why Your Customers Like You?

My wife surprised me with a trip to a camping site with a Yurt. If, like me, you have no idea what a Yurt is here is a picture:


Was a fun experience. But what I liked best wasn’t the Yurt, it was the camp washroom facility. Really appreciated how clean it was. But the camp management will never know this because they didn’t ask. They will just assume that since the most unique aspect of their property are the Yurt that’s what their advertising needs to market.

We make this really bad assumption of thinking people love our products because of the physical attributes of the actual product. What people ACTUALLY love is the experience around using products and services.

We assume people who bought and loved the Travel Pro 3-Wheel mobility scooter must love it because of one of these listed features:

Top Speed: 4.00 mph
Turning Radius: 32.75″
Drive Range: 6.30 miles
Weight Capacity: 275 lbs
Heaviest Piece: 27.5 lbs.
Disassembles: Yes
Seat Width: 17″
Max Seat to Ground Height: 21″
Height Adjustable Seat: Yes
Flip-Back Armrests: Yes
Wheel Type: Three Wheeled
Front Wheel Size: 8″
Rear Wheel Size: 8″
Air-Filled (Pneumatic) Tires: No
Overall Width: 19.5″
Overall Length: 37″
Batteries Included: Yes
Basket Included: Yes
Weight Without Batteries: 73.50 lbs.
Battery Pack Weight: 18.50 lbs.
Charging Port Location: Battery Box

But that’s just one dimension of how shoppers think, and it’s a limiting one. Here are some of the customer comments I picked from their customer reviews. Bolded snippets are sections that stood out:

“Very quiet when you ride it – and I love the cup holder.”

“Strengths: Comes assembled.

“This was the most well packed product I’ve ever received along with clear directions and easy assembly topped off with very fast delivery.”

“Like that it has solid tires so they won’t go flat.”

“Gives me the ability to get around the house, It fits through the doorways, but my wheelchair won’t.”

“As a single woman with arthritis I am able to load and unload this scooter into my vehicle by myself (takes about 5 – 10 min. due to my mobility issues). I was able to take it to a wedding on the grass and it did fairly well. It’s very compact and convenient. This product has enabled me to keep my job and transport to my required locations independently.”

“I have spinal stenosis and cannot stand for any length of time without pain. I went to the mall for the first time in 4 years. Even I can disassemble this machine. So I am not dependent on my husband.”

“I like the swivel seat

“It has nice curb appeal. I use the scooter to travel back and forth to our club house for activities.”

“The price & that it’s Made in USA

Stops immediately when you let off the hand lever. Climbs ramps easily.”

“I was glad I got the 3-wheel model as it is SO maneuverable; not at all tippy.”

“The instructions that came with the product are very easy to understand

“… reassuring year’s worth of in-home support/insurance.”

“Easy to travel with both in the car and other forms of travel (boats & planes).”

“Before I bought it I read reviews that said it tipped easily on uneven surfaces. I went to a convention and had to park in the unpaved area, NO Problem with dirt, grass very uneven surface.”

“It turns on a dime. Even in an elevator you can go in straight and clear the door.”

“Ability to break down into 5 pieces for easy to transport … if need to pick up to fit into small space like on a bus.”

“The best is I can bring the battery’s inside to charge and leave the scooter in the car”

“The ease of transporting this scooter – fits into the trunk of a Nissan Altima!”

“I love the way it CAN fit into a trunk of a small car.”

“The ease of taking it apart and the fact that I can fit it in the trunk of my Toyota Camry is amazing.”

“Light weight easy to load in my explorer.”

“Can fit in the trunk of our little car to take it with us as we travel.”

Note: The 5 reviews listed above all talk about being fit into trunks of different car brands. Buyers seem relieved to know their scooter can fit into their car. The retailer could add a little widget on the product page to ask “What vehicle do you plan to transport this scooter on?” and next to that show a dropdown (or autofill) with most car models (such pre built car model menus can be easily found online. Your developer doesn’t have to manually build one). Once the shopper enters their model they will see a confirmation message. Mockup of our idea:

1: User first enters car make on product page:

Spin life Selection.png

2: They then hit SUBMIT button and see this (notice confirmation text in green):

Spin life Activated.png

If I was the retailer I would use these feedback snippets to rewrite my product description. Additionally, I would make a product video and talk about these features.

But this is the tip of the iceberg because it’s what we picked from the published reviews. As a rule of thumb 1,200 purchases generate one (1) organic product review. This product page has 473 reviews, which means may have sold over 500,000 units of this scooter. So I would literally call the thousands of people who bought the scooter (and didn’t return it) to ask them one simple question, “what feature did you like best about your scooter?” That one question will give us a wealth of knowledge. Knowledge we could use this improve this page conversions rates by over 13%.

Are you looking to unlock a 13% conversion lift on your best selling product page? Good, then apply this approach to your site. Or, better still, set a time to chat with me:

Getting More Email Signups

Shoppers have been trained to gloss over marketing messages, which means most will close this popup without noticing the 20% off coupon:



If I was working for BabyBrezza here is what I would have done …

To engage the user, slow them down, and notice the discount rate we’re using Challenge tactic. In our concept, this is the popup message the user will see:


This is what is shown when the dropdown is clicked:


This is what we show when someone makes the wrong selection (very few will make the wrong selection):


And this is what we show when the user makes the right selection (most will get it right on the first try):


And when the user clicks Sign Up they’ll be shown the signup fields:


Compared to the original popup our concept has more steps, which might feel like it’s adding friction. But remember, all friction isn’t bad. Sometimes one need to add friction to slow the user down so our marketing message has time to sink in.