How HubSpot Grew Online Customer Reviews By 157%

Nowadays, reviews matter more than ever. In fact, over 85% of U.S. adults say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

At HubSpot, we know reviews are important for driving leads to our product in the first place. But we’re starting to recognize the importance of reviews at the end of a buyer’s journey, as well.Download our free guide to learn how to more effectively use and measure  customer loyalty programs for your business. 

Review websites rank super well on Google for purchase-intent software terms we care about, like “crm software”, “best crm software” and “crm systems”.

People searching for terms like these are ready to buy CRM software and as a result, are highly likely to turn into customers.

You can hardly blame Google for serving this content first. With over 500 providers of CRM software, it’s tough for customers to hop from vendor to vendor to choose the right CRM. They need a single resource that lists top CRM software. A number of sites have capitalized on this opportunity.

With these review sites dominating search for almost every CRM keyword with commercial intent, we needed to improve our presence on these websites and grow our customer reviews.

Here, we’ll walk you through our experience choosing the best channels to collect reviews, designing review request emails for optimal growth, and developing a strong review acquisition strategy that elevated our company to the top three on CRM software review sites.

The Best Channels for Review Collection

We tested out a number of different channels for collecting reviews. Ultimately, email, events, and triggering reviews based on product usage proved most effective.

1. Email

Email is a staple at HubSpot, and we often communicate with our customers via email. This seemed like the obvious channel for us to ask for customer reviews.

We were able to identify core groups of users who would be a great fit to ask for reviews.

The first group we emailed for reviews were our NPS promoters — a group of people who rate us highly when asked how likely they are to recommend us to a friend.

The second group we emailed for reviews were people who had recently experienced delight from using our product. For example, when someone closed a deal in our CRM (ding), that was a good time to ask them to write a review about us.

These two groups of people, and the channel of email, were critical to successfully collect reviews on an ongoing basis, since those people were deriving value from our products.

2. In App

Using your software to ask users to review your product in-app is another great way to gather reviews. You can test out asking people to review your product at different times based on their actions. At HubSpot, we asked people to review us on occasion after they closed a deal in HubSpot CRM. Instagram also does this occasionally after someone has posted a photo to boost reviews in places like the App Store.

3. Events

Events were another core channel we used to grow our reviews. Each year thousands of HubSpot customers attend our INBOUND event in Boston. We suspected this would be another great place for us to collect reviews, as there was a high amount of foot traffic from HubSpot customers.

125 Positive Reviews in Three Days

Leveraging our INBOUND event, where we have a ton of happy customers and partners, turned out to be a successful avenue for collecting reviews. We knew getting a lot of reviews in a couple of days would could close the gap between us and those we compete with within the CRM space.

During the course of three days, we collected customer reviews on Capterra and G2Crowd using iPads in an area of the event where HubSpot customers congregate.

As a result, we collected 125 reviews for HubSpot products. This enabled us to surpass Zoho and Nimble’s review numbers on Capterra.

We became the third most-reviewed CRM on Capterra, despite being much later to the CRM space than many of our competitors.

Three Things We Learned About Asking for Reviews

When asking for reviews, we didn’t just vary the channels we used to reach customers — we also varied the design and copy of our requests.

There are three critical lessons we learned from extensive A/B testing. As a result of our efforts, we saw an exceptional increase in the amount of people willing to write a review.

If you want to ask your customers for a review, you’ll want to take note of the following three lessons.

1. Rewarding people for leaving a review works wonders

We ran an A/B test via email to find out if rewards would make customers more likely to review us. For the enabled group, we offered a $10 Amazon gift voucher to the first ten people who reviewed us. For the control group, we used the same design and almost identical copy, but removed mentions of the reward.

The chance of a small reward boosted our review numbers by a staggering +733%. Despite the huge increase in the quantity of reviews being left, the high quality of reviews being left did not change.

Normally, our conversation rate for review email sends stands at 3%, but when a reward was offered, it jumped to 25%. Mentioning the reward in the subject line did not peak people’s curiosity (open rates were the same).

Some rewards might resonate more with your customers than others and improve your results. We recommend testing out different rewards to see which ones gain the best results. Potential rewards include Amazon, iTunes, Panera, Target, or a Virtual Visa international gift card. Rybbon integrates with HubSpot to make this process seamless.

One thing to note is that many review sites don’t allow you to reward customers for providing a review. This is a controversial issue in the review space. Before offering customers a reward in exchange for reviewing your company, it’s best to check out the review guidelines provided by that particular review website.

2. The format of the ask matters

We wanted to find out what type of emails work best when asking customers to review us. To do this, we pitted multiple emails with fancy design and copy against each other.

 

Despite our best efforts at copywriting and design, nothing worked as well as a plain and simple email without cheesy copy or attractive design. It was the plain text email (left) without design or extravagant copy that won the hearts of our customers.

3. You have to make it easy for people to review you

Bringing customers through the right flow for review collection is critical for a high conversion rate. Through A/B testing, we evaluated whether sending people to a profile page or review collection page would influence their likelihood to leave a review.

We brought one group of customers to our profile page on a review site (Flow A, below). Here, they had to click a call-to-action before being asked for their review of our software. We sent another group of customers right into the review collection process (Flow B, below). Once people clicked through from the email, they were able to leave their review right away.

We found having the least possible steps was most effective for review collection. The extra step in flow A lead to a drop-off rate in the region of 90%. It’s super important to make it easy for people to leave a review, otherwise they won’t do it.

We learned a lot about how we should collect customer reviews from running these experiments. The rewards one alone boosted our conversion rate from 3% to 25%. But, even with everything we learned from our experiments, we realized using email for growth wasn’t enough.

Having a freemium product worked to our advantage. We acquire a lot more users than many of our competitors because our CRM is a free product. This is very useful when it comes to collecting reviews, as you have a much bigger pool of users to ask.

Asking our customers to review us didn’t just contribute to customer acquisition, it also helped our sales team close more deals and grew our website traffic.

We ran an SEO experiment where we added review schema markup to our product pages, and this increased clicks to those pages by 10%.

Having a review acquisition strategy was hugely beneficial for us at HubSpot. Hopefully, you can use some of our learnings to boost your own customer reviews. 

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Why Your Company, Culture, Story, and Impact Are Your Best Marketing Tools

Have you ever heard of National Novel Writing Month? Every November, thousands of writers from around the world commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in just one month. And in 2017, a record number of people (384,126 total) participated. And this year, they expect over 400,000. It’s even produced some bestsellers along the way. While to … Continue reading “Why Your Company, Culture, Story, and Impact Are Your Best Marketing Tools”

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The Top 21 Best Practices for Running a Successful Ecommerce Website

If your business sells tangible products, you need to have a strong online presence. But with so much competition in the ecommerce space, it can be tough for you to establish your ground. Not only are you competing with local and regional brands, but you also have to deal with international giants such as Amazon … Continue reading “The Top 21 Best Practices for Running a Successful Ecommerce Website”

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The Inventory Management Guide for Ecommerce

Here’s a basic math question for you: Sammie has 50 sprockets. She sells eight of them. How many sprockets does she have left?

Now, here’s another question: Sammie has 50 sprockets. She receives an order for eight sprockets and ships four of them out to customers. How many sprockets are in Sammie’s inventory?

These types of questions aren’t just relics of elementary school — they’re also challenges inherent to inventory management. And it’s the reason Sammie has 42 sprockets at the end of the first question but 46 sprockets at end of the second.

Inventory management goes beyond simple arithmetic. Sammie has 46 sprockets in her inventory because she only subtracts four of the eight sprocket orders until the other four are delivered to customers. It’s this kind of contingency that makes organization, automation, and technique crucial when you have so much product to keep track of.Find out how to keep customers from abandoning their shopping cart when  browsing your online store.

To help you dive into inventory management, let’s explain what inventory management is in the ecommerce world, the software that supports this ongoing process, and some common techniques for managing inventory successfully.

Inventory Management Definition

Inventory management is the act of overseeing the volume, diversity, pricing, and location of a business’s available products. If a product is in stock, it’s counted as part of the business’s inventory and managed as it moves through the supply chain.

The product’s availability is then noted on the item’s purchase page online.

This is why, in our example of Sammie’s 50 sprockets, she still has 46 sprockets after selling eight. Knowing what’s currently in her inventory, how many units of her product have been ordered, and how many units her inventory is shipping and receiving is all part of basic inventory management.

Inventory management does not include company property, manufacturing equipment, and other forms of business capital. It can, however, include separate parts of a product that has not yet been assembled for a customer. How these parts are counted in relation to the finished product depends on the form in which the product is delivered to the customer.

Inventory Management Software

As your business grows, it will inevitably become harder to manage inventory manually — especially if you sell online, where your customers expect to see a product’s availability and status at every point in the buying process.

Luckily, there are numerous inventory management tools on the market today that integrate with an ecommerce website and help you monitor your supply chain. To make your software choices easier, we’ve listed seven of the best solutions for ecommerce businesses below.

Delivrd

Price: Free

Delivrd inventory management software

Delivrd is a free cloud-based order-fulfillment solution for businesses of all sizes. The platform tracks your inventory, prints barcodes, analyzes each product’s profitability, and even bundles unfulfilled orders together to consolidate future shipments.

Notify Me

Price: Free

Notify Me inventory management software

Notify Me is a free inventory manager for ecommerce businesses who use Shopify as their sales channel. In addition to watching over your store’s available products, Notify Me uniquely allows you to set automated alerts for when items go out of stock. Shopify users can download the web app here.

Oberlo

Price: Free up to 50 orders/month

Oberlo inventory management software

Oberlo is one of the best inventory management services for dropshipping stores — or those ecommerce businesses that deliver products directly to the customer from a manufacturer, without storing any product on-site. You can create rules for when to reprice products, sort products by their delivery times, track shipments, change product suppliers, and more. Oberlo also has a web app for Shopify users.

Ordoro

Price: Starts at $25/month

Ordoro inventory management software

Ordoro is a cloud-based shipping tool for managing inventory at every point in the sales process. The service automates shipping requests, dropshipping, barcode scanning, and supplier management — and can provide revenue data in real time. Ordoro integrates with more than two dozen sales channels and shipping carriers. It also has a web app for Shopify users.

inFlow

Price: Starts at $69/month

inFlow inventory management software

You get a lot for what you’re paying when you use inFlow. This cloud-based inventory manager organizes bills, barcodes, work orders, product serial numbers, product destinations, and more — whether the item is in your inventory or in transit. In addition to working offline, inFlow also offers robust Windows and Android apps to manage your inventory from your mobile device.

Skubana

Price: Request a Quote

Skubana inventory management software

Skubana connects your ecommerce business with retailers all over the world. The software helps you manage customer orders and your own restocking process, while integrating with the retail brands who might also want to sell your product. Skubana tracks order fulfillment from multiple warehouses and generates demand forecasts that help you grow your product line. It also has a web app for Shopify users.

Unleashed

Price: Starts at $85/month

Unleashed inventory management software

Unleashed is a sleek, flexible inventory management solution that allows ecommerce customers to make big decisions about their product line based on real-time data. The software is perfect for manufacturers, according to Unleashed’s website, and offers the most important inventory information in a convenient sales app for your mobile device.

Inventory Management Techniques

Although a business’s available stock on any given day is just a snapshot of its inventory, managing inventory on an ongoing basis — and comparing multiple periods of inventory to one another — can help an ecommerce business make valuable long-term decisions about its supply chain.

Ecommerce companies can manage their inventory in several ways, but not every method of management will provide the insight you need to help your business grow. Here are a few different inventory management techniques you can try, and the advantages of using each one.

Just-In-Time

This inventory management technique stocks a product each time a customer orders it, so the volume of your inventory is more or less equal to the number of orders you’re filling.

The advantage to the Just-In-Time (JIT) technique is that you’re managing only the products you know you need to ship to customers. Sustaining JIT over the long term, however, requires you to keep a close watch on buying behavior so you can anticipate your inventory needs ahead of time.

First In, First Out

First In, First Out (FIFO) means the first products your inventory receives are the first to be shipped out to their respective customers.

This technique ensures products don’t sit in your inventory for too long before they’re delivered to a customer. FIFO is popular in the food industry, where businesses are up against the expiration dates of perishable items and need to ship food while it’s fresh.

Par Levels

Setting par levels gives businesses a safety net by ensuring their inventory always carries a minimum amount of each product at all times. So, even if a company uses the JIT method, where it only stocks what customers order, the company will always have the product available.

Ultimately, par levels aren’t for emergencies where you’d need a spare product. Rather, they establish a warning line for when it’s time to order more of something. Once your inventory dips below a certain number of a given product, you order more of it.

It’s important to set your par levels based on how long it takes to restock. The product that takes the longest time for a business to make, for example, might have a higher inventory par level than the business’s other products since there’s a greater chance of depleting your inventory in the time it takes to develop the new product.

ABC Analysis

ABC Analysis groups a business’s products into three categories based on a product’s importance. Here’s one common breakdown of these categories:

  • Category A: products that are high in value but low in quantity
  • Category B: products that are moderate in value and moderate in quantity
  • Category C: products that are low in value but high in quantity

Also known as “selective inventory control,” this inventory management technique allows businesses with diverse product lines to easily prioritize the contents of their inventory. Similar to the JIT technique, succeeding under ABC analysis requires a close eye on buyers’ interest in each product, and not every product fits perfectly into each category. Snowboards, for example, might always have the high value of Category A, but inherit the high quantity of Category C during the winter.

Dropshipping

In a way, dropshipping is the anti-inventory. A specialty of Oberlo, an inventory management tool mentioned earlier in this article, dropshipping ships products from the manufacturer directly to the customer without the business ever storing the product itself.

Dropshipping can pose an advantage to businesses who don’t (yet) have their own storage space. But because you’re not managing your deliveries yourself, communication with the shipping party is critical to delivering products on time and keeping customers happy.

Demand Forecasting

Your inventory management software might help you do this, but it’s important to create long-term (or even year-long) forecasts for when sales of each product you sell will fluctuate.

One way to conduct a demand prediction? Look at last year’s sales as a whole and use them as a guideline for when to expect your inventory to change over the course of the current year. These changes might be influenced by market conditions or simply seasonality, but you should always factor them into your product strategy — especially if the software you use to automate your inventory operations doesn’t consider these variables.

Here’s one final inventory management tip to take with you: Nurture your relationships with everyone who touches your business’s product. Whether it’s the shipping merchant or a new employee, the state of your inventory depends on you to have open communication with your colleagues, and to support them as much as you support your customers when they browse your online store.

Learn how to avoid the 15 most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment with this free guide.

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How to Clear Your Cache, Cookies, and History on Any Device or Browser

If you’ve had your computer for a while, it might be time you clear some space.

Your browser automatically stores past websites you’ve visited, images you’ve saved, your passwords, and a ton of other information.

While this information might be useful, over time, it takes up space on your hard drive, and could lead to issues like 404 errors (resulting from a corrupted cache).

Plus, do you really need to know which websites you visited in 2016?

It’s insanely easy to delete your cache, cookies, or browser history on any browser or device. In fact, it should take less than five minutes. So let’s get to it.

Desktop browsers

How to clear your cache in Chrome

1. Go to: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData

2. Click “Advanced”

3. Select “Browsing history”, “Download history”, “Cookies and other site data”, and “Cached images and files”.

4. If you want, you can select a time range, i.e. “Last hour”, or “Last 4 weeks”.

5. Click “Clear Data”

6. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache in Safari

1. Go to the Safari menu, and select “Clear History”

2. Select a time range, then click “Clear History”

3. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache in Firefox

1. From the “History” menu, select “Clear Recent History”

2. If you want, you can select a time range with the drop-down menu, or select “Everything” to clear all your history

3. Next to “Details”, click the down arrow to choose which items you wish to clear (or select all)

4. Click “Clear Now”

5. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

Mac or PC

How to clear your cache on a Mac

There are two ways to clear your cache on a Mac — via a cleaning utility system like CleanMyMac 3, or manually.

If you want to clear it in three steps with a cleaning utility system, try this:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac 3
  2. Select “System Junk”
  3. Click “Scan” and then “Clean

However, if you want to clean it manually, here are four easy steps:

  1. Open the Finder Window and Select “Go” on the navigation bar
  2. Click “Go to Folder” in the Go menu
  3. Type in: ~/Library/Caches and hit enter
  4. Go into each folder, and delete everything

If you clean your cache manually, we suggest you remove the inside of your folders, but not the folders themselves — better yet, highlight all your folders and copy everything over, in case something goes wrong.

How to clear your cache on a PC

  1. Go to your “Start” menu and search in the box, “Run”
  2. In the Run box, type “Prefetch”
  3. Select all folders in Prefetch and click “delete”

Mobile Devices

How to clear your cache on Android

While this may differ depending on your device, you can likely clear your data history from your application manager on your Android device.

1. Go to Settings and choose “Apps” or “Application Manager”

2. Swipe to the “All” tab

3. In the list of installed apps, find and select your web browser

4. Click “Clear Data” and then “Clear Cache”

5. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache on Chrome for Android

1. Select “Chrome menu” and then “Settings”

2. Click “(Advanced) Privacy”

3. If you want, you can select a time range with the drop-down menu, or select “All time”

4. Check off “Cookies and Site data” and “Cached Images and Files”

5. Select “Clear data”

6. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache on Safari for iOS

1. Open your “Settings” app

2. Click “Safari”

3. Select “Clear History and Website Data” and confirm

4. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

How to clear your cache on Chrome for iOS

1. Select “Settings” in your Chrome menu

2. Select “Privacy”

3. Click “Clear Browsing Data”

4. Choose the data type you want to clear, and click “Clear Browsing Data”

5. Exit all browser windows, and reopen

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