This blog post is guest-written by Scott Koester, Product Manager for Bazaarvoice Search.Cutting through clutter.

As you’ve read in our other search blog posts, we think “beyond search engines” in search. To be successful in attracting the right shoppers at the right time, today’s companies need to present information in places where searchers want to find it – via search engines, in on-site navigation, and through social networks, to name a few.

Today’s consumer seeks to cut through the noise – there is so much information out there, they just want what’s most relevant to them. To attract the most users, it’s important to speak their language. And what resonates best with them? Input and opinions from other shoppers like them.

The most obvious example of this is the “top-rated products” list. When searching for a new product, shoppers want to know what other people like them think. And top-rated products aren’t just top-sellers – they’re the products that people bought and liked.

PETCO found that people who used top-rated product navigation converted 49% higher compared to people who viewed the same products and didn’t use top-rated navigation. And people who used top-rated navigation had a 63% higher sales volume than the average visitor. Clearly, those who look at top-rated products were able to cut through the clutter and buy quickly.

It’s also important to mine your user-generated content for most popular words, then use those words in your marketing – play them back to consumers. Read how Nintendo Wii did this back in 2007. Remember that searchers search and shop using the same language as reviewers and storytellers, and capitalize on that – both on your site and beyond. Many of our clients have used review snippets in email marketing, increasing conversion up to 10% — but this practice goes beyond online marketing. Use popular customer-generated words to attract shoppers inside your store, then help them discover products through snippets on product tags, in signage, and by sharing this input with your staff.

User-generated content can also fuel paid search advertising. Office Depot mined its keywords and implemented an SEM strategy leveraging top review phrases, driving a 196% increase in paid search revenue, plus a 24% conversion increase.

In short, when customers are talking about your products in a certain way, leverage that – it will resonate with your customers more than any type of marketing-speak you use. Sure, customer-generated content is valuable to the shopper within the purchase cycle, but companies can also use it themselves to fuel effective marketing.

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