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5 Trust-building tactics any brand can learn from CardsDirect's review strategy

Tuesday, 30 July 2019
CardsDirect x Trustpilot case study

If you’ve received a greeting card recently, there’s a good chance it had something to do with our friends at CardsDirect, a go-to online retailer that produces custom printed greeting cards, corporate holiday cards, and office stationary across their multiple brands. Their sister brands, and specialize in print marketing materials and business holiday cards, respectively.

In our digital world — where an untold number of intangible messages are exchanged every day through text, email, and instant message — CardsDirect believes that there’s nothing like a hand signed greeting card to catch someone’s attention in a way that they’ll not only remember, but genuinely appreciate.

Founded in 1998, their three businesses have grown into some of the most trusted providers of custom stationary in the US. But how did they get there, and what takeaways can other businesses glean from their hattrick of success?

We sat down with the team to learn how CardsDirect used Trustpilot reviews to help grow not one, but three highly trusted brands, and uncover some of the trust-building secrets behind their glowing online reputation.

Today we share five takeaways that we hope will inspire any business to start using transparency, openness, and reviews to attract and retain more customers.

CardsDirect Key Benefits

1. Your About Us page is the perfect place to share an open and transparent brand mission statement.

We live in a time where 54% of shoppers say they don’t trust brands. But with three distinct trusted brands, we’ll take it from CardsDirect that trust begins with how you communicate as a business.

It might seem like a no-brainer, but the opportunity to share your brand story on your About Us page is not one to be missed. It’s prime brand-building real estate, and a perfect opportunity to kindle a relationship with your customers.

If you need inspiration, look no further than the About Us page of CardsDirect, where they come right out with their commitment to hands-on customer service and satisfaction, even in the internet age where it can be shockingly easy to hide phone numbers and effectively avoid customers.

Why is this so important? According to consumer research from KPMG, shoppers are most likely to trust a business that makes it easy to contact people at the company.

On top of using their About Us page to make their contact information crystal clear, CardsDirect goes a step further with transparent communication by explaining how they’re able to offer such good prices on their products.

Recent research from Trustpilot shows that 83% of consumers find it easier to trust a company when it’s transparent about how it sources its products, so it’s a great idea to share this kind of information not only on your about page, but across your product pages as well.

Lastly, because they tend to be designed with SEO in mind, your About Us page is likely to show up in search results when new shoppers Google your brand. And with 62% of customers researching a company they’re unfamiliar with, it’s a great idea to set yours up to be a source of helpful information — that also represents the values of your brand.

2. Decide on a review collection strategy to create a feedback loop with your customers

By now it’s well established that reviews are one of the most effective ways to communicate your trustworthiness to potential customers. But how do you begin building up this super effective form of social proof?

We recommend coming up with a review collection strategy, that allows you to automatically send review invitations to your customers at the perfect moment in the shopping journey.

And before you imagine crickets chirping, or worry that people only leave reviews about awful experiences — think again. Trustpilot research has revealed that shoppers write reviews for a whole range of reasons:

  • Venting frustrations about a negative experience

  • Spreading the word if an experience with a brand was positive

  • Wanting to be recognized or acknowledged for having certain knowledge or taste

  • Feeling like part of a community and wanting to give back

But perhaps most interestingly, this study also revealed that shoppers also leave reviews simply because they feel a need to express themselves, and reviews empower them to do so.

The team at CardsDirect has caught onto the best way to empower their customers to leave reviews, and it’s as simple as asking them at the right time.

CardsDirect Trustpilot Review Invitation

Rather than sending their customers an automatic review invitation once a customer has placed an order — which could certainly make sense for some businesses — CardsDirect has customized their review collection strategy to capitalize on the moment of delight for their business.

Translation: they only ask customers for a review once the package has been delivered safely.

CardsDirect Trustpilot Testimonial - Leah Sanchez Brand Manager

And to close this customer experience feedback loop, the team at CardsDirect aptly sends a personal reply to each reviewer in the form of a handwritten card, often times personalizing the content of the written reply based on the review itself.

When you put a review collection strategy in place, online reviews go from a platform for the most satisfied (or disgruntled) customers, to a proactive communication channel between businesses and customers.

You just need to tap into it.

3. Your customers’ words have power, so highlight what they’re saying about your brand across the shopping journey.

Creating a feedback loop through online reviews is a fantastic start to customer centricity and overall satisfaction, but we’ve also seen brands use online reviews to directly grow their bottom line.

As it turns out, featuring reviews throughout the shopping journey is a high impact way to boost conversions.

In a time where online shoppers see a staggering 4,000-10,000 advertising messages per day, why not let your customers cut through the noise and play a larger role in sharing your brand’s values?

CardsDirect x Trustpilot Testimonial - Travis Helling Brand Marketing Manager

We couldn’t agree more, and there’s lots of social proof inspiration to be gleaned from how the team at CardsDirect puts their reviews to work.

They display customer reviews on their homepage:

Brookhollow Cards Trustpilot Reviews

Trustpilot reviews feature prominently on the homepage of, which is just one of the brands in CardsDirect’s portfolio of greeting card businesses.

On their landing pages across all brands:

CardsDirect uses reviews across all landing pages

On their landing pages specifically for paid search:

CardsDirect Trustpilot Reviews in Paid Search Landing Pages

And in their holiday print catalog, too:

CardsDirect uses Trustpilot reviews in direct mail

But do online reviews really have a place to shine outside of the digital realm?

Leah Sanchez, Brand Manager at CardsDirect thinks so. Because reviews are so effective for marketing to new and existing customers, she has big plans to feature their favorite Trustpilot reviews in their 2019 holiday print catalog.

At the end of the day, all brands can benefit from adding trust signals like star ratings, TrustScore, or even the Trustpilot logo across their website, and even on their marketing materials.

In fact, we’ve even heard that 87% of consumers find ads more trustworthy with the Trustpilot logo.

And on that note —

4. Ads are more trustworthy with a helping of social proof

There’s been a wealth of recent consumer research confirming digital marketers’ worst suspicions: few consumers think ads are trustworthy sources of information, and they seldom take ad claims into account for purchasing decisions.

Yet, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend.

That’s exactly why the team at CardsDirect made sure to choose a review partner that could help them earn Google Seller Ratings on their paid search ads — or in other words, add a proven trust signal to their ads to boost trustworthiness.

CardsDirect got Google Seller Ratings with Trustpilot

CardsDirect shines in paid search with Google Seller Ratings, earned with some help from their Trustpilot reviews

After carrying out some formal split testing on their paid search ads, they couldn’t help but notice that the ads featuring a star rating had better click-through rates than the ones without.

They’ve also noticed a positive impact on landing page conversions after adding Trustpilot widgets to their paid search landing pages.

CardsDirect x Trustpilot Testimonial - Dean Eldridge

But adding trust signals to your online marketing and advertising doesn’t have to stop there.

Other sources have found that ad creative featuring user-generated content can lead to the stellar combination of four times higher click-through rates, and a 50% drop in CPC.

We have a feeling most brands could benefit from that kind of lift in marketing performance.

5. When you respond to reviews, you improve star ratings and become a better business

Like most brands, CardsDirect considers new customer acquisition and customer retention to be the main challenges to their business.

And they’ve found that collecting customer reviews has helped with that.

Sure, favorable reviews have straightforward benefits for building trust with new and existing customers, but unfavorable reviews present a unique opportunity in their own right.

CardsDirect x Trustpilot Testimonial - Lynell Brown

Not only that, but the team at CardsDirect has noticed that one third of customers go back and update their unfavorable reviews to be more positive once someone from the company reaches out about the issue.

Because of these great results, responding to customer feedback is taken seriously at CardsDirect. The team reads every single review that comes in, and if a poor review is spotted they respond ASAP and do whatever they can to make it right.

It’s clear to the team that reviews not only help them deliver excellent customer service, but also provide a roadmap for how they can get better as a business.

So far, their reviews have provided insights into products and services that customers want that the company might not have considered. They also help the team spot trends that the company ought to look into, such as issues with shippers or printers, or even the product design itself.

One example is when they noticed that several unfavorable reviews all mentioned that the font size of a particular product was too small. Thanks to this clear pattern in their reviews, it was easy for customer service agents to relay this feedback to the product team, who swiftly updated that product online.

A dedicated review strategy is essential for a trustworthy reputation. Build yours with Trustpilot.

When asked why they chose to build their online reputation with Trustpilot, the CardsDirect team says it best:

“The Trustpilot platform has an intuitive interface, and offers easy-to-use integrations that allow us to keep our brand identity. Set up was simple, so we were able to hit the ground running collecting reviews across multiple brands.”

And while we appreciate their kind words, we admire their commitment to consumer trust even more.

“‘Trust’ by definition is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone. It’s our goal at CardsDirect to exemplify all three of these brand traits. There wouldn’t be CardsDirect without trust.”

If you’d like to learn more about reviews, and how they help you grow brand trust and show brand trust, request a demo today.

We’d love to help.


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