How to Encourage Customers to Leave Online Reviews
As a business, you can say as many positive things about your company, products, and services as you want, but if those statements come from real customers instead – it’s that much better for your reputation! Online customer reviews have become a form of currency – demonstrating to others that your products are as good as you say they are, highlighting specific benefits, and even pointing out any weaknesses you may have missed.
Unfortunately, reviews just don’t write themselves! Behind-the-scenes, companies with hundreds or even thousands of positive reviews are putting in the work to ensure happy customers are sharing their opinion online.
You too can easily increase the number and quality of reviews for your business – here’s how:
Avoid Black Hat Tactics and Paying for Reviews
Gone are the days of fake followers getting paid to write glowing, five-star reviews. Today, not only can the average user see through these black hat tactics, but so can platforms such as Google and Facebook. And if they catch on to what you’re doing, they can dock you major points, sending you below the first page, and into the internet abyss! Remember that even if you only have two or three customers, authenticity is still the way to go. Slowly, patiently, you’ll get to where you want to be – without ever having to pay for a review.
Set Your Triggered Emails Up for Success
One of the keys to email marketing success is to follow your customer’s journey, knowing what to say to them, and when to say it. Although some marketing automation platforms offer complex algorithms that can help you – even simple, manual email templates can get the job done and land you more positive reviews!
Depending on the type of product you’re selling (is it being used immediately or does it take time to work? for example), you’ll want to send out several emails to check in on how your customer is enjoying your products or services. This not only anticipates their needs by giving them the chance to speak up about any issues they may be experiencing, but it’s also a great segue into asking them for a positive review.
Take the time to map out your customer’s journey, pinpointing any opportunities for email communications along the way – and watch as your online reviews grow!
Make Your Marketing Communication Personal
In the days of flooded inboxes and junky spam as far as the eye can see, the last thing that your customers want is yet another impersonal email they don’t know what to do with. If you’re dealing with a smaller number of customers, it may be worth getting in touch personally; with a larger number, try adding some custom code that inserts their name, the type of product they purchased, and/or their date of purchase.
For example, which sounds better?
“Thank you for shopping at Big Box Store, please make sure to leave a review on our website and follow us on our social channels.”
We noticed it’s been three weeks since you purchased your L-shaped “Haven” couch from Comfy Couches co. – and we’d love to know how you’re enjoying it so far!
Your feedback helps us improve our products and our customer experience, so if you’re loving it, please make sure to give it a review using this link (insert a link)! Or if there’s something we missed, please let us know what we can do to make it better.
Thanks again for choosing Comfy Couches, and we look forward to hearing from you!
Alice, President of Comfy Couches co.”
See the difference? The effort required is almost the same, but the second message feels like a much more authentic approach that’s focused on gathering feedback, rather than asking for a positive review.
Keep the Online Review Process Simple
Your customers are busy, busy, busy, so you’ll want to avoid bogging them down with another task they have to add to the to-do list. Luckily, you don’t need a 500-word essay for a great review – often, all it takes is a couple of sentences. Help your customers out by pointing them to the exact link where they can leave a review, letting them know it will only take them 30 seconds to do, and giving them several options to choose from (eg. Google, Facebook, Yelp, or even typing a review in as an email response).
Simply put, the easier it is, the more likely your customers will be to review you.
Take the Time to Manage Existing Online Reviews
Once you get the ball rolling on your review process, don’t just leave them there – take the time to provide a positive response. Even if a customer review is negative, you can still benefit by responding tactfully – if you’re wondering how to do that, our partners at Bloomtools have a fantastic article on the topic! Remember that online customer reviews are a two-way street, and by turning them into a (brief) conversation, you’ll end up benefiting from the feedback and authenticity of your brand.
Don’t be shy about your reviews. You and your company earned them, so feel free to share them with the world! Add them to your site, share them on social media, and sprinkle them throughout your marketing materials – trust us, your future customers will love to see them.
Need help managing your online review journey? Eden Advertising is a 5-star digital marketing agency with 20+ years of experience, so contact us today!