6 Steps to Getting More Online Reviews
No matter your industry, reviews play a crucial role in establishing trust with potential customers. Whether you’re growing your consultation client base, launching a new product, or building a distributor network, when a prospect wants to learn about your brand, they’re going to check the reviews. Plus, online reviews are an opportunity to get helpful feedback and communicate with your customers.
“97% of online shoppers say they’re influenced by reviews and 88% indicated that online reviews factor into their purchasing decision.” — Business2Community
- Determine the “where?”
Figure out where reviews are going to do the most good for your business. Where do you see the most customer traffic? What platform(s) drive the most sales for you? Where are people going to go to research your offerings?
If your Amazon storefront is really booming, that’s where you want to build up reviews. If you drive a lot of traffic to your website, make sure reviews are well-represented on it. If prospects frequently find you via Instagram, make sure you have a convenient highlight of reviews at the ready. For professional services, take stock of where people are coming to your website from — are they Googling you? Are you seeing a lot of visitors on your Yelp page? Asking yourself these questions will help you decide where you should invest your efforts.
Don’t forget: People love to shop local. Many cities have organizations and publications devoted to sharing about, and reviewing, local businesses. Do some research into how you can up your visibility by capturing reviews and buzz on these local platforms.
- Be prepared to respond
If you use a platform that offers the option for your brand to respond to reviews (as most platforms do), it’s likely reviewers will expect you to be responsive — especially to negative reviews.
Before you make moves to generate reviews, take some time to consider the kinds of reviews you’ll encounter. What negative things might customers bring up? What positive things do you hope to hear? Explore multiple scenarios and outline appropriate responses to each. Don’t forget to include appropriate actions as well: If something goes wrong with your product or service, have a game plan to make it right for the customer.
- Just Ask!
Yes — pulling in reviews can be that simple. You can’t expect to receive what you haven’t asked for, so don’t be shy about asking for feedback.
Make sure asking for reviews is worked into your standard communication flow. Your shipping confirmation, your package insert, your follow-up email — all of them should ask for a review.
But don’t forget: Asking is only half the battle — how you ask is important, too. Your messaging should show genuine interest in your customers’ feedback. Instead of just saying “Leave us a five-star review!” say “We love feedback, because it helps us serve you better.”
Use incentives to get customers excited about sharing their feedback. Something as simple as a coupon or discount code can be the encouragement they need to leave a review. Add an email to your content calendar offering customers a coupon code in exchange for a review. Don’t forget to set the parameters of your coupon and communicate them clearly to your audience. Will it be a one-time use per customer? Do they get a code every time they submit a review, or just the first time? Be mindful of how those choices impact your bottom line.
Incentives don’t have to break the bank. A simple giveaway can be effective — you just have to know your audience. What will motivate them to respond to a survey or review? If you’re not sure, get some excitement buzzing on your socials with a poll asking what they’d like to win in a giveaway. Announce the poll results to keep the buzz going; your audience will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the giveaway to be posted. Don’t forget to post a photo to all your social channels announcing the winner as an engagement-driving bonus!
- Get social
Work a review-boosting social post into your content calendar each month. This super simple method allows your audience to give you reviews with next to no effort. If you have a significant following, simply saying “Tag us in your review for a chance to be featured!” will likely be enough to get the tags rolling in; people love a chance to increase their own following. If your follower base is on the small side, up the ante — have customers tag you in their reviews to gain an entry into that giveaway we talked about.
- Make the most of the reviews you have
You already know new customers are going to check reviews before converting — so make it easy for them. Feature a positive review on each product or service page of your website. Make sure it’s long enough to provide substantive info (more than just “Great product!”), but short enough that customers won’t be spooked out of reading it (most people don’t want to read a five-paragraph essay before making a purchase).
Savvy shoppers want to learn from the experiences of others. Never underestimate the power of reviews, and keep harnessing it to grow your business.