If you sell a product or a service online, or if you are a marketer, you know how important is giving a social proof to potential buyers. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising, after all. Obviously, with new means of communication, there are new ways of doing word of mouth. Sharing a post with an opinion on social media is an example, but the most appropriate word of mouth digital equivalent is the review. Customer reviews create a certain perception of a brand, and if they are good, you brand will earn a good reputation. Before buying anything, people look for reviews, get information from them, and makes decisions based on them. The question is: how to get good reviews online? Before giving an answer, let’s see why reviews are so important to users.
Why good reviews online are important
Have you ever heard about the Jones Effect? We talked about it in one of my recent posts: basically, people do not want to be neither the first nor the last ones to buy something, so they look for social proof they can really trust, i.e. reviews from other customers who already bought the product or used the service.
Now, think about this: have you ever searched for a product that would serve a specific purpose you had in your mind, but its description was not thorough, so you could not figure out if it was what you were looking for? Personally, it happened to me quite a lot of times, but what I did, and what the majority of us does, was reading the reviews to seek more information and try to understand if the product i was buying was what I was looking for.
Extra tip: find out what the need of your target are, and explain how your product could solve their problem.
Reading the experience of other people, also helps avoiding a bad purchase, and if you do so, I bet after reading the reviews you have a better idea of what the product can or cannot do.
That being said, let’s see how to get good reviews online with some simple techniques.
Show your good reviews and invite to join
Have you got a bunch of good reviews already? Show them on your website!
There are a lot of websites dedicated exclusively to reviews of places, companies, websites, professionals, and so on, such as:
- Google (through Google My Business);
- Yahoo! (through Local Listings);
- LinkedIn (recommendations);
Without mentioning those websites dedicated to a specific niche, like TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, or CNET.
Some of them might offer some API to developers, so they can display reviews on external websites, but even if they don’t, the fact that you have good reviews on a famous platform it can only help.
Ask for a review via e-mail
As we said last week, e-mail marketing is a powerful technique, because half of the planet has got an e-mail address. If you can get that information, you can use it to get some good reviews!
Did your user recently buy an item from your online store? Send them an e-mail to say thank you and ask for a review.
I’ll show you a real example: I recently upgraded my plan with my ISP, Virgin Media, and after a few days they sent me this message:
Well, I didn’t give them a feedback because I’m too busy (in fact, I received a reminder e-mail), but that was still a good attempt!
Actually, surveys are a good alternative to reviews, but I will explain this later.
Choose the best time
Asking for reviews at the right time is also important. Let’s suppose you have an e-commerce website, and a customer buys a product. A few minutes after they complete the order, they receive an e-mail from you asking for a review. Would you leave a review of an e-commerce website before receiving the delivery? Honestly, I wouldn’t, and probably your customer neither.
Good timing examples could be after they order a product for the second time, when they refer new customers to you, or when they had a positive customer service experience. Basically, ask for a review only when you are sure your customers are satisfied.
Give an incentive
Everybody thinks their time is more valuable than yours, and thanks to social media and reviewing websites, consumers are more conscious of their power than the past, so they will not concede a good review so easily: you have to earn it!
A good reason to leave a review could be a small treat like a coupon or a discount that can be used on the next purchase, a gift card, gadgets, premium features, lotteries, and so on. Motivating people in this way could be a double advantage: if they had a positive experience, they will certainly leave a good review, and if they had a negative one, you could turn it into positive and still get a good review.
Reviews don’t have to be necessarily public
There could be some situations when you are not sure of getting good reviews, and you may not want to risk your reputation, or you might want to examine specific areas of your service. Goals you can’t always achieve with a review on Facebook or Trustpilot. What is the alternative, then?
You can lead your customers to a private page and ask for a few words of comment, stating clearly what you want to know, or you can create a survey, which is probably one of the most efficient tools to investigate the quality of a service, and it also is a good excuse to ask for more personal data, which will help you defining a more detailed buyer persona.
Dedicate resources to analyse reviews
There a lot of theories on how to get good reviews online, but there also a lot of certainties about how to get bad ones. No matter how you take customer care seriously, you’ll get a bad review once in a while, but if you keep monitoring conversations online about your brand, and you invest on an analyst, you can adjust your strategy and increase your revenues.