Let’s say you’re in the market for a new computer, a mattress, or even something simple like a new brand of Oat milk. What’s the first thing you do before you swipe your card?
If you said read online reviews, you’re definitely not alone. A hefty 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business.
Why are customer reviews important?
Reliability is an important trait that people look for when researching a new brand, product, or service. Today’s consumers are hyper aware of marketing jargon and tactics. We’ve learned to look past claims such as, “the world’s greatest [insert product or service here].” Instead, we look to other customers to validate the claims that businesses make.
Obviously, positive reviews increase consumers’ likelihood to purchase and boost trust. But both quality and quantity of reviews make an impact. 56% of customers read between two and six reviews before making a purchase, with only 3% reading just one. Why? Take Amazon shopping for example. If you’re looking for a new vacuum, you’re probably more likely to choose the one with 2,576 reviews averaging at 4.3 stars, rather than the 5-star rated option with only 1 review. A lack of reviews is a telltale sign that a product isn’t desirable and can seem a little sketchy. So, by encouraging customers to leave reviews, you’re providing prospective customers with a good amount of third party proof they need when researching your brand.
How to get customers to write reviews
1. Repurpose Instagram captions from influencers
Paying people to leave positive reviews online probably isn't an ethical way to source customer feedback. In the past, brands have faced scrutiny when they ask people who have a monetary stake in the business to leave positive reviews.
Instead, repurpose influencers’ Instagram captions when they mention your brand or service. Captions generally tell stories and experiences with a product from the voice of a true customer. By taking these captions and repurposing them on your website or email newsletters, you’re giving others third party validation as well as amplifying the influencers voice, strengthening your relationship.
2. Create a dedicated campaign
Influencer marketing campaigns don’t always need to be centered around social media posts. Run a campaign where you send customers, influencers, and other brand community members free products. Follow up with them after they’ve had time to try it out and ask for their honest review. Encourage feedback both good and bad because customers provide your brand with critical insight that can mean the difference between success and failure.
3. Ask for usage rights for organic YouTube mentions
In addition to skits and cat videos, YouTube hosts tons and tons of product reviews. Many of which are not sponsored. That said, if an individual does mention your brand, ask for permission to repurpose the video clips to use in paid ads, on your website, or on your product page. This content is coming from real customers, which speaks louder than any traditional advertisement.
4. Reward customers who create reviews
Send an email to customers who have made a purchase or visited your store that lets them know they can earn perks, such as future discounts or a contest entry, if they leave an online review. Make it easy for them to get to your prefered review page by linking it in the email. Again, do not stress that the review needs to be positive. All feedback should be welcomed and considered.
5. Implement a post checkout survey
If you’d like to improve your customer service or checkout process, implement a post checkout survey that allows customers to leave a review when the interaction with your brand is fresh on their mind. Customers may be more inclined to leave a review if they don't have to exert much effort, so keep the survey short and to the point.
6. Simply ask
Happy customers are often willing to do more than purchase if they feel heard and appreciated. If someone has proven to be a repeat customer or superfan, reach out to them personally to thank them for supporting your business. Ask about their experience with your product or service and ask them to leave an online review. Personalized communications will make them feel heard and increase brand loyalty if they know the brand they are supporting cares about their customers’ opinions.
7. Create brand mention alerts
Getting customer reviews doesn’t always have to be proactive. Taking a reactive role means searching for reviews that are already out there. Set Google alerts and social media mention alerts to stay on top of the people who are mentioning your brand organically. Retweet quotes, follow customers who talk about your products, or take experts from blogs posts and add them to your website.
8. Don’t forget about niche sites
The internet can be a wild place. Especially when it comes to incredibly niche review sites and forums that cover topics anywhere from makeup, home services, video games and even healthcare providers. Sites like bladereviews.com, a site for knife reviews, as I’m sure you could have guessed, as well as sites like reddit have thousands of people asking questions about and/or sharing their opinions about specific products. Set brand mention alerts for these types of sites and repurpose screenshots of reviews on your website or product page.
9. Be responsive
When it comes to customer reviews, the most important thing to remember is to be responsive. When customers see that a brand directly interacts with their feedback, whether it is good or bad, it introduces a two-way conversation that personifies the brand, increasing trust and relateability. Responding also gives the brand itself an opportunity to address negative reviews and thank people for leaving positive ones. Plus, responding to customer reviews also encourages more customers to leave their own because they feel like they will actually be heard by the brand.
Once you’ve followed these tips to rack up a ton of reviews, don't take them lightly. Share them with your internal team member so that they can be taken into consideration during the next product brainstorming session. Remember, your customers are who determine your brand’s success.