I'm going to assume you already know the importance of online reviews. More than 80% of all consumers say that they read online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business.
In fact, as a savvy business owner, you’ve undoubtedly heeded the advice about claiming your listings, optimizing your profiles on review sites, and using negative reviews to your advantage. That’s good – but is it enough?
Claiming your profiles is only a small part of the game when it comes to using online reviews to grow your business. If you rest on your laurels and don’t take action to attract new and positive reviews, you risk having people view your business as outdated or unpopular.
With that in mind, here are some ways that you can get more positive online reviews of your business to increase your visibility and attract customers.
Add Review Options to Your Website
When was the last time you made a purchase from Amazon? Every product they list on their site has a review option so you can enter a review. They distinguish between verified purchases and stand-alone reviews. There’s no question that the accessibility of reviews helps Amazon’s customers to make informed buying decisions.
Consider adding review forms to your website. You can encourage customers who have tried your products to rate them using a star system (or whatever symbol you like) and leave a written review as well. It’s an easy and relatively low-key way to accumulate reviews.
Email Customers Who Make a Purchase
Another way to encourage reviews is to send an automated email to customers after they make a purchase from you. The email can include a link to a review form on your website.
If you decide to use this option, make sure not to send the email until after the customer has the product. That means if you’re emailing people who made an online purchase, you’ll need to wait until several days have passed to send the email.
You have two options. One is to embed the review form in the email itself, and the other is to link back to the review form on your website. Whichever option you choose, make sure that the review is just as easy to complete on a mobile device as it is on a computer.
Promote Products That You Want to Be Reviewed
Every company has products that get reviewed all the time as well as products that get little attention. As a general rule, more expensive products tend to get the most reviews while basic or inexpensive products get ignored.
There are some things you can try to encourage more reviews of particular products. For example:
Use follow-up emails to promote those products and then, when you make a sale, ask for a review as you would with any other product.
Create special packages that pair a frequently-reviewed product with one that doesn’t get many reviews, and then ask for a review for the package.
Instead of requesting individual reviews, create a survey about a particular product and post it on social media. You can tally the results and post them as part of your review page.
These techniques can help you build up some positive reviews for products that typically don’t get many – while increasing your sales at the same time.
It’s not a good idea to pay for reviews (or to order reviews from people who have never tried your products), but you can find subtle ways to incentivize customers to write reviews.
One thing that a lot of companies do is offer a points system. You might have a points program that rewards points for purchases made. Then, you can award bonus points each time a customer reviews a product that they bought.
Another option is to offer additional points for customers who review a product and then share their review on social media. This technique provides you with a way to amplify the effectiveness of each review you get by introducing it to new people.
If a points system doesn’t appeal to you, then you could try offering a free download to people who review a product on your site. The freebie could be a template, an image, a short eBook, or even just a list of resources. For example, a clothing boutique might offer a downloadable infographic that shows ways to tie a scarf, or how to accessorize a plain white blouse.
Whichever option you choose, the goal is to provide some customer appreciation for the people who take the time to leave reviews of your products.
Use Offline Techniques to Get Reviews
How can you get customers to leave reviews if you don’t have an online store? It might not be as easy as emailing them a link, but here are some things you can try to get more reviews:
Include a link to your product review page on your printed receipts.
Print excerpts from some of your reviews on your menu or display them in your store.
Ask customers to review you on Yelp or other review sites by printing the request on a menu or on your comment cards.
These ideas won’t work with everybody, but they can help you increase the percentage of customers who take the time to write a review.
Leverage Your Reviews
The final thing you can do is to take your existing reviews and leverage them into more reviews. When a customer completes a review on your site, send them a thank you email. In the email, you may want to:
Upsell them on additional products (which you can then ask them to review); or
Ask them to review other purchases they have made
Customers want to feel that you appreciate them. Even the act of sending a thank you email can be enough to incentivize them to review additional products.
It’s not difficult to get customers to review your products, but you can’t expect them to do it without a bit of encouragement from you. The techniques outlined here can help you get positive reviews for your website or review pages – and attract new customers as a result.