Systems help simplify complicated things. In this case, getting automatic reviews shouldn’t be something that you try to do periodically. It should be something that you do with every single customer or client.
To maximize the number of positive reviews you get, you need a foolproof system.
Amazon’s system is fairly straightforward:
You buy a product
You get the product
You get a request to leave a review on Amazon a few days after
Amazon has done their own internal testing and determined that this particular timing worked best for the majority of their customers. However, your customers may be different, so it is important to always test.
Timing is important
Why are customers different when it comes to this? Most of it comes down to the type of customer you have and the product.
First, certain people expect online shipping to be faster. They want their product right away so they can start using it. This is typically true if you have a young demographic.
Secondly, some products take longer than others to test thoroughly enough to leave a good review. A frying pan only takes a few minutes to test, but a large book can take weeks to read.
If your product takes a longer time to test properly, give your customers a bit more time.
How to get consistent results
The only way to ensure that your customer gets your review request “X days” after they’ve purchased something is with an autoresponder.
After they buy something, add them to a new list just for customers.
Then, set up your autoresponder to send out an email asking if everything went well.
Finally, send your review request sometime after that first message.
I recommend trying different time delays to discover which one produces the most reviews.
The best way to get great reviews if you’re starting from scratch
Every business faces its own unique challenges when it comes to getting online reviews. The hardest stage is right at the beginning when you have no reviews.
When you have no reviews (or very few), potential buyers are hesitant to be the first buyers. They want to see that other people have bought your product and liked it.
To make things worse, people often don’t want to leave the first review. Unless they are an expert on your product, they don’t want to leave an opinion and look stupid if they’re wrong.
Instead, they’d rather look at other reviews first, get a general consensus, and then leave a review if their own opinion matches everyone else’s. This is also why it’s important to get off to a good start with a few glowing reviews.
Do not get fake reviews: Incentivizing reviews is a gray area, but buying fake reviews is clearly over the line. If you go on Fiverr or Google phrases like “buy 5 star review”, you’ll find a ton of people willing to write you a five-star review without even seeing your product.
Even without considering the ethics of doing this, it’s obvious that these reviews won’t be very useful.
Sure, you’ll get five-star reviews, but they’ll include no actual information that your potential buyers will care about. In addition, most fake reviews are extremely easy to spot. And if a potential buyer sees multiple fake reviews, their warning bells will go off and cause them to buy someone else’s product instead.
So although you could buy reviews, you are better off focusing on earning them.
To do so, follow these steps.
Step #1 – Pick a site to focus on
There are tons of third-party sites that aggregate reviews on products or businesses. For example, both Google and Yelp focus on local businesses, while Amazon obviously focuses on physical products and e-books.
To start with, pick just one review site to focus on. You can always expand to other sites once you’ve gotten some traction.
Step #2 – Offer a free sample or product
As I said, you need to earn your reviews, which means getting them from actual customers. This is where it’s a good idea to offer a discount, sample, or even free product in exchange for a review.
Wait, what? “Didn’t you just say NOT to offer incentives?”
If you remembered that, well done. That means you’re paying attention.
Incentivizing reviews is murky territory, but only if you don’t disclose it. If you do, they are perfectly compliant with the law and just about anyone’s ethical code. And when you need those first few reviews to get the ball rolling, a few reviews that aren’t perfect are still extremely valuable. Additionally, just because your customer needs to disclose that you offered them something doesn’t mean the review will suck.
Here’s an example of what one might look like:
As one of the first customers to buy (product name), I was lucky enough to be offered a free sample to try.
I received the product after 3 days in perfect condition. Since then, it’s worked exactly as expected.
In particular, the (feature) is better than every other (type of product) I’ve tried.
I’ll definitely be buying more in the future.
Obviously it’s not a perfect review (since I’m talking about a product that doesn’t exist), but if you could get started with 5-10 reviews like that, you’d be set.
The disclosure reads naturally and doesn’t really take away from the rest of the review as long as the reviewer is being honest.
Step #3 – Provide instructions
Figuring out how to leave a review is easy for you and me. However, for the non-tech-savvy person, leaving a review might be a head-scratcher.
To make sure that customers have no problems leaving a review, provide detailed instructions on how to leave a review. Even if they shop on a well-known platform like Amazon, most people have never left a review before. You need to walk them through it.
Step #4 – Make sure their experience is amazing
This is something we’ve already noted, but I want to re-iterate it because the only way you are going to earn a great review is if you provide a superlative experience.
The buying experience is composed of many different parts:
the shipping process
the product itself
Too many businesses make a great product but ignore the rest of the buying experience. Then, they get three-star reviews saying the product was fine, but the shipping sucked, or they couldn’t get fast replies from the company when they needed help. It’s not hard to make sure these other parts of the buying experience are great, but you need to spend some time and effort making sure that they are.
If you do that, the quality of the reviews will take care of itself.