When making purchasing decisions, potential customers put a lot of weight on the experiences of others. Many shoppers seek out reviews to find objective and unbiased information on products they’re interested in buying. As a marketer, social proof such as reviews from customers organically sharing their opinion is extremely valuable.
It’s essential to incorporate asking for reviews into your marketing strategy to make sure that you’re getting quality reviews from your customers.
The importance of customer reviews
Figuring out how to use customer testimonials as part of your brand’s marketing process can boost credibility through social proof, improve your reputation and relationships with your customers, and improve your brand’s SEO and visibility.
Better brand reputation
Having a lot of reviews can improve your brand’s online reputation and inform new potential customers. Shoppers will see that your brand has helped others solve a problem and use it as a solution of their own.
According to a study conducted by BrightLocal, 85% of online shoppers trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations. So when shoppers see a high number of positive reviews, they’re less likely to have concerns, or second guess purchasing your product.
Increased social proof
Social proof is a concept rooted in customers’ sense of belonging. Customers want to feel good about who they’re giving their money to and they want to feel like they are making the right decision. Having a lot of customer reviews can reinforce potential customer’s feelings of certainty about your brand. It makes them secure in their buying decision by showing them that others have made the same decision and that they are satisfied enough to recommend the purchase to others.
Once your brand receives five reviews on Google, your business will begin to show up on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This strategy is most beneficial for local businesses. However, it can also create an advantage over your competitors if you have the most reviews on your Google My Business page. The more reviews you have on Google, the higher your business will show up in local search results.
How to get more reviews from customers
Most brands hope that their customers will love their product or service enough to leave glowing reviews organically. But if you’re not actively seeking out reviews, customers may move on and forget to write them. For this reason, it’s important to incorporate intentional strategies to ask your customers for reviews.
If you’re unsure how to ask for customer reviews, here are some strategies you can use to encourage your customers to provide reviews more frequently.
Reach out to power users or repeat customers
One of the easiest ways to get customer reviews is to reach out to customers who you already know enjoy your products. For e-commerce or B2C brands, follow up with customers who have made multiple purchases. For B2B brands or Saas companies, take note of the people who continually use your service or software and reach out to these power users for feedback or even participation in case studies.
This outreach can be as simple as sending an email expressing your appreciation for their continued support. In this email, ask if they are willing to leave a review and create a direct link for them to use to review a product they purchased.
Make it as easy as possible
The easier it is for your customers to leave their review, the more likely they are to do it. Creating a template or form that the customer can quickly fill out will lower the barrier and streamline the process. While you want the review to be authentic, creating a streamlined process makes it easier for your customers to share their thoughts.
A lot of brands, like Expedia, create forms that give customers the option to rate different parts of the experience. All it takes is a few clicks to rate and review various aspects of their trip.
Offer an incentive
Sometimes people need an extra push to share their experiences. After all, people are busy and leaving a review or testimonial can be time-consuming. Show your customers that you value their time and feedback by offering a small incentive to anyone who leaves a review. This can include things like a small discount on their next purchase, a freebie or a shoutout of some sort.
ActiveCampaign implemented this strategy by emailing their users a request to leave a review in exchange for an Amazon gift card. To promote transparency, they even encouraged customers to disclose that they received an incentive to leave this review.
Create review options on different platforms
To make it even easier for your customers to leave reviews, give them the option to leave reviews on a variety of platforms. If customers are more active on Facebook, they’re more likely to leave a review on your Facebook Page. Some of your audience might prefer to use Yelp or Google reviews and choose to leave you a review there. Make sure that you’ve claimed your business pages on various platforms to allow your audience to share their experience more easily.
Share user-generated content
Keep an eye out on social media for people who are already, organically talking about your brand. If your brand receives a lot of user-generated content, highlight those customers by sharing their posts with your audience. It demonstrates that you have fans who value your product enough to talk about it on their own. You can also show your appreciation for your loyal customers by replying to them on social media and sharing their messages on your accounts.
You can also create a branded hashtag and encourage your audience to share their experiences using that hashtag.
Use a Review management tool
If you’re not sure how to track and manage your Facebook or Google My Business reviews, Sprout’s Reviews tool can help. The tool enables you to manage and monitor reviews across multiple business pages. The Reviews tool makes it easy to keep track of all of your review platforms. In Sprout, you can Google My Business, Facebook Pages and TripAdvisor reviews, all from one easy-to-use dashboard.
Using a review management tool that helps you integrate all of your review platforms can save time and keep you organized. It will also make it easier to respond to reviews and track where they come from. Knowing where your reviews most frequently come from can help create a more streamlined strategy when asking for them in the future.
Create case studies
For B2B brands, creating case studies can be a lucrative way to show how you’ve helped other businesses. Case studies are much more in-depth than standard testimonials. When done right, they can be an incredible way to showcase your product or service in a new light.
At Sprout, we use case studies to highlight customer success stories and showcase how brands are using our tools to meet their goals. Case studies are mutually beneficial for clients because they also highlight the other business. They also demonstrate new ways existing customers can use product features that they may not have thought of previously.
Creating a case study will require more of a time commitment on your part and on that of the client. You may need to conduct multiple interviews and it helps if you have been tracking the client’s progress over time.
Things to remember when asking for customer reviews
Yes, asking for reviews is an integral part of your strategy. But you still want your customer reviews to be as authentic as possible. There are some strategies you should avoid as they can promote dishonest reviews and even damage your brand’s reputation. Keep the following guidelines in mind when asking for reviews:
- Encourage honest reviews. Always encourage your audience to be as truthful and authentic as possible in their review. Offering incentives can encourage more reviews, but never pay someone to write a positive review. The purpose of the incentive should not be to sway their review in any way.
- Avoid asking too soon. Wait until your customers have enough time to form an opinion before asking them for a review. Asking too fast or too often could come off as pushy.
- Create a feedback loop. Make sure that you’re engaging with your audience before asking for a review and have a good feedback loop cycle. If you consistently receive negative reviews, find ways to make improvements and incorporate customer feedback into your product before asking for additional reviews.
Customer reviews have the power to propel your brand’s reputation and build trust with your audience. Whether you’re collecting reviews on your website, social media, or another tool, these strategies can help streamline the process. For a more in-depth look at how reviews can impact your business, download our complete guide on Building a Better Reputation with Reviews.
The 5-Step Social Media & Online Reputation Management PlanPublished on November 9, 2016 Reading time 8 minutes