Do you research online reviews before purchasing a new product or service?
I do. I am one of the 81% of shoppers who research online reviews before buying in-store.
Not only this, but studies have proven that consumers trust user reviews more than a brand’s sales pitch.
So, it’s a no-brainer that you should be asking your customers to review your products and services and using those reviews and testimonials as social proof. But how?
This course will equip you with the knowledge and strategies necessary to harness the power of reviews effectively.
Table of Contents:
- Lesson 1: Why are reviews important?
- Lesson 2: Where do people go to read reviews?
- Lesson 3: Understanding the life cycle
- Lesson 4: When to ask for reviews
- Lesson 5: How to ask for reviews
- Lesson 6: What channels to use
Lesson 1: Why are reviews important?
In Lesson 1, we will delve into the significance of customer reviews and understand why they hold immense value for businesses. Let’s explore the key reasons why reviews are a vital aspect of your business’s success.
i) Increase CTR
By boosting your company’s credibility and dependability, customer reviews can have a significant impact on click-through rates (CTR).
In fact, Google claims that stars in rich snippets increase CTR by 17% on average. Here are a few ways reviews can increase CTR:
a) Star Ratings in Search Results
When star ratings accompany your business listing in search engine results, they catch the eye of potential customers and make your listing stand out. These ratings serve as a visual cue, indicating positive customer experiences and influencing users to click on your link.
b) Rich Snippets in Search Results
Rich snippets in search engine results also show the rating for your product or service if you have added structured data to your pages. When users see positive snippets that align with their needs, they are more inclined to click on your listing to learn more.
c) Social Proof on Third-Party Platforms
Reviews on external platforms, such as review sites or social media, can also contribute to increased CTR. When users come across positive reviews about your business on these platforms, they gain confidence in your offerings and are more inclined to click through to your website or online presence.
For example, a mobile app with numerous positive reviews on an app store is likely to receive more downloads and engagement due to the trust established through social proof.
ii) Customer Discovery
Customer reviews are like personal recommendations from people who have already tried a product or service. They help potential customers discover more about your business.
And we already mentioned that 81% of shoppers research online reviews before making a purchase.
Reviews help potential customers discover your business by:
- Providing detailed information
- Establishing trust through social proof
- Highlighting unique selling points
- Contributing to user-generated content
- Generating recommendations and referrals
By leveraging the power of reviews, you can enhance customer discovery and attract new customers to explore and engage with your offerings.
iii) Competitive Advantage
Reviews are a mental shortcut. The human brain has to make hundreds or even thousands of decisions every day, so being able to make decisions quickly is important for avoiding analysis paralysis and even staying alive. Therefore, the brain creates mental shortcuts to speed up and simplify decision-making and brand preferences.
You’ve probably heard someone say, “I chose this one because it had a better rating and a ton of reviews,” a number of times.
In fact, a whopping 97% of shoppers say customer reviews influence their buying decisions.
Therefore, a strong portfolio of positive reviews can give you a competitive edge over rivals. When faced with multiple options, potential customers are more likely to choose a business with a higher rating and positive feedback. Reviews can differentiate your brand, making it stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Lesson 2: Where do people go to read reviews?
People can read reviews on a variety of platforms and channels. Here are some popular places where individuals often go to read reviews:
i) Google Search
Google dominates the search engine market and is the easiest way to access reviews for a brand, product, or service.
The latest data shows that Google processes over 99,000 searches every single second. This means people often use specific search queries to find reviews for a particular product, service, or business.
For example, they may search for “best smartphone reviews,” “restaurant reviews in [city name],” or “[brand name] product reviews.”
By including “reviews” or related keywords in Google searches, users can narrow down the search results to focus specifically on review content.
To increase your presence on Google Search, you can create profiles on popular third-party review sites like:
Additionally, look for popular niche-specific review sites in your industry. For example, if you’re a dentist, 1800dentist.com is a popular review site; if you run a hotel, you should create a profile at Booking.com and collect reviews. You can find a list of industry-specific review sites here and here.
ii) Shout Outs on Social Media
Reviews/customer appreciation of your brand on social media can lead to a lot of trust and customer discovery.
This is a shout out to Electrolit, an American hydration drink company. A beautiful picture showing the product in use as well.
How to Get Shout Outs For Your Brand
- Identify Influencers and Brand Advocates: Research and identify influencers, bloggers, industry experts, or loyal customers who have a significant following and align with your brand’s values and target audience.
- Offer Incentives or Exclusive Benefits: Provide influencers or brand advocates with incentives, such as free products, exclusive discounts, or early access to new releases. By offering value to them, you increase the likelihood of receiving shoutouts in return for the perks they receive.
- User-Generated Content Campaigns: Encourage your customers to create and share content featuring your brand or products. Host contests or campaigns where participants can submit their content and tag your brand. Repost and give shoutouts to users who create exceptional content, showcasing their work and promoting your brand simultaneously.
- Engage with Social Media Communities: Actively participate in relevant social media communities, groups, and hashtags related to your industry. Engage with users by offering valuable insights, answering questions, and providing helpful information. As you establish yourself as an authority, users may organically give shoutouts to your brand as a result of your active participation and expertise.
- Collaborate with Micro-Influencers: While macro-influencers have larger followings, micro-influencers (individuals with smaller but highly engaged audiences) can be valuable partners for shoutouts. Collaborate with micro-influencers who align with your brand, as their recommendations often carry more authenticity and influence within their niche communities.
Remember that the secret to getting shoutouts on social media is to build genuine relationships, offer value, and interact with your audience.
iii) Your Website
Make sure that your website has a dedicated and visible section for reviews on product pages. Customers usually try to find reviews of each item before making a purchase on the website.
Here’s a good example of showcasing reviews on product pages:
Other than product pages, you can also embed customer reviews and testimonials on landing pages. Highlighting reviews and testimonials on the product pages and other key pages of your website can boost user trust and conversions.
Here’s how Semrush (a research tool) has added this user review to the home page:
Lesson 4: When to Ask For Reviews
Knowing the right timing to ask for reviews is crucial to maximizing response rates and gathering valuable feedback. Here are some appropriate times to request reviews:
i) On Early Delivery
Early delivery creates a positive impression of your business and shows your commitment to customer satisfaction. Requesting a review during this time capitalizes on the customer’s excitement and satisfaction with receiving their order ahead of schedule.
So, what happens here is:
- The merchant asks the consumer to rate the service from 1 to 5 when the product was delivered before the expected delivery date.
- When the consumer clicks on the rating bar, they get redirected to the brand’s review page, where they are asked to describe their experience, as follows:
ii) Once The Order is Delivered
Do not wait to ask for a review if you sell fast moving consumer goods. For example, health drinks, packed foods, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, etc.
Ask for reviews shortly after the customer has received their order or the service has been completed.
Have a look at this email from Chewy:
iii) 1-month after order delivery
In the case of some products and services, for example, electronic gadgets, you should give customers enough time to evaluate the product before asking for a review.
Giving customers a month to use and evaluate your product allows them to provide more comprehensive and informed feedback. They have had sufficient time to experience the product’s features, benefits, and any potential issues that may have arisen.
iv) After customer support touch points
Every customer support interaction is an opportunity for you to ask for a review. After providing a resolution, simply ask them, “Would you like to rate our services?”
The best part is that they will most likely reply with a ‘yes’ when they are satisfied with the customer support experience delivered by you!
Suppose your team assists or resolves a consumer’s issue through live chat, and then you ask them to rate their experience:
When the customer clicks on the rating, you ask them to describe their experience in a few words:
Furthermore, this will help you keep track of customers’ happiness using CSAT.
v) On special occasions
Requesting a review on special occasions, such as a customer’s birthday or anniversary of their purchase, can create a personal connection and increase the likelihood of receiving a positive response.
Here’s a template you can use to ask for a review:
Subject: Happy Birthday! Share Your Joy with a Review
Hello [Customer’s Name],
Happy birthday from [Your Company Name]! As a valued customer, we wanted to thank you for choosing our [product/service]. Could you spare a moment to share your experience with us? Your review can help others discover the joy you’ve experienced.
Leave a review at [Review Platform or Website]. Your feedback means a lot to us!
Thank you for your support, and have a fantastic birthday!
[Your Company Name]
vi) When milestones are reached
If your business involves long-term relationships with customers, such as a subscription-based service or ongoing projects, asking for a review at key milestones, such as the completion of a significant project or reaching a specific duration of usage, can be effective.
Subject: Celebrate Your Milestone! Share Your Journey with Us
Hello [Customer’s Name],
Congratulations on your milestone with [Your Company Name]! We’re honored to have been a part of your journey. Could you spare a moment to share your experience with us?
Your review can inspire others and highlight the value of our [product/service]. Visit [Review Platform or Website] to leave your feedback.
Thank you for your trust and for allowing us to be a part of your success.
[Your Company Name]
Lesson 5: How to ask for review
You can follow these 7 steps to request reviews after delivering an order:
- Time it right: Request a review after the customer has had a chance to experience your product or service.
- Personalize the request: Use the customer’s name and mention the specific product or service.
- Keep it simple: Provide clear instructions on how to leave a review, including links or steps.
- Offer multiple channels: Give people options for leaving reviews on different platforms.
- Consider incentives: Offer a small incentive or discount to encourage review participation.
- Follow up gently: Send a friendly reminder if a customer hasn’t submitted a review after a reasonable time.
- Monitor and respond: Stay attentive to reviews, thanking customers for positive feedback and addressing concerns in negative reviews.
By following these steps, you can effectively ask for reviews, gather feedback, and enhance your online reputation.
Lesson 6: What channels to use?
i) Review Request Emails
You might be wondering, Does email work? Will anyone read my email in 2023?
Well, Yes. Moreover, email is part of consumers’ everyday lives.
In our email marketing survey, we discovered that email is part of everyday life for a large proportion – 72% of consumers!
So without further ado, let’s take a look at a good example of a review request email.
Subject: Your Feedback Matters! Share Your Experience with Us
Hello [Customer’s Name],
We hope you’ve been enjoying your [product/service] from [Your Company Name]! As a valued customer, your feedback is important to us, and we would love to hear about your experience after using it for a month.
Your insights will not only help us understand how our product/service performs in the long run but also assist other potential customers in making informed decisions.
Would you be kind enough to spare a few minutes to share your thoughts? Your feedback can make a significant difference in shaping our ongoing efforts to provide exceptional products/services.
To leave a review, simply visit [Review Platform or Website] and share your experience with us. We appreciate both positive and constructive feedback as it helps us continually improve and serve you better.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to provide your valuable feedback. Your support means a lot to us!
[Your Company Name]
ii) On your website
You can include a call to action for visitors to leave reviews throughout your website, but many companies find that having a dedicated reviews or testimonials page accessible from the main navigation is beneficial (especially since this is one of the first things a potential client looks for when researching a company).
In the example below, this company’s main navigation includes a review item with the option to read and leave reviews.
You are prompted to select “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on the “leave a review” page. Once you give something a thumbs up, a Google review prompt appears.
iii) Post-purchase Thank you card
Using a thank you card to ask for a review is a thoughtful and personal way to engage with customers.
It should involve expressing gratitude, mentioning the importance of feedback, and kindly requesting that customers share their experience.
Direct message – an old but gold marketing strategy that works like no other strategy or channel.
As per studies, the average opening rate for SMS marketing is a whopping 98%!
You can directly pitch your customers with a to the point message, including a link that takes them to the review page.
We’ve delivered your product in advance. We hope your bag of joy brought a smile to your face. Please share your experience: https://example.com
v) Pop Ups
Popups are another effective and targeted way of asking customers for reviews and testimonials that work like a charm.
You can use popups in various sections of your website in a targeted way.
A website visitor joins your referral program. Then, a popup shows up asking them to rate their experience on a scale of 0-7:
The visitor taps on 7 and then on the Next button:
Now, they are asked to describe their views on the referral program.
This strategy can be used to ask website visitors at different points of their journey on your website, say when they create an account, buy a product, use a SaaS, etc.
In conclusion, asking customers for reviews is a powerful strategy that can significantly impact your business’s success. By leveraging the voice of your satisfied customers, you can build trust, enhance your reputation, and attract new buyers.
Remember to choose the right timing, personalize your requests, and make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Whether it’s through follow-up emails, special occasions, or milestone achievements, actively seeking reviews allows you to harness the power of social proof and engage with your customers on a deeper level.
By incorporating these strategies into your customer feedback process, you can cultivate a strong online presence, gain valuable insights, and continuously improve your products or services. Embrace the power of customer reviews and let them propel your business to new heights.