Did you know that it takes about 1-6 reviews before customers would feel that they can trust a business?
That’s quite a lot. With a lot going on for entrepreneurs nowadays, asking for a review is one of the many tasks that usually get delegated to the backseat. But just like social media and SEO strategies, getting reviews for your products or services should be a priority. In fact, 92 percent of customers check online testimonials regularly, with about 60 percent of them paying more attention to the overall start rating.
Start collecting quality reviews today and enter the New Year with a bang! Here are the top five ways to get them.
#1 Ask By Email
Directly asking a customer through his or her email is still one of the best ways to obtain precious testimonials. After someone has bought your product, wait for about 24 to 48 hours before sending an email. Keep it short and simple. Consider the following pointers in mind:
- Personalize the email by mentioning the customer’s name
- Include the star rating for convenience
- State how much you value their input (“…your review is important to us”)…
- …and how it will aid other buyers (“…help others make informed decisions”)
Believe it or not, people would be willing to review items and services without incentives if emphasized that it’s to benefit fellow customers. As long as you make the process quick and easy for them, you’ll get a fair amount of reviews for your brand.
#2 Direct Customers to Niche Review Sites
Don’t want to have your social media account or website flooded by spam comments? No worries. You can simply have customers review products on websites like Yelp, and then get the best ones for your blog. When deciding on which sites to list your business, make sure they have a mobile-friendly web design OR a downloadable app as 38 percent of customers search for testimonials on their smart devices.
If you pick this option, do provide a direct link to save time. Remember: people would love to leave reviews for your business – but if you make it difficult for them, they won’t. Aside from Yelp, try other niche websites like TripAdvisor (for hotels and resorts), OpenTable (for restaurants), and Merchant Circle (for everything local like real estate, legal help, and auto services). All three review sites have mobile apps available for download.
#3 Let Them Leave Reviews on Social Media
It can feel daunting letting your customers write testimonials about you on social media, especially on Facebook. With over a billion active users a day, who knows who would see those testimonials? Instead of constantly feeling worried about it, approach it as one of the fastest ways for people to notice your products.
In an Infographic by Social Media Link (see below for an excerpt), they found that 71 percent of people trust Facebook reviews more than other platforms. Aside from retail sites, Pinterest and blogs come as close contenders. This should give you an idea on where to invest your efforts when it comes to asking customers for reviews.
[Visit BuzzPlant for their INFOGRAPHIC on the “New Science Behind Trust & Recommendations on Social Media”]
Aside from getting people to talk about your offers, letting them leave testimonials on social media allows others to discover items from your business. As Facebook lets your friends see things you’ve recently Liked of Shared, this causes a chain reaction that has the potential to spread quickly among connections.
#4 Ask for Video Reviews
You have two choices for getting video testimonials: a) contact YouTube reviewers with a wide influence to review your product; OR b) ask customers to send you a link to their video reviews. For the latter, you could collect the best testimonials into one video to feature in your website. For business owners looking for a unique twist to their videos, you may setup a camera at your store so you can record in-store reviews.
As YouTube video reviews get about 16,000 views on average, using this method is bound to increase brand awareness as well as potential sales for your products. If you want to create the videos yourself, don’t forget to consider keywords in the title and description area.
#5 Offer an Incentive
This trick is like a double-edged sword: if not used properly, you could end up damaging your online reputation while getting lame, fake reviews. So use with absolute caution! When offering incentives for reviews, you have three options to choose from:
- give discounts or gift cards per review (something small like $25 off on selected items);
- select a grand winner from the best reviews to claim a huge prize (like a $250 voucher); OR
- give away free samples in exchange for a review.
Free samples work best for new products or services. As people LOVE receiving freebies, this is the perfect opportunity to have them try something new from your brand, while getting a real review for your online marketing strategy. There are plenty of big businesses that provide freebies in exchange for comprehensive reviews: Nike, Proctor and Gamble, and Good HouseKeeping are just a few of them.
Top 3 Rules in Managing Reviews
Once you have customer testimonials, you may feel a need to control what people say about your products. Relax! Although the last thing you want is a negative review, it’s not so bad. Businesses that have nothing but good comments usually give customers a bad impression because they’ll assume most of it is fake.
So how do you manage testimonials once you get them? Here are the top three guidelines to follow:
- RESPOND to negative reviews immediately – especially if it’s on social media! This would show that you care about your customers’ insights and you wish to improve on your product.
- AVOID writing fake reviews or paying others to do it for you. Not only is this practice unethical, but if found out, you could be heavily fined (depending on commerce laws in your country).
- RESOLVE customer complaints found on reviews. Sometimes, although people may give you a four or three star rating, they would mention some issues with your product. Talk with them in private to resolve problems as soon as possible.
Aside from SEO benefits, customer reviews can also be considered as valuable content on a website. Some people like leaving really comprehensive testimonials, so it’s a good idea to get in touch with them and develop a business relationship that would benefit you both.
When it comes to reviews, a quick, logical, and appreciative approach is your best bet.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and encourage customers to write a stellar review to usher in a good New Year!