Consumers have become numb to advertising. There are so many ads being spammed into peoples lives every single day that people have established “banner blindness”, which is a term coined to describe how people’s brains simply automatically ignore anything that looks like an ad. This is a good thing for our own sanity, but also becomes an obstacle for businesses who are trying to raise awareness and get results out of their marketing campaigns.
The other problem with advertising is that people no longer trust brands to follow through on their promises. Companies love to brag about amazing things they can do with their product or service. They’ll make huge claims about what they can do, promise unrealistic results, only to under deliver and leave the purchasers feeling disappointed and lied to. Trust has been broken between advertisers and customers.
A solution has been transforming with the digital age and its surfacing in the form of online reviews. Customers love to read reviews, and it makes sense why. They may not be able to believe the ads they see or hear, but why would another consumer go out of their way to lie about the quality of a product or service they received? They can trust the voice of another customer, because that other customer has no benefit for misleading others about their experience. If you think about the majority of the major purchases in your life, it’s pretty likely that it falls into one of these buckets:
- You’ve used this product (or something similar) before yourself, so you know what to expect.
- You have a friend or relative that has used it and recommended it.
- You read an online review about the product.
Customers trust other customers. So, your business needs reviews. To do that, you need to ask for them. Most of the time, people don’t go out of their way to try and leave a review unless you go out of your way to ask for one. We pulled together a quick hit list of easy to implement strategies on how to get more reviews.
1. Setup & Claim Your Listings
Business listings on popular platforms get some of the most attention from consumers because they are platforms that they trust. They also rank really well for branded search terms. A few platforms are a no brainer regardless of your industry. But there are also some vertical specific listing sites you might want to look into.
- Google My Business
This is your Google listing. It’s the card that shows up on the right side and the pin that shows up on Google Maps. You can setup a customized link to ask for Google My Business reviews once you’ve claimed and verified your listing. Here’s a guide on how that works.
The most popular social media network of all time. Also one of the biggest advertising platforms of all time. If you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, it’s time to get on it. Set this up and get verified. People love to engage on Facebook, and they can leave business reviews right on your page.
Yelp has both paid and free listing options. Both allow customers to review your place of business. This platform also integrates with other search softwares and pulls your reviews in. It also ranks highly in search results because of its domain authority. Minimally setup a free listing and ask for a few reviews on Yelp to get the ball rolling.
2. Automated Emails
Now that you are on all the major listing platforms that you should be on, you’ll need to start asking for reviews. Email is probably the number one way to do this. Get your links from all your review options and setup an automated campaign that will send out to your customers after purchase. Make sure to time the email send out according to their purchasing journey. If they order a product and that product doesn’t arrive to them for 14 days, you’ll want to make sure you send your request for a review after they received the product 2 weeks from now. It’s hard to review a product if you haven’t received it yet. In your email, keep it simple. Ask how their experience was and then give them the options for leaving their feedback. Link out to all the review places for them so they don’t have to go digging for it.
3. Automated Text Messages
Just like automated email, you can do this via text as well. You’ll need to change your messaging and verbiage to fit this form of communication, but it’s a system you can automated post-purchase. Text messages have the highest open rates of any communication notifications of all time. You’ll get high engagement if you’re able to text your customers to request a review.
4. Provide an Incentive
Not getting a high engagement rate with your request? Provide an incentive. Give your customers a reason to go out of their way to write a review. Maybe that incentive is a discount on their next purchase? Maybe it’s being entered into a giveaway? Figure out what works for your business model and give customers a way to be enticed to leave a review for you.
5. Promote Reviews You Already Have
When customers see that you actually pay attention to the reviews that are left, they are more encouraged to participate. If they see you talking about other customer reviews, they know you are listening and utilizing this information. They will not feel that their time is going to waste because they know someone will ready it and do something with it.
6. Respond to Reviews
Positive or negative, engage. By responding to the reviews that you do receive, you’re again showing that you’re paying attention and reading these comments. Customers want to know that you appreciate their efforts and that their time is not wasted by leaving you feedback. If they see that you are responding and engaging with the reviews that are left, they are more likely to leave a review themselves.
Online reviews have changed the game for customers. It gives a way for customers to help other customers. It also gives a way for businesses to engage with their customers, solicit feedback from the masses, and build confidence with future potential customers.
Customers trust other customers a lot more than they trust your advertising department.