Reviews enhance the browsing experience of any website. Providing they’re positive, they can work wonders for a website’s conversion rate, too.
The difficulty with reviews is actually getting customers to write them for you – speaking from experience, I can safely say that less than 5% of customers actually go out of their way to write reviews. And when I think about it, that’s no surprise – because I can’t recall having recently written any reviews for any products, or services, that I’ve purchased online. I just don’t seem to have time!
There are two main types of reviews: product reviews and more general website/service reviews.
It’s been well-documented that products with lots of user reviews sell better than those without – and we find that general reviews of a website lead to an increased conversion rate overall. Most content management systems have review functions built in (if they don’t there’s usually a plugin or add-on to bring the functionality you need).
For general website reviews, website owners normally use a third party like Trustpilot, Feefo or Yotpo – all tried and trusted platforms. Service providers may drive customers to service-focused app stores, like the ones on Shopify and Bigcommerce, Getapp, or Webretailer.
By collecting product reviews, product pages can be enhanced when they show up in Google, thanks to review stars above the META description Google shows for your page. By collecting general website reviews, you can enhance PPC campaigns on Bing and AdWords because your review stars will show up there, too (providing you meet a minimum score). Product reviews may not carry much weight on your website (yet), but ecommerce behemoth Amazon uses reviews as a big factor when churning out pages of search results for you. Those listings with more positive reviews can be found a lot closer to the top (so there’s more chance you’ll buy from that listing, versus any other).
So, the bottom line is reviews are golden (when they’re positive) – but they’re hard to generate. In this article, I’m going to run through five ways in which you can encourage your customers to write reviews to help propel your website forward this year:
Start a competition or sweepstakes
One of the most popular ways that companies use to encourage customers to leave a review is to run a competition or sweepstake.
Something like: “write a review and get a chance of winning a $100 gift card”. It’s super simple but amazingly effective.
Offer a discount for future use
I purchased a few gifts from a website last December, and I got a popup when I visited the site again a few days later.
The pop up asked me to review my previous purchases in order to save an additional 10% on my next order. I didn’t end up buying anything on that occasion, but if I did plan to, I would certainly have left a few kind words in order to secure that extra 10% discount. Who wouldn’t?
Send a polite email
We find that a polite email sent 10 days after someone’s purchase with us is effective in gathering reviews. We see less than 5% of people go on to leave a review, but it’s still worthwhile for us.
Sending out emails is easy when you use a service like Trustpilot, Feefo or Yotpo. Often you don’t have to incentivize the request, because the purchase is so fresh in people’s minds, they’re happy to go ahead and write a review if they got good service.
The only thing to be weary of, is the fact that people who’ve had a bad experience and haven’t contacted you may take the opportunity to let out some frustration on you or your website. The best thing to do in such a situation is to apologize and resolve the problem without delay – once you’ve done so in a timely manner, the reviewer may be happy to revise or remove the negative comment for you.
Give them prominence on your website
If you hide reviews away in the deepest, darkest depths of your website – you can’t expect people to go out of their way to write them for you. With that in mind, make sure user reviews feature prominently on your product pages – and make sure any review widgets are also embedded prominently elsewhere on your website.
The more prominence you give to reviews, the more likely people are to take time out of their day and write them for you!
By making reviews visible and accessible on your website, you can also expect other customers to take note when browsing your website.
Leverage your daily correspondence
We spend a lot of time offering a boutique service to our customers – by making personalized recommendations for them. We always take the opportunity to ask our customers if they wouldn’t mind leaving a quick review when they receive their order.
Customers are usually very receptive to our requests – so don’t miss out on this opportunity if you, too, spend a lot of time speaking with customers.
As you can tell, I think reviews are great. What’s not to like about them? They bring so many benefits to a website, so it’s hard to see why any webmaster wouldn’t spend time and resources encouraging their users to leave reviews.