Every minute, Yelp users leave 26,380 reviews. And that’s just on one platform.
Factor in Facebook, Amazon, Google and even your own personal website and that’s hundreds of thousands of reviews being left every hour. Those reviews carry weight.
People trust online reviews from third parties more than they trust a brand’s marketing message; in fact, 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decisions. It doesn’t stop with digital shoppers either. Reviews influence up to 10% of the search engine rankings for local searches. For B2B corporations, they can expect to see a 5-9% boost in revenue with every 1-star increase in their review rating.
Like it or not, your brand is either thriving or dying because of reviews. So, what can brands do to earn more (and better) reviews?
Getting Online Reviews 101: The Basics
Before we begin, let’s review the basic 101 advice that you’ll hear from every marketing blog:
- Deliver a quality experience or build a good product
- Deliver what you promise
- Deliver great customer service
Sure, these might cut back on the number of disappointed customers – and hence bad reviews – but these tactics by themselves aren’t going to give you MORE reviews in terms of quantity. These tips only address how to manage customer expectations…and there’s only so much a brand can do here. You can do all of the above and still be left with a handful of reviews, some negative. You can’t anticipate every client expectation.
Need an example?
Think Leonardo DiCaprio had this as a possible concern when he made this movie?
Controlling negative reviews is important, but not nearly as important as increasing the number of total reviews you receive. To do that, start by understanding why people leave reviews.
Why Do People Leave Reviews?
First let’s take a second to understand the motivation behind people that leave reviews. Most commonly, the reviewer wants to:
- Build status in their community (whether it’s Yelp, Google or Trip Advisor)
- Be seen by their peers as smart / impressive / a brilliant writer, etc.
- Leverage their review status into perks and “freebies”
- Do “something nice” for a brand that gives them a great experience
- Act as the “voice of truth”; they want other people to know “the truth” about a brand
- Actively voice a negative experience
- Educate the business on ways they can improve their experience
- Be helpful to other potential customers
Brands should understand that while there are different motives for leaving reviews, most people don’t do it without some sort of self-serving motive. Even the feel good “dopamine” vibe from helping out a company with a 5-star reward is a form of self-gratification.
Once you know why people leave reviews, you can start to focus on driving additional reviews.
How Do You Get People To Leave A Review For You?
Plain and simple. ASK THEM! 70% of consumers will leave a business review if you ask. 70%.
70% of your customer base is more than enough to make a noticeable difference in your online reviews.
What’s more, the people that leave a review without being promoted to tend to be those that are actively airing grievances about your brand. Every brand is going to have a bad day and give a customer an experience that didn’t align with their expectations. It’s just going to happen.
Brands should ensure they have enough positive reviews to offset the occasional negative sentiment, so they don’t immediately drop down a rating a star or two.
Side Note: Whatever you do, don’t get too aggressive with removing negative reviews. Instead, answer the reviews in a positive manner. Most consumers value a commitment to making good on a bad experience and will see your actions as being positive.
3 Key User Groups to Ask for Reviews
1) Utilize your Brand Advocates
Always keep your brand advocates in mind! Your advocates have self-selected to become a part of your advocacy marketing campaign. That means they’re already fans of your brand. The bigger their fandom, the more likely they are to leave those coveted 4-and 5-star reviews
Don’t ask advocates to leave reviews on every platform at once! Ask for reviews on each specific platform separately (i.e Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.) to make it easy for them to opt-in.
For product review sites on your own website, segment your advocates by purchase history (either through a quiz or by known purchases) to ensure that they’re able to speak about the benefits of your product or service.
2) Email your Current Customers
While you can’t send marketing emails to individuals unless they opt-in to receive them (CAN-SPAM yo!), you can send transactional emails to customers. Be sure your transactional emails include a call-to-action and an “ask” that outlines where and how a user can leave a review.
3) Ping your Social Followers
Be sure your social media content mix includes the occasional review solicitation. Remember: there’s no rule against having the same people leave reviews across several different review sites. Just because someone left you a 5-star review on Facebook doesn’t mean they won’t also write you a 5-star review on Google if you ask them to.
Again, make it easy on your followers. When asking for reviews on social media, remember to be specific – ask for a review on a specific platform and link to your page on that platform. Also, be sure to let them know why you’re asking for the review. And for fans who do leave a review, be sure to thank them to let them know you appreciate the time they took to write their review.
Advocacy Marketing Done Right
3rd party reviews carry almost as much weight in a purchase decision as a friends and family recommendations. Potential customers rely on these reviews to reinforce the “right” decision to go with your brand. Be sure you’re driving reviews on an ongoing basis to support this need and drive sales.
Want to learn more about how an advocacy marketing program can help you garner more reviews?