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Looking to get more Google reviews? Whether a single-person shop, or a nationwide chain, here are 8 proven DIY product review generation strategies.
Anyone familiar with the way local search for business works nowadays knows that customer reviews are one of the most powerful online reputation management tools out there - and a major driver of Google rankings. Get more reviews for your business, and your local Google "pack" ranking will likely improve.
While everyone has to prioritize a focus on geo-specific reviews on sites like Google and Yelp, if you’re running a business that sells multiple products to consumers, you also have individual product reviews to worry about.
But never fear! There are plenty of do-it-yourself ways to drive up review volume. Whether you’re a single-person shop selling hand-knit clothing on Etsy, or a nationwide chain of camping supply stores, here are 8 ways to proactively start increasing reviews of your products. Let's start with the short version:
How to get more product reviews
There's nothing here bordering on "rocket science" territory, or requiring investment in a third-party solution - and that's the best part. Let's dig into each of these DIY strategies, to help get more reviews, in detail and to get you up and running. The long version:
Look, asking for feedback is awkward. Whether you’re trying out an experimental new scone recipe on your best friend or launching a brand-new luxury product. But research shows that a simple request pays off: 76% of customers who are asked to leave an online review actually do so. This statistic can not be overlooked. Ask and ye shall (usually) receive.
Here comes the "how". Many businesses solicit reviews over email, or while ringing customers up from the store, but leading-edge businesses are contacting customers via text. With open rates around 98%, this form of communication is direct and convenient, resulting in better engagement and almost always an increase of mission-critical customer reviews on Google and even industry-specific sites.
Time it right
If you’re going to request Google reviews and product-specific feedback from customers, make sure you do it when your product is most likely to be fresh in their minds. Specifically, aim to insert your ask at the moment an impression is made. For example, if your business sells vacuums, don’t jump the gun before they’ve even gotten home and had a chance to use the product. If you sell hand-pressed juices, you wouldn’t want to ask a customer to review your new flavor a month after they’ve tried it. Timing is never perfect, but it's always "everything".
It’s also important to consider when it may be more convenient for that customer to write a review, and best practices may vary considerably depending on your vertical. In general, if you’re asking for reviews over text message or email, make sure to hit send at a time when your customers are more likely to have a moment to spare.
Studies show that people are 143% more likely to respond to a request sent over the weekend than one sent during the work week. Take some time to figure out when your customers are likely both happiest with your products, and most willing to take a few minutes to tell you about it. Then strategically work that "ideal" timing into your process.
Keep your staff in the loop
However you decide to go about requesting reviews, make sure to train your staff to do it regularly. Whether that means putting a link in your website footer you can quickly call out, adding links to everyone's email signatures, or asking in-person at the front desk as part of a transaction - consistency is key. Everyone on the team should know how you plan to increase Google reviews and how critical the practice has become to successful local marketing efforts.
Make it easy
Nobody - not even the happiest customer in the world - wants to click through a bunch of links to leave a review of a product. Many review sites can provide you with a link that will direct customers to leave a review on your profile in as few steps as possible.
For example, on your Google My Business dashboard, look for “Get more reviews”, which will provide you with a link you can send to your customers or repurpose in many additional ways. It’s simple: the best way to get more Google reviews is to make it easy for your customer to do so. Consider it a favor, and act accordingly.
Target loyal customers
You know who’s going to have great things to say about your product? The person who comes into your store to buy the same moisturizer every month. Or the person who orders the latest headphone model every time they visit your site. Or the person who comes in at lunchtime once a week to try your creative salad special. These are raving fans and built-in, existing opportunities. They just usually have to be prompted.
The odd negative review is almost guaranteed. Positive reviews often have to be requested. Your loyal customers keep coming back for a reason - and they’re probably just bursting to tell everyone why they love your products. Give them a friendly nudge and you'll be pleased with the outcome.
Ask the right questions
Occasionally, someone might ask what you liked about that restaurant you ordered takeout from on Tuesday, and your mind goes blank. We’ve all been there. If you don’t want your customers to panic and decide to skip the review this time, include some open-ended questions in your request, such as “Would you recommend this product to a friend?” or “Would you purchase this item again?”
This circles back to the concept of making it as easy for the consumer as possible to take precious time out of their day to do you that "solid". Specific prompts in the form of questions will be appreciated and likely acted upon.
There's another option if working with a trusted vendor. If automating the process of requesting reviews, there may be the option to utilize specific campaigns for each of your products to not only get a google review or two but to get the tailored feedback you’re looking for to improve your business.
For example, if you sell bananas, oranges, and apples, and are striving to get more reviews for each product, set up seperate and personalized campaigns for each delicious fruit.
Post positive reviews on social media
Screenshot a funny five-star review and tweet it, create a slideshow of quotes from happy customers on Instagram, repost positive feedback on your business’s Facebook page - no matter how you share or repurpose this valuable feedback, you’ll draw in new customers and show your entire potential (new and returning) target market that you value their feedback.
This is another important concept that is applicable throughout our 8 suggestions: when regularly responding to both positive and negative reviews, prospective future customers are provided with a glimpse into your values, priorities, and "style" of customer service.
Whether we call it "trust marketing", "social proof" or "peer-to-peer", it's invaluable in terms of increasing a level of "consumer confidence" which ultimately drives conversions. Take it to heart and wear it on your sleeve.
Respond to every review
We saved the best for last, and it bears repeating. Respond to every review. Yes, even the negative ones. Especially the negative ones.
Study after study has shown that customers are 71% more likely to buy from businesses that respond to their online reviews - it shows that your company is committed to customer service and addressing issues. Whether you train your team to respond consistently, or use a third-party review management service like Widewail - just do it!
* Updated on 2/16/23 - Originally published on 9/21/20
Thanks for reading. Next, we recommend our playbook, the Local Business Reputation Management Playbook. 55 pages of Widewail's best insights in one place. If you are looking for an operational guide to lay out a dynamite strategy, this one is for you. Download the playbook 👇
I’m a writer, philosopher, climber, mountain biker, and a fried-egg enthusiast. Before joining Widewail as a Review Response Specialist, I attended Middlebury College and studied Philosophy and Art History. I grew up in Michigan, but I fell in love with Vermont while in school.
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