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May 24, 2022

How to get the reviews you need for your marketing (without paying for them) // Local Marketing Insider #034

Where technology and strategy align to make the best use of customer review content.

Not all reviews are equal.

You know it when you see it. You turn to your coworker (or these days, send them a message in Slack) - “check out this 🔥 review we just got.” 

The review: “Cityside Furniture has the best selection in the area.”

Not only is a review like this a nice pick-me-up, it’s a great marketing asset. Any marketer worth their paycheck will see that review and immediately be ready to go. The world needs to see it. 

Prospects will read it on Google, you can put it on your website, repurpose into a social ad, and put it on a billboard - a classic repurposing exercise where creativity wins.  

The best part - your prospects will listen to it, believe it, and trust it because reviews are largely unbiased.

The thing is, the review specifically mentioning “best selection” was purely by chance. You need a way to get feedback like this on a regular basis.

How do you consistently get more of the reviews you can use? Or, really, the reviews you need to take your marketing to the next level.

Is there a strategic opportunity to thoughtfully use reviews as a brand-building resource? How do you get more reviews that specifically reinforce your brand value props?

We had all this in mind when we built “Campaigns,” the upgrade we launched yesterday for Invite and Invite Video users is meant to help your business get more of the specific feedback you want and can use in your marketing materials.

Widewail clients can now build multiple “Campaign experiences,” each asking customers a different question that encourages them to think about and leave feedback for a specific part of their experience.

Before getting distracted by technology, I think its useful to first lay the foundation for a reviews campaign. If you could hypothetically get any review from a customer, what would be most useful in your marketing strategy for them to say? What key messages are you trying to get out into the market?

I’ve broken up this exercise into three short exercises: identify value props, do a social proof audit, and gameplan the review content you need.

Build Your Campaigns Foundation

Identify the 3-5 main reasons people transact with your business.

“Best selection”

“Great prices”

“Beautiful store”

Shorter is better.

Do a social proof audit.

Where in your marketing do you currently use social proof?

Are there more opportunities to further utilize social proof? (We keep finding new places.)

What media formats (text, video, audio) are you using to deliver reviews? Where could you add more media types? Could reviews that you currently use in text be repurposed into video, and vice versa?

Gameplan for what content you need.

Post value prop and audit you should have a sense for what content you want to capture, what mediums, and where you’d like to deploy it.

Next, break your customers into groups and determine if certain customer types are better suited for text, and some better suited for video. In the case of a property management group, consider the difference in excitement and enthusiasm for a resident on move-in day vs. one that has had two service requests for a tricky dishwasher issue - the move-in situation is likely better suited to video. 

Additionally, determine if any groups are uniquely qualified to talk about each of your value props. For example, a customer purchasing one of your products would be a good candidate to talk about “best selection,” but it would not be logical contextually to ask a maintenance or service customer to comment on selection. Asking about “great prices” or “fast service” would make more sense.

Widewail Campaigns Use Cases

With gameplan in hand, the next step is to build your outreach infrastructure with Widewail Campaigns. To give you a taste of what’s possible I’ve sketched out a handful of use cases.

Use Case #1 

I want to communicate to the market our unique value around having the “best selection.”

Industry: Automotive

Widewail Campaign: Ask 50% of sales customers for a review on Google talking about our vehicle selection. Customers that leave a 5-star review also get a video review request, asking why the customer bought from the dealership. Ask the remaining 50% of sales customers for a video review about vehicle selection.

Use Case #2

I want to know which amenities are resident favorites.

Industry: Property Management

Widewail Campaign: 30% of customers are asked for a video review telling us about the best amenity available in the community. The remaining 70% of residents are asked to leave a review on Apartments.com.

Use Case #3 

I want to know why our customers specifically buy a [your car brand] and collect that feedback in video format for marketing purposes and market research.

Industry: Automotive

Widewail Campaign: Always-on video campaign asking 20% of sales customers why they bought a [insert brand]. The first 20 submissions each month are incentivized via Widewail’s Incentives Engine with a free oil change.

Use Case #4

I want to collect video content on our property move-in experience.

Industry: Property Management

Widewail Campaign: 100% of “Move-in” tagged residents are sent a request for a video review asking for a review of the move-in experience.

Use Case #5

Collect customer video content to promote your year-end holiday shopping campaign the following year.

Industry: Retail

Widewail Campaign: During the month of December, 30% of customers will receive a request for a video review asking about their experience shopping at your business during the holiday season. 20% sent a video review request asking why they decided to do their holiday shopping with your business. Another 20% get a video request asking them to share how much money they saved with the holiday sale. The remaining 30% are asked to leave a review on Google.

Use Case #6

Make a recruiting video to accelerate hiring.

Industry: General

Widewail Campaign: Using a CSV upload of employee names and phone numbers, send a single video campaign asking each employee to record a video about why they enjoy working at your company.

Basic Automated Campaigns Use Cases

An Automated Campaign takes the campaign experiences described in the last section and automatically deploys them via an integration with your customer data software. The automation sequencing is flexible to meet your business needs, but to explain the basics I’ve identified four sample use cases: simple percentage split, simple follow-up, ask multiple questions, and an advanced follow-up.

Simple percentage split

Industry: General

Video: 30% of all customers will be asked for a video review of their experience.

Text: 100% of remaining customers will receive a request for a review on Google or Facebook, whichever the customer prefers.

Simple follow-up

Industry: General

Text: Ask 100% of customers for a review on Google or Facebook, the customers are given the choice.

Video Follow: Any customer that first leaves a 5-star review is then sent a second request, asking if that customer would be willing to submit a video review.

Ask multiple questions

Industry: Automotive

Video: 20% of sales customers - What did you like about working with your representative at the business?

Video: 20% of sales customers - Why do you love your new [insert car brand]?

Video: 20% of sales customers -Why did you choose [insert store name]?

Text: Remaining 40% of sales customers and 100% of service customers will receive a request to leave a review on either Google, Facebook, or select industry-specific review sites (customizable).

Advanced follow-up

Industry: Property Management

Text: 100% of residents with completed maintenance requests are asked for a review on Google

Follow: Of the maintenance request residents that left a 5-star review on Google, ask 100% for a video review, incentivized with a $25 gift card to Starbucks, limiting the giveaway to 15 residents per month. When the 15 gift cards have been claimed, the remaining residents that fit these criteria for the month will be asked for a video review without mentioning the incentive.

Video: Ask 50% of move-in residents for a video review answering why they choose to live at your property.

Text: Ask the remaining 100% of your move-in customers to leave a review on Apartments.com.

After a chilly winter for us Vermonters, summer is finally here. An early happy Memorial Day weekend to all the Insiders.

If you'd like to learn more about Campaigns, start here. Or our team would be happy to show you it live.

If you haven't yet, be sure to follow Matt on LinkedIn for Local Marketing Insider Live in your feeds. Last week's video on promoting from within is turning heads and stopping scrolls.

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail

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Jake Hughes

I’m Marketing Manager here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. In Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0-100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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