Of course, for upstart outdoor brands and ones launching new offerings, exactly how to get customers to write online reviews is a perennial question. (And further down the road, how to respond to online reviews becomes a probable follow-up — but that’s a topic for another blog article.)
Today, we’ll share some of TBA Outdoors’ top tactics for getting customers to review your products/services after purchase. Read on for six of our preferred (and proven) tactics for generating online reviews:
1. Provide a stellar product/service
This can probably go without saying, but the No. 1 way to get good reviews is to not satisfy your customers. Or even better, find a way to “wow” them so that they have a truly memorable experience and develop a genuinely positive view of your brand.
A solid product or service serves as a great foundation for this, and stellar customer service is often the icing on the cake. Try to go out of your way to make sure that your customer is well taken care of at every point in the customer journey, and take steps along the way to start a conversation and create real connections with your customers. After all, if you don’t start with a happy client, the steps below aren’t likely to have much impact.
2. Choose a solid review site(s)
To facilitate your online reviews, you’ll want to choose a review site/app that fits your business and its goals. Further, to ensure review visibility, you’ll also want to select a review-facilitation platform whose reviews appear high among the results when you perform a Google search or other web search for reviews of your product or service.
Pro marketing tip: At TBA Outdoors, we regularly use review app Judge.me for our e-comm clients. It’s a highly effective review platform that, with a premium plan that costs only $15 a month, is also budget-friendly. Further, it provides an unlimited number of monthly review requests with both its premium and free plans.
“We integrate Judge.me with our email platforms (Mailchimp and Klaviyo), as well as the loyalty program I suggest to clients, smile.io,” says TBAO Account Manager Haywood Brandon. “By doing so, we are able to set up drip campaigns that send anywhere from three to five retargeting emails requesting a review on the most popular item a customer has purchased in an order, or the item with the fewest reviews — depending on what matters most to the client.”
Serving as prime examples of Judge.me’s effectiveness, TBAO clients Fish Hippie and Heybo Outdoors have each seen significant increases in their numbers of reviews as a result of our using the review platform. Specifically, Fish Hippie saw its rate of reviews nearly quadruple (from about eight a week to over 30 a week at times) within just two months of our leveraging the Judge.me platform for them. And in just a month of employing the platform, Heybo Outdoors saw its rate of reviews more than double, from around three a week to more than 10 a week.
3. Optimize your request timing
You’ll want to wait to request your review until after the transaction has been fully completed and any loose ends have been tied up, plus give the customer enough time to receive and use the product or service you’ve provided. That said, you also want to strike while the iron is hot, so don’t delay your review the request too long — the customer’s positive experience with your brand should still be fresh in his or her mind.
Pro marketing tip: At TBA Outdoors, we typically send our clients’ initial review requests 14-21 days after a product or service purchase, then follow up with customers who haven’t left a review roughly three times, spacing each request out by five days.
4. Make your request … directly and politely
Let’s be honest: It’s exceedingly rare that customers will provide a review for you without being asked. (At least, that is, with the vast majority of customers. Highly displeased clients — and on a better note, extremely satisfied ones — are another story.
Once the time is right (typically once the transaction is complete and the customer is 100% satisfied — see above), politely and directly request the review in whatever way(s) you see fit. Review platforms like Judge.me make it easy to send these requests via email, but making your request via text messaging, phone calls and even in person is totally acceptable.
Be sure to thank the client for his or her business and let them know you’re looking forward to working with them again, and don’t be afraid to be honest/straightforward in mentioning that reviews are a big help for spreading the word about and growing your business. Most customers will totally understand, and especially if they feel well taken care of, many will be happy to oblige. To ramp up the likelihood of getting the review finalized, consider offering an incentive such as a discount on a future purchase or added loyalty-program points for completed reviews.
Pro marketing tip: At TBA Outdoors, we typically customize our review-request copy to ensure a friendly approach and add a bit of personalization. Saying genuine things like “we couldn’t do this without our great customers” or “thank you for spending your hard-earned money with us” can go a long way toward creating a stronger connection with customers.
Additionally, if a customer we’re reaching out to is a member of a TBAO client’s loyalty program, we will often reward them with loyalty points that can be used toward a future purchase, further endearing them to the brand and incentivizing repeat purchases.
5. Make it easy
Because customers must go out of their way and spend valuable personal time providing a review, it’s critical to make the process of leaving one as simple and painless as possible. Provide clear directions on how the customer can give their feedback, and facilitate the review in as few steps as possible on the consumer’s end.
Pro marketing tip: At TBA Outdoors, we customize our review-request email templates so that the customer is able to complete all needed fields and submit their review directly from within the email itself (as opposed to having to leave their email inbox and go to an outside website to fill it out). With each eliminated click on the customer’s end, the path to a conversion grows shorter — so the easier the path, the better.
We also advise our clients to include the capability to share images and videos with their reviews. This helps subsequent customers who read the reviews and might be on the verge of making a purchase get a better idea of exactly what the product/service is and how it can help them.
6. Keep asking
Just like everyone else, most of your customers likely lead busy lives. Feel free to send friendly reminders to your customers about completing their reviews — just be careful not to overdo it to the point of becoming a pest.
Pro marketing tip: At TBA Outdoors, we’ve found that five days is a reasonable interval between subsequent requests, and we generally top the total number of requests we send out to a customer in regards to a single transaction at three.
Could your outdoor brand benefit from the guidance of a team of highly experienced marketing professionals — to help you get more online reviews and reel in other types of business-boosting exposure? At TBA Outdoors, our fully integrated marketing firm firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover email marketing, SEO, brand strategy, creative, social media, e-commerce, analytics, public relations and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional guidance ranging from a simple web-store analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.