I’m likely not telling you anything you don’t already know. Reviews are incredibly beneficial, whether you’re looking for a vacation property, a SAAS product for your B2B business, what kind of car to buy, or the best kind of nontoxic sunscreen to buy for your kids (bet you can’t guess what I’ve been working on this past week and the kinds of reviews I’ve been reading).
Smart brands realize that customer service doesn’t end when the product or service has been delivered. In fact, that’s just part of the equation. What happens after the sale can, in many instances, be just as important. Post sale reviews by satisfied customers allow you to produce dynamic, regularly updated and nearly real time content that can be used as a trust builder with your community. Post sale reviews can be used on your website, in your ecommerce store, on your Google+ page (bonus!), or on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever other social media channels you’re using to connect with your customers and prospects.
The kicker? Getting your customers to write reviews or testimonials or leave product or service ratings can be tricky. People are busy, reviews take time and, in many instances, it just doesn’t occur to someone to make time to write a review, even if they love your product. Here are some things you can do:
Start With A Strategy
You’ll need to create a strategy that starts will proactively reaching out to your customers post-sale to entice action following their purchase. And as you craft your ask, think about what’s in it for them. Your request of your customers to do something that’s essentially a huge benefit for you should also include a carefully crafted perk or offer that rewards them for completing the review. Think about it: how often are you compelled to do something that takes time and effort when there’s absolutely no benefit for you? Here are some additional points to consider.
Ask For The Review
Remember to ask. Develop your sales cycle so that within a certain time period after a purchase and delivery of the merchandise or services, you’ve set up an automated response trigger that generates a request for a product. Maybe consider offering a discount for future purchases or consider an extended warranty, which can be confirmed in the ‘your review has gone live’ message.
Reward Top Contributors
Everybody likes feeling like they’re special. Consider giving regular reviewers special treatment with perks such as a sneak preview of upcoming products or a secret sale that’s only available to VIP customers. Not only will you benefit from the continued support of these brand advocates, but you’ll make them feel special and valued—and that will help encourage them to remain loyal to your brand.
Don’t assume that people know all the different products that you sell. Tempt them to want to buy more by including a ‘People who bought this item also bought’ snippet with previous reviews to increase cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. This is also an effective way to help market new products or services that align with a customer’s previous purchase habits.
Spread The Word
Be sure to include a call to action for the recipient to share the review with his or her social network by way of sharing buttons that are prominently placed on the review site. Remember: the easier you make it for a customer to do something, the more likely he or she will oblige.
Test, Test, Test
Whatever your strategy, remember to never be satisfied with the results you’ve got. Test, test and test again on a regular basis all aspects of your review program to see what works best for you—and your customers. Which incentives produce the best results? When is the best time to send your post-purchase message? Is one review request enough or should you follow up a non-responder? The secret to success when it comes to the online world is to never quit mining and analyzing your data and fine-tuning your operations based on what your data tells you.
In summary, by paying close attention to your data and regular testing, and by integrating your review platform with your digital marketing platform, you’ll be in a position to include customized recommendations and product ratings in pre-purchase, promotional and transactional emails. These reviews and recommendations, when targeted to a prospect’s interests, are likely to be much more relevant, leading to a greater interest and ultimately increased sales and revenues.
I love data. It’s truly the most important component of your overall marketing strategy and there are so many ways to use your data to drive sales. What about you? Have you put any sort of strategy and promotions in place to encourage customer reviews? What are you finding that works?
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