Social proof is ever so important for e-commerce retailers, as a "feel-good" barrier stands tall between your site and the folks at the other end of the keyboard. Your offer may look tempting and you may have designed your site perfectly well, with a logical progression, your calls to action and your friendly checkout process. First-time buyers still face an urge to find out a little more, so that they feel they are doing the right thing and discover if others have found success. Incorporating testimonials and reviews within your site makes a great deal of sense.
You should try and incorporate a system to help gather and promote reviews on your site. Don’t make this haphazard or trust that people will just do it, as with the best will in the world, everyone is time strapped these days and it’ll just slip their mind. Consider these six steps to help you set up a system to gather reviews automatically.
1. Once you have committed to sending e-mails to buyers, you need to set up your autoresponder system to send out a mail asking for a review within a certain timeframe. There are a number of different ideas here but we recommend between five and 10 days after purchase. You obviously need to give a little bit of time for them to enjoy and to form an opinion about your product or service, but don’t leave it too long in case they forget.
2. Try and give the recipient an incentive of some kind in return for their response. It always helps to prompt them, so that they will spend their time filling out the details and you could consider a discount against a future purchase or entrance into a draw for an object of value. You never know, if you include the discount against a future purchase, they may even use this incentive right away and put additional money into your coffers right there and then.
3. It is very important to be crystal clear about the purpose of your e-mail. Always include the keyword "review" in your subject line and maybe mention the incentive as well. Unless you are clear here, the mail will be seen as just another promotional piece and may be discarded.
4. Don’t assume too much. In other words remind the mail recipient that they purchased product or service "X" from you, including a graphic or photographs relating to the item to jog their memory. You may be quite clear about the purpose of the e-mail, but don’t leave any questions in their minds, as your goal is to get a good conversion rate here. Have a clear call to action with a prominent link to the review landing page.
5. Landing pages should be self explanatory, not require them to jump through too many hoops and be simple to interact with. Do not put any obstacles in their path by keeping the number of boxes to check or to fill in as low as possible.
6. Consider what you would like your reviewers to say. If you want more detailed feedback, referring to particular facets of your service or features of your product, then you could prompt accordingly. Remember that you do not want to make this process too cumbersome or time-consuming and try not to make any assumptions here, either.
Do not underestimate the power of reviews. Consider including some elements of constructive criticism within your published reviews, as this adds an element of realism that your prospective buyers may well appreciate.
Do you respond to requests for reviews?