Soliciting Reviews: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

by Grace Miller |

Soliciting Reviews: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

When your ecommerce or omnichannel retail brand implements a Ratings and Reviews solution, it obviously won’t be of any use unless your customers actually submit reviews. Especially since 45% of customers share negative reviews on social media, compared to 30% who share positive reviews, it’s crucial to get ahead of the curve and get satisfied customers to write reviews. In order to fully reap the benefits of Ratings and Reviews–which include SEO boosts, increased brand authenticity and trust, helpful information for prospective buyers, feedback for merchandisers, and more–you must solicit them.

It’s All About Timing

Post-purchase emails are the most effective method of soliciting reviews. Of course, customers are most excited about a product in the first few weeks after they receive it. But the proper time frame for soliciting reviews depends on the type of product.

  • If you sell seasonal products, like holiday decor or Halloween costumes, you should send your post-purchase solicitation 7 days after customers get your products. Seasonal products are only relevant for a short while, so it’s best to not hesitate when it comes to this category.
  • If you sell perishable goods, we recommend that you send emails 7 to 14 days after customers’ packages arrive. It’s wise to give customers time to enjoy your products, but you’re still dealing with a short timeframe.
  • If you’re a purveyor of soft goods like clothing, skin care products, or supplements, you should send solicitation emails 14 to 21 days after customers gets their orders. With something like clothing, customers will know sooner whether or not they like the product, but you’ll still want to give them some time to wear the clothing, note its quality, and see how they feel in it. With skin care product or supplements, customers won’t know the effects of the product for a short while.
  • If you specialize in hard goods, like household appliances or consumer electronics, it’s necessary to give customers some time to appreciate the technical aspects and quality of your products. You should send post-purchase emails 21 days after they open up their package from you.

If your solicitation emails don’t succeed the first time, it’s appropriate to send another request about 7 days after your initial email.

Another effective way of using timing to your advantage is to include a package insert with each shipment. It can help customers to have a physical reminder to write a review, and the fact that they see this solicitation when they first open their orders capitalizes on their excitement.

Or, Let Someone Else Do the Work

Beyond these more conventional methods, Annex Cloud offers a Review Sourcing Accelerator (RSA), a specialized algorithm for soliciting reviews. The RSA tests within a selected date period (e.g. 7 to 14 days after the product arrives) to find the best date and time to send solicitation emails in order to garner the most reviews. It optimizes this through continual testing, resulting in a much higher number of reviews.

Give Them One Good Reason

Judging from our experience, supplementing solicitations with incentives is an extremely effective strategy.

Of course, incentives are not given to solicit positive reviews, since that would work against the authenticity of the reviews. However incentives given to solicit reviews–whether they’re positive or negative–generally result in more positive reviews and is what should be promoted.

If you have a loyalty program on your site, it’s easy to reward customers with points for writing a review. Aside from its simplicity, integrating review solicitations with loyalty creates a more holistic experience for your customers. Of course, you must also implement some sort of point limitation so your customers don’t take advantage of the program and spam your site with poor quality reviews.

An example of a site that rewards customer loyalty points to those who write a review.
An example of a site that rewards customer loyalty points to those who write a review.

Even if you don’t have a loyalty platform, you can still reward customers with a discount for writing a review. We recommend that you give customers a dollar off amount, opposed to a percentage, this way there is no issue of customers who write multiple reviews trying to stack percentages.

An example of the practice of giving a discount on a future order in exchange for a published review.
An example of the practice of giving a discount on a future order in exchange for a published review.

Review solicitation incentives also provide an opportunity to get creative. Consider running contests in which customers who write reviews get an extra entry, or providing reviewers with early access to a special sale or product launch.

Ask Nicely

How you phrase your solicitation emails will often make the difference between whether or not customers write reviews. While this is a vital step, many of the widely applicable best practices are old news. At the risk of being redundant, here’s what we recommend:

  • Keep it simple: Don’t go into a whole soliloquy about why you’d like your customers to write reviews. Get right to the point and don’t waste their time.
  • Try some humor: Depending on your brand’s image, it could be extremely helpful to add a funny or clever point of view to the email. Humor will humanize your company and make your customers more sympathetic to you. Fortune, Hubspot, and Inc are among the media outlets that advocate using humor in marketing strategies, as long as it’s done well, of course.
  • Add a personal touch: Mention your customers’ names in subject lines as well as in the main text of emails. According to Marketing Land and Experian, personalized subject lines have a 26% higher unique open rate than non-personalized emails.
  • Make the call to action easy to find: Since the whole purpose of these emails is to get your customers to write reviews, you must make it quick and easy for customers to take that action. Make a “Write a Review” button that stands out, and place it towards the beginning of your email. If customers have to scroll down or squint to see it, they probably won’t click through.
  • Use A/B testing to determine how these strategies and their different variants work for you. Don’t forget to measure your results!

We’ll have more posts soon about the other triggered emails you should send to reviewers. In the meantime, make sure to check out our other blog posts on Ratings and Reviews content and design best practices. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or to schedule a demo!

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