How to Grow Reviews to Grow your Brand
Consumer reviews on eComm sites have long been recognized as critical to fueling brand growth. More and more, consumers rely on the feedback of past purchasers to decide if a product is the best option for them. A recent survey showed that a whopping 95% of consumers rely on reviews to help evaluate a product. Outside of helping consumers make informed choices, reviews have another purpose: helping brands make more informed decisions about how to grow their business.
4Sight is built on the foundation that leveraging User Generated Content (UGC) in the form of reviews aids in uncovering crucial insights into what consumers want and need. Reviews can provide a better path to unlocking these insights even more so than traditional methods such as surveys and focus groups, or research methods that center social media such as social listening. We have positioned our Compass Report (which takes a broad look at categories, what’s driving the top of the category further up and the bottom further down) and our brand-focused, bespoke Insights Miner on reviews, recognizing that reviews are a powerful market research tool.
For established brands, particularly those who have been selling in the eComm space for years, reviews are often organically collected, providing a large data set from which to draw insights. But for newer brands, new initiatives for established brands, and brands that have not traditionally been on eComm sites, this can present a challenge.
To generate more reviews, there are a number of options to pursue. Whether the review is on Amazon or Walmart.com, Yelp, Google Reviews or your own DTC site, there are ethical and legal considerations to take into account.
It would be ideal if every consumer who had a great experience with your brand left a review – but that’s certainly not going to be case. People are busy. Many will find a reminder helpful, and it’s also important to make the review process as uncomplicated as possible.
Encourage/Request a review: The key here is to make sure you’re requesting a review at the right time during the buyer’s journey. For a consumer good, doing so directly after purchase doesn’t provide enough time for the consumer to engage with the product. A good rule of thumb is two weeks after its purchase. You may also request a review when a consumer reorders, or if they’re spending time on your website browsing other products or services.
Another important consideration is how to solicit these reviews: via email marketing, your website, social media or even as a text. Amazon allows sellers to request reviews via Seller Central, though shoppers may unsubscribe from these messages.
Be consistent but not annoying, and make the process as seamless as possible: include a direct link, provide a prompt, give options for platform of choice, and even let them know how long it will take to leave the review. Be sure to read the review site’s guidelines on solicited reviews before making any request.
Create Different Spaces to Leave Reviews: Your product or service will often dictate the space where consumers should leave reviews. The more options you can provide, the more likely a consumer is to provide their honest feedback. For service-oriented brands, Google Reviews, Yelp, and Facebook are all appropriate. For consumer goods, Google and Facebook may be appropriate, as well as Amazon, Influenster, Target or another category-specific site.
Use promotional reviews: Amazon has Vine, which allows for up to 30 promotional reviews. Reviewers receive a free or discounted product with the promise of leaving an honest and helpful review for potential customers. Many brands also do this via their websites. It’s vital to note that the review was given in exchange for a free or discounted product. Brands can also do this via Influenster’s VoxBox and the like.
Respond When Possible – Even when the Review is Negative: Whether thanking the consumer for their time to leave a great review, or taking the time to respond to critical feedback, responding to reviews can help your business in the long term. Harvard Business Review found that businesses responding to negative reviews online resulted in better ratings overall. And a survey from Bright Local found that 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all of its reviews.
Increased review volume often translates to higher sales and more organic traffic. It can also translate to better insights that will lead to even more brand growth. By encouraging reviews and making sure the process is smooth, brands can stand out from the competition.