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This article was written by Duncan Jones. Duncan Jones leads a multi-channel growth marketing product at digital agency, Web Profits, and has seen first hand across clients in all industries the effect that positive reviews can have on a business’s website performance, marketing and ultimately their overall growth. He has written an 8,000+ word guide to review generation, which you can read here.

 

Reviews are extremely valuable.

They not only help brands improve every form of marketing and increase website conversion rates, but they can also supercharge the growth rate of a company. Despite this, many brands are making the same mistakes with their review generation strategies, turning an opportunity into a weakness.

Here are the most common ways brands are getting reviews wrong and what they should be doing instead.

1. Not asking for reviews

The most common mistake brands make is thinking that reviews will generate themselves organically over time. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Brands that don’t ask for reviews not only will have less reviews overall, but studies show they’ll also have lower star ratings due to the added motivation unhappy customers have to write an unprompted review.

What should brands do instead?

Simply asking for a review from every customer is better than no action at all. So start asking for reviews and watch both the volume of reviews and your average star rating increase.

2. Asking for reviews at the wrong time

Another mistake that brands make in their review generation strategy is getting their timing wrong. Whether they send the request too early and the customer is yet to experience the promised benefit, or they send it too late and the customer has forgotten about their interaction with the brand, getting the timing wrong can have a big impact on the success of a review generation strategy.

What should brands do instead?

To increase the chance of getting a review, and that review being positive, brands need to work out when their customers are at the height of their excitement and interaction with the brand, product or service, and ask for a review then.

3. Having reviews only on their own website

Because of how easy it is to setup, many brands proceed with creating review forms on their own website which they then push customers to – placing any reviews received directly onto a “reviews” page on the website. The problem with this? By only having reviews on their own website they’re missing out on some huge benefits from having reviews on other websites such as Facebook, Yelp or Google.

What should brands do instead?

Instead of directing customers to leave reviews on their own website, brands should push consumers to post reviews about the brand on carefully selected review collation platforms. By having reviews on third party platforms companies can generate website traffic and potentially gain sales from consumers using those sites. In some cases having reviews on the site can also increase a brand’s rankings, for example reviews placed on Amazon will positively impact their products rankings. Once placed on the third party website, reviews can then be transferred back to the brands site to be used how they wish.

4. Making the review process difficult for customers

When you’re asking for a review you’re asking your customers to give up their own time for nothing in return. Because of this, even the smallest inconvenience can stop them from writing a review. One mistake many brands make is creating difficulties in the review generation process either by asking way too many questions, or by sending customers to a review platform that’s hard to use or requires a lot of steps. This will lose your brand a lot of valuable reviews.

What should brands do instead?

Keep things simple. Ensure that when you’re asking for a review you minimize the amount of questions. Ideally, you should ask for a star rating and a small written review without a big list of questions. Make sure you’ve tested the review site and tried leaving a review to see how complicated the process is. If there’s any hassle you should avoid using it. Also ensure you shortcut people through to the review form on each site rather than sending them to the homepage.

5. Utilizing technology and automation to scale

Manually sending out review requests, checking review sites for reviews, and responding to them on multiple different platforms is a pain, yet that’s how many brands handle the review generation process. As a small business it may still be possible to handle reviews like that, but as you grow or as employees get busy with other projects then reviews will become neglected and not a priority impacting your overall review generation strategy.

What should brands do instead?

Brands should embrace technology that makes review management easier. There’s no reason a brand should be manually sending review requests. Instead they should use a system that sends review requests automatically once a certain period of time has passed or certain conditions have been met. This can be done regardless of the medium you’re using, be it email, SMS or even direct mail.

Brands should also use websites such as reviewtrackers.com to automatically collate all reviews from various platforms. This way brands can see every review and respond to them all in the one place, saving a significant amount of time – plus they can generate reports to showcase the positive impact of review generation.

6. Not responding to reviews

Many brands will celebrate a positive review and forget to respond, or feel deflated by a negative review and do nothing about it. The problem with this is you miss an opportunity to thank and retain a happy customer, or resolve the problems of an unhappy customer. A study published in Harvard Business Review found that just by responding to reviews, brands can increase their star rating and the number of reviews being generated due to consumers seeing them as more active.

What should brands do instead?

Make sure you reply to both positive and negative reviews. Thank positive reviewers for taking the time out of their busy day to leave you a review, and make sure to personalize the message to reinforce the customer’s positive feelings towards your brand. You’ll need to reply to all negative reviews as well, and when you do remember to take on board valid feedback and remain empathetic to show your brand cares about its customers. Also ensure that you guide the reviewer towards customer support as this can help you solve the problem and improve your customer relationships.

7. Not promoting the positive reviews they receive

The final way brands approach reviews incorrectly is by not using them for promotion. Reviews are absolute gold in your marketing strategy as your target market are more likely to believe real customer reviews as opposed to brand promotion. It can be a big missed opportunity if you don’t take advantage of customer reviews.

What should brands do instead?
Brand should take the positive reviews they receive and promote them in all the marketing they do, both online and offline. Whether it’s in Facebook ads or offline billboards, featuring individual reviews, star ratings and the number of reviews your brand receives will have a major impact on the results of the marketing. With the right request to a positive reviewer you can also turn positive reviews into video testimonials which will take promotion of the review to the next level.

Change your approach to reviews now

There’s lots of brands making these mistakes, but if you fine tune your review strategy and put in the time and effort to manage your reviews there’s a huge marketing opportunity and the chance to outperform your competitors.

Megan Wenzl

Megan is the Associate Editor for ReviewTrackers. She's a writer who is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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