Is it possible?
Can your online reviews really generate 108 percent more revenue for your business?
Research from Womply says yes — “businesses with more than 9 fresh reviews (posted within the past 90 days) earn 52 percent more than average and those with more than 25 earn 108 percent more than average.”
Reviews have a huge impact on revenue.
When doubling your reviews is a disaster
Isn’t it a good thing if you have a strong review portfolio with lots of five-star reviews, the kind that generates more revenue?
Absolutely, but that’s not the norm.
When it comes to online reviews, most companies have:
- Unresolved or lingering problems: If customers consistently complain about the same specific issues in their reviews, it’s wise to address this before generating more reviews. This seems like common sense, but it’s really not, especially if you feel the issue customers are complaining about isn’t really a serious issue.
- An unbalanced review portfolio: All (or most) of their reviews are on a single site (i.e., Yelp) and low/no reviews on other sites. These companies have put all of their eggs in one basket; as a result, their search visibility, traffic, and revenue is poor.
- Coached reviews from customers: These reviews read like a script as if they’re full of fluff. Instead of drawing customers in, they repel. Customers feel there’s something off about these reviews. These reviews are dangerous because they create distrust in all of your reviews, especially if customers accuse you of writing fake reviews or coaching customers.
- Low/no reviews on relevant sites: These companies have lots of reviews on their preferred review sites but not much anywhere else. As a result, their visibility in organic and local search is poor. If your visibility is poor, your traffic and revenue will be too.
This isn’t the type of review portfolio that generates revenue. If you’re looking to double your online reviews, you’ll need to focus on:
- Creating a list of triggering events, criteria, and templates you can use to request reviews.
- Generating and maintaining a 5 to 1 review ratio.
- Spreading your online reviews out across top-performing review sites.
- Completing your review profiles, adding images, video, descriptions, contact details, and more.
- Creating an irresistible offer that gives customers a strong incentive to buy.
- Responding to customer feedback when they leave an online review.
- Optimizing your profile in review sites to maximize your performance in search.
See what I mean?
These details provide you with the structure you need to build a strong review portfolio. The stronger your review portfolio, the stronger your search visibility. The stronger your search visibility, the more traffic, conversions, and revenue you’ll receive over time.
Here’s why doubling your online reviews is essential.
- Customers discount reviews that are older than 3 months. If you’re interested in generating consistent results, you’ll need a constant stream of reviews coming in.
- Your competitors are nipping at your heels. They’re doing their best to surpass your business. Allow them to pass you, and suddenly they’re receiving the lion’s share of search traffic from Google.
- Review sites fall out of favor. Yelp saw a 3 percent decline in search traffic after a Google update. Each of these review sites (except for Google reviews) is vulnerable to a major search update. Diversification enables you to head your bets; there’s no need to worry about which review site is popular with Google if you focus on all of them.
- Your review portfolio is in a constant state of decline. If you rest on your laurels, the effectiveness of your review portfolio declines. You’ll need to focus your attention on continuous improvement if you’d like to see consistent results.
Doubling your reviews keeps your business alive. Your organization is under constant pressure to perform.
What you'll need to double your online reviews
You’ll need a review governance plan that outlines the right people, products, and processes you’ll need to manage your reviews. If you’re not prepared, you risk flooding your company with negative reviews, which will only hurt your business.
What does this include?
- Deciding who’s in charge of review management: Is it your customer support team, marketing department, business owner, or marketing agency?
- Creating review management protocols: If you’re using review management software, you’ll want to set up rules and notifications for each of the review platforms in your list, so they’re able to respond to reviews as they come in.
- Creating employee incentive programs: What can you do/offer to motivate employees, so they’re more willing to request reviews? Which employees can participate?
- Creating a response policy: Which reviews do you respond to (all, positive, negative, neutral) and when? Will you provide employees with scripts and templates they can use? Are they free to respond as they need to, or do they need to answer specifically as outlined in your documentation? What should the overall tone of their responses be? How much authority will responders have/receive to solve/resolve customer concerns?
- Setting reporting guidelines: Create a review reporting plan outlining who will receive the reports (e.g., executives, dept. managers, directors, etc.). Which reviews will be shared with employees? Will employees in your incentive program receive more data than those who are not participating?
- Setting distribution guidelines for incentives: Determine when employees receive review generation incentives. Are incentives distributed privately, publicly (inside the company?)
Okay, you’re ready.
Let’s take a look at some non-traditional tactics you can use to double your online reviews. It’s important that you use these tactics across all of your review profiles.
What does this mean?
If you’re running a clinic or healthcare practice, don’t focus on a small number of review platforms. Build reviews across various sites (Google Reviews, Yelp, Healthgrades, Zocdoc, WebMD, Vitals, Solv, etc.). Focus on the most popular sites first, then drill down.
Let’s get started.
Tactic #1: Talking to your unhappy customers
You’re bound to have a few negative reviews. Customers aren’t always happy with your work; sometimes, you make mistakes. Sometimes things don’t go the way we plan.
What if they leave a negative review?
Believe it or not, you can turn these negative reviews into positive reviews. New customers will also be encouraged to leave reviews when they see how you resolved their problem.
Here’s how you do it.
- Make a list of your negative reviews. Look for customers who had a legitimate problem or concern and left a negative review. Serious or previously engaged customers are ideal.
- Segment your list. Eliminate toxic people — trolls, ragers, sadists, and abusive customers. Avoid these customers like the plague unless you have a very good reason to engage.
- Create an irresistible offer to entice customers. If you’re running a hotel, you could offer complementary services or extend your customers’ stay. It could be tickets to an in-demand event. Whatever it is, it has to be irresistible to customers.
- Pitch unhappy customers. Approach each of the customers who meet your criteria. Make it clear that you’re looking to make things right.
- Make their experience memorable: Go above and beyond do everything in your power to fix the problems your customers mentioned in their review. Roll out the red carpet to ensure staff is on their best behavior. Do what you can to restore the relationship.
Here’s a template you can use when you’re ready to reach out.
I’m so sorry you had a poor experience with us. Your feedback makes a lot of sense, and I appreciate you taking the time to let us know.
Would you allow us to make it up to you?
I’d like to resolve the issues you went through personally. If you’re interested, please contact me at [email protected].
This is helpful because it allows you to take the conversation offline (if there are privacy concerns). You’re able to work things out for customers, but you’re also able to do it on your terms.
Tactic #2: Talking to your competitor's unhappy customers
Remember the tactic I just mentioned in step one? It’s excellent because it’s a tactic you can use with your competitors.
Isn’t this sleazy?
Well yeah, it absolutely is if you go about it the wrong way. Do that, and it’s more likely to backfire horribly.
So what’s the right way?
First, you’ll want to follow a few ground rules.
- Be kind, respectful, and honorable: Don’t bash, mock, or belittle your competitors on their own review profiles. Look for ways to help customers resolve their problems; ignore your competitors, touch on their mistakes only when necessary.
- Use this at the right time: This tactic isn’t a replacement for your everyday review requests. Rather, this is a tactic you can use to capitalize on a major failure or flaw on your competitor’s part. A major failure would be a social or political faux pas, major supply or fulfillment crisis, systemic problems, chronic (and well-known) mistakes, or something that reveals an ethics deficiency.
- Expect blowback and hate: Your competitors will treat you as a poacher (which you are). Your poaching is justifiable so long as your competitors have failed in some way. If your competitors are beloved, you should also expect some hatred from their customers as well.
Here’s a template you can customize.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this.
If you’re not getting the help you need, we can fix this for you. It should take about [1 hr]. Just reach out to [[email protected]], and we’ll get this resolved for you.
If it feels uncomfortable, or you’re feeling nervous, you’re probably on the right track. Just make sure you’re following the ground rules.
Tactic #3: Unexpected check-in or onboarding [random call to help]
Prospects are used to being courted. Customers are used to being ignored.
That’s the unpleasant truth.
Random onboarding calls are a great way to build strong relationships with your customers. You can reach out to customers randomly, or you can set up various performance tripwires in your business. Here’s a small list of tripwires you can use to reach out to customers.
- Time between orders. If it takes customers longer and longer to place their usual order, it may be a good idea to find out why. You can check in with customers
- Going silent. Some of your customers are vocal; they’re constantly talking to you about various parts of your business or their experience. It can be annoying until they stop. When they do, it’s a great time to reach out.
- Decreased spending. If your regulars are spending less, it’s a good time to reach out with check-in or offer assistance.
- Partially used products or services. If you’re a SaaS company and you notice that customers are getting stuck on a particular step or process in your app, it may be a good idea to reach out. If you notice customers aren’t using your products or services, use onboarding or a check-in call to reach out.
Make a list of the tripwires you can use in your business.
Then reach out when customers experience these problems. It’s a great way to build a strong relationship with customers, and it’s also an easy way to boost customer retention numbers.
Tactic #4: Poster boy
This works well for services and SaaS companies.
Poster boy is great if you have good relationships with a customer and you also use their products or services. This strategy relies on the law of reciprocation, and it’s fairly simple. You write a helpful, factual, and compelling review for your customer.
Then you reach out to them, and you request a review.
The more you do for them (e.g., write reviews on multiple sites), the more they’re likely to do for you. Here’s the thing about Poster boy. It works best if you’re proactive. If you’re already using a suite of products or services and you have a point of contact, write reviews for them and mention your point of contact by name in your review.
Then let them know about it.
You can ask for a review as well, or you can simply let them know that you did it.
Wait a minute.
What if you write a review for them, but they don’t write one for you? That’s the fear, isn’t it?
There’s an easy way to solve this problem.
Figure out what type of giver you’re dealing with. Adam Grant, Ph.D. Wharton professor and author of the book Give and Take, states there are three kinds of givers.
- Givers. These people are altruistic givers who go out of their way to share their time, knowledge, resources, connections, and support with those around them with no strings attached and no expectation of return.
- Matchers preserve balance. If you take from them, they take from you. If you give to them, they give to you. They’re all about maintaining balance.
- Takers are self-focused. They put their interests ahead of the needs of others. They try to take as much as they can from others while giving or contributing as little as they can in return.
Look at the relationship you’ve had with your point of contact and the company.
Are they generous or stingy?
Profile your vendors and providers, and you’ll know when and where to use Poster boy. Here’s a template you can use once you’ve written your reviews:
I wanted to thank you for how you’ve taken care of us so far. You’ve been super attentive, and that’s made a huge difference for us.
I wrote a review about my experience with you on [Google Reviews]; here’s a link.
Thanks for taking good care of us.
Tactic #5: Defensive reviews
Have you ever had a nasty review?
The kind of toxic, brutal, or vindictive review that’s all about hurting or manipulating you? Maybe you’ve had to deal with a lying customer who’s decided to post something libelous about your business.
It’s not fun, is it?
It stings, but it’s also an opportunity in disguise. These toxic customers can create a whole lot of trouble for you. But they can also trigger an avalanche of amazing, five-star reviews.
Here’s how you do it.
If you’re using review monitoring software *cough* you’ll see these toxic reviews as they come in. As soon as you see these reviews, you can send out a broadcast (via email or text) to your customers that read like this:
Subject: They wrote a nasty review about us, can you help?
Someone by the name of [reviewer name] just wrote a nasty review about us.
This review isn’t true because [reason].
This review will appear in Google and Bing within 48 hours. It’ll hurt our business as soon as it does. Would you be willing to share your experience publicly? It would really help.
(It’s okay if you can’t).
Thank you for your trust and support.
This strategy is amazing because it gives you a compelling reason to reach out to all of the stragglers, the people who haven’t written a review about your business for one reason or another.
This tactic would give them another chance, especially if they blew you off the first time.
If they respond with a ‘Yes’, make the process as easy as possible; send them instructions outlining what needs to be done. Be as concise as possible.
Tactic #6: Customer anniversary or milestone
This tactic is self-explanatory.
Simply keep track of customer anniversaries, birthdays, and milestones, then reach out to customers when those dates arrive.
What do you say, though?
Reaching out to customers with a “give me a review” request on their customer anniversary is not a good look. It looks like it’s self-serving, and frankly, it comes off as really inconsiderate.
Because it is.
Instead, offer customers a gift, a free product, service, offer, etc.
You can use specific modifiers to motivate customers to use your free gift. These modifiers could be:
- Vanishing offer: This is free to you for [2 days, 12 hrs, 41 min.] but we’re going to be selling this for $149 after.
- Loss aversion: We have 3 [products] left; we can only afford to do this for 5 clients. We want you to have this.
- Share with a friend: We’ll give you 2x more for free, but you have to share with a friend.
Send your review request after your customer has successfully redeemed your gift or offer. As far as the gift is concerned, be a good giver. Make sure your gift is something your customers actually want. Not sure what you should be giving them? Ask customers!
Tactic #7: Pre-sales for a new product/service launch
This is another straightforward tactic.
Pre-sell your products or services then, ask these early customers for their feedback and ideas for improving or changing your product or service. Here’s a template you can use to do just that.
You’re one of the first people to buy [product/service]. You took a risk, and (hopefully) it paid off for you.
Thanks so much for your trust.
I have a question for you. Did we make you happy? Was this product what you expected, or did you feel like something was missing?
Be honest, we can take it.
You’re one of our most knowledgeable customers, so your feedback means a lot to us. Thanks for your support.
You can use this for new product launches, a relaunch, pre-sales, and any sort of early bird offer.
Tactic #8: The professional (amateur) reviewer
Segment your customer list.
Treat a select group of customers like a professional reviewer you’ve invited to review your product or service. Make sure the offer is compelling, unexpected, and totally genuine; set a date range for your offer (e.g., 30 – 90 days). Prepare your staff accordingly, so they’re aware of the unexpected visitors coming.
Then, wow these customers.
When they arrive unexpectedly, knock their socks off. You don’t know when they’re coming so this means you’ll have to deliver this kind of service to everyone.
You can do it.
Then, once your date range has expired, tell your customers what you did and ask them to share their feedback on your performance. You’ll want to send this to everyone except the customers who have already reviewed your product or service.
You’ll get customers from your segment.
But you’ll also receive a flood of reviews from customers who weren’t in your particular segment. Here’s a template you can use to tell customers what happened.
Subject: [Name], today is Judgment Day
30 days ago we launched a secret program.
We wanted to answer a specific question for each customer.
“Did we make you happy?”
We gave a group of customers the chance to rate our performance anonymously. We paid for everything, but we weren’t allowed to know who we were talking to or when they would use our [product/service].
Today is judgment day.
How did we do? If you’re receiving this email, we want to know, “Did we make you happy?”
Tell us here: YourDomain.com
You can use this strategy repeatedly to answer very specific and pointed questions.
- Did you receive your order within 15 min.?
- Were you able to speak with a real person within 5 minutes?
- Was your order delivered on time?
- Were you seated within 3 min. 30 sec.?
You can use this strategy to consistently squeeze out more reviews and customer feedback. And the best part about all of this? Your customers receive the obvious message – you care about them.
It’s a win/win.
Use these tactics, and you'll double your reviews
If you’re consistently requesting reviews, you should have a stream of feedback from your customers. Add the eight tactics we’ve discussed, and you’ll be able to double the number of reviews you receive.
It’s a straightforward process.
Your online reviews really can generate 108 percent more revenue for your business, but it begins with your ask. The better you are at providing value, the easier it’ll be to request and receive the amazing reviews you deserve.
Doubling your reviews shouldn’t lead to disaster. Use the right set of strategies and tactics, and you’ll see a significant revenue increase over time.