Review Management’s Low-Hanging Fruit: Getting Customer Reviews That Are Valuable AND Easy

Garrett SussmanCustomer Reviews, Local Marketing, Reputation Management, Review MarketingLeave a Comment

Review Management’s Low-Hanging Fruit: Getting Customer Reviews That Are Valuable AND Easy

Research shows 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business if they're asked. In spite of this, earning positive reviews from happy customers is still a major challenge for many small businesses. The concept of easy reviews can feel like an oxymoron sometimes.

The reason?

Obstacles. Customers aren't as motivated to write an amazing review when they're forced to deal with unnecessary obstacles. This is compensated by the fact that review sites aren't created equal. A review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp supersedes the value of a review on other sites. But it's still important for brands to focus on directory and niche sites.

A balanced review portfolio means you're less vulnerable to the unexpected (a wave of negative reviews on Facebook, for example). It also makes it easy for customers.

Easy reviews boost your review quantity

For easy reviews, it's all about reducing friction.

MecLabs defines user friction as "psychological resistance to a given element in the conversion process." That's basically what you're looking to reduce here. You'll want to minimize the amount of friction your customers experience at any given point in your review funnel.

Your customers experience friction in a variety of places.

1. Customers feel implicit pressure to leave a positive review

2. Some customers want (but are afraid) to leave a negative review

3. Happy and satisfied customers don't know what to say in their review

4. Customers prefer to leave their review with a directory or niche site of their choosing

5. You don't have a company profile on the review site they selected

6. Niche or industry specific review sites require a significant amount of time and attention

If you're looking to capture more of the low hanging fruit in your review management campaigns, you'll need to eliminate or minimize friction in these areas. This makes things a bit more difficult for you, but much easier for your customers.

Automation makes 'easy reviews' doable for everyone

With the right set of automation tools, you can earn the five star reviews your business needs to grow consistently. Using an email, text, or MMS autoresponder sequence, you can reduce a large amount of the friction that your customers feel.

Here are 144 review request templates that you can use to create your own autoresponder sequences.

You can customize these templates for your business. You can create a review request autoresponder sequence that's sent through your review management platform or integrated with your email marketing provider.

Here's what that looks like:

Subject: Have we been helpful today?

Hi [Name],

Thanks for choosing [business name]. How did we do? Would you take a few seconds to share your feedback?

Your feedback not only helps us, it helps other potential customers.

Takes 90 seconds or less.

Share your Review [review funnel link]

We wouldn't be here without you. Thank you for your business and support!

[Signature]

Here's an SMS template version you can send:

SMS version: Have we been helpful today? Would you recommend us to someone else? Why? Share your feedback here: [review funnel link]

If customers ignore your first email (you can see open and click through stats via the Grade.us platform), you can follow up with something like this:

Subject: Did we make you happy?

Hi [Customer Name],

[Your Name] here. You're one of our best customers. Can I get your thoughts on these 5 questions? Should only take 3 minutes.

1. What would have prevented you from buying [product/service]?

2. What did you find as a result of buying [product/service]?

3. What did you like most about our [product/service]?

4. What would be three other benefits to this [product/service]?

5. Would you recommend [business] to someone else? Why?

We love to make things better for you. These questions help us do that.

Will you help?

[Signature]

Here's the second SMS version you can send:

SMS version: Did we make you happy? Share your feedback here: [review funnel link]. Takes 90 seconds.

If customers still haven't responded you can work to uncover any hidden objections with a third and final email:

Subject: What do you really think about us?

 Hi [Name],

They want to know what you think. Our new customers are interested in your feedback. What do you really think about us? Would you be willing to share your experience with them?

Only takes 90 seconds.

Share it all, the good and the bad parts of your experience.

Share your Review [review funnel link]

[Signature]

Here's the SMS version of that third email template:

SMS version: What do you really think about us? Other customers want to know. Would you share your feedback? Only takes 90 seconds: [review funnel link]

See what I did there?

With this simple campaign, you've captured the low hanging fruit. Those easy reviews. You've made it easy for your existing customers to share amazing reviews.

Feel free to modify these templates (and the other templates I've linked to). You want to create a campaign that's relevant for your business and industry.

At this point, you've eliminated the first four areas of friction for your existing customers.

  • You’ve relieved any implicit pressure customers feel to leave a positive review
  • You’ve communicated that it’s okay for them to be honest
  • You’ve given happy and satisfied customers a set of questions to direct their thinking
  • You’ve sent them a review link that gives them the ability to choose the review platform, directory, or niche review site that they prefer

You're on the home stretch!

Now it's time to eliminate the last two objections, mentioned above.

5. You don't have a company profile on the review site they selected

6. Niche or industry specific review sites require a significant amount of time and attention

Step five is easy, simply follow the steps our review management checklist and your company will be present in the mainstream, directory, or niche review sites that matter to customers. This leaves the review sites themselves.

Review sites are occasionally the problem

When a company asks their customers to leave a review on one of these sites, the customer is expecting the process of the review to be as simple as choosing a star rating and leaving a nice, thoughtful comment.

Most online review sites have goals of website traffic and user counts. At the very least, they need you to sign up for an account on their site in order to leave a review (there are actually a few exceptions!). Besides their own business goals, authenticating the reviewer adds credibility to the review.

Actual verified customers of the company increase the authenticity of the review further.

Authenticating themselves via their Facebook or Google account can instantly remove the painful barrier of the typical account signup process. As opposed to filling out a form with their contact details that may or may not be shared with other companies, using FB or Google to verify the reviewer feels less intrusive.

Let’s take a look at the review sites that are both valuable and easy for customers to leave reviews.

Note:
Hover over the cards to see the integration on the back. (All traffic statistics from SimilarWeb.com)

Directory Sites


Directories still have a ton of value beyond citations. Many directories allow consumers to leave reviews.

120K Monthly Visitors

Local search word-of-mouth web community enabling friends and groups to swap recommendations about attractions, restaurants, and local businesses.

Login Option:

-Completely Anonymous as 'Guest'
-No Email Necessary

Visit

5.71 Million Monthly Visitors

Consumeraffairs.com offers consumer news, reviews, complaints, resources, safety recalls, and more.

Login Option:

- Twitter Sign in
- Facebook Sign in
- Google Sign in
- Yahoo Sign in
- Email Sign in

Visit

23.32 Million Monthly Visitors

The Yellow Pages local search connects you with millions of local businesses. Find people and find the right businesses and get things done.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

1.3 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 5.8 Million Monthly Visitors )

Superpages.com is a local business directory that includes: phone, ratings and reviews, maps, driving directions, address, website, hours of operation and more.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

32.78 Million Monthly Visitors

Foursquare City Guide will lead you to the perfect spot -- anywhere in the world. Get helpful, positive tips from our trusted global community and keep track of where you've been and where you want to go, all in one place.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

768.55 Thousand Monthly Visitors

Find local business listings, driving directions, maps, people and local information at dexknows.com.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

877.01 Thousand Monthly Visitors

Compare prices and read store reviews by real customers, compare products.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

1.62 Million Monthly Visitors

A consumer advocacy site that aggregates upset customer reviews. Not necessarily the type of site that you want to earn reviews.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Twitter Account
-LinkedIn Account
-Google Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

9.85 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 12.8 Million Monthly Visitors)

Find great small businesses around the corner and across the country or become one of the 1000 small businesses that will join our community today.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

521.49 Thousand Monthly Visitors

(Down from 2.2 Million Monthly Visitors)

MerchantCircle is the largest social network for local business owners. Services include free online business listings, free marketing tools, and internet advertising.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

1.1 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 1.7 Million Monthly Visitors)

Search for local businesses on Yellowbook. Find the latest business listings, reviews, phone numbers, addresses, maps, directions and more.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

1.07 Million Monthly Visitors

(Up from 900K Monthly Visitors)

CitySearch guides share information on restaurants, bars, night clubs, hotels, shops, spas, events, attractions, yellow page listings and more. Find reviews, recommendations, directions and information on all the latest venues and businesses.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

10.48 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 12.7 Million Monthly Visitors in 2016)

The Better Business Bureau helps consumers find businesses and charities they can trust. Read trusted BBB ratings, customer reviews, contact your local BBB, file a complaint, report a scam, read consumer news tips and more.

Login Option:

-No Account of Email Necessary

-Anonymous reviewing

-Reviews Syndicated Across various Online Review Sites (increased visibility and prestige).

Visit

Travel and Hospitality Sites


Businesses in the travel industry understand the power of TripAdvisor. Get quality reviews on TripAdvisor and they’ll syndicate on many other travel review sites. Fortunately, it’s also easy to sign up for TripAdvisor via Google, Facebook or email.

2.72 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 5 Million Monthly Visitors) Fodor's is a publisher of English language travel and tourism information and the first relatively professional producer of travel guidebooks.

Login Options:

-Twitter Account
-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

85.65 Million Monthly Visitors

AirBnB is an online marketplace and hospitality service brokerage company. Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences.

Login Options:

- Facebook Account
- Google Account
-Email (Account Sign Up)

Visit

52.8 Million Monthly Visitors

Search & compare hundreds of thousands hotels to find the right room using real guest reviews. Earn free nights & get our Best Price Guarantee.

No Login

Reviews Syndicated from:

Trip Advisor

Visit

1.1 Million Monthly Visitors

Explore everything from luxury bed and breakfasts to sprawling inns. Browse photos and reviews, and book a unique hotel or B&B for your vacation, wedding, etc.

Login Option:

-Email (Account Sign Up)

Visit

49.43 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 52.8 Million Monthly Visitors)

Find cheap hotels and discounts. Compare hotel deals, offers and read unbiased reviews on hotels.

Login Options:

- Facebook Account
- Google Account
- Email (Account Sign Up)

Visit

428.17 Million Monthly Visitors

(Up from 316 Million Monthly Visitors)

Big savings on hotels in 120,000 destinations worldwide. Browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

13.98 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 14.4 Million Monthly Visitors)

Book & Save at Travelocity. Best Price Guarantee On Over 321, 000 Hotels. Flight, Packages, Cars, and Travel Planning. Wander Wisely Today!

Login Options:

Need to sign up for Travelocity account via email and book through the site to leave review.

Reviews also syndicated from:
Trip Advisor

Visit

135.36 Million Monthly Visitors

(Down from 142 Million Monthly Visitors)

The world's Largest Travel Site. 600 million+ unbiased traveler reviews. Search 200+ sites to find the best hotel prices.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

Restaurant and Dining Sites


While Yelp dominates the restaurant industry, sites like OpenTable, Zomato and Restaurants.com provide excellent secondary options to distribute positive reviews across various domains. These other restaurant review sites offer significant user traffic worth penetrating.

14.6 Million Monthly Visitors

User Reviews and Recommendations of Top Restaurants, Shopping, Nightlife, Entertainment, Services and More at Yelp.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit
Updated (h/t @JoyanneHawkins):
Keep in mind that despite Yelp’s integration with Facebook, to call it ‘low-hanging fruit,’ is a bit of a misnomer.

Yelp filters reviews from brand new accounts. Whether positive or negative, if this is the very first Yelp review from a specific customer, there’s a good chance that Yelp with filter it into non-recommended reviews.

14.6 Million Monthly Visitors

Make online reservations, read restaurant reviews from diners, and earn points towards free meals.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

2.6 Million Monthly Visitors

Read verified diner reviews, get deals and browse menus for thousands of local restaurants at Restaurant.com.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Twitter Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

5.1 Million Monthly Visitors

Zomato is the best way to search for and discover great places to eat at or order in from.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

Healthcare Sites


You would think that Healthcare review sites would have the strictest of policies and major barriers for leaving reviews. Wellness, Healthgrades, and RealSelf only offer signup via email, but Vitals and RateMDs allow for completely anonymous reviews without any barriers to signup!

11.3 Million Monthly Visitors

RealSelf - consumer reviews, stories, and discussions about cosmetic treatments and procedures for face, body, skin and smile. Find a doctor you can trust.

Login Option:

-Email (Account Signup)

Visit

1.2 Million Monthly Visitors

Find wellness practitioners, doctors, dentists, senior care and lifestyle tips for living the healthiest and happiest life possible.

Login Option:

-Email (Account Signup)

Visit

2 Million Monthly Visitors

RateMDs.com is a free website allowing users to submit and read reviews of doctors, dentists, psychologists, urgent care centers, group practices, and hospitals.

Login Options:

-Completely Anonymous
-No Email Necessary

Visit

22.2 Million Monthly Visitors

Healthgrades is the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

Login Option:

-Email (Account Signup)

Visit

3.9 Million Monthly Visitors

Find a doctor, read millions of doctor reviews and book appointments online. Search by insurance, specialty, condition, or name in every city, state, or ZIP.

Login Options:

-Completely Anonymous
-No Email Necessary

Visit

Real Estate Sites


One of the more competitive industries, real estate agents are a cutthroat bunch that need to hustle to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, there’s a nice variety of Real Estate online review sites that consumers can visit. Most of the site options provide at least Facebook integration, making signup relatively painless.

6.8 Million Monthly Visitors

Movoto Real Estate connects home buyers with top-tier real estate agents all over the country. Let's find you your new home!

Login Options:

-Can be completely anonymous.
-No email or account necessary.

Visit

63.2 Million Monthly Visitors

Your destination for all real estate listings and rental properties. Trulia.com provides comprehensive school and neighborhood information on homes for sale.

Login Option:

-Email (Account Signup)

Visit

16.9 Million Monthly Visitors

Search for your first or next home! Homes.com offers houses, condos, apartments for sale and rent with everything you need to find the ideal place to call home.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Yahoo Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

56.2 Million Monthly Visitors

Search real estate property records, houses, condos, land and more on realtor.com(R). Find property info from the most comprehensive source of home data.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

164.1 Million Monthly Visitors

The leading real estate marketplace. Search millions of for-sale and rental listings, compare Zestimate® home values and connect with local professionals.

Login Options:

-Google Account
-Facebook Account
-Email (via Signup)

Visit

Home Service Sites


The home services have their review authenticity on lockdown. Most of the Home Service online review sites work hard to verify that the reviews coming in are from actual customers. Thumbtack and Porch provide the easiest way to earn reviews without confirmation of purchase, but that may hinder the credibility of the reviews.

27.4 Million Monthly Visitors

Houzz is the new way to design your home. Browse 10 million interior design photos, home decor, decorating ideas and home professionals online.

Login Option:

-No account necessary, but street address of project needs to be included for verification purposes.

Visit

1.4 Million Monthly Visitors

Porch, the home services platform, connects homeowners with quality home improvement, repair and maintenance professionals

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (Account Signup)

Also shows BBB ratings.

Visit

7.3 Million Monthly Visitors

HomeAdvisor is the free and easy way for homeowners to find and connect with trusted home improvement, maintenance and repair professionals.

Login Options:

-Phone number required (so a rep from Home Advisor can call you to verify you as a customer.)

Visit

13 Million Monthly Visitors

Angie's List offers Fair Price and Service Quality Guarantees to over 3 million members. Join to read reviews on local service providers or shop offers for free!

Login Option:

-Email (Account Signup)

Visit

10.3 Million Monthly Visitors

Thumbtack is the destination for getting things done. Just tell us what you need and we'll deliver up to five custom quotes from local pros ready to help.

Login Options:

-Facebook Account
-Email (Account Signup)

Visit

Can you see what's happening?

We've systematically removed the psychological resistance customers face during the review process. This increases the likelihood that your review requests will be received well. Want to make the process even easier for customers?

Reach out to customers personally.

If it's feasible for your business, ask customers for a more personal interview. A face-to-face, video, or audio conference call. Then, when customers agree to the call, get their permission to record it. Transcribe the call, then email it to them along with a link to the review site you’d like them to post it to.

Ask them to copy and paste their feedback into the form and viola! You have a review. Need to handle a large volume of calls? Send customers to a dedicated voicemail inbox via services like Twilio, and ask them to share their thoughts.

Follow the same steps.

This is how you get customer reviews that are enormously valuable and easy. It's consistent, low hanging fruit.

Easy reviews produce a consistent supply of high value reviews

The majority of your customers will leave a review for your business if you're willing to ask. That's not really the problem here. It's the friction of leaving the review, the psychological resistance that's triggered by unnecessary barriers.

While earning reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook should still take precedent in our online review management strategy, ignoring the other various directory and niche review sites would be un-advisable.

Not only do some of these sites earn a ton of traffic, they may be just as easy for our customers to log into depending on their integration with Facebook and Google. Asking for reviews on these integrated sites helps develop authority and prominence across the web. Getting easy reviews on these sites are another tool in our local marketing toolbox.

While earning reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook should still take precedent in our Online Review Marketing and Management strategy, ignoring the other various directory and niche review sites would be unadvisable.

Not only do some of these sites earn a ton of traffic, but they may be just as easy for our customers to log into depending on their integration with Facebook and Google. Asking for reviews on these integrated sites helps develop authority and prominence across the web. Getting reviews on these sites are another tool in our Local Marketing toolbox.

About the Author

Garrett Sussman

Twitter

Garrett is the Senior Content Manager at Grade.us, an online review management and marketing platform. When he's not crafting content, he's scouting the perfect ice coffee, devouring the newest graphic novels, and concocting a new recipe in the kitchen.

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