Content Marketing Manager
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With 93% of customers saying online reviews impact their purchasing decisions, retailers can’t afford to ignore them nowadays.
But a standard, predictable “leave a review” message likely won’t bring you the stunning results you seek. Hundreds of brands send that same email. Why should customers spend their time writing a review for you and not others?
Reviews build social proof, trust, and create a direct connection with customers.That’s why retailers shouldn’t set and forget review emails. They should continuously improve and optimize their messages to better collect customer feedback, and gather as much customer love as possible.
Keep reading and learn about how to make your “leave a review” messages more engaging, how to include them into seamless communication with your audience, and ways to curb negative reviews by creating a better customer experience.
Add Motivation to Increase Product Reviews
Although the vast majority of customers read online reviews, only half of them actually write reviews. Of those, 55% cite the lack of motivation as a reason for not doing so. For retailers, finding ways to increase customer participation is critical.
When creating your message, step into their shoes and answer yourself–why should I open this email? What value for the customer lies in this message?
Usually, when asking for feedback, retailers emphasize the importance of customers’ opinions. Some will find it enough—others won’t.
Although saying to customers you appreciate them is important, think of creating more tangible value, for example, by offering a discount on the next purchase or entering them into a drawing. These incentives may be the motivation customers need to boost product reviews.
Take a look at how George at Asda incentivizes their customers. In addition, they overcome customer concerns in advance by suggesting ideas on what to write in the feedback and encourage them to upload photos to show how products look in the customer’s world.
Brand Your Message
Incentives may be one thing that can grab customers’ attention, but these messages are part of the post-purchase experience with your brand. Do your messages include captivating, short-and-sweet copywriting, and branded visuals?
Avoid sending a standard black and white, document-looking message. Instead, convey your brand personality, make it warm, inviting, and even funny—like you’re talking with a person you already know.
Ideally, your product review email is a part of your automated post-purchase series. Make it one of the best of the entire workflow.
See a few more examples of such messages below.
This message is not only beautifully branded but it also educates customers on why they should leave a review. I also like that they give customers multiple options as to where they can leave their feedback.
Hollister sends an entirely different style of message. The message doesn’t say anything about customer appreciation. Instead, it is concise, straightforward, and even suggests what rating they want you to give—while offering an incentive to do so. This message combines multiple elements and fits their brand voice. Isn’t it genius?
Integrate “Leave a Review” Message into Your Post-Purchase Communication
According to Ph.D. Robert B. Cialdini, in all human relationships, reciprocity plays a significant role, and marketers have been using this tool of influence for years already.
When it comes to creating post-purchase messaging, it is essential to think about who the messages benefit. If the messages all ask customers to make a purchase or do something that benefits the company (e.g., leave a product review), they do not enhance the customer experience. The goal is to find a balance between those messages benefiting the customer and those benefiting the company.
So, before sending a “leave a review” message, consider how you can provide value to your customers with other messages. For example, send a thank-you message and provide product care instructions, share related blog articles, or offer an incentive for their next purchase. After giving something valuable to your customer, they may feel more indebted to provide something of value in return—and their feedback may be better.
The example below illustrates a post-purchase workflow where email messages are combined with SMS, and the product review is being asked via an SMS message. Since 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes, more and more retailers are starting to send some of their most critical messages via this channel. This is something worth trying when building and testing post-purchase workflows.
Lessen Negative Online Reviews
There is a saying: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Well, when it comes to customer feedback, it’s not necessarily true. While avoiding bad reviews is unrealistic, there are strategies retailers can use to reduce the number of them.
There are several ways you can do that:
1.Invite only returning customers to rate you. Asking for feedback from repeat customers increases your chances of getting good reviews. While this may limit the number of reviews you receive, the ratio of positive reviews received may outweigh the cons.
To do this, split your first-time purchasers from returning customers and set up different post-purchase workflows for them, focusing on more loyalty-oriented emails for first-time purchasers.
2. Provide the contact information of your customer service and include a link to leave feedback for your team (not a public review). This allows you to recognize any customer experience issues that arise and react accordingly. This could be a great option for first-time customers.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other—these two ideas can be combined in every message. Doing so may help avoid getting a negative review and solve a customer service issue at the same time–resulting in higher brand satisfaction.
Provide alternatives to Traditional Product Review Email
Social proof is a powerful tool that helps influence purchases. Building your brand’s social proof can be as good as getting a review. There are two great ways to start collecting social proof during the product review process:
- Create a stand-alone message encouraging your customers to share their experience and photos of them wearing/using the purchased items.
- Provide an alternate CTA in each product review message with the same social ask.
Unboxing Youtube videos, InstaStories of trying new makeup products, excitement about new sneakers on TikTok–these are all powerful examples of social proof, and brands should encourage customer sharing in their post-purchase messaging.
To use social proof in one of your customer nurturing messages, pick the best shots/unboxing videos from social media and create messaging around it. This type of content will make your customers engage with your brand and can influence future purchases.
Here are a few examples of emails encouraging customers to share their experiences on social media.
The significance of a customer-centric approach is undeniable nowadays—but product review emails are not traditionally known to be customer-centric.
Asking customers about their latest shopping experience with you is a part of the entire customer experience. However, simply asking for feedback is not enough. The messages you send have to be captivating and provide tangible value. Taking an authentic and creative approach, and smartly integrating your product review emails into your post-purchase communication, can make these messages work for you to their full potential.
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This article originally appeared in the Omnisend blog and has been published here with permission.