6 Ways to Rack Up More Online Reviews

This content discusses the importance of online reviews and provides strategies to incentivize and collect more reviews for businesses.

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・6 min read
Best Practices

We’ve all been there - searching endlessly online for that new vacuum, surround sound system, or exercise tracker. When making a considerable investment (or even not-so-considerable) in something new, our decisions are influenced by more than the price point, features, and aesthetic. You’re most likely amongst the 93% of consumers who say that online reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions. We’ve become reliant on reviews for a few reasons. For starters, they paint a realistic picture of what customers can expect of a product or service. Additionally, they are easily accessible and in abundance. This means your business needs to follow suit in collecting online reviews to remain competitive. Not to worry! If your business is lacking in the online review department, this article will help you strategize how to get those reviews to start rolling in.

Incentivize reviews with a giveaway

When our experiences meet or even slightly exceed expectations, it’s rare that we’re inspired to run home and write a review. Let’s face it - the motivation to write an online review usually stems from a negative experience. However, 70% of customers say that they would be happy to leave a review if a business simply asks. This number sounds great but even with the best intentions, when push comes to shove it's easier for customers to delete or ignore a request than to actually write a review.This is where incentives can be a big help. Build a simple giveaway that reviewers can enter for a chance to win a prize. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="493"]

Incentivize reviews with a giveaway[/caption][button size='medium' style='white' text='View and Create Your Own' icon='' icon_color='' link='' target='_blank' color='' hover_color='' border_color='' hover_border_color='' background_color='' hover_background_color='' font_style='' font_weight='' text_align='' margin='0 0 10px']The logistics of this giveaway can be very simple. Include a photo upload field where reviewers can upload a screenshot of their online review. This will serve as proof the review was placed, but also allow you to collect pertinent contact information in the remaining fields of the entry form. Always remember to include an opt-in to use this data for future marketing.

Incentivize reviews with a coupon or discount

Much like a giveaway, giving out a coupon or discount is a smart way to incentivize reviews. However, unlike a giveaway where one or several participants will win your giveaway’s prize, coupons and discounts let everyone get a little piece of the action. For this reason, these types of incentives may be more enticing to some and therefore attract more reviews. An additional benefit of offering coupons or discounts is the boost in revenue you’ll see when those incentives are redeemed. Coupons and discounts are a powerful way to create repeat customers, boosting brand loyalty. So, one could say that this strategy is a double boon for your business.  This weight loss center is offering 10% off the purchase of any service. To redeem the discount, reviewers will have to show their coupons in-person.[caption id="attachment_48939" align="alignnone" width="507"]

Incentivize reviews with a discount or coupon[/caption]This strategy can be set up 100% digitally as well. Similar to the giveaway, you can collect screenshots of reviews via an entry form. Then, set up an autoresponder to send an email immediately after the form is submitted. Include a discount code in the email and voila! - a complete digital sales funnel to make it simple for customers to not only receive their discount, but to then redeem it on your website or online store.

Claim your business profiles on popular review sites

My husband and I traveled to another country a few years back and immediately discovered that our destination didn’t use or rely on Yelp. Most restaurants did not have a profile and when they did, had a handful of reviews at best. When it came to finding a place to eat, we felt left in the dark.Until that trip, I had completely taken Yelp for granted. But your business - whether you’re a restaurant or anything else - should not. Yelp alone has 92 million unique visitors every month, which means it’s a major hot spot for reviewers and review-readers to congregate. So, make sure your business is claimed and takes full advantage of popular review sites such as Google and Yelp. Don’t forget about any other sites that make sense for your business such as Angie’s List, Tripadvisor, Consumer Reports, etc.

Hire a review service

Review services are in abundance and offer a variety of ways to help you collect reviews. For example, our favorite review service specializing in reviews for software applications in Capterra. They take care of everything from outreach to incentives. Once reviews are collected, we have the option to reach out to the reviewer and say “thanks!” or address anything they mentioned in their review. The best part is that Capterra’s fees are based on the number of reviews we receive, so it’s literally risk-free. Even if you’re not a software company, there is a review service out there for you. Thanks to the boom in online reviews, services are springing up to help businesses collect reviews no matter their industry.

Feature reviews on your website

Displaying reviews on your website has become a marketing best practice for a few reasons:

  1. It puts your reviews front and center in the spot where you (most likely) drive the most traffic without having to compete with reviews about other businesses (i.e. Yelp, Google, etc.).
  2. The more online reviews you can show off helps to paint your business in a reputable light.
  3. It gives a little recognition to the reviewer - helping to show future customers that reviewing your business can potentially earn them a spot in your customer showcase.

Make it simple for customer reviews to be featured on your website by collecting them in a form and displaying them in a gallery. To do this, build an entry form and embed it right within your web page or in a popup. Once the review is submitted, your gallery can display it immediately, or after your approval. [caption id="attachment_48963" align="alignnone" width="600"]

Include a review page on your website[/caption][button size='medium' style='white' text='View and Create Your Own' icon='' icon_color='' link='' target='_blank' color='' hover_color='' border_color='' hover_border_color='' background_color='' hover_background_color='' font_style='' font_weight='' text_align='' margin='0 0 10px']

Send a reminder

As I mentioned before, 70% of customers say they’d be happy to leave a review if simply asked to. But people get busy, life goes on, and leaving that review can sometimes (maybe even oftentimes) get lost in the shuffle of our daily grind. Amongst your well-intentioned customers, all is not lost. Simply send a reminder (or two) via email after the first request goes unfulfilled. This example of an email reminder was the third email sent in a series of reminders and the email that finally prompted me to click the “Review Us Now’ CTA.[caption id="attachment_48940" align="alignnone" width="600"]

Follow up with a reminder[/caption]As a busy mom, I had fully intended to send this doctor's office my feedback but just couldn’t spare the time. If it weren’t for the diligence of this third follow-up, I never would have submitted my review. But who has the bandwidth to follow up so many times? Email is a great medium to use for review reminders. And with a good email service, you can schedule emails ahead of time to go out at appropriate intervals. Just keep the intervals short. The longer you set the interval time between emails, the more the details of your customer’s experience will begin to fade.

Before you dive in, get your house in order

To quote a former supervisor of mine, “You want to make sure your house is in order before you invite people over.” In other words, check in with your team to see where the pain points are in your conversion process and make sure you’re doing the work to provide an excellent customer experience. You can hire a secret shopper, invest in some user testing, or simply test out the experience on your own. If you’re putting in the work to get more online reviews, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by not doing your due diligence. Great customer service combined with one or more of these strategies is a recipe for loads of 5-star reviews - a sure way to attract more customers to your business overall.  

About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・6 min read

Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.

Get marketing tips straight to your inbox

Thank you!
Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We’ll email you 1-3 times per week—and never share your info.