There’s no getting away from reviews nowadays. You find them on search engines, on social media, in apps, and on dedicated review sites.
Consumers rely on them to decide which movies to see, the best hotels to stay in, and the best software to buy. Recent studies show more than half of adults under 50 consult reviews before making a purchasing decision. People trust and rely on review sites, which is why they top search results.
Let’s take a search for “CRM software” as an example. You’ll notice the results on Google are dominated by review sites:
Google search results for “CRM Software” are dominated by review sites
People who buy online regularly are even more likely to rely on reviews. This means online reviews are particularly important for eCommerce and software as a service (SaaS) businesses.
How important are online reviews to your business?
With an increase in the number of software companies in the world today, customers need one place to go and compare various options. Often times, that’s a review site.
Review websites are prominent across the entire software industry. Review websites currently account for the top two results on Google for project management software, call center software, contract management software, and audit software.
Search terms with software categories like these are super important for customer acquisition. People searching for these terms are likely ready to make a purchase decision and are the perfect target market for software providers.
At HubSpot we increased clicks to our site by 10% by adding customer reviews and review schema to product pages. You can see how the addition of their review star rating and customer reviews makes our result stand out on crowded search engine results pages.
A review star rating and customer reviews on Hubspot’s SERP result
But reviews not only help businesses grow traffic to their website. They also help to convert customers once they are on the website. Studies show that conversion rates improve by up to 58% when website visitors interact with customer reviews. Salespeople also cite reviews as being helpful in closing deals.
With customers relying on review sites to make purchasing decisions, businesses can’t afford not to care about customer reviews.
Growing reviews can be challenging though. While the majority of people consult customer reviews, only onlyone in ten people write reviews all of the time.
That said, there are a number of effective ways to boost the reviews your business gains.
13 tips to increase online reviews
While you’ll get some reviews naturally without asking customers, review acquisition tactics are necessary to see high growth in the number of customer reviews. These tactics will help you skyrocket your reviews in no time whether you’re on a shoestring budget or can afford to spend a lot on review collection.
1. Run an email campaign
An email campaign is a fantastic way to get customers to review your products, and it’s a tactic used by companies such as Nike and Apple. Asking people to review your product or business via email is relatively inexpensive and easy to automate. For example, ride share company Lyft asks customers to review them immediately after they have taken a trip.
A marketing email from Lyft collecting customer feedback
At HubSpot, we ran an experiment to find out if simple aesthetics or a more graphic-heavy email would work better for review collection. We realized that people did not resonate with fancy graphics or cheesy copy. Instead, a simple email with a short ask to review our products worked best, and we improved our conversion rate by 12%.
A simple email from HubSpot had the best conversion rate of all emails tested
2. Ask happy customers to review your company after they fill out an NPS survey
If you have data on how happy your customers are, use it to your advantage. Asking happy customers to review your company usually leads to positive reviews. An net promoter score survey asks customers how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend on a scale of one to ten. You can push promoters (users who gives you a nine or a ten) to review your company.
3. Run a retargeting campaign
Consider running an ad on Google/Facebook specifically asking for reviews. But instead of targeting everyone, you want to only target people who are on your email list.
This consists of uploading customer email addresses to Google or Facebook so these companies can serve ads to your customers only. People are used to seeing ads from companies they don’t know, so a message from a business they trust will be a breath of fresh air. While using paid methods to collect reviews is more expensive than other channels, retargeting is generally much cheaper than other methods of online advertising.
4. Post on social media
If you’ve built a following of your customers on social media, this is a great place to ask people to review you. If people are already taking some time out to scroll through social media, they might also have time to leave a review.
Software company Dokmee asking for reviews on Twitter
5. Reward those willing to review you
Giving people a reward for their review will help you get more reviews. You can test out how well your customers respond to different rewards, from vouchers to cupcakes. This tactic doesn’t have to cost the earth.
A simple reward such as offering the first ten people who review you a $10 Amazon gift card will boost the number of positive reviews you gain (and costs just $100). You could also partner with a nonprofit organization and donate money each time someone leaves a review of your product.
Capterra ran a campaign with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the number of women in computer science. The company donated $10 to the nonprofit each time someone left a review during a certain time period.
Capterra donated to the nonprofit Girls Who Code each time someone left a review on their website
6. Ask people to review you when they visit your website
Nutshell CRM has the following call-to-action at the end of their blog posts:
Your feedback helps make Nutshell an even more useful CRM for small businesses, so please review us on Capterra and share your own Nutshell experience.
Smart content will be useful to ensure that only customers see messages asking people to review your product or service, rather than all website visitors.
7. Show in-app messages
If you are a software company or have an app, you can display messages within your platform asking people to review you. It’s best to do this when people have experienced a moment of delight. Catching people at the right time means they may offer a more favorable review. Instagram occasionally asks people to review the app after they post a picture.
Instagram uses in-app messages to ask for reviews
8. Collect reviews at events
If you run an event that your customers attend, this is a great opportunity to collect reviews. You can set up a stand and ask customers to review you on a tablet or laptop. Laptops work better for third-party websites that have a long review process and minimum character counts. Tablets work best for shorter reviews.
9. Post on customer support forums
If you have a support forum, you should tap into it as a place to ask customers to review you. This is a place where customers congregate and where they often go to help out other customers. Float, a team scheduling software, posts on their help center offering customers up to $20 for reviewing them on third-party review sites.
Software company Float post on their help center to drive new reviews.
10. Use third-party review sites rather than an internal survey
Companies often collect feedback using a survey rather than pushing people to give feedback on a third-party review site. If you can collect the same information by having customers review you on a third-party website, this allows you to grow your reviews while still getting feedback on how well you’re doing.
This is easier to do if you have a good product and are less worried about what people might say. Some review sites will help you to collect reviews by offering rewards to your customers or sending review collection emails for you. This is an ideal option for small businesses that might be limited on time or budget.
11. Ask people to review you offline
Spacious, a co-working space in New York and San Francisco, places note cards on their tables asking people to review them on Foursquare, Yelp, and Google Maps. Most marketing channels are crowded by brands and messages. This tactic allows you to make the most of spaces you own, so your message gets noticed.
A note card at a Spacious co-working space in New York
12. Ask customers to review you on a call
If customers call to speak to their account manager, you can ask them to review your company at the end of the call. What’s more, you will know if they are a good fit to ask for a review based on their account information and their past history. Tell them you’ll share a link immediately after the call.
13. Make it simple for people to review you
The easier you can make it for people to review you, the more reviews you’ll get. Try to send people straight into the review process rather than have them navigate multiple pages before being able to leave a review. You should also consider the time it will take someone to leave the review on a third-party site. Generally the shorter time it takes the more reviews you will get.
Ready to get started?
Tactics like these will contribute to your review acquisition strategy and strengthen your bottom of the funnel marketing. The more you grow your reviews, the harder it will be for the competition to catch up. You should begin review collection as soon as you can to gain a competitive advantage.
Here’s some more information on customer reviews and your business: