If you have happy customers and a good product, you might think that’s enough to have an effective marketing campaign. However, in order to be truly effective, you also need to have customers reviewing and recommending your products or services.
If you want your customers to do this, you have to encourage them in the right way. To help you, we’ve asked 11 experts from Forbes Agency Council to share their thoughts on how to earn reviews and recommendations. See what they have to say here.
1. Rely On Emails
We recommend email campaigns as a strategy. When a business consistently (and politely) invites customer to write reviews after the initial sale, using clearly placed links to their preferred review sites within the email message content, our experience is that more reviews will be sure to follow. In regards to timing, make sure to ask for the review as close to the time of sale as possible. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
2. Simply Ask
The answer is “no” to 100% of the questions you never ask. So, ask for a review! Instead of coming up with complicated (and perhaps unethical) incentive programs, try a simple ask. It could be a basic follow-up email post-purchase or a note with delivery. Something as simple as, “If you’re happy with our product, we’d love it if you shared it with the world!” Be clever, but first ask. – Danica Kombol, Everywhere Agency
3. Invite Customers To Be A Part Of The Strategy
Invite your customers to be part of your media relations strategy to share the success they’ve seen with your product. When you offer a customer to speak to media about how they use your product, it not only creates a positive buzz for your business, but also bolsters their own brand. When their brand is amplified in the news, they’re more likely to promote the article on social media. – Michaela Dempsey, Scout RFP
4. Send Automated Follow-Ups
Just asking for reviews is great, but not scalable. If you have a volume of clients, you need to put some flows in place and automate with some emails after the product or service is delivered. Start out with an automated email to ask if they liked their experience with you. If the answer is yes, send out an email to push for a review. If the answer is no, you can act accordingly. – Jonathan Laberge, Reptile
5. Make It Clear And Easy
Make it easy for your customers to leave a review and to share your products on social media. Put a link to leave a review on your website, newsletter and follow-up emails, and make it very visible. Place social sharing icons on your product pages, so customers can easily find them to share your content on their social media channels. – Daniela Pavan, The Ad Store New York
6. Invite Them Behind The Scenes
Happy customers are predisposed to support your brand. Transitioning them to join a brand loyalty club can be more substantial than the promise of a few coupons. Invite them “behind the curtain.” Offering surveys on new products, input on corporate social responsibility or sustainable sourcing programming can work to cultivate a true brand evangelist — one who will share the brand love. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing
7. Create A Contest Or Giveaway
At our agency, we often see that influencer campaigns spark an increase of user-generated content (UGC) for our clients. One simple example is to create a contest or giveaway that is designed to generate UGC and promote it with influencers. The influencers can then ask their followers to enter the contest by sharing their own brand-related content with a hashtag. – Danielle Wiley, Sway Group
8. Make Customers Feel Appreciated
If a customer sees the value you place on other customer’s recommendations, they are bound to feel appreciated and add to that conversation. The more you make your customers the center of your campaign and highlight them, the more comfortable they will feel highlighting their favorite brands. – Dustin Iannotti, artisansonfire.com
9. Follow Up And Follow Through
Give your customers a chance to get to know you, then follow up with an email or call. Then, if they’re happy, ask them to post a review or engage on social media to tell others about their experience. In a B2B world, you can even offer to interview a user and write up the post or review for them. Just be careful not to go overboard with a glowing review or you will lose all credibility. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications
If you want to get the attention of your customers and get them to be ready to give you a referral, you must show them why. You need to offer them something free that will show them the value you have for them as well as for their interest in you. This incentive will get them to continue to help you and allow you to continue to build that relationship with them. – Jon James, Ignited Results
11. Gamify The Experience
Gamify your brand experience to encourage people to earn rewards, points, trophies or achievements. This will get more and more people talking about, using and promoting your products. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications