Don’t have time to read the whole article? Here are 5 takeaways:
- Don’t be afraid to just ask!
- Try combining “high tech” digital methods with “old school” non-digital tactics.
- Make it easy for past customers to leave a review and they’ll be more likely to do it.
- Frame asking for reviews as “help us improve” vs. “do me a favor” to let past customers know you truly care about their experience.
- Don’t forget to thank your reviewers.
6 Ideas for Generating More Online Reviews
Welcome back for the final installment of our four-part Online Reviews series! We’ve gone over the importance of reviews, how to respond and share them, and finally, we’ll go over how you can solicit reviews from your past customers.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option for generating reviews, and that’s why even though we’re a digital marketing agency, we still use traditional marketing tactics in addition to digital ones.
High-Tech Ideas for Generating Reviews
One of our favorite “high-tech” tactics for generating reviews is through email. We put “high tech” in quotes because we realize that there are other review generation platforms out there, and by comparison, email isn’t that “high tech.”
But, we like to use email to ask for reviews, because it’s effective, we can personalize it, and we can leverage the data in your CRM to generate the right kind of reviews from the right customers.
We also tailor the review requests to help balance the number of reviews you have on different platforms, like Facebook, BBB, Google, and GuildQuality.
Even though, it may not be that “high tech,” email is an incredibly effective tool for generating reviews.
In fact, according to a Northwestern study found that up to 80% of reviews originate from post-purchase emails. Timing is key though. Customers are more likely to leave a review within a few days after a remodeling project has been completed.
Bonus Tip: If one of your review profiles has a bad review or a particularly low rating, you can encourage past customers to leave reviews on it in your email to help bring its rating back up.
Create a dedicated page on your site to “leave a review”
Make it easy for customers to leave you a review, by creating a page on your website specifically designed for that purpose.
This page works because you can:
- Promote it in emails to past customers
- Point previous customers to it through an email
- Print the URL on review request cards that your installers hand out at the end of a job
Here’s an example from one of our clients:
Set Up Remarketing Ads Targeted at Previous Customers
Our final “high-tech” tactic for soliciting reviews looks like this:
- Create a remarketing campaign
- Create a custom remarketing audience, made up of past customers
- Design an ad with the message, “We want your feedback!”
- Link the ad to your review page (see example above)
What is a remarketing ad you may ask? If you’ve ever browsed a website and later seen an ad for that same company on a completely different site, then you’ve seen a remarketing ad.
With our tactic, to target past customers with an ad asking for a review, remarketing gets a bit more specific. We literally load up a custom list of your past customers into Google or Facebook. Then we launch the campaign. That way, the only people seeing that ad asking for reviews are literally your hand-selected customer list. Pretty cool, huh?
“Old School” Ways to Generate Customer Reviews
Even though we’re a digital marketing agency, we still use a number of “low-tech” tactics to generate customer reviews. Why? Well, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For many of our home improvement clients, their customers tend to be older and respond really well to traditional marketing methods.
Creating Cards for Installers
Your installers are often the “face” of your company. And customers who have a good experience with your company most likely had a good experience with your installers or project managers. Why not equip those employees with a card they can hand to customers, immediately after a job is installed? Why not, indeed.
We use this tactic with our home improvement clients and it works like a charm.
The other reason we love this tactic is that we can direct customers to the review platform of our choice. Need more BBB reviews? Guess what we put on the card. Need more Google reviews? Again, bet you can guess which platform we promote on the cards.
The cards are attractive, easy to update, and inexpensive to print. It’s a great way to say “Thank you” to your customers and ask for a review at the same time. Here’s an example:
Thank And Educate
It’s important to communicate clearly with your customers post-installation, especially if you install a product that requires special treatment. For example, we have a number of clients who install acrylic showers and bathtubs. While the product itself is incredibly durable, certain abrasive cleaners can damage it. But, if you don’t tell customers that, and then they use an abrasive cleaner, they’re gonna be mad. And they may take it out on you by leaving a bad online review.
The solution? Create a helpful, and educational door hanger and hang it right on the bathroom door…or even better, from the shower head.
What should you include on the post-installation door hanger?
- When they can use their shower (or windows, or sunroom, or tile floor)
- What kind of products they can use to clean it
- The project managers name
- A number to call if they have questions
- A polite request for a review.
While this technique doesn’t necessarily generate more online reviews, it helps prevent negative reviews, which we know can tarnish a company’s reputation.
Give ‘em a call
Last but not least, you can never go wrong with reaching out to your customers after their remodeling projects have been completed and asking them to leave a review. Similar to the thank and educate approach, having a dedicated staff member reach out to customers can help sort out customer issues before they turn into negative reviews. In addition, it shows your customers that you truly care about their experience.