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5 effective ways to encourage online reviews

It's no secret that in today's digital world, online reviews matter. Research has shown that online reviews have a significant impact on a customer's path to purchas with 90 percent of people stating that positive reviews influence their decision to buy.

A lot of discussion around online reviews revolves around how to avoid or manage bad ones, but the best way to neutralise a bad review is to counter it with a host of positive ones. And so, here are five ways to encourage online reviews from your customers that will make your business shine:

1. Ask for them

Most people only leave online reviews when they really love – or really hate - a product or service. Tap into the ‘silent majority’ of satisfied customers by asking for feedback, like Skype does at the end of a call.

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2. Create incentives

While you should avoid offering discounts in exchange for reviews, you can create incentives to give feedback. Osprey Packs uses social media and online voting to learn about their customers’ favourite product features, offering prizes to chosen participants in exchange. The thrill of winning makes for a great incentive to leave a review.

3. Make it easy

One of the best ways to encourage online reviews is to make it easy for your customers to give them. Integrate a simple star (or emoji?) rating function on your order confirmation page, or embed one in your follow-up emails. Also make sure that you’ve got a visible profile on popular review sites such as Yelp, Google Local and Trustpilot.

4. Use social media 

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are great for engaging directly with your customers – and for your customers to engage with each other. Start a conversation among your followers by asking them a question about your product, like Costa does with its Christmas cup designs. Just make sure you have a good community management strategy in place.

5. Publish them

Put your reviews – good and bad - on display to encourage customer feedback. Create a testimonials page on your website or get creative, like clothing brand Everlane, by creating a ‘campaign’ around sharing your customer experiences.

With these tips you can generate real conversations about your product, which can potentially attract new customers to your business. Give them a try, and let us know if you discover other ways to encourage online reviews.

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(Hat tip to Alan O'Rourke for the image.)

Grace O'Brien

I'm a writer by nature and an economist by training. In addition to well-written prose I like charts, coffee and small dogs.