Internet Retailer has an interesting article that offers a case study of sorts about how online retailer evogear.com convinced customers to write more reviews. While the article talks about product reviews, I think there are still some truths in it for small businesses who want more company/business reviews.
As the article explains, evo’s problem was that a lot of its products have a short shelf-life and customers weren’t writing enough reviews. So, the company identified 15,000 recent customers and sent out three separate emails to them. Here’s how it went:
One message was simply a basic request for a review; a second message suggested that a review would help support the community of evo customers by providing good shopping advice; and a third message said that by submitting a review customers would enter a contest to win a prize valued at $1,000. The contest was administered by PowerReviews Inc., which provides eco’s product reviews system.
The test revealed the contest as the most persuasive method. 5.6% of customers who received the contest e-mail submitted reviews, compared to 2.4% for those who received the basic message and 2.1% who received the message suggesting that reviews support the community of evo customers. “We realized we need to use the contests, so now we’re doing one every quarter,” Decker says.
I mention this because it drives home a point many of us have been making for a long time: If you want customers to review your business online, you may have to give them a good reason to do so. In Yelp’s world of pixie dust and unicorns, no one’s allowed to encourage or even invite reviews. But pretty much anywhere else, if you need reviews for your small business, give people a reason to do it and more of them will.