We all want more reviews for our products. But if you've been running your business for a while, you'll know that getting enough high-quality reviews on your DTC site is actually pretty tough.
Even if people love your products, most people tend to ignore the automated review request emails they get from brands. And very few will take the extra step to include pictures, videos, or the juicy details that really get your PDPs to sing.
So how do we solve that?
The Endless Review Machine.
This simple system will allow you to quickly 2-3x the number of reviews you generate, make lots of incremental sales, and collect all the insights and feedback from customers you'll ever need.
Let's jump in.
Step 1) Optimizing Your Review Request Email via Your Reviews App
Quick check before starting - do you have a reviews app already installed and set up for your brand? If not, go install one now! At 100 Celsius, we really like Reviews.io and Okendo.
Alrighty! The first step in creating your Endless Reviews Machine is to start with the lowest-hanging fruit - your automated review request emails delivered through whatever reviews app you have installed.
So often, we'll come across brands struggling to get reviews because they haven't done anything to improve the default review requests being sent out by their app.
To give you an example, here's the default message for a product review in Reviews.io
Pretty blah, right?
By comparison, check out this adjusted review request email I recently created for our new brand, Fellow Living.
See the difference?
Here's what you should prioritize in your email template:
1) Add in your logo and branding elements
2) Change the subject line to be more eye-catching
3) Ask them if they'd be willing to leave a review. Acknowledge that they're doing you a favor, and that you'd really appreciate it!
4) Give them a reason why. Show them how their act of leaving a review will make a difference - for your company AND for other people just like them. Make them feel good about it!
5) Share any tips about how to leave a good review. For example, you'll notice that we recommended leaving a review on their mobile phone so that it's easier to quickly snap and share a video/picture! It's also a subtle way to remind them that they should include one in the first place.
6) Make sure that the time delay makes sense for your product. For example, we left the default "7 day" delay, because our blanket can be used and enjoyed right away! We want to capture reviews while they're still excited about it.But if you sell supplements for example, you may want to extend that review request delay out so your customers have time to actually use and get results from your product.
So before doing anything else in this Playbook, go ahead and spruce up your automated review request emails.
Step 2) Optimizing Your Post Purchase Flows For Responses & UGC
After optimizing your automated review request email, it's time to pour some UGC-generation gas on the fire!
By optimizing your post purchase email flows to generate quality responses and testimonials from your customers.
See - post purchase flows are one of the most untapped opportunities in eCommerce when it comes to UGC and insight generation.
Instead of just sending an email to say "thanks"...
Our goal is to get customers to literally hit reply and RESPOND to a question we ask them in these automated emails with valuable insights and reviews.
This is going to feed that "endless" cycle of reviews we all want so bad - every time someone buys from you, they are also invited to engage and share feedback with you.
The three flows we want to optimize for responses are:
1) The New customer onboarding flow (for brand-new customers)
2) The Repeat customer flow (for 2x buyers)
3) Your VIP customer flow (for new VIP customers)
New Customer Onboarding
You'll want to ask your brand-new customers a question and invite them to respond in either email #1, or email #2 of this flow.
For new customers, what we really like to know is the answer to the following question:
"Why did you buy?"
Getting people to respond back and answer that question (or a variation of it) will give you unbelievable insights that will help you better-position and sell your products over time.
(You might find out that the reasons people buy your product are completely different than what you think 😜)
Some ways you can phrase this this question:
"I always love hearing why our new customers tried [Brand Name] for the first time. Would you be willing to quickly hit reply to this email and let me know why you picked up your [Product Name]?"
"I'd love to know - what are you MOST excited about doing with your new [Product Name]? Hit reply and let me know!"
"I'd love to know - how did you hear about [Brand Name]? Hit reply to this email and let me know!"
Repeat Customer Flow
This goal for replies via this flow is a little different than your new customer onboarding flow.
With new customers, we want to know why they're buying.
With your repeat customers, we want to know why they came back!
AKA - we want them to share what they LIKED about your products enough to come back for more!
This is where we generate the TESTIMONIALS and positive reviews baby.
So in your repeat customer flow, you should include a question in Email #1 asking something to the effect of:
"I'm so glad to know you enjoyed your first order with us enough to come back again! And if you'd be willing to share, I'm really curious - what did you think about your first order with us?
Was there anything you especially liked? Anything we could improve on?
Hit reply and let me know - it will go directly to my inbox."
This email works like magic. Your repeat buyers feel great because you're acknowledging them, AND you're asking for their opinion in a respectful way.
You'll be blown away by how many people will respond back with glowing testimonials.
The goal with your newly minted VIP's is similar to your repeat buyer flow. But instead of asking directly for positive reviews...
We want to ask these people for their FEEDBACK.
See, if someone buys from you 4-5+ times, you can assume two things about them:
1. They like your stuff a lot
2. They have informed opinions about your company
In other words, these are exactly the people we want to be asking for feedback.
By doing so, you make them feel valued and acknowledge their unique status as a VIP customer.
And this group will give you some of the very best ideas, reviews, and feedback you'll ever get.
So in your VIP flow, ask a variation of this question:
"I'd love to know - do you have any specific feedback or ideas for [Company Name]? The team and I really value your opinion a lot as one of our best customers. So hit reply to this email and let me know whatever you want - I'll make sure to get back to you personally."
Alright! Take 30--60 minutes now and go add in some reply invitations to your post-purchase flows. If you can only do one today, start with your repeat buyer flow, which will generate the positive reviews the fastest.
Step 3) Layer in broadcast campaigns with "Calls To Conversation"
Alright, this is where it really starts to get fun.
By this point, you should have:
1. Ditched your default review request from your review app, and optimized it for personality and conversions.
2. Added in "Calls to conversation" into your post-purchase flows to generate responses on autopilot from new customers.
These two updates alone will get you way more reviews. But you don't have to stop there.
The next opportunity for reviews is to include "calls to conversation" into your broadcast campaigns.
Just like our post-purchase flows, you should be inviting customers to hit reply and RESPOND to questions in the emails you send.
Step 4) How to follow up with responders to generate sales & official reviews
Okay, someone responds to a marketing email you sent. Or they comment with a great review on an Instagram post.
What do you do now?
What you have to remember is that when customers respond to emails or posts, they are raising their hand to communicate that they are ready to engage further.
That's why, even though it's great for content creation and deliverability, it's a big waste to not respond back to these people.
Luckily, it's quite easy to create amazing customer experiences, generate extra sales, and 2-3X your review rate by just making a little more effort than normal to engage with these people.
The basic play is as follows:
1. Someone responds to an email, or comments on a post
2. Your respond / DM them back, thanking them for engaging and including some sort of personalized response to what they said. Maybe even ask a follow up question.
3. If it makes sense, offer them an evergreen "credit" for their next order on your site.
4. They'll likely respond back saying thanks. And when they do, invite them to leave a review.
You can say something like "of course! Also, any chance you'd be willing to take what you wrote above and share it as a review on our website? It would mean a ton to us!"
When they respond back with a "yes", look up the product that they bought last, and send them a "quick invite" review request via your reviews app, or direct them to the product page where they can leave a review.
The idea here again is to create automated processes and flows that generate a high volume of engagement from customers. And then you take the manual step to respond back with a personal touch.
Even though this seems like a lot of extra work, I PROMISE that it will be worth your time to do (or hire an assistant to help with).