So you have a great product. You’ve even articulated in great detail all of the ways your product will meet your customers’ needs, leaving them satisfied and happy with their choice.
Wouldn’t it be even better if you weren’t the only one doing all the talking? After all, customers expect you to love your product – but what about your customers? What do they think?
According to a recent research put out by Oneupweb, online customer testimonials and reviews directly influence the purchase decision of 40.9% of your site’s customers. This means that some customers don’t just expect to see testimonials and reviews on your site, they need to see testimonials and reviews before they buy.
Need more proof? A 2007 study reported by eMarketer shows that customer-generated ratings and reviews helped boost site traffic, conversion rates and average order value:
Theory is great, but how does one get testimonials in order to boost sales? Here are a few ideas for eliciting responses from your customers, whether you’re looking to build a repertoire of positive testimonials on your site, or you want to invite your customers to write reviews on an off-branded site (like Download.com).
• On-Site Feedback Button
A feedback button on your site is a simple way to encourage users to give an evaluation of your products or services. Add structure to the feedback by framing them as “Suggestions,” “Praise,” “Review,” etc. You can also incorporate a feedback section to other forms on your site. This structure enables you to gather possible testimonials for use on your site very easily.
• In-Product Feedback Opportunities
Include a feedback form from within your product to catch your customers when they’re actually using your product. Whether it’s a button that takes the user to a form like the on-site feedback button or an automated pop-up reminder to provide a review, this method increases the chance the customer will respond. You can use the in-product approach to gather testimonials or product reviews.
• Email Invitation
If you’re not comfortable waiting for your customers to take the initiative, be proactive. Provide your customers with a live, post-purchase reminder to write about their experience. This could take the shape of an automated e-mail that asks customers for a review. If you would prefer to limit the responses, you can contact select customers that fit a certain profile (e.g. repeat customer or a large order customer) and invite them to give you feedback, rather than contacting your entire customer base.
Providing incentives for submitting feedback can be a great motivator for customers to take time out of their schedules to write a review or testimonial for your product. Consider offering coupons or entering the customer in a contest to win a prize. This can also be an opportunity to offer a free trial of another product you provide, or a discount on the product they are reviewing.
• CNET Button Partner Program
If you want to give your customers the ability to rate your product and write a review in an established forum with a wide user base, the CNET Button Partner Program is a fantastic way to go. The program is free, and allows you to channel your traffic to CNET’s site (via the “Download Now” button). This additional traffic boosts your prominence on Download.com by increasing your download count. Additionally, every product on Download.com has a user review section, and users are encouraged to provide their own rating and review.
CNET’s high volume of traffic (400 million page views per month) creates a wide potential audience for customer feedback, which means greater impact per review. The CNET community is so large and well established, customers are likely to place confidence in what they read from other users.
Whatever the method you use to get your customers talking, pay attention to what they say. Customer feedback can be a powerful tool not only for building customer confidence in your product, but also for helping you to build a product that will truly satisfy your customers’ needs.
After you capture customer testimonials, the next step is to select the most effective testimonials and place them on your site.