When was the last time you made a purchase without perusing pages and pages of reviews?

You’re not alone. Two out of three shoppers read between one and 10 reviews before making a purchase. Ratings and reviews fuel consumers’ purchase decision-making process, helping them understand and evaluate the differences between brands. And they’ve become essential to brands seeking to build trust, drive awareness, and convert sales. 

As a marketer, it’s critical to build a review generation strategy that makes it easy for your fans and advocates to share their love and leave reviews. Here’s what you need to know. 

Why Is Review Generation Important?

Now more than ever, online reviews of products and services play a significant role in the purchasing process for consumers. It only takes a quick Google search to find ratings and reviews from other customers on any product or service in the market. 

Reviews help separate the buzz around the marketing of a product from the reality of using the product. With so many brands out there, browsing review pages helps consumers quickly make decisions without spending too much time going in-depth with their research.

Here’s the thing. Not every review is valuable. 

Some reviews are illegitimate, from paying off reviewers to third-party profiles providing fake reviews of products or services. Other reviews are just weak, without the details and desire to share information that makes them useful to consumers. Fake and detrimental reviews can quickly lead consumers to become wary of your brand.

That’s what makes creating an authentic strategy for review generation all the more valuable.

How To Generate More Authentic Product Reviews

It’s one thing to understand how important authenticity is to your reviews. It’s another to figure out how to efficiently and effectively get more ratings and reviews that carry weight with your consumers. 

Here are some of our tips.

1. Take advantage of product sampling

One of the easiest ways to generate more reviews is by using a product sampling strategy. 

We all know product sampling is an incredibly effective way to convert new customers and gain attention in a competitive market. 

But a product sampling strategy can also be used to help encourage more reviews. Providing customers with free samples of your product in exchange for an honest, authentic review is one of the best strategies for creating a pipeline of reviews. 

Product sampling can also be used to attract influencers to your product. We’re not talking about influencers with over 1 million followers, either. We’re talking about nano influencers.

Research shows that influencers with lower follower counts (from 1,000 to 10,000 followers) are actually more approachable, accessible, and genuine. This also translates to the reviews that they leave in exchange for free samples, which means that you’re more likely to receive authentic feedback.

2. Streamline your review process

It’s difficult to generate reviews if your review process is complicated. More often than not, your customers will simply click away from the review page once they realize how difficult it is to review your products. 

That’s if they can even find your review page at all.

The stats are already lopsided as it is. Although nearly 90% of customers use reviews to fuel their purchasing decisions, less than half of customers take the time to leave their own reviews.

There are several ways to make it easier for your customers to leave reviews. 

One way is to ask for a review post-purchase. Send a follow-up email after purchase asking your customers for an honest and authentic review of your product. Reach out to customers who make positive social media posts about your product with a request for a review. A genuine request often generates an authentic review in return. 

Another option is to create a seamless path for your customers to leave their review. If customers can easily see where your review button is located and it only takes a click or two to get there, chances are better that they’ll actually take the time to leave one. 

3. Encourage customers to post photo or video reviews

Nothing increases the authenticity of a review than actual proof that the consumer has the product in hand. 

When you encourage customers to leave a photo or video review, their review appears far more authentic and genuine. The reader knows that the product is in the reviewer’s hands.

If you want to encourage more photo or video reviews, offering a reward can help. For example, use your online community or loyalty programs to reward customers with points or other types of rewards when a review is left with a photo or a video.

And once you have reviews with photos or video, be sure to spotlight them on your website. What better way to highlight real people using – and loving – your product or service.

4. Follow up with reviewers

A simple “thank you” goes a long way toward making reviewers feel special.

When you follow up with reviewers, whether it’s directly on your reviews platform or on social media, others may feel encouraged to leave their own review. The personal connection that you create when you reach out to customers directly can’t be understated. 

Whether it’s a positive review or a negative one, take the time to reach out. After all, the customer took the time to leave the review in the first place.

5. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews 

There’s no way to hide bad reviews. Even if there was a way, it wouldn’t be an effective tactic.

On the contrary, negative reviews are an important part of improving your product and your customer experience.

As we mentioned earlier, following up with reviewers is important. Following up with negative reviewers is even more important. It gives you the chance to potentially right a wrong. Depending on what the negative review is about, it could be your chance to help repair a bad relationship between brand and customer. 

Negative reviews also allow you to learn from mistakes and fix issues with your product, service, or customer experience. 

Use These Tips to Accelerate Your Collection of Authentic Ratings & Reviews

Ratings and reviews help paint a picture of your brand, from the products you offer to the overall customer experience that you provide. 

However, we understand how difficult it can be to cultivate them. Not everyone wants to take the time to leave a review, regardless of the impact your product or service has on them. 

Hopefully these tips will help you craft your own authentic ratings and review strategy to elevate your brand awareness, increase consideration and conversion, and accelerate your new consumer acquisition.

Like Even More Help With Review Generation?

Vesta’s community platform provides brand marketers with the tools to easily and continually generate authentic reviews at scale. To learn how – or to discuss anything related to generating ratings & reviews – reach out to us. Your audience is waiting.

Interested in more? 

Discover the five ways marketers can create brand love with consumers to inspire advocacy, spark UGC, and generate authentic, high-quality reviews.

Go to the Infographic