People often ask, what are you doing for clients to get more reviews. That statement makes zero sense. It is up to the buyer to leave a review and not something a seller has any direct control over.
This post will assist you by providing insight on how to realistically get more reviews from real buyers interested in your products. You will learn the importance of knowing your target audience and how that alone can be and should be the driving force behind all aspects of building a product into a sustainable revenue stream.
Over the years, Amazon let the once well-trusted review system become a low-class revenue driver for themselves and others. Amazon buyers had come to rely on the truthfulness of the product review system in the past. However, over the last few years reviews have come to represent something else.
Along with sales rank, reviews have become a seller favorite for manipulation. This creates issues for sellers. While creating unfair advantage for some, it creates roadblocks for sellers that do not manipulate the system.
One thing is certain, inevitably, Amazon comes back and over corrects bad policies. Manipulated reviews generally end up getting removed by Amazon during one of these corrections. See below for an example of an over the top manipulated listing.
Review manipulation and sales rank manipulation on Amazon skews all metrics and creates misleading representations of products. For a seller it creates temporary unfair advantages for those doing the manipulating. In time though, those shortcuts always disappear, leaving the manipulators with nothing. A simple example, the number 1 selling Portable Speaker (25000 reviews), Both of the items below are straight from this listing. where does that leave the legitimate seller?
A Non-GMO speaker that is low sodium.... yeah right!
If you ask most sellers on Amazon, they will tell you that without reviews, you can expect zero sales. In all actuality, that is not true. Reviews are one of many KPI's on Amazon. If you nail the others, reviews will play a much lessor role in your listing. Additionally Amazon is about converting clicks to sales. A well converting listing that produces solid sales will not be penalized by Amazon for the lack of reviews.
Based on numerous studies, the presence of reviews is still important. Reviews offer Social Proof in the simplest form. Someone other than the seller, an actually purchaser of the product is giving their opinion and experience, good, bad or ugly.
Consider changing your outlook to how reviews should work. Offer a solid product on a listing that speaks to the motivations of your target audience. A listing that acknowledges and solves some issue for the target buyer and speaks to their need for resolution.
Sell Experiences, Not Products
The listing has to provide an experience that is both compelling and powerful enough to make you stand out from all of your competitors.
If you are not actively trying to make your buyers want to tell everyone about the incredible experience they had with your product then you will not stand out and thus struggle for reviews. To accomplish this, you must connect with your buyer. You must understand their needs and speak directly to them through the listing. Very few sellers realize that understanding your potential buyer and their motivations is oftentimes the difference between an everyday common listing and a listing that dominates categories, sales and buyer preference. This article will address just how to connect with your audience..
It is human nature to glaze over the good and only leave comments when things do not go our way. Reviews are social proof of how a buyer experienced a product. When you go to the Dr. for a checkup, and it is like every other checkup, do you go out of your way to leave a stellar review for them on some site? Then why would a buyer take time out of their day to leave a 5-star review for the same old thing?
If a listing and buyers experience is no different than any other, then a 4 should be acceptable. If perfect reviews are your goal, then something must be done to 'Oh Wow' the buyer. Something exceptional must occur that makes the buyer want to make sure others know about their experience. It must be an experience that stands out and stands above others. That should be at the top of the priority list when writing a product listing.
Sellers should concentrate on the things they CAN control:
To achieve these goals, first you must understand your audience and target buyer
A quick way to do demographic targeting research is with a free tool such as Alexa. Run your competitors website through an analysis. You will be able to extract some good information about who is using the site and their preferences.
Also go to SilmilarWeb and put the site in their search box. Now you will have other websites that are similar to also run through Alexa. You will notice similarities between users, this is your demographic.
Once you have a general idea of your buyer demographic, it is time to develop a picture of your ideal buyer. This is accomplished by creating multiple personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers or those of your primary competitors.
The key to writing an incredible listing and creating Raving Fans is understanding the motivations of your ideal buyers. Develop a fictional character or your ideal buyer. Who is the person you are targeting? Who is your audience?
If done properly, a persona will guide your decision making along the different paths of listing and marketing including copy-writing, graphic choices, paid advertising, product creation and email marketing. The more detailed your persona information is, the clearer the voice necessary to target them will become.
By detailing out these specifics, it will focus your efforts when deciding how to present your products to them. Develop several personas and hang them on the wall next to your desk. It will serve as a reminder of exactly who you are speaking to at every stage of marketing and selling your product.
Develop multiple persona's, both male and female.
Once you know who your target is, their habits and preferences, speaking directly to them through your listing copy becomes easier. Knowing where and when to market to them by understanding their habits and hobbies becomes clearer. Understanding their motivation to purchase your product and the potential issues it solves for them become easier to uncover and target.
Now that you have some information about your audience what do you do with it?
Put yourself in their shoes. Why do they need what you are selling? What solution does it provide to them? Everything you do to list, market and broadcast your product should be done with connecting to your target audience at the top of the priority list.
Armed with this information, you are ready to develop a strategy and plan to engage them and get eyes on your products. Ask yourself, what am I doing to ensure this community, my demographic knows to buy my products the day I launch? What am I doing to generate interest and curiosity among my loyal existing buyers? What am I doing to stand out and to make the buyer want to leave a great review, telling others about their experience?
First, give buyers some credit. If they are the review reading type, they are not stupid and can recognize a fake review.
Second, you cannot control a review or what they say. Rather than spending time trying to get reviews, focus that energy on things you can control. Create a consistent atmosphere where they want to leave a review.
I work with clients across many marketplaces. Crafting the message and creating the experience we want them to have is the single most important part of selling across platforms.
Description requirements change, as do image requirements. Create a quality product that solves some issue or problem. Provide stellar customer service at all times. Turn your buyers into raving fans. None of that changes from platform to platform.'
Take a multi-faceted approach to getting reviews as outlined below. While these methods are free, they need effort on your part.
For established longtime sellers that maintain email lists for marketing purposes. Proper grooming of that list with regular communication about products and their use, builds trust. Announcing your new products to them is the time-tested way to launch a product with purchases and reviews.
For the majority of sellers, building community and a marketing list is an afterthought, so they have to use other techniques. Before you start selling a new product, you should be gathering information needed during the product research phase.
Part of product research should also entail developing a list of influencers, groups, and places to reach your demographic. Involve yourself in those groups, offer advice, get your name out there. Go to BuzzSumo and find recent posts that have very high share rates about your subject and share them in your feeds. That will generate traffic to your feed, get you likes and shares.
Don’t sell or pre-sell, take part and get your name out there. Interact however you can with the influencers. At your launch, you will find the influencers are much more willing to either mention your product or allow you to when you are not a stranger.
Community involvement builds confidence among people. This in turn aids brand recognition down the line. Another way to create trust is the listing itself by solving user problems
Part of writing a listing is reading all the competition’s product reviews, and questions asked. Make a list of all the problems and issues mentioned by buyers. Consider them closely. Within that information are nuggets to sell your products.
Using competitor reviews, you can identify the problems that your product can solve for people and address it in your listing. By addressing the biggest issues and questions in the listing, you are also eliminating them from being a problem with your products
Provide clear, concise instructions. I recommend to clients that instructions include a link to a video instruction guide. This creates the opportunity for you to interact with the buyers off of Amazon.
Create instructional videos and apply proper SEO and a link back to your listing. Post the videos on youtube and your site. Proper SEO will cause the youtube video to get indexed high and fast by google. This creates a separate converting traffic stream to your listings.
Include the FB pixel on your page to gather information and include an email optin to send them extra product information. It is straightforward to ask them to share their experiences now. I find that buyers are willing to leave reviews at this point because you have gone the extra mile with them.
Include an insert card with your product that directs buyers to an off-Amazon site to register for their product warranty. This creates another chance for your FB pixel and optin to generate engagement for you.
Utilizing 3rd party services, sellers have access to the Amazon API and can send three automated emails to the buyer.
The first is a shipment reminder. The second is a delivery reminder, and the third is a post-delivery follow-up. The third email is where you should display excellent customer service skills.
Make your brand available to help them with any questions or issues that may arise. Now is also the correct time to ask the buyer to share their experience with a review or feedback. Do not ask for a positive review or to change a review.
There are also many review services that offer your product at a high discount to their review groups. These services are not terrible, but the majority of them do very little to help your listing in the long run. The reason is these reviews are coming from people that would not otherwise be your customer, nor do they do anything to help you grow your product awareness.
A win-win situation would be giving the discounts to a relevant influencers group. People who are interested in your product to begin with.
Brand growth and recognition relies on consistency in policies and experiences across marketplaces. If you build this into your staff’s regular functions of the business, it becomes a standard across the company. It becomes more comfortable to maintain despite the differences between the market platforms.
This goes against every seminar that sells reviews, giveaway strategies or preaches the need to be on the first page by matching the top seller with freebies. The problem with that technique is it is not a permanent fix and requires extra effort to sustain the position after the giveaway ends. Many sellers do not do this and see their location and sales dwindle due to failure to optimize their listings when they were on top.
Seasoned sellers consider most of these listings bottle rockets, fizzing and dying as fast as they started. More prominent brands pay no attention because they know in the long run, they can and will outspend you.
Understand that you must look at big brand competitors as they fall into one of several categories requiring different strategies. They either do not optimize in the slightest and will outspend you every time. They spend no money on Amazon PPC or optimization but rely on their brand and recognition to carry them ahead of you which many times it does. Or they hyper-focus on optimization, marketing and are rock solid behemoths regardless of what you do.
My experience is that most big brands fall into the first category above. Look at the reviews for a big brand, many contain poor reviews yet they are still crushing 3p sellers with hundreds of positive reviews. Services through my company many times focus on brands in the first two categories moving them towards and into the third category.
Building a stable listing rank with reviews thus driving sustaining sales is not a simple fix accomplished through a giveaway. Even if you have chosen that path, you still must find a way to set yourself apart or the longevity of sustained ranking will be difficult to maintain. The stronger signals of the competition will shine through and overtake you. The advantages attained by reviews from people that would not be your buyers anyway, won’t matter.
The key to getting reviews on autopilot is creating Raving Fans. Making the effort to understand who your buyer is by creating Buyer Personas (Avatars) helps you understand how to communicate your message to them. Creating a product and a brand that stand apart from the crowd delivering consistent added value and service.
Stand out in a buyers mind and leave a lasting impression or else you stand little chance of them remembering a thing. To do so, must include a thorough knowledge and understanding of your competitors offers as well. How can you judge your offer if you do not have any hard facts to measure?
There are other techniques both honest and dishonest that sellers use. We prefer methods that are rock solid and time-tested. They are always the ones left standing after the significant policy shifts. Why waste your money and margin on systems and incentives if you can do the same or more on autopilot by doing what you should be doing anyway?
Ecommerce Optimizer and this blog is committed to providing you solid techniques to grow your business, easily compete in a crowded market against businesses of any size and create sustainable growth. This post is one of many solid techniques available throughout this blog and specifically in our Dominate Amazon Series.
What are you doing to set yourself up to succeed and ensure that you cover the things you can control enough to affect the things you cannot?
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Ecommerce Optimizer was created to help you master the marketplaces by making years of insight, experience and resources available. The forums and social sites are full of well-meaning but false information. We present no black hat tactics, only solid result producing methods that have worked very well for us. We will lead you to the information demonstrate and explain. Only you can apply it to your own listings and make it work!
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