Online reviews: How to get people talking about your product online
Everyone states to look at the star ratings and read the online reviews of a product to help them make a purchase decision but no one goes back online to leave a review after buying and using it. In today’s world, your online reputation can be your greatest benefit or heaviest burden, no matter if you own a small and local or a big and global business. But how do you get your customers to help you build a positive online reputation?
Increasing the amount of online customer reviews and ratings
No matter what and how strong people might think about your product, taking the extra effort of going online, typing a few words and publishing a comment can pose a big hurdle. To help them overcome it pay attention to the following three areas.
1. Personal motivators
The strongest motivations for people to publish content online are reputation, sense of belonging and enjoyment of helping. Using review platforms and social media to portray ourselves as intelligent shoppers increases our positive self-image. We also have an innate urge to be part of social groups which means we obtain social benefits from contributing to virtual communities. Apart from that we are motivated to comment online out of partially altruistic reasons. We may feel obligated to give back valuable information we received from the community before, or we want to give others the feeling they owe us.
But how can you bring this to life? Simply adding a short sentence to your online product description could have a great impact. Take a look at the following examples playing on the motive of reputation:
- “Be the one to tell others about Product X.”
- “You are an important voice in…”
- “As a user of Product X your opinion matters to others who’re choosing a new…”
Alternatively, if you want to create a call to action applying the need to belong, these suggestions might give you a good idea of what this could look like:
- “Join Product X users in reviewing…”
- “Product X-ers are an important part of the millions of users across the world/country…”
- “Help review Product X.”
Independent of the motivational frame, different phrasings of the call to review can have very different effects. A certain wording would for example make people comment right away, whereas a different choice of words would rather push their actions to a later point in time. Which words trigger which actions and which action should be triggered at the different stages of the user experience pathway is beyond the scope of this post. If you want to know more, let us know. We’re happy to help you out.
3. Contextual mediators
Besides behavioural motivations, characteristics of the context influence the likelihood of customers to write an online review as well. Gender, brand involvement, negative reviews and product popularity, for example, have proven effects and have to be considered when creating a call to review.
If your customers show high brand involvement, meaning they focus their reviews on the brand rather than the specific product, they are more likely to comment online. Brand involvement is associated with stronger emotions than product involvement. Whenever people feel strong emotions (positive or negative) they get an urge to vent these in order to keep an internal balance and an online review platform provides a great space for that. This effect does not include rules about the content of reviews, though. Brand involvement specifically influences the amount of online reviews. This does not necessarily provide an advantage on its own, it is generally difficult to influence brand involvement, but it is definitely an important contextual mediator to take into account when creating a strategy around online reviews.
Putting the pieces together
The critical step to successfully creating a positive online footprint is finding the matching pieces from the three areas we just discussed and correctly putting them together. Start by defining who your customers are, the time and place you ask them to review and how popular your product already is. Depending on the profile you end up with, the different kinds of motivations will have different effects. Sense of belonging, for example, is mostly helpful if your product is popular and has lots of reviews already, whereas reputation works on every level of popularity, enjoyment of helping is a much bigger motivation for women to comment online than it is for men, and so on.
Combining the right factors depending on individual conditions can be a bit complicated, but if you manage to figure it out the benefits will be worth it.
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