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Social proof, especially in the form of customer reviews, can be one of the strongest tools in your ecommerce sales toolbox. It’s understandable that you’re frustrated your happy customers aren’t sharing that happiness with others.
To help you build a plan to convert those happy customers into satisfied reviewers, we spoke to Matt Morris, Marketing Automation Manager here at Shopify. While he was clear email isn’t the only way to encourage your customers to leave reviews, it’s a useful channel to start with when you’re looking to solicit reviews from exactly the right people.
He also broke down the details of how to implement a review-generating strategy, so if you’ve tried email without much success before, this might be the fix you’re looking for.
Identify customers likely to leave reviews
Matt shared with us that a blanket approach to asking for feedback might not get you the results you’re looking for, and that to generate reviews, you should focus on customers who’ve recently (or consistently) had a positive experience with your business. They’re most likely to post a review in the first place.
If you’re wondering how to find who those customers are for your brand, Matt has segmentation advice that can help you target the people most likely to leave you reviews, and glowing ones at that.
“Have they bought more than one product from you? Have they reordered the same product multiple times? These are indicators that they're a loyal and happy customer who would be inclined to leave a positive review,” said Matt.
“Another data point you could look at is order value. People who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on your site likely get a lot of value out of your products, and they’re an ideal customer to ask for a review versus a customer who bought a ten dollar product to try you out for the first time.”
Ask for customer reviews
Now that you’re building a profile of which customers might be poised to leave you great feedback online, it’s time to start asking them. This is where the power of email can help you make a solid impression, and increase your chances of getting reviews.
“The beauty of email is you can have a one to one, very personalized conversation with someone, but you can extrapolate that and have it at scale with dynamic content,” said Matt.
“When asking for reviews, I would lean more towards a plain text email, a format that looks and feels personal, instead of a template that's over-designed. Use a bit of personalization in the email, so details like addressing the customer by their first name, or maybe showcasing the product they’ve purchased as a reminder.”
Here’s a sample email Matt outlined that you can tweak to fit your brand and your products.
The example above would great to send to a segment of customers who have purchased a specific product more than once. Additionally, you can use your email tool to identify people who haven’t opened or clicked on the email after a week or two, and resend it just to them with a new subject line.
As you send these emails to your list, keep track of which ones are generating meaningful results, and where you might want to make adjustments to your strategy, segmentation, or email copy.
Automate from there
Luckily, once you’ve found a winning formula for getting reviews via email, it’s something you can automate. However, Matt’s clear that automation should be your final step, not your first.
“Especially with email, I tend to work backwards. You start by identifying goals, which in this case is positive feedback. Then you can deliberately look for people who would be inclined to give you good feedback, but maybe haven’t done so because they haven’t been prompted. Once you find them, you look for similarities between these people, which in this case might be repeat buyers.”
“Now that you’ve figured out the right people to message, you can have your emails trigger automatically after someone places a second order, which means you can send your request for a review on autopilot at just the right time. That frees you up to continue monitoring results and optimizing the email content, as well as parsing the feedback customers send your way.”
If you’re fairly new to the world of email marketing, pairing this advice with the right tool might seem like a lot to take in. Luckily, there are a number of email marketing tools that can integrate with your Shopify store and help you implement this strategy, and Matt had some advice for people who are just getting started.
“For beginners, I’d recommend setting up a MailChimp account. The MailChimp app for Shopify will take all of your ecommerce data and purchase data and it'll push it into MailChimp. You can segment your list of contacts from there, and send emails to the right groups of customers.”
The same can be said for many of the email marketing apps on the Shopify app store, so you’re not limited to just one email platform. You could also look at:
Start with email, then build
Sending personalized notes at scale to happy customers is a great place to start gathering reviews for your products, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop there. You can take what you’ve learned from your early results and expand to other platforms, especially ones you know your customers love.
For example, if your customers frequently Instagram your products with glowing captions, that could be a great place to source reviews in a more hands-on way. But as a first step, start with the scalable strategy that can connect you with your existing happy customers: email.
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