If you’ve just opened your business or just released a new product, it can be difficult to get your first reviews. Reviews are an important part of gaining your audience’s trust and convincing new customers that your business and products are worth it. To get your first authentic reviews, it’s helpful to have a few strategies in mind.
What Not to Do
Some businesses are tempted to make up their first reviews. This practice is not only disingenuous, but also illegal. Whether you’re trying to get reviews on a third-party site, like Google or Amazon, or you’re trying to get reviews to use on your own site, making up reviews is not a good practice. Instead, spend a bit of time forging some connections with your customers. Make your first customers feel special and they’ll be more likely to provide reviews and also help you along throughout other business milestones.
It’s important to note that third-party review websites have stricter rules when it comes to how you can gather reviews. Most third-party sites don’t allow you to use free products or samples, gift cards, or other incentives. Some sites, like Yelp, don’t even allow you to ask customers directly for reviews. If you’re gathering reviews for third-party sites, you should clearly understand their terms of service and what you can and can’t do.
6 Ways to Get Your First Reviews
These strategies can help you get your first reviews for your new business or a new product. Some of these strategies assume that you already have some customers, and you’re introducing a new product. Other strategies assume you’re opening a brand new business and you don’t have any customers yet. You can customize these strategies according to your situation, and use any strategy that you think might help.
1. Host a Grand Opening Event
A grand opening event is a great way to generate buzz and get attention for your new business. It’s also a great way to generate your first testimonials and reviews. To do this, make it obvious that you’re looking for reviews and make it very easy for your customers to leave them.
You might leave small cards or bookmarks with a link or QR code to your review-collecting landing page. Or, you might give your first customers a card thanking them for being your first official customers, and asking them to leave a review. If you provide a follow-up email, you could also include the link here. Finally, make it clear on your menu or on other signs around your business, that you’re looking for reviews and how customers can provide them.
If you’d like to gather reviews at your grand opening event, you can use a laptop or kiosk and lock it to one page. If you use Boast, you can easily create a landing page for gathering reviews and testimonials, and invite your customers to submit reviews at this event.
Use Boast to gather your first reviews easily
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2. Work with Beta Testers
If you’re releasing a new product and looking for your first reviews, it can help to work with your beta testers. You may have given samples of your product to some of your most loyal customers, or friends or family members, prior to releasing it. These users can help provide the first reviews. You might ask them about the things they liked best about your product, or about any aspects that future customers should be aware of. For example, if a clothing size tends to run small, this can be helpful to include in a review.
Keep in mind that giving free products in exchange for reviews isn’t allowed on third-party review sites, even if these users are beta testers. However, this can be a good strategy for getting your first reviews on your own website.
3. Send a Thank You Email
After your customer makes a purchase, signs up for email updates, signs up for a subscription, or gives you their email in another way, you might thank them for visiting or purchasing. This is also a great time to ask for a review. Tell your customer how important their input is, and that reviews on new products are essential for the product’s success. Make sure your instructions are clear and that it’s easy to understand how to leave a review.
If you’re gathering reviews for your own site, you might even offer a discount or another incentive if a customer provides a review. Make sure you monitor reviews on the product in question and give customers the incentives you promise.
4. Send a Thank You Note
When a customer purchases a product, you can send them a note with the purchase to ask them for a review. In this note, you can establish a stronger connection with your customer. You might thank them for working with your business, provide a link or QR code to a review, and provide a discount or other other incentive to encourage them to purchase again.
In this note, you might also encourage your customer to follow you on social media, subscribe to your newsletter, or engage in another way. Since physical, paper notes are less common than emails, it’s likely to be more impactful. Try to be sincere in the language you use for your message, and tell your customer how important they are.
5. Post on Social Media
Many business owners have a significant social media following before they even open their doors. Other businesses who are preparing to launch a new product also have a social media following around their existing business. Leveraging this social media following can help you get your first reviews.
Depending on the platform you’re using, you might use more text, images, or video in your post. For a text-based post, you might simply introduce your business or new product, and ask followers to try them and leave a review. For an image-based platform, you might post a picture of the new product or business exterior. Or, you might use short video content to show your new product at work or take your followers on a brief tour of your business.
Be sure to include a link to the page where you’d like to gather reviews. You might include this in the post itself, or include it in your profile description. It should be easy for your customers to go straight from your social media page to the review page.
6. Host a Giveaway
Incentives, like a gift card or free products, can help get your customers’ attention and encourage them to leave a review. You can get your first reviews more easily if you provide some incentives to your customers in return.
You’ll need to make the rules of the giveaway clear. You might offer an incentive for every person that leaves a review, or enter each person to win a larger incentive. Remember that it’s illegal to incentivize only positive reviews, so you’ll need to accept both positive and negative reviews. Incentivizing reviews also violates the terms of service for most third-party review sites, but this can be an effective way to gather feedback for your own site.
There are many ways to get your first reviews. Remember that these strategies take time, and it’s okay to use more than one strategy at a time. You’ll need to repeat your message several times to cut through the noise, and make sure your customers take notice. If your business or product is high-quality, you’ll get your first reviews in no time.
Posted in: Online Reviews