Social Media Strategy

6 Steps to Creating a Successful Social Media Strategy for ANY Network

Fact: social media sites drive over 31% of all referral traffic on the Internet.

That is a huge amount.

It’s on a similar level with search referral traffic:

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So, if you pay attention to SEO, doesn’t it make sense to pay the same attention to social media as well?

You might have already known that.

But where should you focus your attention? That’s the big question. 

People use the same two or three search engines for all of their needs, but they use different social networks to cover different aspects of their lives.

The same person may use LinkedIn for their professional life, Facebook to keep up with friends, Twitter to get the latest news, and Instagram and Pinterest to share pictures.

But there are other social networks, smaller ones, that have other uses as well.

And although they are “smaller,” they still have tens or hundreds of thousands of users. If a large percentage of these users is in your target audience, that should justify being active on that network.

Here’s the big benefit of smaller networks: barely any other business uses them!

Think about it. The biggest businesses need a huge audience, so they stick to the biggest social networks.

The small and medium sized businesses typically just copy the big businesses (or most of them do).

That’s how just about everyone ends up on Facebook or Twitter.

They’re good networks, for sure, and can benefit most businesses. But imagine if you could’ve been the first business in your niche on Facebook?

With absolutely no competition, you could have quickly amassed followers and driven large amounts of traffic to your website in no time.

That’s essentially your opportunity with smaller networks.

You can be the biggest (or only) fish in the pond.

That means faster results, better results, and more profit.

But that leads to one problem:

All the social media strategy guides and tools are designed for the “big” social networks. How are you supposed to know what to do?

Although I can’t get you a specific guide for every network out there (there are thousands), I can walk you through the process of creating a strategy that you can use with any social network, step by step.

This process will work on just about every social network out there.

Finding smaller social networks

One of the reasons why very few businesses take advantage of the smaller networks is because they are harder to find than the ones that everyone talks about.

Expect to have to dig around for 30-60 minutes to find the best one for your business.

Keep in mind that you don’t need a network to have millions of users to make it a good target for your marketing.

And there are hundreds of social networks that fit this criteria, so it’s just a matter of finding the right one(s) for your business.

A good starting place is this Wikipedia list, which has about 100 different networks. Each network has a description to help you determine whether it might be right for you.

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An important note: don’t expect every network to look and act like Facebook and Twitter.

At first, you might not be sure if you can find a way to turn users into customers, but in most cases there’s a way if you’re willing to be creative (more on that later).

Right now, just worry about finding a few networks that are likely to have your target audience.

Here’s another list of 91 social networks for even more ideas.

What networks are based around: All networks have their own purpose—their own sort of niche(s).

Ideally, you’re looking for networks that align with your business’ niche(s).

Most networks are based on certain types of interactions, interests, or locations. Most are a combination of the three.

For example, Badoo is a social network with 20 million active users, but it’s mainly popular in Latin America and certain European countries such as Italy and Spain.

Or consider Meetup, which allows people in certain cities to create groups around interests. This is a great network for local businesses because you can engage people in your area in person.

Finally, Classmates is a network dedicated to reconnecting with high school friends. It’s essentially one specific part of Facebook.

There are many networks that are location independent. They focus on specific interests. They can get really specific.

For example, Ravelry is a social network for people who love knitting. If you owned a business related to knitting, you couldn’t find a better place to interact with your audience.

For now, write down all the networks you think might have your target audience. Throughout the rest of this post, I’ll show you how to verify whether it’s a good network to spend your time on or not.

Step 1: Spy on your target users

Once you’ve chosen a few networks to check out, you can start learning about them.

When you first see a specific social network in action, it can be a bit overwhelming. You won’t “get” it.

But if you spend a bit of time there, you’ll understand how the site works and how users interact with each other, which is where the opportunity is.

The plan is always to find ways to connect with your target audience and then get them back to your website whenever possible.

I recommend spending at least a few days learning about a network before you do any further testing.

And since it can be overwhelming, here’s how I would break it down into smaller steps.

Component #1 – Establish the basics: Before you can understand the deeper motivations of users, you need to understand the basic mechanics of the site.

For a network such as Facebook, this would include understanding what certain things are or mean, like:

  • timelines
  • status updates
  • shares
  • likes
  • comments
  • friends
  • tags

Although these smaller networks don’t often have marketing guides written about them, most will have some sort of tutorial you can read to help you out.

For example, if you Google:

how tumblr works or how to use tumblr

you will find several guides and videos, offering explanations of the main functions of the site.

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The same goes for most networks. Here are the results for Meetup:

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At the very minimum, every successful site has some sort of help documentation where you can look up the functions of certain buttons or definitions of site’s terms.

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Component #2 – Learn how users interact: Learning what the major parts of the network are will tell you the main purpose of the network from the user’s point of view.

But you want to dig beyond people use Meetup to meet people with common interests.”

It’s important to know not only what they do but also why and how they do it.

Eventually, you will be interacting with users, and you want to be able to do it just like any other experienced member of the site.

For example, on Ravelry (the knitting network), I would’ve first learned that all users have their own project boards. This is where they post pictures for knitting project ideas:

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This is one of the first places where I spotted user interaction. As you can see, below each thumbnail, there are comments.

If you click a project picture, you can see those comments:

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Just from a few comments, it’s clear that users talk very casually, using things like emoticons. At the same time, they use proper grammar like commas, periods, and capitalization.

During this phase of your research, you just want to notice which topics come up the most and how most users express themselves about those topics.

You need to keep reading and studying the interactions until you are able to reply just like any other user of the network.

Component #3 – Learn how businesses use it to drive traffic: This component is a bit trickier.

It can be hard to figure out the best way to get users of a site over to your website.

To make it easier, you can look for businesses already on the network. Study them to find out how they connect their social profiles and activities with their website.

For example, Pinterest has a search function, where you can type a keyword related to your niche:

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This brings up a selection of “pins,”—the images that users share.

Looking through the posts, I found that a brand “Social Media Examiner” had an account.

By examining their activity on the site, I could see that they primarily used the network to drive followers to their blog by posting pins that linked back to their blog posts:

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If I was going to give Pinterest a go, I could employ this tactic.

But what if you can’t find any businesses?

That’s a difficult situation.

On the one hand, it could just be because no one in your niche had the thought to try out that particular network.

Or it could be because they tried but couldn’t make it work.

Either way, you’re starting from scratch.

What you want to do is pinpoint as many types of interaction on the network as possible where users can click a link.

Eventually, you will need them to follow a link to go back to your website.

Back to Ravelry as an example: there’s a private and very active forum for users:

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Within the forum, I saw several links pointing to external sites, which means that there would be opportunities to post links back to blog posts or straight to products:

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As long as you can find at least one realistic path of getting users back to your website, the network has potential, and you have the foundations of a strategy.

Step 2: Test the waters

At this point, you should have a basic understanding of how the social network actually works.

Don’t worry if you’re not a master of it—you can always learn from your own mistakes.

The final 5 steps in this post are to get your strategy in gear. I’ve broken it up to make it simpler and less intimidating to follow.

For this step, you’re going to create your account and start establishing your presence on the network(s) of your choice.

Although I don’t recommend using too many social networks at the end of this process, it’s fine to try out three or four for now and narrow down your choice later.

Phase #1 – Create an account: Every single social network will have a signup link somewhere on the homepage. Fill in your standard information like email and password.

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Somewhere in this process, you will be asked to pick a username. This is where your research comes into play.

Did you see obvious brands on your social network? If so, feel free to sign up with a name that reflects your brand, e.g., “Quick Sprout.”

However, if you’ve never seen a brand name account, it’s likely because users don’t like it. So, create a personal profile instead, either with your own name or a made up username.

Phase #2 – Seed it with basic content: Once you’ve done that, your next step is to customize your profile. You want to make it as appealing to your target audience as possible. Usually, this will entail making it look as natural as possible.

When someone views your profile, they should enjoy it. Don’t stick to a plain avatar and no description. Take 20 minutes to create a good-looking detailed profile.

On tumblr, as an example, you can customize your blog:

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You can change blog settings as well, but for now you would be considered with the theme:

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Give your page a title that represents your profile, similarly to how all the most popular users you’ve studied have done it.

Do the same with the description and avatar picture:

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Most social networks have some element of public posting. Now would be a good time to make a few quick blog posts or status updates to make your account look legitimate.

Phase #3 – Connect with anyone you know: I’ve said it before: social media is all about connecting with people. That’s why users use the site.

So, if you belong to any social network but you have zero connections there, it’ll be hard to get a benefit from your efforts.

If it’s a general network like Tagged or Uplike, try to connect with anyone that you actually know on the network to start.

Obviously, these are smaller networks, and you might not know very many people there. That’s okay.

The best way to make new connections is to “follow,” “friend,” or use whatever connection mechanism the site has, to connect with people with a certain interest.

For example, if you were looking to get active on Meetup, you have to join groups to interact with people in them.

If you were selling SEO services, you’d probably want to join groups dedicated to local small business or entrepreneurs. If you’re connecting with someone because of a common interest, it’s clear to them why you want to connect, and most will be happy to.

Finally, you could also send an email to your email list. Since you’ve already identified that your target audience might like this network, you could invite them to join it and connect with you.

Just send them an email like this:

Subject: I just discovered something amazing…

Hi (Name),

After years of looking for a great (niche) community, I finally found one.

I stumbled upon a social network called (name of site) a little while ago. So far, it’s impressing me.

(Describe a positive aspect of the network that your subscriber would be interested in).

If you’re interested in joining (it’s free, of course), here’s the signup link: (URL).

Create an account, and then send me a friend invite (my username is (username)).

See you there,

(Your name)

Your goal here is to start building some connections and followers. You don’t need hundreds or thousands—just try to get a few dozen for now.

Step 3: Time to answer a HUGE question

Here’s what you need at this point: an account plus a plan to get users to your website.

If you need help with a plan, review this social media strategy, and then modify it to suit your network.

The huge question that you need to answer right now is:

Do you want to commit to this network for several months?

The reason why this is so important is because your results on almost any social network will be slow at first. It’s only after consistently being active and executing your strategy that you will be able to drive significant traffic.

So, if you don’t think you could do it for longer than 5-6 months, you might as well not start.

That’s the mentality you need to possess to succeed with your plan.

Let me illustrate this for you…

If you go to my Facebook page right now (just search “Neil Patel” on Facebook), you’ll see that even in the worst-case scenario, I still get over 100 likes and several shares. Note that only a small percentage of traffic actually “likes” the share, so it drives considerably more:

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That seems good, right?

I think so. And you’d probably love to be able to drive thousands of visitors to your website every month through social media. But it wasn’t always like this.

Unless you’re willing to invest in advertising to get followers on a network, it takes a lot of time to gain traction.

I started the page at the end of 2009. You can still see those posts with only a handful of likes and shares:

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A few years later, I started getting a few dozen likes on each post. At this point, I could drive a decent amount of traffic.

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By the end of 2014, I could finally get around 100 likes for each post:

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Keep in mind, though, I didn’t grow my page as fast as I could have. It wasn’t my main focus.

So, if you commit to a good strategy and follow it, you’ll get there a lot faster, but it will still take time.

You need to be patient and be willing to keep working for months even without seeing much in the way of results. They start slow but grow faster and faster over time (like a snowball).

Step 4: The most important key to social media success

Do you get it?

How you execute your strategy on a consistent basis will either make you or break you. That’s why I devoted an entire section to it.

Besides having the right mindset, you’ll also need other things, namely content.

Not all social media sites are built on content, but most are.

And when I say content, I’m talking about articles and guides that you can share with the network community through your profile…just like you would by posting on Facebook or tumblr.

Part #1 – Decide what kind of content you need: You probably already know this because of your earlier research.

Figure out what role content plays in the way users interact.

On the knitting network, users shared tutorials and tips on the forum. Sharing good content there could help you build up your reputation and make more connections.

On tumblr, you share content by posting it to your blog. You can even repost entire blog posts there as long as you credit the author.

On networks more similar to Facebook and Twitter, you need short messages to share. Some will be short descriptions with a link to a blog post, but some will be interesting messages like inspirational quotes.

Once you know what type of content you’ll need, move on to the next part.

Part #2 – Find proven content that attracts shares: The first goal of sharing content is to share something that your followers and community actually value.

When you do that consistently, it does many good things. It:

  • first creates, then deepens your relationship with your followers
  • helps you become more respected in the community
  • allows you to drive traffic to great resources
  • optional: allows you to build relationships with the authors of the content you share (extra bonus!)

The reason the last point is optional is because you could, in theory, create all the content that you share yourself.

I don’t recommend it.

It can actually hurt your standing in the network because it will look like you’re only sharing content to drive users back to your site, not to benefit them.

Additionally, it would take a ton of time.

By sharing great content that others have created, you get all the benefits of sharing content without having to spend time making it yourself.

So yes, you should share your own content, but you should also share a lot of content from others, providing credit as needed.

Where do you find content?

You can find it in many places, but here are three sources that will work for any niche.

First is Feedly, an RSS reader.

You can use Feedly to stay on top of all the latest blog posts in your industry:

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To use it, create an account, and search for your niche in the search bar:

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You will also be given the option of choosing from a “starter kit.” Either will work.

Start adding all the sites that you know produce awesome content on a regular basis. Just click the plus button beside the site’s name:

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With Feedly, you can review all the latest content quickly and then share the best posts.

Source #2 is Reddit. More specifically, you can find great content in subreddits (which are Reddit’s categories).

If you’re not familiar with Reddit, read my beginner’s guide to marketing on Reddit.

Then, find a subreddit (or more) that your target audience would belong to. For example, if you run a home improvement site, your target audience is probably interested in do it yourself (DIY) projects.

By visiting the DIY subreddit, you can see all the posts that users have voted on. If a piece of content gets a lot of upvotes, that means it is liked by most of the community. This makes it perfect for sharing on other networks:

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Finally, you can also use Topsy, which is basically a Twitter search engine.

Enter your keyword, and look through the results. You will see how many other people have tweeted a specific link. More tweets mean that it’s more popular, which makes it—most likely—a good piece of content to share.

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You can use any one or combination of these tools to find great content that your target audience will appreciate.

Part #4 – Determine with what frequency you need to participate to achieve your goals:

Every network is different when it comes to posting frequency.

You don’t want to post so much that you annoy your followers, but you need to post enough so that you get the benefits of posting: a potentially bigger audience and more followers.

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To figure out how often you should post, you’ll have to test different frequencies.

To start with, look at the most popular users (say 10-20), and record the number of posts per week they make.

Find an average of those numbers, and start with this frequency.

Step 5: If you’re serious about success, you need to find a way to do this

What’s the key to social media success?

Consistency (just reminding you).

So, now that you know what content and how much of it you need to post, you need to come up with a system that will help keep you on track.

The two components of such a system are: its efficiency and ease of implementation.

Having to log in and make a post every X hours is not easy or efficient. You’ll likely miss some posts that you’d like to make, which will slow down your results.

Luckily, there are some ways to design a system that’s better, mostly through automation.

Determine what can and should be automated: It would be great if everything could be automated because it would take no time on your part, but it can’t be.

Some things can’t or shouldn’t be automated:

  • Curating content – don’t just share any content. Take the time to read posts so that you can share the best ones.
  • Interacting with users – you can’t automate authentic conversation. If you’re ever commenting or messaging a user, do it yourself.

What can be automated, however, is the actual posting of the content. You can do all the curating beforehand and then have it posted automatically.

Streamline manual processes: Just because something has to be done manually doesn’t mean it has to be inefficient.

Instead of having to remember to do something on a regular basis and then doing all the steps, you can do the steps in batches.

Batching is a productivity technique, where you do the same task many times in one sitting.

This reduces time spent switching between tasks and helps you get “in the zone” while working.

When it comes to your social media strategy, pick a day once every week or two to curate content. Find as many posts as you’ll need for those weeks so that you can just schedule them to be posted.

You can either schedule these with a tool right away (more on that in a second) or do what Buffer does—create a schedule in a spreadsheet that you can later upload into a tool for bulk-scheduling your posts:

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And as for interaction, don’t constantly check your account for new notifications.

Instead, set a time or two, like first thing in the morning and last part of the working day, to check your account and reply to your followers.

Automation option #1 – Use a tool: To get your content posted automatically, you’ll need some sort of a tool.

Ideally, you would use an existing tool.

For example, Buffer allows you to add content into a queue of posts to be posted at specified times:

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The problem is that the major tools, such as Buffer, Hootsuite, etc., only support the biggest social networks.

In other words, they aren’t very useful here.

You can search for:

schedule (network) posts

to see if anyone else has a solution, but you may have to move on to the next option.

Automation option #2 – Create your own tool: Most social networks allow you to post via an API, which makes it fairly easy for a programmer to create a simple tool.

You can post a job on a freelance site such as Upwork or Elance, describing what you’re looking for.

Since you don’t need anything pretty, you can get a simple scheduler made for less than a few hundred dollars.

Considering that this tool will save you hours every week, it’s worth it.

If you see that other people are also looking for a tool for your network of choice, you could also opt to make a more polished tool and potentially sell it. Note that this will raise the cost by quite a bit.

Step 6: Your strategy needs to be refined

It took me years of trial and error to figure out how to create a solid system for the big social media sites. And it’s still not perfect.

Your strategy is likely good if you followed all the research steps, but it could always be improved.

And just a few small improvements can lead to a much faster growth rate in the long run.

So, how do you refine a system?

As you use the network more, you might notice that some things you’re doing aren’t as effective as they should be.

However, the best way to refine a system is by using data. Data doesn’t lie.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Pick important metrics to track
  2. Follow your strategy for 30 days
  3. Evaluate results based on metrics
  4. Test changes and repeat #2-4

To start with, you’ll need to pick a few metrics to track. I recommend two to four.

When I say important, I mean pick those that influence the amount of traffic you can drive to your site. Even if you’re not driving much traffic now, it will make a big difference in the future.

Using Facebook as an example, I can tell you that the important metrics are:

  • Page likes – the more page likes, the bigger the audience that I can share my content with (and that can click through)
  • Status likes – friends of followers who like a post also see it, potentially growing my audience
  • Status shares – the more shares, the wider my reach
  • Comments – more interaction will add social proof to my content

Metrics are pretty similar across different networks, but make sure you’re focusing on those that can influence your traffic later on.

Now, you just need to collect data by running your initial strategy. Thirty days is a good test period.

At the end, check your metrics. See how many shares and likes you’re getting. If it’s not as much as you’d like, come up with an idea to improve your system.

It may be to post more, post different content, connect with different types of people, and so on.

Then, do another cycle of 30 days. If the results improve, integrate the change into your system, and come up with a new idea.

Always keep trying to refine and improve your system.

Conclusion

Social media sites are one of the best sources of traffic.

But just because a network isn’t named Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean it can’t help your business.

Smaller social networks often have far fewer marketers on them than larger ones do, which makes any type of marketing on them much more effective.

If you follow the steps I laid out for you in this post, you can find golden opportunities to establish yourself as a big fish in a small pond.

Even small networks can drive thousands of visitors per month to your website if you do some work.

If you have any experience with marketing on small social media sites or you have a question, let me know in a comment below.

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5 Techniques to Get 5 Stars: How to Get More (and Better) Online Reviews

5 Techniques to Get 5 Stars: How to Get More (and Better) Online Reviews

Everywhere you go, you see reviews.

Whether it’s a physical or digital product, if it’s worth talking about (in good or bad ways), it has reviews.

Some of this feedback is simply comments on blogs and forums.

But mostly, reviews exist on large e-commerce sites where companies sell their products.

The most important thing about reviews is that people care about them.

About 30% of Internet users check out reviews on Amazon before buying a product. And that’s just Amazon.

Another 13% head to Google.

Before, people would ask their friends about products. But now, they rely on online reviews.

People trust reviews to inform them about their decisions, and reviews play a huge role in people’s purchasing decisions. 

Although there’s no way to definitively say that reviews are good for business, just about every study or anecdotal case suggests that they are.

For example, Capterra analyzed the effect of adding reviews for software products and found that conversion rates increased significantly as more reviews were added.

Furthermore, a more general analysis found that conversion rate could more than double if you had a large enough number of reviews.

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Although there is a mini-plateau after 20 reviews, conversion rate begins to increase again soon after.

You don’t have to be a big e-commerce site to add reviews to your personal website store.

Adding reviews increased Figleaves.com’s conversion rates by 35% and eSpares.co.uk’s by 14.2%.

These are massive increases in conversion rates that can result in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Potential buyers trust reviews for a few reasons:

  • They represent a real use situation
  • They are less likely to be biased (than a sales page)
  • They give visitors confidence to buy, proving there won’t be any issues with the purchase

Getting reviews is hard: If you’ve been selling online, you’ve probably noticed that it is difficult to get customers to leave reviews.

People want their products, but they don’t really want to do any extra work. Writing a good review can take 5 to 15 minutes without providing much of a benefit to the reviewer.

People typically leave a review for one of three reasons:

  • They hate the product
  • They love the product
  • They’re somewhere in-between but would like to clear up any confusion around the product for other potential buyers (essentially just doing something nice)

The first two reasons are pretty self-explanatory.

Obviously, you don’t want people leaving reviews if they hate the product. That’s how you get negative reviews and one-star reviews that actually decrease your conversion rates.

So, how do you prevent it? Simple: have a great product along with great customer service.

If you create a product that everyone loves, you’ll get tons of reviews.

In reality, most products have customers that fall into all three camps.

What you need to do is focus on the people who already love your product and the ones that like it. A solid three- or four-star review can still help your conversion rate.

And that’s what the rest of this post is all about.

I’ll go over the best ways you can maximize the number of reviews you get from your customers.

You might not like this, but it’s what you have to do…

Most business owners love to create products.

But only some business owners love to sell those products.

Selling often feels like you’re doing something wrong and imposing on the people you genuinely care about.

Asking for anything can be difficult.

But it needs to be done.

You need to start by realizing that selling doesn’t have to be underhanded. If you create a truly valuable product, sales is simply letting people know about it.

If your product is great, people will buy your product and thank you for the opportunity.

After you make the sale, however, you need to ask customers to review it.

If you don’t ask, most will never even think of doing it, even if they don’t mind.

Although it might seem like you’re imposing on them—asking for something without giving something in return—you aren’t.

Most happy customers are glad to help you spread the word of your product so that other people will also give it a shot.

So, stop thinking that you’re taking advantage of your customers and realize that you’re helping each other.

Ideally, you want to ask for reviews as soon as you can after the purchase is made and your buyer had the time to receive and test the product.

If you ask too early, customers can’t review the product because they haven’t had the chance to use it.

If you ask too late, they’ll have forgotten about it and are less likely to review it (although late is better than early).

Amazon typically sends an email reminder asking you to review a recent purchase a few days after you’ve received it:

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Customers don’t hate giving reviews—if you ask right…

It’s important to carefully approach the subject of reviews with customers.

First, you want them to receive the product and be happy with it.

The more satisfied they are, the more likely they are to not only leave a review but leave a positive one.

Before asking for a review, I recommend contacting customers and asking them if they had any problems with their order.

If they have had problems, they’ll let you know, and you’ll have the chance to fix them.

If they haven’t had any problems, some will let you know, but the others just won’t reply. It’s safe to ask any of these customers for reviews.

Finally, the way in which you ask for reviews is important.

Being persuasive with your request can double or triple the number of reviews you end up getting.

Tip #1 – Be appreciative: To be frank, reviewers don’t really get much out of the process. It’s just a nice thing they can do for other people reading reviews in the future.

However, many reviewers will do reviews if they know that they are important to you.

After all, you’ve just created a great product for them.

Even though they have paid for it already, many customers will feel that they should have paid more. This leaves them feeling indebted to you.

Many customers will leave a review if you tell them how important they are to you because then they can consider the two of you “even.”

For example, RealSelf is an online medical professional directory. It publishes reviews on all types of cosmetic doctors so that you can find one you can trust.

After you have found a doctor through the service, RealSelf asks you to contribute a review to the site.

There are two parts of the email in particular that make it work so well:

  1. “…would love for you to share your experience…” – They’re not just asking you to leave a review for the fun of it. They’re making it clear that they appreciate it and value it.
  2. “…will also help others make informed decisions” – Since the customer was just in the tough situation of trying to make a good decision, they are likely to be empathetic to other people in the same situation. Some customers will leave a review just to help others.

image16

Tip #2 – Make it simple: So we’ve established that most reviewers leave reviews because it’s a nice thing to do.

However, there is a limit to how much most people are willing to give to be nice.

If you make customers jump through hoops to leave a review, most aren’t going to bother.

The solution is easy: make leaving a review as easy as possible.

First, if you’re asking for a review on any third-party sites, always link directly to the review forms on the specific sites:

image21

Alternatively, if you’re asking customers to leave a review on your site, let them start the process by clicking on a star rating within an email. All the biggest sites do this for a reason. It works.

image16

The other benefit is that it makes it really clear that you’re looking for the customer to leave a review (they know what stars represent).

Tip #3 – Do NOT offer an incentive: Want to get every customer to leave you a review? Just offer them $100 if they do.

Incentivizing reviews is a gray area.

It has obvious moral issues. In some ways, you’re essentially bribing your customer for a good review.

Even if you don’t intend your incentive to be a bribe, most people feel compelled to provide good reviews if they’re being compensated for it (without any other potential buyers being aware of it).

A potential problem that might be even bigger is that you could be fined huge amounts if caught by the FTC (if you do any business in the United States).

Not all countries have these rules, so it’s up to you to check if there’s an equivalent organization in your country and determine if you’re morally okay with incentivizing.

If you are going to offer an incentive, you should ask your reviewers to disclose that fact in their reviews. If the review discloses the incentive, not only is there no moral argument, but it’s also not violating any laws.

Tip #4 – Be clear about what you’re looking for: If you just have one textbox that says “your review,” customers could write about anything, even irrelevant things.

However, if you break down the review into descriptive fields, your reviewers will have a much better idea of what to include:

image03

One way to improve the above form would be to add a description into, above, or beneath the “review” box.

You can prompt the customer to talk about certain aspects of the product that you believe influence buying decisions (shipping, packaging quality, durability, etc.).

Speaking of great reviews…here’s what’s in them

You can dictate the contents of a review by prompting your customers to think about certain topics.

This is important because most people don’t know what a good review consists of. They’ll often leave reviews like “great product” even though that’s not really very useful.

Instead, you want to prompt them with any (or all) of the following:

  • including their background situation
  • any special features of the product or buying process
  • their overall impression
  • would they buy again?

When you send your review request, just tell your customers that they can include any information they’d like. However, they should consider things like…(pick from the above list).

Part #1 – A quick background: Not everyone buys a product for the same reason or knows as much about a specific type of product as others.

The best reviews include a quick statement about why a customer bought a product. If another potential buyer is in a similar situation, they will automatically become more interested (it resonates with them).

Additionally, any mention of expertise also makes the review more credible (e.g., “I have purchased x types of product”).

Here’s an example:

image01

Part #2 (optional) – A brief description of product and buying process: Unless you’re selling your products through a well-known fulfillment service like Amazon, shipping speed and safety are still big concerns for online shoppers.

They affect almost every purchase:

image02

You should obviously make your shipping information very clear on your sales pages.

But people also want to know how fast and secure your shipping is in real life, not just in theory.

If a potential buyer sees multiple reviews praising your shipping process, they’ll feel assured.

Part #3 – The overall result: The most important part of any purchase is how good the product is. That’s going to be the focal point of any review.

If you’ve done your job right on the product creation end, customers will have great things to say about your product:

image06

However, you can still guide what they mention.

You could include a question in your email or on your review form like: “How did you like X feature of product Y?”

They will be more likely to take some time to think about that specific feature.

Part #4 – Would you buy again? Customers can often find at least a few good things to say about a product. Nice people leave nice reviews—it’s that simple.

However, the ultimate test of a great product is if it earns the loyalty of a customer.

When customers say that they will definitely buy from you again in the future, anyone reading the review will know that the reviewer is serious when they praise the product:

image20

Get automatic reviews with a system

Getting reviews shouldn’t be something that you try to do periodically. It should be something that you do with every single customer.

To maximize the number of positive reviews you get, you need a foolproof system.

We already looked at Amazon’s system:

  1. You buy a product
  2. You get the product
  3. You get a request to leave a review on Amazon a few days after

image04

They’ve done their own internal testing and determined that this particular timing worked best for the majority of their customers.

However, your customers may be different, so always test.

Timing is important: Why are customers different when it comes to this? Most of it comes down to the type of customer you have and the product.

First, certain people expect online shipping to be faster. They want their product right away so they can start using it. This is typically true if you have a young demographic.

Secondly, some products take longer than others to test thoroughly enough to leave a good review. A frying pan only takes a few minutes to test, but a large book can take weeks to read.

If your product takes a longer time to test properly, give your customers a bit more time.

How to get consistent results: The only way to ensure that your customer gets your review request “X days” after they’ve purchased something is with an autoresponder.

After they buy something, add them to a new list just for customers:

image09

Then, set up your autoresponder to send out an email asking if everything went well.

Finally, send your review request sometime after that first message.

I recommend trying different time delays to discover which one produces the most reviews.

The best way to get great reviews if you’re starting from scratch

Every business faces its own unique challenges when it comes to getting online reviews.

The hardest stage is right at the beginning when you have no reviews.

When you have no reviews (or very few), potential buyers are hesitant to be the first buyers. They want to see that other people have bought your product and liked it.

To make things worse, people often don’t want to leave the first review. Unless they are an expert on your product, they don’t want to leave an opinion and look stupid if they’re wrong.

Instead, they’d rather look at other reviews first, get a general consensus, and then leave a review if their own opinion matches everyone else’s. This is also why it’s important to get off to a good start with a few glowing reviews.

Do not get fake reviews: Incentivizing reviews is a gray area, but buying fake reviews is clearly over the line.

If you go on Fiverr or Google phrases like “buy 5 star review”, you’ll find a ton of people willing to write you a five-star review without even seeing your product.

image17

Even without considering the ethics of doing this, it’s obvious that these reviews won’t be very useful.

Sure, you’ll get five-star reviews, but they’ll include no actual information that your potential buyers will care about.

In addition, most fake reviews are extremely easy to spot. And if a potential buyer sees multiple fake reviews, their warning bells will go off and cause them to buy someone else’s product instead.

So although you could buy reviews, you are better off focusing on earning them.

To do so, follow these steps.

Step #1 – Pick a site to focus on: There are tons of third-party sites that aggregate reviews on products or businesses.

For example, both Google and Yelp focus on local businesses, while Amazon obviously focuses on physical products and e-books.

To start with, pick just one review site to focus on. You can always expand to other sites once you’ve gotten some traction.

image15

Step #2 – Offer a free sample or product: As I said, you need to earn your reviews, which means getting them from actual customers.

This is where it’s a good idea to offer a discount, sample, or even free product in exchange for a review.

image08

Wait, what? “Didn’t you just say NOT to offer incentives?”

If you remembered that, well done. That means you’re paying attention.

Incentivizing reviews is murky territory, but only if you don’t disclose it. If you do, they are perfectly compliant with the law and just about anyone’s ethical code.

And when you need those first few reviews to get the ball rolling, a few reviews that aren’t perfect are still extremely valuable.

Additionally, just because your customer needs to disclose that you offered them something doesn’t mean the review will suck.

Here’s an example of what one might look like:

As one of the first customers to buy (product name), I was lucky enough to be offered a free sample to try.

I received the product after 3 days in perfect condition. Since then, it’s worked exactly as expected.

In particular, the (feature) is better than every other (type of product) I’ve tried.

I’ll definitely be buying more in the future.

Obviously it’s not a perfect review (since I’m dealing with a non-existent product), but if you could get started with 5-10 reviews like that, you’d be set.

The disclosure reads naturally and doesn’t really take away from the rest of the review as long as the reviewer is being honest.

Step #3 – Provide instructions: Figuring out how to leave a review is easy for you and me. However, for the non-tech-savvy person, leaving a review might be a head-scratcher.

To make sure that customers have no problems leaving a review, provide detailed instructions on how to leave a review:

image12

Even if they shop on a well-known platform like Amazon, most people have never left a review before. You need to walk them through it.

Step #4 – Make sure their experience is amazing: This is something we’ve already noted, but I want to re-iterate it.

To earn a great review, you need to provide a great experience.

The buying experience is composed of many different parts:

  • the branding
  • the packaging
  • the shipping process
  • the product itself
  • follow-up/customer service

Too many businesses make a great product but ignore the rest of the buying experience.

Then, they get three-star reviews saying the product was fine, but the shipping sucked, or they couldn’t get fast replies from the company when they needed help.

It’s not hard to make sure these other parts of the buying experience are great, but you need to spend some time and effort making sure that they are.

If you do that, the quality of the reviews will take care of itself.

One other great source of reviewers you should use

Let’s say you are starting from absolute scratch. I’m talking zero previous customers.

It’s hard to get customers to leave reviews to encourage more people to buy your product when you have no customers in the first place.

In this case, you can go for paid advertising to get your first customers. This is great if you have a budget and a little PPC expertise. However, it can get costly since not all customers will leave reviews.

Otherwise, if you have a tight budget, you’ll probably be going the content marketing route, which can take months to draw any customers.

However, there is one more opportunity that you can take advantage of to not only drive sales but also reviews.

Here’s the basic procedure.

Step #1 – Look for reviews of competitors: For this series of examples, let’s pretend that I just created the best keyword research tool ever.

Since there aren’t stores where you can sell this particular type of tool, I need to get some reviews to put on my sales page.

To start, I need to assemble a list of all my established customers.

This is pretty easy. Just Google “best (type of product)”.

image19

Ideally, you’ll find a big expert roundup that has all your competitors in one spot. Alternatively, you’ll just have to go through the first few pages of search results and record down competing products.

In my case, I was able to easily find the 10 most popular keyword research tools right away (lucky me):

image11

For each of these tools, I’m going to find people who have reviewed them and then approach them to get them to review my product.

To find reviews, just Google “(product name) + review”:

image00

Then, make a list of all the reviews you can find (which can be up to 100 for each product).

Step #2 – Contact the bloggers and make a proposal: Now that you have a large list of reviews, you need to get in touch with the reviewer.

Important note: Bloggers get pitches all the time through their “contact” forms, and most of them are terrible and just get ignored. To stand out, the best strategy is to join the blogger’s email list.

When you join an email list, you obviously get emails from that blogger, which contain their email address.

Then, you can create a personalized message that will definitely get to their inbox.

If you can’t find an opt-in form on the review page itself, go to the homepage:

image05

You’ll usually be able to find an obvious opt-in either front and center on the homepage or near the top of the sidebar:

image07

When you get an email from them, you can send one back, requesting a review of your product.

A template like this will work:

Hi (blogger name),

I came across your review for (competing product) today and was impressed with how detailed you were.

I actually just released my own keyword research tool, called (product name). I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it yet.

Considering how great your previous reviews have been, I wanted to see if you’d be up for giving my product a try. (I’ll provide you with a free license, of course).

The reason why I believe (my product name) stands out from all the others on the market is because of feature X: (describe feature).

If you’re interested, just let me know.

Thanks for your time,

(Your name)

Again, you are incentivizing the blogger to create a review, but as long as they include a disclosure somewhere on the page, there’s no issue. Most blog readers are used to such disclosures by now and don’t consider them in their decision-making.

Once you get a review, you can then publish the appropriate parts of the review on your website and attribute them to the blogger (let them know about it).

The results of different reviews: If you get a review done by a popular blogger, you can drive some serious sales.

That being said, popular bloggers are the toughest ones to get reviews from since they get pitched so frequently.

I’m not saying don’t go after them, but be aware that you will face a lot of rejection.

Lesser known bloggers, on the other hand, will be more receptive to your approaches. If all you want are reviews (and you’re not too worried about sales), target these bloggers first.

Conclusion

If you sell anything online, remember that reviews are one of the biggest factors that affect your sales, so don’t ignore them.

First, come up with a plan of attack to determine what type of reviews you need.

Next, optimize your sales funnel to maximize the number of customers who leave you reviews—and not just any reviews, great ones.

Finally, if you’re starting from scratch, use one of the methods I’ve laid out to start generating reviews for your new product.

Have any other ideas or questions about reviews? I’d be happy to discuss them in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Great advice Neil, especially about buying fake reviews. Most of them are of such poor quality you can instantly tell they’re fake. I’ve avoided buying products in the past where I can see the reviews are fake. If you need to buy reviews then you’re doing it all wrong.

    • Luke, totally agree — if your product or service provides value then you won’t need to buy reviews. Savvy consumers and people in your niche can spot fake reviews so it’s best to avoid them all together.

      Thanks for the sharing your insights.

  2. Hi Neil
    Great information this. I know this is not for me at present. But, I have bookmarked it and shall study in details. Maybe I use these strategies when my blog grows. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Awesome post Neil!

    And as a add up, I’ll propose using a great WordPress Theme for your marketing venture.

    BloMag WordPress Theme might be a good Blogging Theme for you:
    http://themeforest.net/item/blomag-wordpress-theme-exclusively-for-marketers/12388965

    • Envaios, glad you found it helpful. If you have any other additional insights please let me know.

      As for the theme – – thanks for sharing. I am sure the readers will find it helpful.

  4. Most value able information for all SEOs. I will try these advises first on my own website. Still i didn’t include this review option in my article because i am working on it but not it is very helpful for me to start it quickly.

    • Bilal, glad you found the information helpful.

      Just add the option when you see fit. The time to do certain things is not the same for everyone. Maybe you don’t need reviews now — just experiment and see what provides the best value.

  5. Reviews are not something new to the business industry they’ve been playing a major role in business since ages.
    Reviews also play an essential role in local business
    You’ve outlined some regular & well-known strategy to get 5-star reviews. They can work great for you if done properly. But, if your product is not up to the mark then you may don’t get that good results.
    Overall a great article. Keep the great work up.

    • Deepak, thanks for the feedback. Reviews have been the bread and butter for businesses for a long time now — as you mentioned.

      Before people use to pick up newspapers or magazines to get reviews. Now they are as easy to find as turning on your computer.

  6. Hi Neil

    Another impressive post. This is a really handy resource, as I speak to a lot of people who need/want reviews (which we don’t offer), rather than private customer feedback (which we do). I now have somewhere to point them! :)

    Sorry for dropping the link, but I hope it’s relevant – here’s our slightly more in-depth look at your take on why you shouldn’t incentivise reviews OR feedback –
    http://www.customersure.com/blog/does-prize-get-more-customer-feedback/

    • Chris, glad I could provide value. It’s all about letting people know your product or service is legit — if it in fact is. By putting a review portal on your site you open up yourself to scrutiny but also show that you have confidence.

      Thanks for dropping the link — checking it out now. Very cool stuff — you really have gone into detail.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  7. Reviews are great as long as they are collected naturally, ethically and organically. Asking for reviews to the customers is not a problem and we should always do that, but paying anything for that is absolutely no no.
    We have many internet marketing learners from business backgrounds and they used to ask me questions about how they can get positive reviews consistently for their business and the answer is simple, deliver the best, ask for reviews and show the way. I am going to share this article next time I get a similar question.
    Thanks Neil for the detailed post on this important topic.

    Regards
    Soumya Roy

    • Soumya, glad you found the article helpful.

      You bring up some great points — if you create a great product or service the reviews will come naturally. One should never fabricate reviews to create an aura of greatness — it should come organically.

      Thanks for the share and let me know if you need anything at all.

  8. Hey Neil,

    Great topic you just covered. I know you’ve been mentioning it regarding NS and the Amazon part of it.

    I was actually thinking that prior to offering online coaching, that I would do a contest to obtain more emails, and from the sign ups choose 5-10 winners, who will receive a free personalized routine and nutrition plan, so long as the agree to be used as a testimonial in the future (before and after pictures, review of my service, etc.).

    This helped me shape up the idea a bit more, so thanks!. :)

    • Eduardo, I think that is a great idea.

      I would definitely suggest making the testimonial part optional though. If you want the best and most honest reviews you need people to do it willingly — with nothing attached.

      You should mention it in such a way that they want to review. Let me know your thoughts..

      • Yes you’re definitely right. I will focus on helping them as much as I can, and the goal will be for them to be so happy with the experience and results, that they will gladly help me in return.

        Thank you! :)

  9. Once again another article I’ve tagged for reference.

    The focus on customer reviews is a great way to drive revenue. Recently I purchased a new protein bar called EXO (I’m just a customer) and the follow up to the purchase was brilliant and got me to leave a review.

    I got an email and right in the email I could click a star and leave a review. I didn’t need to click on link, login somewhere, etc.

    Being so impressed I wanted to know what platform they were using and found it was YOTPO. Note: other than being a customer of one of their customers, I’ve never used YOTPO, so I can only comment about their simple process from a customer perspective. I have no idea about the ease of use of their software, but find it interesting how they’ve dialed in the process to make it super easy on the customer to leave a review.

    James

  10. Hello Neil, how are you?

    Excellent article. It’s basic but we always forget the “power” of a real review.
    I’ve bought some products just because people that I believe told me that it’s good :-)

    I’ll be looking for some place to put a Review on my website, looking for people to rate my service. I’ll tell you the results later :)

    Thanks for everything!
    Rafael

  11. Really impressed Niel.

    So informative. Can you please suggest the value of jump links in SEO in your next article?

    I can see many sites that use use jump links rank well. Thank you

  12. Thank you as always Neil for the quality of your work and this article. I have 5 physical products on Amazon and have struggled with getting reviews.

    And, it is most infuriating when non verified “customers” give a one star review and it is apparent from the wording than the writer knows nothing about the actual product!

    The fake negative reviews are as easy to spot as the fake positive ones for those of us in this type of business, but the ordinary punter might not be as aware.

    I had not thought to send up follow up emails to buyers from my website asking for reviews, so will get to work on that this evening.

    It now seems obvious, but had not occurred to me before.

    I also appreciate the template to approach bloggers.

    You are spot on too when you point out that many non techy people would have no idea how to go about leaving a review and we should provide them with a direct link.

    I would love to hear what you have to say about counteracting negative reviews…including the fakes…on a 3rd party platform.

    All the best,

    Rosaline

    • Rosaline, unfortunately it’s very hard to counteract negative reviews as it’s typically competitors and spammers who do it to everyone.

      One thing you can do though is ask all your customers to leave feedback — like you mentioned. It’s a great way to build a great reputation and let them know that their opinion matters.

      Keep me updated on progress — I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  13. I loved this article! I find most of them very useful. I started a company called Blazerate that is a software for small businesses to easily attract, collect, publish and track authentic reviews. Most business owners understand the importance of reviews but this is a great article for me to share with others that are still undecided or in the dark on the issue.

    Thanks for all your insights!

    • Jeff, glad you found it helpful. I think business owners should always be concerned about their bottom line and how people view them.

      Your service sounds like a great resource — thanks for sharing.

  14. Christopher Jan

    Great post as I prepare to launch my business where I will help Local Business increase their authority and presence online by getting more 5-Star reviews.

    Thanks for sharing these useful techniques and great stats that I can share with local business to help open their eyes to the importance of getting top reviews.

    I’ve bookmarked this page and will refer back to it and promote it to my own customers.

    See you (through another useful post) again soon,
    Chris

    • Chris, glad you found the post helpful and valuable.

      Let me know if you need any specific help once you get through the article. I am sure you’ll have questions because the article is so long and the use cases are so varied :)

  15. Hi Neil, great info, thank you. I made changes to an email we send to ask for reviews based on this post, but how do you create an email with the “click to start rating” code in it?

  16. Hey Neil. Thanks for such a great post.

    Can I ask, what about a third party review system which you embed on your site, such as Trust Pilot, Feefo or Google Trusted Stores? Would you feel these would bring as much SEO benefit as the standard CMS review system? From a UX side of things, it’s great as users can feel confident that the reviews are 100% authentic.

    Lots of ecommerce sites have third party embeds although what they fail to do is realise the actual benefit of embedding the reviews onsite via XML integration. Instead they load the reviews via a pop up or external window which provides little or no SEO value. Do you agree on this?

    Great job on the post once again.

    • They don’t bring as much benefit. Getting unique reviews on your own site will do much better. Duplicate reviews or embedded ones just don’t help as much from a SEO standpoint.

  17. Hey Neil:

    Excellent Article.

    Two Questions:
    1> Once the website gets all the star ratings and reviews, how can we get these ratings get reflected into Google Search results. Should we still the snippets Google is asking for?

    2> Techniques described above: Can this be applied for affiliate websites as well? There are tons of affiliates who run blogs etc.

  18. Hello Neil,
    This is really a very superb post as always and i couldn’t have agreed more on all your points. Indeed, reviews is a very big factor that usually impact how many of your products get sold.

    If you have a great product then, its very obvious that people will love it and will end up giving you their positive reviews and like you mentioned on the start of this post, the first step towards getting positive feedback is to ensure that your products is worth it, make it a top notch and they will love it enough to review it.

    Over all, all the tips you shared here on getting product reviews works indeed and i love them.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Theodore, glad you liked the post.

      Reviews are the surest way for people to know how legitimate your business it. Without them other can’t have an accurate gauge of your product or services efficacy. Glad you liked the article.

  19. Whenever, I read any of your post at the first fold a pop up appears each time. “Follow Neil on Facebook” and I am already following him on FB so there is no mean of that popup.

  20. Hi

    As usual you are doing good. Informative post.
    These online reviews really affect ranking ?

    • Anjali, glad you found the post helpful.

      The reviews work much like case studies — they provide value in that they give you credibility. If you integrate your reviews with a 3rd party like Yelp it can provide higher search results too.

  21. This is an excellent post! And really long too lol. But yes, dead on.. I specialize in getting Amazon product reviews and feedback with my physical products, and it’s all the mental aspect in the messaging and how it comes across.

    – James

    • James, it definitely is all about the message. You also have to make sure that people know what they are reviewing. I always provide as much information as necessary so people can make informed reviews of my products and services.

  22. Hi Neil,

    thank you very much for sharing your methods to generate reviews. It was funny to discover the subject of your new post, as I recently wrote 2 posts about Google Reviews in my own (german) online marketing blog.

    I was very pleased to read about your techniques and ideas, as I find it really hard being persuasive, without giving my customers the impression to be put under pressure, especially as I’m not selling products but services and I care for building positive ongoing customer relationships.

    Thank you again for sharing,

    Fabienne

  23. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for very informative knowledge for product review.We always buy product from online after see the product review.I recently bought a tablet PC from online and it was 4.5 rated about quality. When got it the quality was not OK.thanks once again for this product review article.

  24. Very thorough guide, Neil. (As usual!)

    Thanks for going through all those steps to help us out.

    We have a useful, low cost blog that can help product owners and marketers get more reviews at http://www.ProductsForReview.com.

    It matches product marketers with reviewers by email. Maybe that’s helpful to you or your readers, too, especially those new to the online reviewing process.

  25. Hi Neil,

    Awesome article. You’ve got some really great tips here to help companies, products, and services get more reviews. Managing your online reputation is one of the most effective ways to build your brand’s trust.

    I appreciate you sharing Capterra’s research on the effect of reviews on conversion rate as well. While I agree with you that it’s extremely difficult “to definitively say that reviews are good for business,” we actually recently did some deeper research linking reviews to the effects on businesses in the B2B space. Thought you might be interested: http://www.capterra.com/b2b-software-reviews-infographic

    Anyway, keep the great articles coming! We read ‘em daily.

    Thanks again,
    Dylan

    • Dylan, thanks for sharing.

      I wanted to provide a data driven approach to how reviews help out your bottom line. Your article is pretty in-depth as well — keep up the great work and keep providing value!

  26. Personally I think you shouldn’t ask everyone for a review.

    People should train the staff to only ask for one when somebody tells you it was the best.

    This is legal and helps keep your five stars up.

    Hope this helps.

  27. Neil as always great post. I wanted to let you know I also sent a contact email about the big suppliment show in your town. Looking forward to the next 100,000 a month report .

  28. Hi Neil
    This is great article. Would you know whether having reviews has a direct impact on SEO and Paid Advertising?

    Thanks
    Mkwama

    • Mkwama, if your site is linked to some third party ranking service like Yelp then definitely. Top rated items typically come up first when people search. Aside from that it’s just a way to validate your business.

  29. Hi Neil,

    Your blog is great and articles you share are worth reading. Its helping a lot in enhancing my skills.

    Appreciate your efforts.

    Thanks.

  30. Hi! Neel,

    Every Time you will share very informative post.. Let me follow all step by step guide..

    Thanks a lot

  31. Thanks Neil for this valuable piece of content. As Always you cover each and every thing in your post. I have a question, Can I use stars in testimonials?

  32. Hello Neil, this is a fantastic post. I have searched so many times on Internet to increase reviews, but now I got what I needed from long time. Thank you for sharing your views with us. I really like your post and it is very helpful for me.

  33. Hi Neil, fantastic article as always.

    The subject you chose to write about is amazingly relevant to what we do at Spectoos.
    The problems you mentioned, from the challenge in collecting reviews to winning the lucrative yellow star-rating on Google – these are key features in our product.

    I invite you (again :) to take a look at our testimonials platform (www.spectoos.com) and would really love to get your feedback.

    I also think that your audience would benefit from visiting this post on our blog: http://www.spectoos.com/unleash-the-seo-power-of-your-testimonials/

    Not meaning to use this thread as a stage to toot our own horn but I really think we can help many of your readers in the context of what you wrote.

    Many thanks,
    Tomer.
    Co-founder at Spectoos.

  34. Hi Neil! Thanks for the article!
    Reviews-it’s good! However, there should be certain standards (rules) for reviews. Generally speaking, you need to provide the customer with questions he must answer in his recall (review). The review should be sufficiently long (full and more detailed).

    In the future, I plan to release his book and offer readers a discount in Exchange for a review (book review).

    • Sergey, glad you found it helpful.

      I agree that there should be guidelines for reviews and they should be transparent to customers. Looking forward to seeing how it works out for you.

  35. Thank you for the very informative post. I shared it with my clients because there’s a lot of useful information there they can use to increase the number of reviews on their sites.

    We’ve been developing our review platform, JReviews, for almost 10 years. It allows anyone to build a review site and own the reviews that are submitted there. Many clients have had incredible success in getting reviews for their sites, in the thousands and tens of thousands, for services and products, while others never really take off. Other than subject-matter and timing (it was a lot easier several years ago) it’s hard to determine what exactly is different from the success and failure stories, but the different strategies you discuss should prove useful in trying to increase the chances of getting reviews.

    With regards to displaying the ratings stars in Google search results it’s really not guaranteed that having the structured data markup will automatically give you the stars in results. One of our most successful clients has had the stars show up and disappear several times over the years. His site is reputable and has a lot of traffic and everything validates correctly using Google’s testing tool.

    • Alejandro,

      glad you found it helpful. Let me know what your clients think.

      Would love to hear more about Jreviews. Feel free to share more insights. It sounds like you have a solid platform.

      It’s tough at times to make sure reviews always render correctly. I think that’s a user experience thing that will change over time.

      • Thanks Neil, will do. With regards to disappearing rich snippets in search results, it’s the result of Google cracking down on markup-abuse and unfortunately it affects those that aren’t as well. I found a related blog post from May this year https://www.seroundtable.com/google-rich-snippets-disappear-20317.html

        JReviews is a jack-of-all-trades solution for Joomla and WordPress sites that gives webmasters a blank slate to setup their review system. It supports both editor and user reviews, multi-criteria ratings, and custom fields to capture all the review information needed in a structured manner. It’s also possible to upload photos, videos, audio and attachments to reviews. This is just the review side of things and only scratches the surface. JReviews is also a very powerful directory system and includes out of the box Schema.org markup for listings and reviews.

        More info can be found on our site https://www.jreviews.com/ which also has links to our WordPress and Joomla demos.

  36. Hey Neil,

    I’ve started to do the landing page for my online coaching, and I know this is weird, but I memorized the quicksprout.com/pro3 URL, and will base it on that.

    My question is: Is it okay to make my home page entirely about my coaching? Like the first thing on it would be “Are you ready to start training with me personally?”, followed by testimonials, images, plans etc.

    Thank you! (Btw, I could hit 50k + this month…fifth month!)

  37. Great info, thanks Neil!

    The fact that my company doesn’t have an online review strategy has bothered me for a long time, mainly because we have great products and receive tons of positive oral reviews through our call reps, but that’s not adequately reflected on our website.

    You’ve given me a lot of practical ideas, and now I’m going to bug the techies to implement some of them!

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Driving 10,000 Visitors a Month Through Pinterest

A Step-by-Step Guide to Driving 10,000 Visitors a Month Through Pinterest
by Neil Patel on October 9, 2015

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Social media can be a great traffic source for almost any online business.

But which network is right for you? Continue reading A Step-by-Step Guide to Driving 10,000 Visitors a Month Through Pinterest