Getting a customer to leave a review or leave a testimonial for a product they just bought is very hard.
After all… people are busy.
And quite honestly, outside of a handful of irrationally passionate Yelpers, very few people get joy from pontificating about their experience with your product.
People aren’t great at writing.
That’s why copywriters exist in the first place.
So asking regular people to sit down and write something that potentially millions of people are going to read is actually a bigger ask than we, as marketers, sometimes realize.
On top of that…
We are all incredibly distracted.
Just yesterday, I had a construction crew demo’ing my guest bathroom. While they were upstairs jackhammering away, one of my wine glasses fell off the shelf and shattered into at least a billion pieces (and that’s a conservative estimate). So I spent the next 24 minutes cleaning up shards of broken glass in my dining room.
The funny thing was…
I was actually MID CHECKOUT… buying a gift for my wife.
Of course, this is an extreme situation. But you literally have no idea what things are happening in your customer’s life, that distract them from that thing you’re asking people to do.
That’s the problem.
You KNOW you need customer reviews on your site.
You KNOW tons of customers read and TRUST reviews and use that to make buying decisions.
In fact, 84% of people say they trust online reviews as much as reviews from their friends. What’s more, 91% of people read reviews while shopping.
The question is…
How can YOU gather more reviews for your company’s products?
How can you actually get people EXCITED about leaving reviews?
How can you do this in a completely automated way?
And, most importantly…
How can you ask for these reviews (and get them) without pissing off your customers?
My wife actually got me a Christmas present from a company called Supply.
Full disclosure: I asked for this specifically, after hearing their founder on the Ecommerce Influence podcast. The company sounded cool and the product looked awesome. Plus, I’d gotten their ads about a gazillion times.
So I finally decided I wanted to pull the trigger and try it out.
I didn’t actually “get” this product yet… it’s under the tree currently.
But, my wife did share with me that they sent her an email asking me for a customer review.
I took a look at that email and said, “Hot dang… this is actually one of the best ‘ask for a review’ emails I think I’ve ever seen.”
We’re going to break it down this week and look at why it’s so awesome.
I LOVE breaking down super effective automated emails. So if you find any, especially during this holiday season as you’re getting inundated with email, I hope you shoot em my way.
So let’s just get down to it…
This is the 18th installment of my Email of the Week series. (Catch up on previous episodes here.)
And in case you’re new around here, here’s how this all works…
The Rules For Email Of The Week
Each week, I go out into the wild to find a super-effective e-commerce marketing email… and I break down what made it work. My goal is for you to tune in each week, so I can teach you strategies and best practices YOU can use to make your own emails better.
I find these emails in my inbox, but I also accept suggestions from readers who have a remarkable email they’d like to share.
If you recently received an email that was so awesome it made your jaw drop, I wanna see it.
Forward it to me (chris at theemailcopywriter dot com) with a brief message about what you liked about it. If I choose to do a breakdown of the email you sent, I’ll give you a shout out and link to your site.
The only rule is… you can’t pick yourself.
Now then, without further ado, let’s check out the Email of the Week!
Nobody Cares About You. Cry About It.
The thing about most ‘review’ emails you see is that they are COMPLETELY focused on the company and not the customer.
The secret to being a good marketer is looking at the world from your customers point of view. Very few people actually possess the empathy to do this properly.
They send out an email and say: “Hey, leave us a review… kthanxbye.”
It’s an ask, without anything in return.
Don’t get me wrong… you WILL get responses. If you sell enough product, there will always be a small percentage of people who love you unabashedly and will leave you reviews… because they are awesome customers.
But, if you really want to get good response with these kinds of emails, you’ve GOTTA think about “what’s in it for the customer.”
Supply did such an amazing job with their email.
Not only did they give the customer a solid incentive, they also did something few people would ever think about doing…
They REMOVED FRICTION.
Let’s take a look so I can show you exactly what I mean…
Subject line: How’s your new Supply gear?
Holy shart… no title casing!
God, you don’t understand how happy this makes me.
This looks like it’s from a real person… and that real person actually gives a shit about you!
A LOT of companies ask you right in the subject line to “leave a review”… or to “tell us what you think.”
Notice how the supply subject line makes you feel.
It feels way different than seeing this:
Supply’s subject line blows this one from Lululemon out of the water.
(Sidebar: I love Lululemon. Their ABC joggers are the GOAT joggers out there. But their emails… they could use a little work.)
Do you see the contrast?
Look at them side by side:
How’s your new supply gear?
Tell us how you like our new gear!
It’s subtle… but one seems like someone from the company is checking in, to make sure you had a good experience. The latter looks like someone is dumping homework on your desk and telling you what to do.
Remember… at this point in the email experience, the subject line is the ONLY info we have to go off of. So I think Supply’s subject wins easily.
Let’s look at the actual email…
There is a LOT of good stuff going on here.
#1 – Look at the tone of the copy. This looks, feels and smells just like a one-on-one conversation. Obviously, we know it is not. We know, as customers, that this is probably an automated email.
But those facts don’t really matter.
What matters is how this email made us feel.
We feel an emotional attachment because this email reads like their founder sat down and typed it out himself. Whether that actually happened or not doesn’t matter as much.
I’ll say this again… this makes you FEEL like you are important.
They’re not saying: “We’re all wondering how you guys are liking our product!”
See the difference in tone. They are having a conversation with you… this tone is perfect.
God damn, this is good.
Ok, next thing…
#2 – Look at the second paragraph. Remember how last week’s article talked about pacing & leading? This is a perfect micro-example of how to do it.
“I know it’s asking a lot…” <— that’s the part where they’re pacing. They acknowledge that you are busy and that this IS a big ask. They’re showing they understand you and they appreciate you and your time. That makes me like these guys even more.
They then “lead” you by asking you to leave the review.
Here’s another super sublte persuasion technique you might have missed…
#3- They give you a REASON why they are making this request.
If you’ve read your Cialdini – and if you haven’t, then shame on you – then you know that providing a reason, literally ANY reason, will increase response when asking someone to do something for you.
Their reason is great and HONEST: “Customer reviews are the #1 way for others to learn more about us.”
They’re not saying a great way, they’re saying it’s the #1 way.
That shows you a few things. It shows you that out of all the methods of selling and advertising out there, they value their customers above all else.
That line happens so quickly, that you might have missed it.
But your subconscious picks up these things and stores it inside your brand. (Hint: this is part of how ‘brands’ are formed. Doing things like this until you have a certain feeling and bond with a company. TAKE NOTES.)
Two more things about this copy…
THEY INCENTIVIZE YOU to leave your review.
And I just gotta say…
This is actually a brilliant incentive.
First, it addresses the “what’s in it for me” question your customers have as they’re reading this.
Second, it gives them a discount, which people love.
Third, if you buy razors from Supply… at some point you are going to have to buy more blades. This discount makes your chances of ordering again skyrocket.
Finally, it conditions people to respond when you ask for something. They get a drip of dopamine because they got rewarded for doing something you ask. That will most likely influence their future decisions. They feel good not only because they are a helpful person… but also because they got a little gift for doing so.
These people at Supply are brilliant.
You’ll notice in that last paragraph, there’s a bit of personality in there: “Just mash that reply button and let ‘er rip.”
Again, this is another great example of pacing and leading.
If you are NOT happy, then hit reply and tell us so we can fix it.
Think about how important that is to put in a review email.
Imagine if you DIDN’T have that little line of copy? How many more people would end up leaving bad reviews?
You wanna nip those in the bud.
If you can prevent a bad review from happening by addressing the problem right then and there, by reconciling the problem through an email conversation… then you probably rescue millions of dollars of potentially lost sales from people who might be off-put by bad reviews.
I cannot stress the importance of this.
Now, here’s something else that’s just so badass about this email.
Remember how I said they remove friction from the review experience?
After they sign off the copy, they include not only include a picture of the product you bought (just in case you forgot <<< super important)…
They ALSO give you the option to leave the review RIGHT INSIDE THE EMAIL, without you having to click through to another page…
What’s so great about this strategy is that you most likely get a higher response because you put the review box right in front of them. Normally, they’d have to click thru and find it and follow instructions. With this email, it’s all right in front of you.
And, they lead with a micro commitment of asking you to rate it in terms of stars.
If someone clicks that, I bet there’s a higher chance they fill out the rest.
What’s really cool about this, is that it doesn’t look like any of the fields are “required.”
I could be wrong… but I’m guessing if you want to leave a review but don’t want to type anything, you might just be able to hit submit.
It doesn’t appear to be an “all or nothing” kind of thing. Which is cool.
I normally don’t do this.
But being that I just got this OTHER review request email from Lululemon, we’re going to compare the two…
(LITTLE 2-FOR-1 SPECIAL THIS WEEK, YEAH BABY!)
Take a look at this email that’s asking for the same exact thing, a review, from Lululemon…
Notice how there’s “nothing in it for you” in this email. On top of that, there’s work involved!
I not only have to click thru to leave a review (I’m scared… what’s waiting for me on the other end of that page… eh, I don’t have time for this right now)… I also am prompted to leave reviews for THREE products. That’s a daunting task.
I have to clear my schedule to do this.
Plus… why would I take my time to do this? So I can share my experience with your global community?
Who gives a crap?
What do I get out of that?
Not much, really…
I don’t want to poo-poo Lululemon, because I absolutely love their ABC 30″ men’s jogger. Those things are fantastic, best pair I’ve ever owned.
But, do you see the difference here?
Which one of these two emails is more likely to get you to leave a review?
Which one of these emails is going to get you to come back and make a second purchase?
It’s blatantly obvious… Supply wins this one by a landslide.
I know an email asking for a review is not the “sexiest” thing in the world.
But when you write your email the way Supply wrote theirs… you’re not only going to get more salespeople browsing your products… you’re also going to get more sales from people who just bought. They not only have a reason to buy (the coupon)… they also have an affinity with your brand.
You really need to look at every single automated email you have in your business. Every single touchpoint with your brand helps form an opinion in your customers mind.
Are you building a bond… or turning them away?
This is important stuff to think about.
When in doubt, model what Supply did here. The guys and gals over there crushing it.
Big Takeaway from Supply’s Review Email
- Incentivize people to help you out.
- Write to ONE person.
- Show your customer that their review is actually important to you.
- Remove friction by putting review boxes right in the email (people are lazy and distracted, make things easier for them).
- Nip bad reviews in the bud by inviting people to respond back so you can handle their problem.
- Use colloquial language – talk like a real person, not a corporation.
- Include a picture of the thing your customer just bought… they WILL forget.
- Don’t telegraph your ‘ask’ in the subject line.
- Give people reasons when you ask for something, it’s been scientifically proven to increase response.
- Pace and lead your customers. This is imperative for an “after the transaction” email like this.
- Engineer the next purchase, even when your email isn’t “selling” anything.
What You Should Do Next
- Subscribe to my email list so you can get ALL of the Emails of the Week delivered straight to your inbox, automatically.
- Leave a comment for me below and let me know what you liked about this email.
- Send this breakdown to someone you know who has a physical product business. You might help them get a LOT more customer reviews for their products.
- Buy a starter kit from Supply. I haven’t tried mine yet, but it looks awesome and I can’t wait to use it for the first time.
- Buy some ABC joggers from Lululemon. Their emails are just OK… but their clothes are lit AF. You’ll thank me later.