October 3, 2016 was the day where many Amazon sellers had to rethink their strategy towards getting favorable reviews. Yes, it was the day when Amazon put an end to ‘incentivized reviews’.
What are ‘incentivized reviews’ you ask? Well, it’s a type of review where the reviewer is promised something in return, either in the form of a freebie or a huge discount for an item. In short, a bribe.
Now any ethical person would be up in arms towards this. But then again, such a trait sometimes takes a back seat when it comes to business. And that is a fact we are all too aware of.
But after ReviewMeta published its study about incentivized reviews, Amazon took notice and acted accordingly. Personally, they should have acted much earlier, but at least they eventually did yeah?
The study stated that, and I quote:
“We found that reviews containing language that would indicate the reviewer received the item for free or at a discount in exchange for a review (incentivized reviews) on average rate the product .38 stars higher than reviews that did not contain this disclosure (non-incentivized reviews).
With a 0.38 star difference, the impact may appear marginal, however the actual boost in average product rating can be substantial:
Considering that the average product on Amazon is rated around 4.4 stars, a boost from 4.36 to 4.74 stars can mean the difference between a mediocre product and a top rated product.”
So as you can see, the method did have a huge effect in terms of branding and trust rating for sellers that employed it.
The ReviewMeta study, having been picked up by numerous credible sites like TechCrunch, Business Insider and even Bloomberg, prompted Amazon to act immediately in order to save their image as a platform that provides a safe and fair environment for both sellers and buyers.
But when I say “fair”, I use it within the context that those sellers who can afford to give said incentives are no longer allowed to do so. But this does not in any way change the pecking order within the Amazon ecosystem. The more established stores will still get more sales, while smaller ones are still going to struggle with getting their products noticed.
Come to think of it now, incentivized reviews would have been a great help for new, or smaller Amazon sellers as it would have gave them a fighting chance to get their trust ratings up faster.
But then again, that was before, and this is now. So the best solution would be to look for the next best tactic in getting reviews/feedback. And yep, I have a few for you.
#1 Marketing Inserts
Marketing inserts are small advertisement messages added inside the packaging of a product.
Think of marketing inserts as a discrete advertising messages placed inside the packaging of a shipped product. This can be in the form of a personalized thank you card or a discount coupon.
Upon reading the last part of the sentence above, you might be thinking to yourself that giving out a discount coupon is somewhat a bribe and is no different from asking an incentivized review.
Well you are both right and wrong. Yes, it can be deemed as a form of bribe. But the difference is that you are not asking for a favorable review. Rather, you are just giving it the discount coupon as a gift. And yes, it is ok with Amazon to employ this type of marketing campaign.
The perks you get from offering these inserts are:
- Cost effective way to interact and win over your customer in the hopes of increasing brand recall and loyalty
- Increase revenue potential through cross selling
- Humanize the relationship between buyer and seller in the hopes of getting favorable reviews/feedback
How to create marketing inserts
Set the mood/scenario/condition
What most fail to realize is that buyers don’t care about you and your business. I’m saying this because I worked with some Amazon sellers that actually think that their buyers are more than happy to give them a positive feedback/review because they are happy with what they bought. Though there may be some truth in this, it does not happen all the time.
So before asking for a review, ask yourself first what’s in it for your customer. I mean, do not assume that they owe you
So don’t just go asking for a review because you know they are satisfied with their purchase. You need to highlight whatever value your product can have on their life. If you have unique ideas on how to use the product, share it with them. Anything to spark a conversation and to keep things casual goes a long way.
Make the review process hassle free
Once you’re done setting up the mood/scenario/condition, then that’s when you ask them to “share” what they think about your product to the rest of Amazon.
But remember, this is not the responsibility of your customer to do so. And as such, think of it as you asking them for a favor.
So with that said, you need to make the entire process as convenient and straightforward as possible.
Provide your customer with a shortened URL to the review section of the product they bought. And when I say short, I do mean short and easy to type. Remember, you are placing this on a piece of paper and not online.
Making the entire process hassle free for customers eliminates the possibility of them giving up due to problems navigating to the correct page.
Once you’re done with the first and second part above, then all that’s left is for you to design the marketing insert itself.
If you have an in-house designer, or if you’re good at creating layouts, then this won’t be any problem. But do take into consideration that when I say “good” I do mean good. Remember that this has to do with branding, so if you aren’t that confident with your design skills, it’s better to just keep it simple or find someone to do it for you.
Once done with your design, all you need to do is print it and include it in the package.
#2 Create A Drip Campaign
Basically, the idea is to send a series of emails to your customers, at several intervals, after a specific action has been achieved.
The concept behind drip campaigns is to add “value” and to try and create a relationship between buyer and seller.
Drip campaigns can come in many forms. It can be utilized as:
- Information dissemination
- Customer support
- After sales support
- User guide/manual
And to increase the success rate of your drip campaigns, you need to:
- Use the name of your store when sending an email
- Use words like discount, sale, free, coupon, or anything that suggests a financial incentive for the reader
- Include carefully crafted customer service questions when asking for a review
#3 Create An Effective Email Follow-up Sequence
This part is all about timing,as well as tone, and must address three things.
- When do you send the email
- What is included in the email
- How well can you humanize your brand and make it relatable to your customer
Asking for a review alone won’t cut it. In fact, doing so immediately will make you look pushy or needy. A recipe for disaster if you ask me. One that could turn a willing customer into an irate one.
Follow-up emails are usually broken down into 3 separate email templates. We have made several blog posts about this, so rather than repeat the entire thing on here, I suggest you go and read them.
Read related article: Establish A Business Relationship With Amazon Buyers Using 3 Simple Automated Email Messages
If you want to learn how to effectively create emails that appeal to Amazon customers, then go read our article on How To Format Your Email Campaign In Order To Get A Review.
If you want to know what the difference between a seller feedback and a product review, and how each affects your brand authority on Amazon, then read our article What Is Amazon Seller Feedback, And Why You Should Prioritize It?
Again, and not to blow our own trumpet, I strongly suggest you go check out our blog as it has an extensive collection of tips to help boost your Amazon rating, as well as psychological approaches when it comes to business in general.
Yes, we may be in the business of selling an automation software for Amazon sellers, but we ourselves are Amazon sellers and understands the hardships smaller sellers go through, as we were once in that predicament ourselves.
For more Amazon seller tips, or if you just want to say hello, do follow us on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. And if you found this article helpful, do us a favor and share it with your network.
Till the next article, have an awesome day!