Marketing in the internet age sometimes seems like a game. Everyone knows the value of a product review, but how do you get them and what if they’re bad? If you learn how to play the game right, you will soon find yourself swimming in five-star product reviews.
Those good reviews, along with the dreaded by pretty predictable bad product review, also have some unexpected advantages. From social media influencers to search engine rankings, to ways that awful review may actually help you, we’ve got you covered.
The Unexpected Way Online Product Reviews Help Your Business
Imagine for a moment, what Amazon.com would be like without the product review section. It’s doubtful it would be today’s retail giant. It’s also doubtful that its CEO, Jeff Bezos, would be the wealthiest man in the world.
Obviously, four and five-star reviews lend the credibility of your product. Customers want to read real-world experiences, not just advertising copy. What you may not know about that product review, though, is that it’s helping your search engine optimization (SEO). It’s helping people find your company on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
When a blogger links to one of your products, whether they give it one star or five, the link is called a “backlink” and backlinks are an important element in SEO. When you request a product review, ask the reviewer to use a keyword, if possible. For example, if you sell the most comfortable bicycle seats in the world, have them hyperlink the URL to, perhaps, “bicycle seat” in their text. Not only do you get the backlink, which helps boost your listing to the top of search engines, but when people search for a bicycle seat, your listing has a better chance of showing up.
If you sell several products, have the blogger link to the target product page to help boost that page’s SEO.
How to Find Industry Influencers
If you’ve spent time lately on social media, especially LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, you know that the latest buzzphrase is “social media influencer.” Social media influencers are people who have a lot of sway in a given area. For example, Katy Perry has the top Twitter account. She might not do a product review, per se, but if she were seen wearing a particular brand of shoes or carrying a particular electronic item, sales would almost undoubtedly skyrocket.
Your odds of finding someone at the level of Katy Perry are pretty slim, but some people make their livings reviewing items, and there are people specific to your industry who might be willing to review your products for free. Now it’s just a matter of finding them.
How to Find the Top Social Media Influencers
Fortunately, all of the social media platforms have robust search engines all their own. Search for your industry’s keywords. For example, if you sell the best screwdriver the world has ever seen, you might search “tools,” or “hardware,” or even “construction.” You’ll find a lot of off-topic posts, but you’ll also find some influencers. Follow everyone who looks like industry experts. The more followers they have, the better.
There are several tools to help you find influencers. BuzzSumo is one. They can find influencers in your field or any other. They can search by topic, by the name of the company they work for, for people who share from certain domains, for people who share your competitors, and for people who have shared a specific link.
Once you find some intriguing influencers, BuzzSumo can even help you seal the deal by helping you engage.
Another, similar to BuzzSumo, is Followerwonk, but they are just for Twitter.
What to do when you find a social media influencer
When you find a social media influencer, the key is to engage. Don’t hit them up right away. Woo them for a little while. Show interest in what they post. Share their posts. Drop them notes congratulating them on successes. Ask questions. Then you can mention your product and ask if they’ll review it. You run the risk of them not liking your product, but a good reviewer might give you suggestions to improve and believe it or not, bad product reviews aren’t always bad (more on that in a bit).
How to Find Bloggers to Leave Product Reviews
To find bloggers in your industry, Google them. You should use a few search queries. Let’s go back to the bicycle seat example. You might Google “bicycle blog,” or “bicycle reviews.”
You don’t have to be that literal, though. Who is your demographic? Does your comfortable bicycle seat appeal to athletes or to people who haven’t ridden in a while? Find blogs for your target demographic. Maybe blogs geared toward people who want to lose weight, or Mommy blogs, which target, you’ve got it, mothers.
Once you have a list, send each blogger an email. Introduce yourself, but note why you are contacting them. A little flattery might help as well, but keep it short.
Find best choice product review sites that will review products for free
There are hundreds of bloggers who will happily give you a product review, for free. All you have to do is ask. Bloggers make the bulk of their money from the ads that appear on their sites, not from the products they are reviewing. In fact, with most bloggers, the only expectation is that you send them your review product for free.
To find out how many followers a blog has, visit Alexa. It will show you how the site ranks, as well as a wealth of other information, such as some of the internet habits of a site’s users. It even gives you demographic information.
How to find video bloggers to offer a product review
Video bloggers are easy to find on sites like YouTube. Search in the same way you would with Google. Most video bloggers list their websites or contact information in the video or the description. Note that many video bloggers accept payment for their reviews, which may not be ethical, but it’s legal.
A List of Product Review Sites
There are hundreds of product review sites. Here are some:
- Amazon — The king of all product review sites
- Facebook — Ask your customers to leave reviews
- Yelp — It’s against policy to ask your customers to leave reviews, but you can remind them of your listing
- Quora — Quora users ask questions, sometimes about specific products, and fellow users answer
- Capterra — Capterra offers over 500 product categories and has more than 325,000 reviews on its site
This is just a partial list of general product review sites. Some sites gear themselves toward tangible products, some toward intangible (such as software), and some toward services. You’ll find a site’s focus within seconds of clicking on it.
Will Bad Reviews Kill Sales?
Bad product reviews are frightening. They don’t need to be, at least if you don’t make a habit of angering customers. A fascinating study from 2017 revealed that customers don’t care all that much about the quality of the review. It’s all a numbers game. The product with the most reviews wins, probably because it’s easier to bury bad product reviews under a mountain of good.
Many customers, according to the study, head to the bad reviews first. Then they decide whether the problems would apply to them.
A handful of bad product reviews gives your product legitimacy. There’s a lot of online fraud, especially with reviews, and savvy shoppers know it. If a product has five stars across the board, it breeds skepticism.
Unless you have a strict word-of-mouth local company, and even then most of the time, having a robust online presence is a must. For customers to find your products, you need to reach beyond your own website. That means you need to open yourself up to product reviews, both good and bad.