No matter what type of product or service you’re offering, word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the most effective ways to build trust in your brand.

While you don’t necessarily need a budget for this type of marketing, you will need to provide customers with an effective way to share their thoughts and opinions, as well as a reason for them to leave their feedback. This is where an on-site product review strategy comes into play.

With an effective product review strategy, you can encourage word-of-mouth marketing directly on your own website, right at the point of purchase. In this post, we look at few ways you can build your own strategy and focus on some of the common mistakes many online store owners make when asking for reviews – so that you can avoid them!

1. Don’t Ask too Early

Don’t ask for your customers to review your product before it has actually arrived. Shipping can take time and it’s often the most anxious time of an online purchase for customers. So, make sure you give your customer time to actually get the product in their hands before you start requesting a review.

This may seem like an obvious one, but when using automation, it’s surprisingly easy to email review requests that don’t match a product’s delivery schedule. If you ask for a review too soon, you’ve wasted your opportunity to hear consumer’s opinion, and worse, you might also give the impression that their delivery is behind schedule.

To avoid this problem, don’t schedule review requests for a set time like 7 days after the shipping date. Instead, send out follow up emails at a set time each week to customers that have 100% received their product.

2. Don’t Ask too Late

Sometimes, people buy a product in the off-season or book a service long in advance (e.g. hotel bookings and trips) to save a bit of money. This is normal consumer behaviour, but if they’ve made their purchase far in advance, then it will be weeks or even months before they have a chance to use it.

This can be a tricky situation but there are a couple of ways to work around this problem and still receive positive feedback. The first option is to flag these purchases and set a reminder to send the review request when the timing is right.

The other option is to ask for a review about your store itself instead of the specific product. You can ask for feedback about your businesses ordering process, the website user experience, shipping, packaging, or anything else you’re curious about.

3. Don’t Keep Asking for Reviews of Repeat Purchases

Customers are surprisingly willing to share their experiences, but they don’t like to be bothered on every purchase, especially a frequent one for the same item they buy every month. If you’re selling a product or service that needs to be purchased often, avoid sending out automated emails.

Items like personal care products, vitamins, and other subscription items may be ordered each month or even a few times a month, so asking for a review every time they order will reflect poorly on your business.

Instead, only ask for a review on the first purchase, and if after a few more purchases that customer still hasn’t left a review, try resending the request one additional time on a later purchase.

4. Don’t Double Up on Review Requests

Nobody likes to be pestered to complete a task, especially if they’ve already done it, this is true in the real world and it’s certainly true online as well. One of the fastest ways to annoy a customer is send them a review request for a product they’ve already reviewed.

To avoid this problem, take the time to set up a system that can track which customers have already left a review on their purchases and make sure you take them off the review request list. This is especially important for high-end businesses that aim to provide their customers with a VIP experience.

5. Don’t Forget to Offer an Incentive

A lot of businesses are anxious about providing motivation for reviews, but the truth is there’s nothing wrong with giving your customers a small incentive to leave a positive review.

Don’t get us wrong, some customers who have had great experiences with your store will share their experience out of the goodness of their hearts — but for those that don’t, a small “bribe” never hurts.

If your business is willing to extend a small discount coupon code on their next purchase or send a sample of another product, you’ll see the number of reviews you receive skyrocket. Everyone likes to be appreciated and customers are no exception, a small token of gratitude is a great way to say thank you and this can go a long way towards building long-lasting brand loyalty.

Does your website use product reviews? Are you making sure that you’re avoiding these common mistakes? Follow us on Twitter and share your own product review strategies!