According to data from PowerReviews, increasing a product's review count from 0 to 1 increases conversion by 20%.
Rishi Rawat points out a great way to motivate customers to leave that first review -- offer an incentive, like loyalty points:
But there's also another way -- recruit staff reviewers.
Tips for staff reviews:
1. Make sure the reviewer truly has tried or owns the product.
2. Don't make it a sales pitch
An authentic review doesn't read like product knowledge. For example, instead of:
"This camcorder features a built-in Wi-Fi for wireless video transfer to a PC or online sharing sites likes YouTube and Facebook. It uses AVCHD recording for the highest quality viewing on an HDTV or archiving, or in MP4 format for easy sharing with mobile devices or cloud applications. The 32x optical zoom allows you to take close-ups while you record in seamless HD."
Describe the experience of really using the item and how it compares to alternatives of the same category. A more constructive review would read something like:
"The video quality on this model is excellent, it’s fairly easy to set up and works on both Windows and MacBook Pro. Another big plus is it downloads directly to an external hard drive, bypassing the computer. Keep in mind it lacks dual card slots and has a relatively short battery life. If you’re a power-filmer you may want to consider grabbing an extended life battery. For the price, it’s still a good deal for casual use."
3. Don't be afraid to mention negatives
Your staff are more trustworthy when they describe the pros and cons. A good staff review should describe the pros, cons and alternatives (including product names) that may serve the customer well if the cons are a dealbreaker.
4. Sneak in product knowledge
The screenshot example from Sephora highlights a value prop - camelina oil is "super moisturizing." Try to tie features to benefits in the review, if possible.
5. Disclose it's a staff review
The major product review vendors provide staff reviewer badges. Use 'em. If your solution doesn't, ensure a signature or disclosure is included somewhere in the text.
6. Stick to one staff review
The purpose of the first review is to give the customer at least one non-marketer opinion of the product, and to provide the visual star review on category, search and product pages. Once you break the ice, let customers pick up the slack. You certainly can add more staff reviews down the road, but the biggest impact comes from the first. Use staff time to write for products that still need that first review.
With reviews, the more the better. According to PowerReviews, you need 7 to 10 reviews to get a stable star rating, and generating "fresh" reviews can help SEO. We've got 5 more ideas for getting more customer reviews.