Your favorite electric kettle breaks: no matter how many times you flip the switch, it won’t boil.
Rather than brave the weekend traffic, you turn to Amazon. And bingo! Amazon has hundreds of kettles for you to choose from.
How do you sort through them?
If you’re like most people, you turn to the reviews. 88% of people trust online product reviews as much as a friend’s personal voucher.
Which is why -- whether you're selling in a competitive subject area, or you're the only game in town -- customer reviews are critical for selling digital products like memberships and online courses.
And the more reviews you have, the better.
Adding customer reviews to their product pages rewarded UK retailer Express Watches with a 58.29% increase in sales.
But if you’re just starting out, scoring reviews can feel downright daunting. How do you find customers willing to advocate for your courses? How do you ask for reviews without seeming pushy?
In this article, we’ll answer all of those questions and more, getting down to the brass tacks you need to land testimonials for your sales pages.
But before we dive into how to get reviews, let’s dig deeper into just how powerful they can be for your online course sales.
Why reviews are your hidden ace
“We truly regard product reviews almost as good as a form of currency. The more we have on any given products, the more we see sales continue to grow.”
But do the numbers back that claim up?
As it turns out, they do.
User-generated content, such as reviews, can increase conversion rates by 133%.
And if that’s not enough, reviews can help your sales climb by 18%, too.
But even better than that: asking for and responding to feedback can prevent 11% of your customers from taking their business elsewhere (also known as “churning”).
Plus, if that feedback lets you respond and correct customer issues at the first engagement, you can stop 67% of your current churn in its tracks.
Reuven Lerner, online course creator and professional trainer, used feedback from his audience to shape the journey of his storefront, and he says it was the pivotal moment for changing his business.
So, needless to say, online reviews are a must-have tool in your sales arsenal.
But don’t limit them to just driving current sales: they can be just as powerful for shaping future sales, too.
That’s what The Container Store discovered when they used customer feedback and reviews to launch one of their biggest hits.
Patrick Burk, the Customer Content Manager for the brand, explains:
“As a direct result of customer-review feedback, we started offering a tall shoe box, and it’s been a major hit from the get-go by every metric imaginable.”
Just imagine what it can do for your metrics if you can leverage the customer voice for your future courses.
Let’s check out how some online tribe leaders are using reviews and testimonials to their advantage on their websites.
Compass of Design uses customer testimonials to highlight the value of the learning community and overcome potential roadblocks by having customers outside of design weigh in on their experiences.
Collin Belt takes a different approach, leveraging customer testimonials to establish himself as an authority in his field and position his services for both potential clients and students.
Finally, Adam Clark intersperses previews of his learning modules with customer reviews, elaborating on the value of his course and learning objectives as users scroll through his page.
Ultimately, how you use your customer reviews will depend on your audience and specific objectives – whether you want to grow your outreach or expand your sales – but the one thing that is clear is this:
Customer reviews are the ace up your sleeve to overcome customer hesitation and objections. You need them for better sales.
So with that out of the way, let’s talk about where to find your reviews.
Where to source reviews
OK, you’re on board: flaunting customer reviews and testimonials are a must-have.
Now all you have to do is hit up your email list, right?
It’s a little more complicated than that.
Email shouldn’t be your only channel for getting customer feedback. Neglecting social media can mean missed opportunities and leads.
Consider Twitter, for instance: 84% of shoppers use this platform to find special deals, inspiration, and product reviews.
There’s also LinkedIn, the premier platform for lead generation, converting at a rate of 2.74%. Getting your name out there on LinkedIn can have big rewards.
So you definitely shouldn’t be counting social media out if you’re looking to score customer reviews.
Here’s the good news:
Both of these platforms have features that make it easy for you to source reviews. LinkedIn, for instance, has recommendations that display directly on your profile.
Becky Mollenkamp has over twenty of these recommendations singing her LinkedIn course’s praises and adding major credibility to her name.
Requesting recommendations on LinkedIn is easy. Let’s take a quick run through it now.
After adding your students on LinkedIn, pop over to your main feed. Click on the drop-down menu under “Me” in the top navigation bar.
From there, click “View profile.”
Scroll down until you come to the module titled “Recommendations.”
Then, click on “Ask for a recommendation.”
Now, type in the name of someone you want to request a recommendation from. As you begin typing, you’ll see results from your connections populate beneath the search box.
Once you’ve located the person you want, click on their profile and go to the next screen.
From here, use the drop-down menus to describe your relationship with the person. If they’re a student, select “was a client of yours.”
Once you’re done, proceed to the next screen.
From here, you can send your request with the default message, but if you’re trying to land recommendations for your course, it’s worth mentioning that in your request.
Once you’re ready, hit the “send” button. And that’s all there is to it!
But what about Twitter?
Twitter’s easy-to-use polls are a great way to get people’s feedback on your course without asking for a heavy time commitment.
Media (and all around) mastermind Elon Musk frequently uses polls to get his followers involved in discussions about issues important to him or his business.
Here’s how you can use it.
To start with, log in to your Twitter account and head to your dashboard.
Once you’re there, move your cursor into the tweet box.
You’ll see a new icon menu drop down below the box. Click on the icon that looks like a bar chart.
Now, set up your poll. Try to ask specific questions that new customers might want to know, such as:
- How long did my course take you to finish?
- Did my course help your confidence?
- Would you take another course from me?
Then, set your duration by clicking on “1 day.”
On Twitter, polls can run for a maximum of one week. Since the goal is to get as much feedback as possible, it’s best to give people ample time to respond.
Once everything is filled out, your “Tweet” button will become active. Click that to launch your poll.
And voila, you now have an active poll that you can use to source feedback from your users.
Note that it may be worth direct messaging or pinging your students to your polls, as well as retweeting it a few times throughout the week in case people missed it – just make sure you’ve built a good rapport with your followers to avoid coming off as spammy.
But what about instances where a user mentions your course or brand online without being asked?
How can you make sure customer feedback doesn’t slip through the cracks when there are so many social networks to maintain?
For that, turn to social listening.
Social listening isn’t just useful for maintaining your networks and reviews, either. It’s also critical for keeping your reputation polished.
Medieval Times knows this better than most brands.
They use social listening to address concerns and maintain their reputation in real-time, enabling them to keep stellar, customer-approved ratings that keep their sales flowing.
And you can use it to do the same. Let’s check out a free tool that helps keep track of all of your social accounts in one place.
First, swing by Hootsuite.
Click on the green “Sign Up” button in the top right corner.
On the next screen, keep scrolling down until you reach the bottom of the pricing tiers. From there, select “Sign up now” for the limited free plan.
Go ahead and start filling in your information. Although it says “business” email, free accounts (such as Gmail accounts) are perfectly fine.
Next, you’ll be asked to connect your social profiles, but for now, let’s skip this step so we can get to our dashboard.
There’s only one more screen to go. You can skip adding a phone number.
All done? Sweet! Now, log in again to open your Hootsuite dashboard.
From here, you can schedule messages, view your statistics, and monitor your social streams in one location after you link up your accounts.
To add a social account, select the appropriate button in the right-hand lower menu and authorize Hootsuite to connect.
Ta-da. Just like that, you can see every mention or ping your accounts get from one convenient dashboard.
OK, now that you know where to find reviews and how to ask for them over social networks, let’s talk specifically about email.
How to ask over email
Here’s a surprising twist.
Reviews help your higher-priced items more than your lower-priced products.
When expensive items, such as an online course, have customer reviews attached to them, your conversion rate can grow by 380%, which is twice the growth rate for less expensive items.
So it’s more impactful to focus your effort on your higher-priced items than lower-priced when you’re starting to build your reviews.
And email is definitely the front-line for getting reviews, especially if you’re using an automated form.
74% of your customers are more likely to respond to an online survey or feedback form over more invasive requests, such as online chats and phone calls.
Do you notice how “quick” is the qualifying word in that data?
It’s an important one to remember when you’re asking for reviews.
People are busier than ever, and it shows in online reviews.
Compared to 2010 when customers would leave reviews upwards of 600 characters, the average review in 2017 was roughly 200 characters.
Beyond making it convenient and short for your customers, what are the other critical ingredients for getting reviews?
A combination of the right subject line and asking
Don’t rely on emotional triggers in your subject line and do include your store’s name, says data from three and a half million reviews.
And, before we go any further, a quick word of caution about offering incentives:
While you may be able to garner more reviews with this practice, it’s frowned on – both professionally and legally – and many of the larger review organizations will penalize businesses caught incentivizing their customers.
Consider, for instance, this law firm that lost almost 100 reviews once Google discovered they were offering family zoo passes in exchange for reviews.
Even offering discount coupons can land you in hot water.
So, as a best practice, don't incentivize reviews through email or social media, but if you do, absolutely ensure the reviewer discloses the incentive in the review.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some examples of businesses asking for reviews through email and get down to the nitty-gritty of the “ask.”
First up is Hawthorne Academic. Notice how they emphasize the quickness of the review and use the opportunity to offer their customer service.
Next up is GreenWorlds, an online furniture retailer. Again, we see the same emphasis on brevity.
So, make your request quick, and if you can, use the opportunity to address any customer concern issues.
Let’s take a quick look at it now.
Head over to Typeform. Click on the black “Create a form” button.
Next, fill in the information to sign up for a free account.
After verifying your email address, pop back over to Typeform and log in.
You may be asked to fill in a little more information so you can customize your templates. If so, click the “do this later” link in the top right corner.
Once that’s out of the way, your workspace will load. Here’s the default view.
Click on the teal “New typeform” button. This will launch a templates screen.
Since we’re only using this to capture reviews, select “Start from scratch.”
Here’s what your blank canvas will look like. Click on the indicated “blocks” section.
Browse through the different block types to find the one you want. For a review, “long text” is ideal.
Now type in your question by placing your cursor in the middle box.
You can also add images and stylize your review form by using the left-hand menu. Once you’re ready to go, click “share” in the top navigation bar.
Give it a second to finish loading, and you’ll be taken to this screen.
And just like that, you now have an active review form where you can collect responses from your customers. Sweet, right?
Here’s a template you can use to start asking for reviews for your course with your new form.
Testimonial request template
I’m [Your Name], the creator behind [Link][Course Name][/Link]. I was hoping you have a minute to give me some feedback about your experience with my course. Did you love it? Did you hate it? I want to know.
[Link]Give me your two cents here.[/Link]
Just [X] minutes of your time can help me create even better courses in the future.
Thank you in advance!
– [Your name]
Let’s plug this into our email campaign on Podia real fast and take it for a spin.
By the way, feeling nervous about sending out your email? Turn it over to Podia’s drip campaign system.
This not only takes the anxiety off your shoulders, but it can also increase your click rate by 5%.
This brings us to our final stage for reviews and feedback: how to bring it all together on your Podia storefront.
Adding reviews to your sales page
93% of shoppers say online reviews have a direct influence on their purchasing habits, so what better place to put them than on your product page?
The faster your customers can source your product reviews, the less friction and effort they have to expend before they can reach a decision.
So if they can see proof positive of your online course awesomeness without leaving the page? That’s the best of all worlds.
Reducing the number of steps between your customer and your product is customer experience at its finest, whether the journey is between product and purchase or purchase and satisfaction.
Just make sure any reviews you’re adding to your course page are enriching the page and not filling up space.
Adding relevant customer testimonials helps build more than conversions, too. It's also critical for trust.
As an example, consider the case of CEWE Photoworld.
As the United Kingdom’s largest photo product retailer, CEWE Photoworld handles more than customer orders.
Former Managing Director Duncan Midwood explains, “These photos are people’s real lives; these are people’s memories that they want to keep alive. Trust is everything in this business...”
Adding reviews to their checkout process helped instill that trust – and gave their conversions a more-than-healthy booster shot.
To the tune of an 8% total increase in conversions and 12% click-through rate growth.
Trust and sales? Sign me up.
Let’s look at how different creators combine their customer reviews on their Podia store pages.
Robert Joyner knows the power of simplicity. He adds thoughtful quotes to the bottom of his product pages and keeps it authentic.
But if you’re looking for a little more thrills, consider Justin Jackson’s approach. He adds quotes and provides links to the original source, giving him a major boost to credibility and social proof.
Finally, there’s the case of David Delahunty, whose visuals create a stunning and persuasive picture.
To add your reviews to your pages, swing over to your Podia dashboard.
Click on “products.” Open up the course you specifically want to add reviews to.
Now, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to your FAQ section.
Click “Add FAQs.”
If you’re taking Robert’s approach, click on the highlighted quote button and paste the review directly into the field.
To follow Justin’s lead, highlight the text that you want to link, and then click the chain symbol.
You’ll get a helpful link box pop up where you can add your link.
Finally, if you want to display social media posts directly on your page similar to David, simply paste the link in the textbox to embed it.
It won’t look like much at this stage, but click the purple “save” button and…
You have a bonafide promotion directly on your product page, easy peasy.
You can also add FAQ's as a section in the Podia Editor.
This is what it boils down to:
The hard part is getting the reviews. Once you have those, you can easily tie them directly into your sales pages to increase conversions, build trust, and add some pizzazz to your course.