When it comes to starting a successful ecommerce business, you have to know how to get reviews on Amazon.
Not only do reviews provide social proof for your listing, but there’s a strong correlation between the number of positive reviews and your conversion rate on Amazon.
As you can see from the graph above, the conversion rate doubles once you reach 50 reviews. As a result, getting more reviews should be an integral part of your overall Amazon strategy.
Today’s post will teach you white, grey and black hat techniques for how to get reviews on Amazon. Some of the strategies below should be implemented at your own risk!
Are you interested in creating a strong, defensible brand for your products? If so, I put together a comprehensive package of resources that will help you launch your own online store from complete scratch. Be sure to grab it before you leave!
Amazon’s Review Policy
Back in the day, getting reviews on Amazon was easy. All you had to do was offer a customer a reward in return for leaving a review. But today, this practice is illegal.
According to Amazon’s terms of service, you are not allowed to incentivize the customer in any way to leave a review.
Specifically, you can not…
- Pay or offer any incentive to a buyer for giving or removing feedback.
- Post abusive or inappropriate feedback, or expose personal information about an order
- Only ask for positive reviews
- Only ask for reviews from buyers who had a positive experience
- Ask a reviewer to change or remove their review.
In the event that you perform any of the actions above, you risk getting your account suspended.
Here’s what the dreaded Amazon review manipulation warning email looks like.
In the event that you get one of these emails, stop whatever grey or black hat review activity that you are doing and go on the straight and narrow.
If you continue violating Amazon’s review terms of service, Amazon will escalate your punishment.
First, they’ll take away your review privileges.
You have failed to comply with our policies by manipulating product reviews. As a result, you may no longer post reviews on Amazon.com, and your reviews have been supressed. Any new reviews written will automatically be suppressed.
Finally, if you continue to violate their policies, you risk getting banned.
Your account activity has been found to violate one or more of the following policies; “Misuse of Ratings, Feedback, or Reviews”, “Misuse of Sales Rank” and “Misuse of Search and Browse”. As a result, you may no longer sell on Amazon.com and your listings have been removed”
Note: Brand new sellers with little or no sales history are especially at risk of a suspension.
With these risks in mind, let’s talk about the many different ways on how to get reviews on Amazon.
Amazon Review Strategy #1: Use A Review Tool Like Feedback Genius
(Safety Rating: 10/10)
According to Amazon’s terms of service, you are allowed to “request a review” from a buyer as long as you don’t try to bias them in any way.
Now you can send emails to buyers manually or you can use an automated service like Feedback Genius.
Note: There are many email feedback services out there, but Feedback Genius was one of the first and arguably has the most features.
In addition, Feedback Genius is free up to a certain number of orders which makes it a no brainer to sign up.
Here’s a sample email that I send out to customers who purchase.
This is Jennifer, the owner of Bumblebee Linens.
We are a small family-owned business and our goal is for you to be completely satisfied with your transaction.
I wanted to thank you for your purchase and let you know that it was a pleasure doing business with you. I hope everything turned out fantastic, and that our linens are everything that you expected.
If you’re open to it, we would appreciate it if you could tell others about your experience by leaving a review on Amazon.
If you’re NOT totally satisfied for any reason, please hit reply to this email and we will help you resolve any issues. Just let us know what you need and we’ll make things right.
Please click the link below, find our product and tell us your experience. It only takes a minute.
Your feedback and business are GREATLY appreciated!!
Note: I only send out a single email and I make sure to use language that does not imply any contingency for leaving a review.
Recently, Amazon has allowed buyers to opt out of customer emails which has mitigated the effectiveness of this strategy.
So don’t panic if you get an email like below.
Nonetheless, automated feedback emails are still one of the best ways to get reviews today.
Amazon Review Strategy #2: Amazon Early Reviewer Program
(Safety Rating: 10/10)
Even though Amazon made incentivized reviews illegal for sellers, they do allow compensation for reviews as long as Amazon is the one providing it.
In 2016, Amazon introduced the Amazon Early Review Program where Amazon “encourages” customers to share an honest review about your product in return for a small gift card.
Participating in the Amazon Early Review Program costs $60 per product and here are the rules.
- You must be brand registered
- Your product must have less than 5 reviews
- Your product must sell for more than $15
If your product meets all of the guidelines above, then signing up for the early review program is a no brainer. Not only is the fee reasonable at only $60 but the reviews that you obtain are pretty much guaranteed to stick.
When it comes to launching a brand new product on Amazon, 5 reviews is often enough to jump start your listing. However it’s important to note that you still must generate your own sales.
If your product is not selling, then Amazon will not be able to incentivize a buyer to leave a review. As a result, you must still run Amazon PPC and employ other strategies for boosting your sales velocity.
Editor’s Note: For more information on how to boost your sales, check out my post on How To Run Amazon PPC Sponsored Product Ads – A Step By Step Guide
Amazon Review Strategy #3: Add Product Inserts
(Safety Rating: 8/10)
As part of your product, you can include inserts that encourage customers to leave a review.
Now the reason I made the safety rating of this strategy an 8/10 as opposed to a 10/10 is because the risk factor depends on how you structure your insert.
Anecdotally, there have been stories of Amazon setting up honeypot buyers to detect illegal review solicitation but realistically, you are more likely to have a competitor report you to Amazon as opposed to Amazon detecting this on their own.
Just be careful to use language that does not incentivize a customer to leave a review.
Here’s an example insert I use for my product that is a part of the packaging itself.
I first try to get the customer to sign up for my email list by offering them a special ebook or a warranty (depending on the product). Then, once they are on my list, I remind them to leave an honest review.
Amazon Review Strategy #4: Launch A Giveaway Or A Discount Promotion
(Safety Rating: 10/10)
Giveaways have received a bad rap over the years because if you set your discount too high (>50%), a buyer review may not register as “verified” or they may not be displayed at all.
In general, giveaways are an effective way to boost your sales velocity and your keyword rankings as opposed to generating reviews.
However, if you plan on running your own giveaway for the purpose of gathering reviews, then you should consider using Amazon’s giveaway service.
What is an Amazon Giveaway?
Amazon Giveaways are Amazon’s sanctioned way of running giveaways where you can easily boost your sales velocity and product rankings. In addition, the reviews resulting from giveaway sales will most likely stick.
In effect, Amazon giveaways have made other 3rd party giveaway platforms less desirable when it comes to building reviews and Amazon’s giveaway solution is well executed.
Here’s how it works
- You must pre-purchase your own goods at the retail price
- Your products are then given away to random customers at a frequency you set.
- You are allowed to offer non-winners a coupon code to purchase your product at a significant discount.
Here are the options for your giveaway type. You can select between…
- Random Interval Winner – Prizes are awarded instantly at an interval set by the host (every Nth entrant wins)
- First Come First Served – The first N entries who sign up instantly win
Once again, the beauty of running an Amazon giveaway is that you’ll end up generating a bunch of sales after the giveaway is over from your coupon code and a fraction of these customers will leave a review on your product.
That is why you should choose random interval winners as opposed to first come first served winners to maximize the reach of your giveaway.
Amazon Review Strategy #5: Solicit Reviews From Friends
(Safety Rating: 7/10)
Soliciting reviews from friends is probably the easiest way to build your review portfolio. But you have to be careful because Amazon can easily detect your connections to friends through Facebook, Google and other social platforms.
As a result, if you go with this strategy, make sure that you get distant friends or friends of friends to leave reviews who are not directly connected to you on social.
Especially if you have a brand new Amazon account with only a few sales under your belt, you are much more likely to get a manual penalty if you are caught doing this.
Just don’t over do it and do not reuse the same friends for multiple products.
Amazon Review Strategy #6: Take Part In Review Groups
(Safety Rating: 3/10)
Because Amazon is getting smarter every day, taking part in Amazon product review groups is extremely risky. As I mentioned earlier in this post, Amazon can easily detect review rings and patterns of unusual activity.
The problem with review groups is that it’s usually the same people leaving reviews over and over again and there’s often review reciprocity.
“Hey Steve, leave a review for me and I’ll leave one for you”
Multiple sellers leaving product reviews for each other is VERY easy to detect which makes this a risky practice. In the event that you opt to use a review group, do not use it for more than a few reviews at most.
Amazon Review Strategy #7: Use An Email Append Service And Run Facebook Ads
(Safety Rating: 7/10)
An email append service will match your entire Amazon customer list with a gigantic database of people to obtain real email addresses for your customers.
These services are not perfect and often times you will only receive email addresses for less than half of your customer list.
But these emails are extremely powerful!
Once you have the emails of your paying customers, you can easily create Facebook lookalike audiences and run Facebook ads to get these customers to buy more product, sign up for your email list or leave a review.
If you want to play it safe, I would run Facebook ads to get these customers to purchase directly from your website, leave their email or become a Facebook Messenger subscriber so you can contact them again going forward.
I would never overtly run a Facebook ad asking these customers to leave a review. As always, proceed with caution. The chances of getting caught are minimal unless you do something stupid:)
Editor’s Note: For more information on how to run Facebook ads, check out my post on How To Advertise On Facebook – Strategies The Pros Use To Generate Sales
Amazon Review Strategy #8: Run Facebook Messenger Ads
(Safety Rating: 10/10)
Using a Facebook Messenger bot is probably the easiest way to generate Amazon sales while retaining the ability to contact your customers.
Here’s how it works.
- You run a Facebook Messenger ad to your targeted audience and offer a decent sized coupon code
- When the customer clicks on your ad, they are taken to Facebook Messenger where they must interact with your bot to obtain their coupon code.
- Once the coupon code is sent, you steer the customer to your storefront URL where they make a purchase.
- You cross reference your Facebook Messenger list with your customer list and send a Facebook Messenger broadcast to this customer asking for a review.
You can also combine this strategy with an email append service mentioned in strategy #7 and target your existing Amazon customer list with your Facebook Messenger ads.
Here’s a sample Facebook Messenger bot that you can run to either get more sales or to get a customer to leave a review.
Note: If you want to see a more detailed tutorial on how to set up a Facebook Messenger bot, be sure to check out my post on The Best Way To Use Facebook Messenger Bots To Sell Online With ManyChat
Amazon Review Strategy #9: Send Offers To Your Email List
(Safety Rating: 10/10)
In order to execute this strategy, you need to have an email list of interested customers. So first off, here are a few good ways to get email subscribers
- You can run an Amazon Group giveaway – GoBrandWin is a service that I offer for free that allows you to work together with other sellers and bloggers to easily grow your email list.
- You can run Facebook ads to a coupon landing page – By offering a coupon code in return for an email address, you can quickly build an email list of interested buyers.
- You can launch your own giveaway – By using a service like Viral Sweep, you can have people enter in their email for the chance to win valuable prizes.
Regardless of which method you choose above, once you have your email list you can drive your subscribers to your storefront URL on Amazon and have them buy your products at a discount.
If you’re feeling risky, you can even ask these customers to leave a review on your product and give them a full refund via Paypal.
Note: Offering a customer a full refund for a review is completely against Amazon’s terms of service but Amazon can’t track it unless the customer directly reports you to Amazon.
If you do decide to go this route, make sure that you don’t tie the refund to the review.
For example, you can use verbiage like “We would love to offer you a free trial of our product and give you a full refund via Paypal. Please click here and leave a review.”
Again, be careful with this tactic.
Amazon Review Strategy #10: Manually Ask For A Review After Helping A Customer
(Safety Rating 10/10)
As you start generating sales on Amazon, sometimes customers will ask you questions regarding your product.
For example, we routinely get asked for quantity discounts on our napkins. We also get asked about the fabric quality of our products and when they will be received (even though they are buying through FBA).
Whenever we interact with a customer directly as opposed to a Feedback Genius automated email, we make a note of that order and hit them up for a review after the product is received.
Because we’ve had real human to human interaction with this customer, these buyers are much more likely to leave a positive review on your product.
Amazon Review Strategy #11: Buy Positive Reviews
(Safety Rating: 1/10)
As I outlined in my post on The Dangers Of Selling On Amazon, there are services out there where you can purchase positive reviews or leave negative reviews on your competitors.
Almost all of these services are run out of China and there are steep penalties if you are caught.
Even though many dirty sellers are using these services and getting away with it, I strongly believe that Amazon will eventually crack down on all of the illegal review activity at some point.
Amazon is following Google’s footsteps. Once upon a time, you could easily buy links and rank in Google search until Google started penalizing every site suspected of link manipulation.
Amazon will eventually invent a more sophisticated fake review detection mechanism. I guarantee it!
Even though more reviews can lead to a higher conversion rate and more sales, I see many sellers spending too much brain power on their review strategy.
In the grand scheme of things, all you need are a handful of reviews to launch a successful product on Amazon and there are diminishing returns associated with large amounts of reviews.
Instead, you should simply allow your natural sales velocity to build your reviews. If you are able to generate sales, then your review problem will take care of itself.
In my ecommerce course, I almost always advise that students gather a few reviews to jump start their listing and then focus on selling more product.
Sales begets more sales and reviews are a byproduct.
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