5 Ways to Earn Awesome Reviews and Referrals for Your D2C Brand | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

5 Ways to Earn Awesome Reviews and Referrals for Your D2C Brand


Customer reviews and referrals are one of the most effective elements driving customer acquisition today. In fact, product reviews rank even higher than a good price among modern consumers as a reason to buy your product or service. The three things a consumer typically looks for when checking customer reviews are recency, quantity, and a mix of good and bad reviews.

Consumers are more inclined to purchase when the reviews are recent; 44 percent say they look to see if there have been reviews in the last month. The more reviews you have and the more frequently your products are reviewed, the better for your business.

"Shoppers who are exposed to pages with 5,000 or more reviews are 296.2 percent more likely to convert than those exposed to pages with no reviews."
Total Retail

Diversity among reviews is just as important as the quantity and frequency of reviews. Modern consumers look for honesty when reading reviews, and some may be scared off if there isn't at least one negative thing to be found on a product review page.

While you may think that bad reviews negatively affect your brand, they can be beneficial in small amounts. When product shopping, consumers often seek out negative reviews. If a potential customer searches a product review page only to discover glowing reviews, it is often perceived as disingenuous and contrived, often resulting in abandoned carts and page exits.

With the knowledge that customer reviews are so important for success, here are five ways to earn awesome reviews and referrals for your retail or direct-to-consumer brand.

Make It Simple

Customers are much more likely to leave a review if it is both quick and easy to do so. Presenting the opportunity to leave a review in a timely fashion is also an important factor in a customer's decision to share a product review. The best way to tackle both at once is by utilizing email.

Sending a simple email to a consumer once they have received their product that easily allows them to leave a review or rating is one of the most powerful ways brands can garner reviews to post on their product pages. Including a 1 to 5 scale rating in your review email allows customers who don't want to leave a full review but like your product enough to give it a rating to make an impact on your product review pages.

If you want to garner more insights, you can create ratings for each aspect of your product that outline value, ease of use, and design quality. An example of this kind of rating system can often be seen on Amazon. In the image to the right are reviews for a Dyson Vacuum for sale on Amazon. As you can see, they offer an easy way to rate the product out of 5 stars and include ratings by feature.

Having Honest Reviews

While you might think that bad reviews scare off potential customers, it does the opposite, if you don't have too many of them. Including some negative reviews ensures that your product reviews are genuine, and your brand isn't censoring or paying for reviews. Creating visibility of customers' opinions of your products helps consumers feel connected to your brand and improves conversion rates by up to 67 percent.

Use Third-Party Review Providers

Third-party reviews are reviews that do not come directly from your website. They are typically from places like social media or sites dedicated to reviews like Yelp or Trip Advisor. These reviews are often considered more honest and held in a higher regard among consumers because they seem more organic and credible.

"In fact, 75 percent of consumers don't view advertisements as truthful, while an incredible 90 percent will believe a brand recommendation that comes from a trusted friend. This level of trust even extends to total strangers — particularly in the form of online reviews."

There are several ways to get third-party reviews. Having a "Google My Business" page is a great way to not only get these reviews, but to also highlight them. When a consumer Googles your business or something relating to it, you will pop up on the top of the search page.

Having a Facebook page for your business is another great way to get third-party reviews that are trusted by consumers. Lastly, having user-generated content on trendy social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram is a modern-day success for businesses.

According to EnTribe, 77 percent of consumers would be more likely to purchase a brands product or service if that brand shared content from real customers in their marketing. Utilizing videos like the one to the right of a customer unboxing a new MacBook Air is a great example of how to use third-party reviews. This video alone received 1.2 million likes on TikTok. (Click here to watch the TikTok video.)

Offer Incentives for Reviews or Referrals

Reviews are incredibly important to consumers, and referrals are a great way to add on to that. Referrals often come from friends or family, so they already have an element of established trust. Adding an incentive to the mix is even more of a motivator for new customers to try your product or service. Popular incentives often include a reward for both the person referring and the person receiving the referral. Some common types of referral incentives include:

  • A specific dollar amount toward a future purchase
  • A percentage off your first order for a new customer
  • Rewards for the referring customer when their referral makes a purchase

Just like loyalty programs, many brands are hopping on the referral rewards train as an effortless way to acquire new customers and consumer data. Companies like Lyft, GrubHub, and Instacart rely heavily on incentive-based referrals.

Leverage Positive Reviews

With all these ways to earn reviews, it's important to utilize them effectively in order to maximize the benefits they can have for your business.

Having a Google My Business page puts reviews front and center when a consumer searches your business. It shows how many stars you have on a scale of one to five and shows a customer right away how satisfied customers are with your business.

Another beneficial tool to increase visibility of your reviews is to utilize SEO. According to stats from Distilled (via Econsultancy), providing rich review snippets on search engine results pages can mean a 10 to 20 percent increase in click-through rates.

A consumer is most likely to search for a product that has ample positive reviews before looking at products with little or no reviews.

Why Product Reviews Are So Important

Modern consumers trust the word of their peers more than they trust the claims of a brand. They seek honesty when searching product reviews so that they can better inform their purchasing decisions, so it's important to keep this in mind when creating or optimizing your product review strategy. Creating simple and timely ways for customers to review or rate your products while providing incentives is the best way to increase your customer acquisition and bolster your customer lifetime value. By utilizing these tips, you will be able to attract new customers easily and all in all have a more successful business.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Jenn Choo is the marketing director at Theorem.