Passive Content Generation: How to Get Customers to Leave Reviews

Lauren Owens - July 9, 2015

Passive content, or user-generated content, has been all the rage in recent years, and there’s no better form of user-generated content than reviews. Product reviews are enormously helpful – and not just for your users. Pages with customer reviews can help improve the uniqueness of your content while also helping your product pages maintain their freshness – both important aspects for SEO. So, how do you encourage users to write reviews for your site?

Include a Review Section on Your Website

Of course, the first hurdle to overcome is building a section to house and display your user reviews. This section can include categories for customers to rate your products on (if appropriate), such as comfort, fit, and quality – which will make the reviews more useful for others users. It can even include opportunities for users to share photos of themselves with your products. This has the power to make your review section more social – and visual. Plus, users can get a better idea of how your products will work for them.

The clothing retailer ModCloth does this, with beautiful results:

user review example

Make it Easy for Users to Leave Reviews

Creating and posting a review online should be extremely easy, so don’t create hurdles for your users to overcome before they can leave you a review. You can do this by keeping your users signed in or by enabling them to write a review without signing in.

Take a Cue from Amazon: Simply Ask Your Users How they Liked their Experience

Even Amazon, a website famous for its reviews, goes out of its way to encourage its customers to keep the reviews coming. They do this by sending a follow-up email, asking their customers to rate their products.

amazon review request

One important element of Amazon’s “ask” here is how they’re positioning it. Their pitch is positioned as a way for individual customers to help other users by offering their opinion. They’re not saying, “tell your friends,” they’re saying, “help us provide a better experience by sharing your opinion.” This passive “ask” is key to its success.

Another key to its success is how easy Amazon makes it to share a review. Simply click on a star rating from the email and you’re redirected to a form to write your review.

Testing Makes Perfect

While all users want a seamless user experience, not all users will respond to the same design or messaging. So get to know what your customers will respond to by testing your messaging. You might, for example, create different versions of your “ask” and send them to different customers in order to see which version yields the highest number of reviews. Once you’ve done this, you can hone your messaging, and the design of your email creative and landing page, even further, essentially refining the customer review process until it’s as effective as possible.

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