5 Clever Ways to Get Customer Reviews That Convert

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How do you get customer reviews that help you achieve conversion rates as high as 68.7%?

In today’s consumer centric world, Aileen Lee, Partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said it best – social proof is the new marketing.

In fact, social proof is one of the key elements in building an awesome brand. And there’s no better social proof than customer reviews.

An experiment conducted by American social psychologist, Stanley Milgram, further proves the power of social proof.

Milgram and his team gathered a group of people to stop in a busy street and look up at the sixth floor of an office nearby where nothing was happening.

group of teenagers looking up and pointing towards something

The results showed that 4% of passersby would stop to join a single person staring up. However, when there were 15 people staring up at the office, that number jumped to 40% of the passersby.

Overall, 86% of passersby would at least look up to see what everyone else was looking at.

In this post, we unveil 5 clever ways to obtain the right reviews that persuade your customers and lead to increased sales.

#1: Find Skeptical Buyers

i will teach you to be richHow does Ramit Sethi, author of the New York Times bestselling book I Will Teach You To Be Rich, achieve conversion rates as high as 68.7% on his blog?

Contrary to most marketers, he will actually ask subscribers to unsubscribe from his email list. As someone who charges a premium for his course material, he wants to weed out those who treat his content as a commodity.

Secondly, he does an incredible amount of research to fully understand his customers’ desires and objections. Ramit says that “when you can truly deeply understand people, even in fact better than they understand themselves, then your sales skyrocket.”

Pro Tip

Get testimonials from customers who were at first skeptical of buying.

Rather than asking for testimonials from your customers who immediately fall in love with your offering, try to look for those that were first skeptical.

For example, as your customers are using your product, send a simple email asking if they were at first pessimistic of the product.

If they were, then you can ask for the actual results that they were able to achieve along with detailed objections that your customers had before choosing your product or service.

#2: Be Like Your Mom

Gary Vaynerchuk has a great talk about the ROI of Social Media and he compares to the ROI of your mother. If you haven’t seen the footage, here’s a snippet from his keynote speech at Inc 500 2011:

The key lesson is to truly and deeply care about your customers.

If your mom was anything like Gary’s or mine, then she knew all about you. She knew what you liked, what you hated, and when to give you some time. And guess what? She never asked for anything back. She only loved you like any good mother does without ever needing or wanting anything from you — only for you to be your best.

Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos, built a billion dollar company based on this theory. Zappos doesn’t have just happy customers they have raving fans. Early on, Zappos understood the power of word-of-mouth marketing and made it a company focus to provide excellent customer service no matter the costs.

Pro tip

In the end, we need to stop treating customers like metrics and more like people. Treat them right and never ask for anything in return and then reap the benefits.

#3: Give Something Away  

What if you are just starting your business and don’t have any customers to provide social proof? Well, it’s time to get creative and offer something in return for a testimonial.

When Neil Patel started his SEO agency, he targeted major publications such as Techcrunch and Gawker and offered his services for free.


In exchange, he asked for a badge on their websites that linked back to his website. He also used these clients as case studies which allowed him to have the social proof he needed to land even more clients.

He went on to state that although his target market would never reach the level of a Techcrunch or Gawker, seeing that he’s worked with big companies makes it easier for him to close more deals.

Pro tip

Money isn’t your only compensation. Take a tip from Neil and be willing to exchange your services for a raving review. Then leverage that review for more, higher-paying gigs down the road.

#4: Lead the Witness

Sometimes the easiest way to get a testimonial is to simply ask for it. Moreover, you may actually want to write something for your customer.

If you do write a testimonial for the customer, make sure you get their approval (obvious, I know) and that you don’t sound overly promotional.

You want to treat the testimonial like a case study. Talk about the problems that you helped the customer solve rather than talking about the generalities of your product or business.

It also helps if you can provide measurable results.

For example, on the Unbounce homepage, there is a quote from Nemo Chu, Director of Customer Acquisition at KISSmetrics, that reads “I use Unbounce every day and have over 100 landing pages. We’ve doubled and tripled conversion rates and I love being able to ship without engineers.”


While Unbounce didn’t write this for Nemo, the testimonial has more weight because it includes actual results.

Compare the above testimonial to a more general one that reads “I use Unbounce every day and have over 100 landing pages and love being able to ship without engineers.”

Not as impactful, is it?

Pro tip

If happy customers seem shy about writing a review, ask if they’d like you to draft one for their approval. In most cases, they’ll say yes—and thank you for making their life easier.

#5: Timing, Timing, Timing  

Have you ever been asked to leave a review for a mobile app immediately upon launching it? It’s like the app read your mind and knew that you were only launching the app so you could tell the world how much you love it.


A better way to ask for a review would be to wait until after the user has done what he/she needs to do with the app.

For example, in the FIFA app on the iPad, they show a review request after you win a Championship League.

It reads “You just won! You are awesome… would you like to leave us a review and tell the world how much you love FIFA 2012?”

FIFA catches you right at the moment that you are most excited about the game.

Knowing WHEN to ask for a review plays a crucial part in getting more reviews and more positive reviews.

Pro tip

Be smart about when you ask for your review. Don’t rush it. You want to time the review perfectly to when the customer is in his/her best mood and most willing to write a review.


With the many options that customers have today, businesses can separate themselves from the competition by showing the right social proof.

Using any of the five tactics outline above, you will be able to get the right testimonials that lead to more conversions.

What do you think? What’s one way you like to get testimonials from your customers? Do you think I missed anything?

Steve Young is the Director of Product Marketing for SmartShoot, a marketplace that connects businesses and individuals with freelance photographers and videographers from around the world. Download our free video marketing guide and discover how you can use video to drive traffic and sales.

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