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Aimee Millwood
Director of Content at Yotpo
December 21st, 2020

How to Ask for Reviews: Tips & Email Templates

One of the most effective ways online businesses can collect customer reviews is by asking after a customer has made a purchase.

Table Of Contents

While it might seem obvious, the exact science of how to ask customers for reviews can be a bit murky. So we decided to investigate the first thing your customers see in a review request email – the subject line – and see how it affects review conversion.

We studied the subject lines of 3.5 million post-purchase review request emails and compared their conversion rates to the average to find out what works and what doesn’t when asking customers for reviews. Read on to see our tips for asking for reviews.

Benefits of Getting Reviews

But first, why do you want customer reviews in the first place? There are many benefits to having reviews on your eCommerce site, but here are just a few to keep in mind.

They provide information that leads to sales

Customer reviews are seen as highly trustworthy and increase sales conversion rates. Potential customers like seeing User-Generated Content (UCG) as proof that others have bought and been satisfied by your product, which nudges them to complete their purchase.

You can collect invaluable customer feedback

Negative reviews show you opportunities for improvement. Use the customer feedback to identify friction points in your customer experience.

Reviews help with SEO

Up-to-date reviews are essential for ranking highly on Google. And ranking highly on Google is essential for your marketing, especially if you’re a local business depending on Google Maps searches.

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5 Do’s And 3 Don’t’s When Asking For a Review

So what did we learn from those many review request subject lines? While your mileage may vary, there were certainly some clear things that work, and some that don’t.

The bottom line? To get more reviews, tiny subject line changes can have big results.

    Do Include Your Store Name (Usually)

    Adding your store or business name to the subject line does boost conversion by 3.7% on average — but sometimes, it corresponds with a significant decrease.

    The industries that benefit the most from including their store name are Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Sporting Goods, and Electronics. But Food & Tobacco brands see a big decrease (74%!) if they add the store name to subject lines.

    Size-wise, the stores that don’t benefit from adding their name in subject lines are stores with over 20,000 orders (-2.4%).

    Asking for reviews by adding store name

    Don’t Offer an Incentive

    When we first shared these findings, our data showed that offering a discount in exchange for a review was an extremely effective way to convert requests. However, as of October 2020, Google has banned “financial incentives to write reviews of any kind.” That means if you want your reviews to help your SEO, you cannot offer discounts or free stuff in your requests.

    Do Ask a Question

    We found out that asking questions is great for getting more reviews – including question marks in review request subject lines leads to an average increase of 15.7%.

    Interestingly, the bigger the store, the more of an impact adding a question mark has. Only one industry saw negative results (Health & Beauty), but the impact is very minimal.

    Asking Customers For Reviews Examples

    Do Use Exclamation Points (If You’re a Food or Tobacco Business!)

    Exclamation points do not have a big impact in general, but there are some slight variations by store size.

    In general, for stores with under 5,000 orders, exclamation points don’t have an impact, while stores with over 5,000 orders see a positive impact (about 18%). However, for extremely small stores (under 100 monthly orders) or extremely big stores (over 100,000 monthly orders), there’s actually a slightly negative impact.

    When it comes to industry, the most astonishing difference is when it comes to Food & Tobacco stores. For these stores, adding exclamations can lead to a 83.5% increase. Adding a question mark barely increased the conversion rate of shopper to reviewer in this industry, so it’s surprising to see what a huge impact changing punctuation to an exclamation point has.

    The Food & Tobacco industry’s results are even more surprising when you consider that the second most impacted industry is Health & Beauty, which gets a 30.4% increase.That means adding exclamation points increases Food & Tobacco stores’ review conversion rate nearly 3x more than any other industry!!

    Adding exclamation marks when asking for reviews

    Don’t Use A TOTALLY Uppercase Word

    The use of a totally uppercase word in a subject line showed a slight decrease overall in conversion rate – 5.8% on average.

    The only industry that benefits significantly is Electronics, which has a 26.7% increase. The industries that should definitely avoid uppercase words are Health & Beauty (39% decrease) and Sporting Goods (21%).

    For stores with under 20,000 monthly orders, adding an uppercase word can lower conversion by up to 49.3%. Interestingly, stores with more than 20,000 orders see an enormous increase when they add an uppercase word – 112.6%!!

    how to ask customers for online reviews

    Do Get 2 Reviews with 1 Request

    Brands need to be reasonable and efficient with what they ask for from their customers. Messages with too many CTAs can be confusing, overwhelming, and sometimes even angering. That said, brands need two types of reviews: Product reviews, and seller reviews.

    The latter improves their Google Seller Rating score, which directly impacts conversion; in fact, a high GSR can increase CVR by 17%! Instead of overloading your review request emails, use a tool like Yotpo’s 2-in-1 Review Request tool that seamlessly prompts users to leave a store rating after completing a product review.

    Don’t Rely on an Emotional Appeal

    Including emotional words like love, smile, happy, help, etc. doesn’t have a major impact overall on getting customers to leave reviews.

    Interestingly, when it comes to the breakdown by store size, small stores (25-100 orders/month) and large stores (20,000+ orders/month) both see a negative impact, while medium-sized stores (between 100-20,000 orders/month) don’t see any major impact.

    Industry-wise, Health & Beauty, Electronics, and Sporting Goods also see negative impact from having emotional words in subject lines; the review conversion rate can be up to 41% lower! In contrast, Home & Garden businesses see an increase in review conversion when they include emotional keywords. The conversion rate is 28% higher on average. This could be because consumers are more emotionally attached to items they buy for their home than they are to items like computers or baseball bats.

    Do Work With Experts

    A third party can bring in experience and expertise in increasing your customer reviews. With Yotpo’s review platform, you’ll not only bring in more feedback, but can also turn it into website content and leverage it to increase sales.

    How to Ask for Reviews: Additional Insights From Our Research

    As you can see, tiny differences can make a big impact on how many customers write reviews for your business. Here are some other clever ways to ask for reviews and interesting insights from our research:

    Mobile gets more reviews

    Customers are much more likely to respond to a review request on mobile devices like phones or tablets. Phones have a 7% higher conversion rate than desktop, and tablets have a 20% higher conversion rate than desktop. Structure your request for mobile experiences, and consider using SMS marketing to followup. (CVR for SMS vs email is 66% higher!)

    Lower order frequency = higher review conversion

    Stores with less monthly orders are more likely to convert customers into reviewers. This means small stores are at an advantage, because their customers are more likely to write reviews. This is great news for growth because more customer reviews lead to more sales.

    Some products are more successful

    Products that aren’t frequently purchased receive more reviews. Past research taught us that it’s important to have a similar amount of reviews across your products, because conversion is hurt when a few products have many reviews and other products have none. So it’s good that naturally, products that aren’t bought frequently have a higher chance of being reviewed.

    Negative reviews don’t impact requests

    Whether a product currently has negative or positive reviews doesn’t impact how many customers will review the product. As we’ve said time and time again – negative reviews aren’t bad! They don’t impact review request conversion rate, and they make your positive reviews look more legitimate. (You can learn more about what you should do about bad reviews here.)

    Review Request Email Templates

    Now that you know the ins and outs of writing the perfect review request email subject line, you might be ready to write your email. Here’s a basic template that you can adopt for your needs.

    Subject line:

    How’s your new [product] from [brand name]?

    Email copy 1:

    Hi [name],

    Thank you for ordering [product]! Now that you’ve had some time to use it, we would love if you could leave a review so that other shoppers can learn from your insights.

    Please click here to leave a review.

    Thank you!

    [brand team]

    Email copy 2:

    Hi [name],

    We hope you’re enjoying [product]! If you have a moment, please share your thoughts about it in a review. Other shoppers use this reviews to help make the right purchase, and they can benefit from your insights.

    Please click here to leave a review.

    Thank you!

    [brand team]

    Email copy 3:

    Hi [name],

    What do you think of [product]? We’re always looking to improve, and we love customer insights to help shoppers make the right decision. If you have a moment, please share your thoughts in a review!

    Please click here to leave a review.

    Thank you!

    [brand team]

    When it comes to adapting this template for your needs, don’t be afraid to get creative and show your brand personality! Make sure it matches the tone you use across your site, and don’t shy away from bringing a sense of community to the copy. You can also consider including helpful information about using the product, to inspire goodwill that encourages customers to take a moment to submit a review.

    Customers Respond to the Right Message

    Customers are overwhelmed with spam and offers, and generally just block it out; it can seem like they only provide feedback when it’s negative. But many are eager to share their satisfaction too, they just need a nudge and a reminder (or three). With the right requests, you’ll gain valuable feedback soon, and can even boost your visibility and sales as well.

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