Before we start, here’s one really important piece of advice. Never assume anything. The key to boosting conversion rates is experimentation. You may think a certain technique will prompt action, but unless you test it against a variation, you’re essentially going in blind.
Email Subject - The first thing your customers will see when they receive an email from you is the subject line. If you come across as demanding, imply urgency to their response, or sound salesy, this'll kill your chances of a review, and you'll most likely end up in the spam.
You're not doing them a favour, they're doing you a favour, so asking a question with your company name in the subject line works nicely, such as:
Did you enjoy your purchase from (name of company)?
Email Body - Engage interest further and keep it personal. Again, don't come across as demanding, go in with the attitude that you would like your customer's voice on your product or services in order to improve. After all, reviews not only showcase your company and/or products, but they potentially highlight overlooked areas that need changes for the better:
Hi (name), thank you for choosing to use (name of company), would you mind sharing your experience by leaving a review? We'd love to hear your thoughts, and so would other (name of company) users!
Keep it simple - if you overload the customer with information, they’re less likely to understand the purpose of the email, and less likely to respond as a result.
Test everything - there may have been a clear winner here but that’s not to say it’s the right approach for everyone. For example, if you’re only collecting company reviews, there’s no saying in-email forms might prove most effective for you.
Show Appreciation - Another way to acquire more reviews down the line could be to offer a voucher for your products or services, or to be entered into a prize draw when a customer completes the review - a thank you, or form of appreciation for their time in leaving a review.
Some factors are out of your control - email clients may be affecting your conversion rates. You can mitigate this risk by using a nifty tool called Email on Acid. This allows you to check the display of emails on different platforms. You should also give them a manual once over, checking for any mistakes or broken links.
The aim of the test was pretty straightforward - to find out which review invite led to the most conversions - those using in-email forms, or those using the standard button. Both templates were combined invites for company and product reviews.
Before the results were finalised, there was an assumption by many of us that in-email forms would be the clear winner, given they come with less friction for the reviewer. But what we found was a 77% increase in review collection using the standard button.
The test was carried out precisely, with our system splitting invites equally between the two live templates. We shared these insights on LinkedIn which shocked many and sparked an interesting conversation. So what insights can we take from the experiment?
The recipient needs to have confidence in the review request - a possible influencing factor is trust. Adding data into an in-email form and submitting it may, for some, raise security issues. They may also feel that if their review was a negative one, it could be diverted out of the system and go unpublished. With the standard button, the user is directed to the REVIEWS.io platform, adding greater trust to the process.
User friendly design is key - a primary difference between the two invites is that with the standalone button, it’s instantly clear what action you want the recipient to take. They don’t need to scroll and scan to find out what to do - the click through button is higher up the page and provides an obvious CTA.
The invite needs to be optimised for its purpose - with the in-email form, it’s not really optimised for collecting both company AND product reviews. The user thinks the process is over when they click ‘submit’, but then they’re asked for more feedback, causing friction and possible abandonment of the whole process.
Mail clients might be affecting delivery - you’ve got two potential barriers here. Some email clients simply don’t support in-email forms, meaning they never actually hit the customers inbox. If they are supported, they can be displayed very differently across different mail clients, meaning you can’t predict what the recipient will see. With the standard button, changes are minimal regardless of mail client, so you can pretty much guarantee the customer will see the invite in the way you intend them to.
A generic approach might be easy, but it’s not going to bring you the best performance. Thankfully, there are tools that make it pretty simple to tailor your communications depending on the customer and their actions. Tools like Klaviyo, and now with the REVIEWS.io Flow feature.
Here’s how to use Flow, and it’s conditional sending capabilities, to boost conversion rates:
Nail your timing - when your email drops is probably the most important thing - it needs to hit the customer just the right amount of time after purchase, and at an appropriate time for wherever they are in the world. For example, if you send an Australian customer a review invite based on UK timings, it’s not going to land at the ideal time of day. You also need to account for how long it takes to ship a product overseas. With Flow, you can (and definitely should) set conditional sending rules based on customer location.
Tailor your response - Flow also helps you keep the conversation going by sending the most effective response to the customers feedback. Say they leave you a glowing 5* review. You can set an automatic follow up that prompts them to add images or video, driving user generated content. Somewhere between 1 and 3*? Send a proactive support email that helps them resolve their issues, turning their experience into a positive one.
Automate Reminders - just because a customer didn’t respond to your first invite, it doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. They could have missed it, or got distracted. A gentle reminder is a great way to improve conversion, but just the one. Anything more and you’re stepping into hounding territory.
You may be surprised but if your email campaigns are lacking in conversion, you can often send a gentle reminder via SMS. From our survey on consumer buying behaviour we found out that SMS conversion rates are almost 5x higher than email invitations when sent at the right time. To further improve your conversion rates you can utilise our brand new integration with Attentive which allows you to automate the whole process with conditional triggers that ensure you're asking for a review at the right time. You can also segment your audience, meaning you can turn those who gave you glowing 5* reviews can be turned into loyal brand advocates by following up with a video review campaign.
AB testing is everything. Yes, you need your emails to be on brand in design and tone of voice, but you also need to explore the subtle differences that can have significant impact. As we said at the start, there’s no one size fits all, and it’s all about finding the right formula for you.
When you do run AB tests, be sure not to change too many variables, since you’ll find it difficult to work out which contributed to a better conversion rate.