Whether you feel good, bad, or indifferent about it, Amazon book reviews power buying decisions. The truth is, book reviews have always played a part in what people were willing to read.
The major difference now is that we have gone from simply having a chat with our neighbor at the mailbox about what book they are reading, to reading an aggregated account of 1,000 other consumers’ thoughts on the same product.
Evolution of Reviews for Authors
Seeing a star rating that combines 1,000’s of experiences into a single digit and scrolling through comments may be helpful for people in helping you purchase a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t leak dirt all over the floor, but how does it impact authors?
Authors innately have a subjective “product” that they’re selling. How many books have you read and recommended to somebody who didn’t feel the same spark you felt?
What’s more, is that failing to garner an overall positive review for your book can substantially hold you back in your ability to drive more book sales.
And now more than ever, book sales are being driven and upheld by Amazon.
Amazon’s Role for Authors
Amazon reviews work to help Amazon’s algorithm optimize the product feed for books (and other products) that people have all responded favorably to.
You likely already understand why reviews are so important. But it’s not just the reviews by the major publishers and social pundits that matter… your reviews from your readers are on display for the world to see.
How to Optimize Reviews for Amazon
Fortunately, beyond simply writing a wonderful book that resonates with as many readers as possible, it is indeed possible to optimize an Amazon product listing to have the best possible reviews it can.
There are some basic things to know as you pursue reviews for your book.
15 Reviews or More
Shoot for 15 reviews or more on your product listing. This is the tipping point where the product can begin to get discovered through Amazon Organic search (people searching for a product in the search bar).
3.5 Stars Plus
Have you ever bought a product that’s below 3.5 stars? Likely, you’ve looked to see if you can find anything rated higher.
It’s typically more difficult to get a sale with a star rating below this threshold, and Amazon knows it too. If your product doesn’t score at least a 3.5+ on the 5 star scale, it will begin to slide backwards in the algorithm.
When this happens, your product may become buried for good. Make sure that you’re providing the best possible customer experience you can, as this can sometimes cause people to give your product a lower star rating than it may deserve.
80% of Shoppers Leave a Review When Asked
According to research done by eComEngine, 80% of shoppers will leave you a review if you ask them to.
The Secret Formula for Reviews
There is a simple formula that you can adhere to in order to make sure your product’s review profile is well-optimized.
Quality + Quantity + Recency = SUCCESS.
Put the appropriate systems in place to have high quality reviews that are consistently coming in. If you do this, over time you will see that review score improve.
Three Types of Reviews
There are two types of reviews that you can get on Amazon.
1. The first one is likely the one that you’re most familiar with, which is a standard Review. These are any consumer review that comes from a product purchase.
2. The second type of review is Feedback. Originally pioneered by eBay, who had to have an accountability system for its network of sellers, Feedback is a consumer rating on their satisfaction with the vendor.
Unfortunately, many vendors don’t provide the experience that their customer is looking for. This is particularly true in the publishing world, as many vendors will fail to provide appropriate customer support, quick shipping time, and handle returns or exchanges in an expedient manner.
Reviews and feedback are both highly important. You have less control as an author over how people respond to your book, but you have lots of control over what kind of experience you provide them. This can improve your feedback rating and transform you into a preferred seller.
Best Way to Get Amazon Reviews
3. Have you heard the expression before “Ask and you shall receive?”
The best way to get Amazon reviews is by asking your consumers for them.
Two Ways to Ask for Reviews
If you want to get more reviews for your book (or product) on Amazon, you can do one of the following.
Implement Request to Review Button
If you have a Seller Central account with Amazon, the “Request to Review” button is available in the Amazon Seller shipment detail page. It must be sent out 5-30 days from the delivery date.
You can even use a 3rd party tool like eComEngine’s “Feedback 5” to automate this process and accelerate it when sales volume begins to grow.
Buyer-Seller Direct Messages
Again, in a Seller Account, you can ask people to leave you a review directly. Simply email them, and ask for what you want.
If you are shipping inventory to consumers, another tactic that works well is to print a flyer to include in each shipment with a request to leave a review.
Summary of Amazon Review Policy
If you do decide to request a product review directly from your consumers, you may want to pay attention to our quick summary of the Amazon Review policy.
- Your review request must be sent within 30-days of the item’s successful delivery.
- The request must include the 17 digit order ID associated with the purchase order.
- The review request messages must be in the Buyer’s language of preference.
- Ask for your review in a neutral manner with no pressure or swaying.
- Only request 1 Review. Failure to comply will result in Amazon shutting you down for 10-days, so don’t be greedy ;).
- If you’re sending reviewers to an external (non Amazon) site, it must be secure (using SSL) and with the URL containing the https protocol versus the http.
Best Practices for Your Review
Here are a couple of golden rules for you in your review collection campaign.
Read Each Review
Every review can contain useful information about your product, or may even contain a conflict that you must resolve.
Reply to Each Review
In your Amazon Vendor toolkit, you have the ability to reply to every review publicly. Doing so adds tremendously to your credibility as a seller.
Ask for Reviews
No matter how you do it, ask every order for a review. Amazon’s Seller Central tools offer automation to make this process easier.
Much of the process for review collection and optimization can be accomplished by simply asking.
Content from this article was inspired by a webinar put on by eComEngine, who has a specialty in helping Sellers get reviews from Amazon customers.
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