I am indebted to Trevor who asked me a question on the 30DC this week which I found very provocative, in a good way. Trevor was thinking about some of the same things as me and enabled me to get my thoughts in order. Thanks, Trevor, Old Love. Here’s our starting point:
“People love what I do, or at least they say they do. That’s the rub really. I get quite a lot of work from an online directory site where you list your expertise and the more reviews you get (good or bad) the higher your placing in the list of providers. My “problem” is that even if my clients came to me through the site, thus creating an account, they don’t go back in and put a review, despite me asking them to do that and enticing them with discounts on their next transaction with me. I offered my most recent client a discount of 15% on his next piece of work and he’d already said he had more work and would definitely be back. After a week, he’s not replied. Could that be seen as desperation on my part?”
Nothing ever happens in a vacuum, does it? I’d already been thinking through various points which I put in my answer to Trevor, not about review sites per se but about other applications of the same principle.
1. No, I don’t think it is necessarily seen as desperation. It’s an incentive, as you say. But it is up to the client if he chooses to take you up on it. That’s the sticking point; it is 100% outside your control, you can only invite and suggest. I’m not particularly interested in incentives myself, so if you offered me that, I wouldn’t be taking you up on it. Nothing to do with you, all me, me, me.
2. When people I know publish books on Amazon they often ask me to put up reviews. I oblige when I can( although obviously it means reading their bloody book first!). I may choose to do this when I have read the book of my own accord. This week I received one of those requests but have only read one chapter so far and I will struggle to finish the book in time for this review to be of anyvalue to the author in the way she desires, i.e. now. I will do my best, out of loyalty, but I think the whole world is already in two minds about these sorts of reviews anyway. Probably I’ve already explained why, but if we’re all reviewing for friends and clients out of loyalty and for incentives, what real value do they have?
3. When I buy something/anything on Amazon (frequent) or other sites (infrequent) they pretty much always write and ask me to put up a review. I NEVER do that. I am too busy. I am not aware that they have ever offered me to do it. If they had done, would it have made any difference to me? Probably not.
4. I realise I never read reviews before I buy anything anyway, or hardly ever. I think this might be the vital clue.
5. There seems to be a direct relationship between those two to me, 3 and 4. If I did 4 ever, I might be more likely to do 3. That process seems to denote a particular sort of person, neat and tidy-minded, thorough, probably not a Creator like me. It’s a bit process-y and faffy for me, detail schmetail. I’m busy, did I say???
6. And another thing… I notice myself doing things like getting rid of all the invites I receive to events on Facebook because they annoy me. This week I put up my own event and I imagine that people did exactly the same for precisely the same reason. And I also believe I deserve that, because I have never engaged with their event, why on God’s green earth would they engage with mine?
[Tweet “Karmic payback. I knew that in advance.”]
7. I often feel the same thing about affiliates. I’m mostly outside that system, not fully engaged with it. I don’t go looking for anyone’s affiliate link to use before I buy something even when its right under my nose. I don’t go round it either and I have absolutely nothing against affiliate links, but I don’t engage fully with the whole affiliate business, its not my reality. The only regular source of affiliate income I receive is from Wealth Dynamics because I am a big fan, I use them in my work, I am engaged with their whole profiling system, so my affiliate relationship with WD yields results for me because I choose to put my energy there.
8. My question to you is: are you diligent about putting up reviews for others because I believe (believe, note, as opposed to know for a fact) that you get back in this world what you put out. You may not believe that, in which case please disregard.
9. I know some of my friends and colleagues do read reviews before they buy on Amazon and I imagine they are precisely the same people who diligently review purchases on there too, see 3/4 above. 10. Do you see where I am going with this?
- You get back what you put out so if you want reviews, you must participate fully in the review reality.
- If you consume reviews, you are a reviewer and you are probably seeking the same type of person to review your stuff. Like attracts like. The rest of us just want to consume your service without having to review it, incentives or no.
11. I suspect we are more genuinely likely to review stuff if left to our own devices rather than being hectored/requested/incentivised to do it. Do you remember Victor Kiam? He liked it so much he bought the company? That’s the sort of thing I would make a rare exception to review, something I liked so much that I became a zealot/convert/raving fab about it and wanted the whole world to know. And then I would review it on Amazon and write it up on my blog too and possibly even bung in an affiliate link for good measure! i.e. I would be all-in, in poker terminology. Sold to the woman in pink, big time or not at all. Those six words define me.
So, in summary, I wouldn’t be relying on reviews to make sales myself, even though I know where you are coming from and that good reviews on those sorts of sites can help enormously.
I hope there is something useful for you, Trevor, in this long and opinionated reply?