*Important Update: Amazon’s policies have been updated since this post was published and offering free products in exchange for a review is no longer permissible. You can find Amazon’s Prohibited Seller Activities here.
You may not be aware of how competitive it is in the life of a “Top Reviewer.” Some write books, others study algorithms and movements like a full time job, trying to figure out how we are ranked (it’s an Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) secret) and “crack the code.” There are 28 million reviewers, so being in the top 10, or even top 100, is quite a feat.
So what secrets can I share with you, fellow sellers, to get more reviewers to say “Yes!” to your offers and get more reviews for your products? Here are my top five tips:
1. Play by the Rules
While there may be reviewers who try to game the system, every top reviewer I know is ethical and expects that of the parties sending them offers. Amazon asks that:
- You ask for a fair and unbiased review, not a favorable one.
- You send the product directly or provide an Amazon code to buy it free (I will get to that.)
- You refrain from asking the reviewer to buy an item and then pay them back or give any reimbursement. These people are sellers who game the system.
While some sellers offer their product at a discount, which is allowed, I have never accepted these. Why? If I have 100 emails per day of free items, why even take the time to check out and buy one? Eventually, another seller will likely offer it to me for free. I don’t know of any reviewer who accepts discounted items.
2. Choose Your Reviewers Carefully
Like I said before, I get many offers every day. I only accept those I have a true interest in (far less, actually), but that still results in a full inbox! Yes, most sellers want me to review their products because my Top Reviewer and a Hall of Fame Reviewer status are visible and shoppers tend to trust that. Keep in mind, however, that reviewers ranked lower will be getting less offers and are more likely to accept yours. If your product is something very common (phone cases, phone chargers, really anything to do with phones…) you have to understand that top reviewers get offers for those every day. Choosing a lower ranked reviewer may be your best bet at getting a review. If you want a review on a more popular item start by asking top ranked reviewers, but it may take a few weeks before they get around to you with all the other offers they have in play.
3. Search Outside the Top Reviewer List
Consider looking at products similar to yours and checking for an email address on the profile pages of those who left a review on similar items. For example, I love kitchen gadgets and girly things. If you ask me to review a men’s motorcycle helmet, I don’t really know what to say. You would likely get a more effective review from someone who actually owns a motorcycle and has left reviews on other motorcycle gadgets. Look outside the top reviewer list.
4. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid
Because top reviewers receive so many requests, a brief communication is all you need. We don’t have the time to read through pages explaining how fantastic your product is and the PDF files to back your claim. Send the request with a brief explanation with a link to view it easily on the Amazon marketplace.
5. Those Coupon Codes May or May Not Work
Amazon recently announced a new rule that says that sellers can provide reviewers with the coupon codes to buy the product free or discounted through Amazon. The good news for sellers is that reviewers often wind up with the verified purchase tag on their review when it’s done this way. The bad news is that some reviewers don’t feel comfortable using them. The two times I decided to, they did not work. I didn’t notify the seller or try again, I just decided to go back to my former rule of not accepting them. They usually only last for a limited time, and I don’t open my review request emails every day. I only say yes to offers where the item is sent directly to me.
As a final note, don’t forget to make it easy for a reviewer to find the product on the Amazon marketplace via a name search. If it’s not, provide clear instructions on how to find the item on the Amazon marketplace. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been ready to review something in my hand and then can’t find it on the site by searching for the name on the box!
Amazon top reviewers don’t guarantee a good review, but they typically leave a fair one. As long as your product is good, these reviews can only help your business.
To find Amazon top reviewers, check for the email on their profile here.