Why Reviews Matter (and How to Leave One in Less Than 2 Minutes!)

I asked Bill Meeks of Universe Box and DogboyAdventures.com to help me out today. Full Disclosure…Bill is also my husband.

Bill Meeks

@billmeeks on Twitter

Hi, readers of Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated! Anne Marie asked me to talk to you about a matter that is important to many online content creators like myself: reviews.

You might be the next Picasso, Bach, or Kanye but if people don’t know your content is out there you might as well be the next Gilfred Gondry. What’s that? Don’t know about Gilfred Gondry? That’s because nobody can find him!

Gilfred has a problem. He pours his heart into each and every custom-painted Adventure Time iPad cover he sells over on Etsy. It’s not that his customer are unsatisfied with the product. In fact many of them send him e-mails with pictures of them enjoying their covers along with very kind words.

Adeventure TimeThe iPad covers are very well reviewed, just not on the Etsy site itself.

He wants to share these covers with other Adventure Time fans, but the show is very popular and competition is stiff. Even if it wasn’t the lack of reviews might turn a lot of potential customers off, sending them to a competitor instead.

Gilfred tries a lot of different things to get his customers to share their experiences with new customers: giveaways, personal outreach, even Youtube tutorials on how to make your own custom iPad covers. Nothing helps. It seems like people hate leaving reviews, and if Gilfred doesn’t get some soon he’ll have to pack up his paints and go back to his 9-5 at the post office.

Leaving an honest review is the #1 way you can help independent artist bring in new fans. Hitting a star rating and typing a sentence or two doesn’t seem like it would be much help, but it’s the best way to ensure things you like stick around.

Helping your favorite content creator “go viral” isn’t really the point here (although it doesn’t hurt). The point is to help level the playing field in an ever-increasing landscape.

So why is it so hard to get people to leave reviews? Most people have put up “blockers” to leaving a review. You’re probably guilty of this too.

The biggest blocker is assuming it’s more complicated than it is. Leaving a review for a product/piece of content you want to support is simple. So simple in fact that you can do it in only two minutes.

How to Leave a Review in 2 Minutes

  1. Choose a star/number rating
  2. Answer three of the following questions with a sentence (or more if you’re motivated):
    1. What was your favorite feature/use/character/etc.?
    2. What was your least favorite feature/use/character/etc.?
    3. Have you been able to use the product in your everyday life? How?
    4. Is there anything about the product that makes you uncomfortable?
    5. Have you recommended the product to friends?
    6. If the creator offered a similar product in the future would you purchase it?
    7. Does the product remind you of another product? In what way?
    8. What was the fulfillment experience like? Did it ship in a timely manner? Arrive in one piece? If not how did the creator handle it?

These are some general springboards for you when leaving a comment, but feel free to come up with your own. It’s simple, isn’t it? It’s not about writing a textbook critique, or sounding like you’re part of the marketing team. It’s about giving an honest assessment to help other consumers while supporting the artists you want to see succeed.

Another blocker I hear is that customers who liked the product but didn’t love it might think they’ll offend the artist (especially if it’s a friend). People who create something out of nothing should have a thick skin, even if the criticism is coming from somebody they care about. If they don’t they should probably find another way to pay the bills. Besides, I love it when I get less than stellar reviews on my books and podcasts. It helps potential new fans see that I didn’t just “stuff the ballot box” with 5-star reviews from my buddies. It feels more “real”.

For Gilfred Gondry (you’ve heard of him, right?) a few minutes of your time means the world by setting his iPad covers apart from those chintzy ones you can find at Hot Topic. He puts his heart into his product, scraping by because he cares about what he does.
Is it worth 2 minutes of your time to help his business succeed? I think Gilfred would answer a resounding “Yes”.

How to Leave a Quality Review in Less than 2 Minutes

Now go and REVIEW Bill’s novels on Amazon and podcasts iTunes! (BTW…I am the co-host on those podcasts!)

Dogboy: Den of Thieves
We’re So LOST

Universe Box
Legends of Gotham


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