Guest blog post by Karon Thackston from Marketing Words

I was just in a Facebook group about five minutes ago reading a thread from a seller who screamed,

“HELP! I was notified by Amazon that my account was suspended due to product review manipulation. The suspension was out of the blue. I am not doing any giveaways. I do send follow-up emails asking for a product review if they liked the item or to contact me if there are any issues and I will resolve it…..could this follow-up email or the wording be what Amazon has suspended my account for? This was completely out of the blue and help would be greatly appreciated!”

The conversation went on for quite a while until some brilliant soul chimed in to inform the panicked seller that yes, it is against Amazon’s terms of service to try to sway a customer’s actions when it comes to providing a product review.

Related: What to Do If Your Amazon Account Gets Suspended

Amazon states:

Reviews

Seller Tip: Always use software which is 100% Amazon compliant like FeedbackExpress

As I continued to read the entries in the thread, I found several other sellers claiming they had been suspended, too. They began to share accounts of their tales and questions about whether their follow-up email copy met Amazon’s terms of service (TOS).

Here is one example of common phrasing that is used:

Tracking information

Look familiar? It should. This is extremely typical of what most sellers use. Why? It’s easy.

The problems are:

  1. It is seriously overused. Customers (like me) who buy regularly from Amazon have seen this email with minor variations hundreds or thousands of times over the years. We are blind to it. Even though I know how important reviews are to sellers, I delete emails similar to the example above without even reading them.
  2. It is self-centered. It’s all about the seller. “Amazon asks that you rate my service.” Not true. “Critical to our success.” “Leave a review.” Yep, she says she’ll do whatever it takes to make the issue right, and that’s good, but the rest is all about me, me, me.
  3. It leads the customer. “If everything looks fine…” There is a contingency to the review request. Only if everything is OK with the order, then please leave a review. You can’t say that or anything similar to it. Amazon wants customers to feel free to leave a positive, neutral, or negative review … whatever fits their experience with your product. Trying to guide them with language such as this could possibly get your account suspended:

—–> Happy with your product? Please leave a review. Have issues? Email us first and we’ll take care of it.

—–> Leave a review and tell us why you love your new {WIDGET} so much!

—–> If you have any issues, please contact us before you leave a product review.

—–> If our product has met or exceeded your expectations, please leave a review. If you would give less than 4 stars, please contact us and give us an opportunity to make the problem right.

In addition, these actions are also against Amazon’s email TOS:

Guidelines

 

Provide helpful information that customers appreciate

Many sellers throw their hands up in frustration and swear they just won’t ask for reviews anymore at all. That’s overcompensating and unnecessary. What can you say in your follow-up emails?

  • You can provide helpful information that customers appreciate.
  • You can offer to help the customer without making that offer a contingency for leaving a review.

I’ve verified with Amazon (again just recently) that the techniques we use at Marketing Words when writing review request emails for our clients are still approved and legal. The idea is to offer something that is worth the customer’s time to read.

Let’s say you sell a coffee grinder. That’s one of the speciality appliances that (seemingly) only has one purpose. But what if you show your customers several other ways to use the coffee grinder?

In a follow-up email, your copy could say something like:

Thanks for buying the Handy-Dandy Coffee Grinder from Best Brand! Your mornings are about to get better with an aromatic, freshly ground brew to start your day. But did you know it can also:

Make Oat Flour — Oats are a fabulous source of fibre that maintains healthy cholesterol. Grind oatmeal into a powder and add to your favourite pancake mix, soups (as a thickener), cookie recipes and more!

Grind Herbs & Spices — Vanilla beans, red pepper flakes, whole nutmeg… Whirl them around in your new grinder for just a few seconds to release their full flavour.

Create Almond Flour — Have you bought almond flour? Yikes! Rather expensive. You can now buy almonds in bulk and make your own for much less.

 You can probably think of lots of other uses, too.

Have 3 minutes? We’d love to hear about your experience with your new coffee grinder. Please leave a product review when you have time.

 Have an issue or question? Just reply to this email and we’ll get right on it!

Enjoy!

Best Brand People

There you go! Useful, helpful, interesting information your customer will appreciate and a review request that does not lead or tries to sway the buyer in any way.

 

Conclusion

Most people are not big on leaving reviews. Even those who see the value in it, and who love to read other people’s reviews, are busy, and just don’t make time. However, if you give customers something worth reading, they are more likely to reciprocate by leaving you a good review.

Want even more ideas for creating custom Amazon after-purchase emails that are appreciated and effective? Pick up your copy of my “Review Advantage: Email Strategies for Getting More Amazon Reviews (Legally!)” today! Use coupon code reviewchris10 (lowercase, no spaces) to save $10 now.

If you’re interested in trying out FeedbackExpress, Amazon feedback software, sign up now to get your first 30-days FREE.

Thanks to Karon for this great guest blog. If you’re interested in writing a post for FeedbackExpress,  email chris@feedbackexpress.com.

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