One of the great hurdles for small businesses today is gaining and maintaining a reputable online presence.

No one is immune to this problem but you can overcome it.

When we saw our Chrome Store ratings weren’t satisfactory to us, we decided to take a proactive stance to get our customers who love and adore us to share some of that love and admiration. By reaching out to our users we were able to increase customer reviews with Google by 4344%.

Here’s the quick breakdown of our breakthrough to increase customer reviews with Google

Our problem:

We have a plug-in to Gmail (Chrome Extension). The plug-in adds cool email marketing features to Gmail that allows people design newsletters and send bulk email directly from Gmail. We have 85k small businesses using the product but few were giving product reviews on Google’s Chrome Store where the plug-in in downloaded from. We wanted to see more 5 star reviews

We’ve been generating about 45 reviews per year. It’s taken 2 years to get to 90 reviews.

Our goals:

#1: Create more reviews of our Chrome extension (Google app) to drive SEO on the chrome store. It’s our understanding that the more reviews and the higher our rating the better coverage we get on the chrome store. Our Nirvana is to get featured on the home screen 
for recommended business apps

#2: We wanted a stream of fresh user comments. Positive reviews will be used in our internal marketing

#3 Start a customer appreciation program for users who talk up the product

We decided to take our first steps towards ramping up user engagement via our intercom in-app chat.

Intercom implementation:

An in-app message with A/B test on 2 versions


The Results:

Since the implementation of our Intercom campaign we’ve got to 131 reviews on the Chrome Store. That’s a 46% increase in 8 days. At this rate we’d have at least 2,000 reviews in a year’s time. That’s a 4344% increase in customer reviews with Google right there my friends.

Let the data speak for itself:


Here’s the data on our in-app popup we pulled directly from Intercom:


And last but definitely not least, our new Chrome Store rating:


Now, even though we wanted to boost our ratings we knew not to annoy our users since that would defeat the purpose. The last thing we wanted was a bad review.

We weeded our way through our users by figuring out who we needed to specifically target.

And who did we target?

Users who send at least 1 email from our app. To keep things simple we’ll just call them “activated” users.

Activated users went far enough to actually design an email and were proud enough to send it out.

Hence, they are more motivated to give a great review.

We caught users who were in a “feel good” moment with our app.


Experimenting to find the right message

Now we needed to find the best message format that would connect with our users and lead them to the right place to rate us and increase customer reviews with Google.

What didn’t work?

We tried 2 different design versions, one was “cute” and one was basic-simple.

They both performed the same on clicks with 5.8% & 6% respectively. The “cute” version however generated less reviews and people tend to give up props via the intercom chat feature.

This was nice and all but missed the bullseye in our marketing agenda.

We wanted the reviews on the Chrome Store not inside Intercom.

We dropped version “cute” and went 100% with the”basic-simple” version.


What we learned..

Originally our basic-simple message had an animated gif running showing a click to give a rating.

We learned 6% of users were clicking on the gif (because we linked it to the Chrome store page) but not many were giving reviews on the store page. We needed a stronger call-to-action.

When we removed the link from the image and replaced it with a hyperlinked and help text below the image (“Click here to give rating”) the click through rate remained at 6% but the number of users who gave us a review in the store increased 10 fold.

All we can assume is that the users thought by clicking the animated gif they were rating our product (when in fact they were not).

So we go to increase customer reviews with Google Chrome Store..now what?

Follow up plans:

We plan to broaden our social network presence. Currently, we just funnel users to the Chrome Store to give us reviews but we want to do more.

We want to test the effectiveness of doing the same with Twitter and Google+. To do so, we’ll use the same A/b test feature in Intercom that we’ve been using.

With that implemented, we’ll kick start a customer appreciation program.

Time to give back to the users who have given so much to us.

Since we know the email addresses of those users who clicked through we’re going to send them a Flashissue T-shirt to show our appreciation for taking out the time to show us some love.

Beginning the the cycle of giving and receiving.