Imagine this:

Your favorite headphones stop working — no matter how you twist and turn the plug, there’s no sound in one ear. Frustrated, you turn to Amazon, and voila! There are several hundred sleek, high-tech headphones to take your pick from. 

But, how do you decide which one’s for you? 

Well, if you are like 93% of customers, you will look up online reviews by fellow buyers before making a final decision. If there are enough four to five star reviews for a product, you are likely to trust it — and we bet you even buy it!

That, right there, is the all-encompassing power of customer reviews at work!

Whether you are looking for a budget hotel for a staycation or hoping to join a kickass martial arts class, you trust the opinion of like-minded people who have already gone down the same road. How do they rate their experience? Did they love it, or was it awful? Are they likely to recommend it to friends and family? And so on..

People are talking, and potential customers are listening.

Nearly 89% — or let’s say, nine out of every ten consumers — take the time to read reviews before making a purchase decision. 

And, in a space as crowded as e-learning, authentic and insightful student reviews can potentially be your most powerful tool to influence a consumer’s opinion!

The good news is, happy customers are usually more than willing to volunteer honest feedback — all you gotta do is ask! 

But, doesn’t that make for a super awkward and pushy conversation? Well, not if you go about it our way.

But first things first —

How exactly do student reviews help your course?

Here are three ways in which glowing student reviews establish course creators as game-changers in their domain:

1. Create and foster your online reputation

We don’t have to tell you how instrumental a professional online presence can be in driving traffic to your course. Let’s just say this eye-opening statistic by Udemy iterates the point we are making — more than 70% of the students prefer to enrol in courses if the instructor has a solid online presence that can be tested and verified. 

But how does a course creator go about fostering an online reputation? Through student reviews, of course! They cut through the internet like wildfire and build undeniable transparency between potential students and your offerings.

It’s a no-brainer that course creators should be leveraging positive students’ reviews to build a robust online presence. 

It doesn’t mean that you do away with negative reviews, mind you! Censoring reviews is considered an intolerable offense amongst customers, with 62% refusing to associate with brands that do so!

So, welcome negative feedback; by all means, it will bring a degree of authenticity to your course. In fact, more than 80% of students say that they trust a 3/5 average rating more than a 4/5 or 5/5 rating. 

What’s more, it can also be a learning opportunity for you to improve your course content and better target your customers! Win-win, right?

Here’s an insider tip for you — encourage your students to leave detailed reviews on your school’s Facebook page. Facebook now even allows people to either recommend or not recommend a business, giving potential customers a better idea of the credibility of your course. 

In this manner, customers who can access reviews on your page will feel more confident about associating with you. 

2. Bring legitimacy and reliability to your courses

What do people usually do when buying products online? They read product specifications and check out product images, right? And if there are videos or photos of people using the product or simply explaining how their experience was, it makes taking a decision a whole lot easier!  

Similarly, when it comes to online courses, people usually only have the course content to get insight into what they stand to glean from it. Doesn’t really sound enough to nudge students towards a decision, does it?

But with user reviews to rely on, that’s a whole different story altogether! It gives students plenty to assess a course by. Studies show that 91% of customers from ages 18 to 34 trust online reviews to make decisions!

And, if course reviews are supplemented by visual aids, that’s downright sealing the deal! Check out the reviews on this 30-day handstand crash course, for instance:

Having successfully managed the handstand within 30 days by taking the course, reviewers are providing a testament to the course creator’s teaching capabilities, his excellent course material, and helpful teaching structure.

With this knowledge, potential students will find themselves in a much better position to take a final call.

Oh, and btw, video testimonials are also quite the rage these days!

You might have come across bloggers yourself who post detailed reviews of courses they undertake. If you haven’t, check out this tech blogger deep-diving into an advanced digital marketing course by Mahatmaji Technical.

What’s happening here is that these online reviews are contributing to legitimacy and reliability, which, as we know, is highly critical to driving course sales.

3. Improve SEO and Google Ranking

Finally comes what online marketing strategies are all about — boosting search engine rankings.

What if we told you user reviews even take care of that?

As it happens, students usually include phrases like “best photography course“, “highly recommended graphics design course“, or other keywords and focus words that potential customers may be searching for. A written review becomes part of web-based content which automatically makes it one of the factors affecting search ranking. 

So, yeah, highly reviewed courses do get ranked higher on Google!

Student reviews also boost engagement and drive traffic to your course, further ranking it higher up in the search list.

Good Student Reviews: Examples

So, what makes a review capable of driving conversions? You might think, “Duh, 5-star ratings and students saying nice things about my course, of course!” 

Well, that’s where you would be wrong. There’s plenty more to it than just positive feedback. In fact, there are several key elements that make student reviews effective and worthy of converting customers.

The important questions to ask are:

  • Does the review contain feedback on the course contents?
  • Are there comments on the teaching methodology?
  • Does it talk about the student’s overall experience?
  • Are there quantifiable results in students after taking the course?
  • Did students find the course structure satisfactory?
  • And finally, does the course deliver on what it promises?

Based on these pointers, you can then set the tone for your future reviews.

Let’s look at some excellent examples of student reviews on best-selling courses online and see what we can learn from them.

1. Reflective, constructive, and appreciative

Here’s one of the highest-rated and reviewed web development course’s courses on Udemy. 

Check out its description and notice what it claims students will learn by taking it. Understandably, a potential customer will be looking to find out if the course delivers on its promises.

And deliver it does!

In the above review, Himanshu talks about the engaging quality of the course and the skills it helped him develop. He reflects on why he joined the particular course and then discusses the course structure. 

He even calls out Angela by name to praise her teaching pedagogy (which ought to benefit her online reputation!). It shows how successful the course is at engaging students.

Notice that the review is not entirely positive and includes that it could do better with elaborating React and NodeJs. That should give the tutor an idea of the modules they can further add to the course. 

2. Comprehensive, honest, and specific

Here’s another more detailed review of the same course where Lee takes a deeper dig into the benefits of this course, the challenges and struggles faced throughout the courses.

He specifically highlights the support group and QnA module of the course and calls out the incredibly supportive tutors for their resourcefulness and knowledge-sharing. 

Now, compare it to a review that goes “amazing course!” or simply “excellent experience” — Which do you think is likely to influence a potential student into buying the said course?

The answer is laughingly obvious!

Detailed reviews give a complete picture of what the course offers, if it covers the subjects students are interested in learning, and whether they can benefit from that particular course. “Amazing course!” on the other hand, doesn’t pack the weight or impact as its counterpart does.

3. Shedding positive light

Here’s another one of Udemy’s highest-rated and reviewed courses — JavaScript-based lessons for beginners.

Vishal, here, talks about a noticeable enhancement in his skillset after taking the course. He highlights the projects and challenges that helped him along the journey, giving potential students an understanding of how hands-on the course is!

An interested student looking to solve complex coding problems and think like a developer will likely go ahead and complete his purchase after reading this review!

4. Sharing personal experiences

When people share their personal struggles or challenges, they inspire relatability among readers. It straight up boosts the authenticity of a course in their eyes! 

Check out this meditation and yoga course by Mindhouse, where a woman shares her personal experiences to establish the before-and-after effectiveness of the wellness program. Another customer lauds it for the disciplinary regime trainers follow to push students out of their comfort zones. 

Now there’s a sentiment that genuinely drives people to complete purchases they were just considering until then! 

5. Constructive criticism

Here’s another review on a JavaScript course that focuses on tutor Jonas’ teaching methodology and mentions what additional modules they’d like to see in future. It highlights how enjoyable the learning experience was for students and gives course creators an idea of how they can improve engagement.

6. Featuring images and videos 

You will find courses that contain what markets call user-generated content or real-life images of users as they showcase the benefits of your course. If you’ve come across fitness courses, Zumba, rock-climbing courses, you know exactly what we are talking about.

Reviews featuring photos are a huge hit amongst potential buyers. Even video testimonials can do the trick! After all, user-generated content causes conversion rates to skyrocket by 133%!

All this is to say that reviews and ratings have an immensely positive impact on customers who consider their purchase journey. It helps put them at ease and convinces them that their decision to buy the course will prove beneficial to them as it did to so many others before them.

The positive elements are indicative of advocacy, whereas the negative reviews help course creators improve their offerings.

There are tons of courses on Udemy, Coursera, and similar platforms you can take inspiration from. Look for courses in your niche and find out what kind of testimonials are helping them drive impact.

There, that’s done and dusted!

Let’s move on to the one and only strategy that will convince students to leave glowing reviews on your course.

Get students to leave reviews using this winning strategy

It’s incredibly rare for customers to reach out to you by themselves with feedback, especially when it concerns positive feedback. With unhappy customers, on the other hand, you can more often than not expect an earful. In the words of Jonathan Aufray from Growth Hackers, “Most happy customers will never tell you that they’re happy. Unhappy customers will let you know.”

So, how do you get students to write conversion-worthy reviews on your course? We have one word for you — Bylines.

Yes, that’s right! Simply add a clear byline under every lesson requesting students to share their learning experience so far. We promise you it works!

Here’s a template for what your byline could be:

We hope you found this lesson valuable! Please leave a review and tell us about what you learned.”

Pretty straightforward, right? No phone calls or emails or manually reaching out for reviews throughout the different stages of your student’s learning journey. Just a clear, concise, and on-point byline.

Truth be told, it sounds highly earnest and professional as well!

This is a super effective and proactive approach for feedback collection compared to waiting until the end of the course for students to leave reviews.

However, as we demonstrated earlier, not all reviews can translate into conversions. 

For example, consider this review: 

“I enjoyed the course! It’s highly value-driven. I’m very happy I signed up for it. Thanks!”

Sounds like a perfectly valid review by a happy customer, right? However, does it carry the weight to influence new students? Not really!

On the other hand, consider this review: 

“This is the best interior design course I could have opted for.

Full points to the course creators for scripting each lesson to perfection with animations and illustrations that kept me engaged throughout. I’m very appreciative of the PDF documents, video content, and QnA sessions that were included in this course. Really helped me.

Great work! Looking forward to your next course!”

There you have it! An impactful review with quantifiable results with just the right “meat” to drive conversions! 

So, yeah, not every review is equally effective. You should know the right questions to ask! 

For instance, your byline could be explicitly referring to the type of feedback you are looking for:

Are you satisfied with our teaching methodology? Please take a moment to let us know.”

Or “Did our faculty do a good job addressing your doubts and queries? Was the information provided in the lesson valuable? If so, let us know in your review.”

Check out how deftly Society6 gets its customers to rate and review their products and services.

Likewise, get creative with how you ask for feedback at the end of every lesson. Prompt students to share their reviews on:

  • What they’ve learned so far
  • What they thought about the teaching methodology
  • How their learning experience has been

The idea is to gather genuine, insightful reviews which can provide potential customers with an in-depth look into your course offerings.

And adding a direct byline will help you collect relevant feedback throughout the course – which you can then use to analyze your student’s reviews and sentiments!

The dozen or more reviews you manage to gather through this process are the ones that will actually drive conversions!

You can even request students to create testimonial videos featuring their learning experience to share on your website or social media handles. Most students who’ve benefited from your course will be happy to do so. 

Check out this DevOps Engineer sharing how a Python course she undertook helped her land a lucrative job at a top firm.

Some schools have an entire page dedicated to learner testimonials. Check out the Penn State World Campus YouTube channel, and you’ll understand what we are talking about.

To sum it up, here are three important points to remember:

  1. Student reviews should be on the course content and structure.
  2. Encourage before-after style of reviews to draw comparisons and help potential students gauge the efficiency of your course.
  3. Solicit feedback on the teacher and their teaching style; it will do wonders for their online reputation and brand.

Lastly, feedback need not be all positive. On the contrary, some negative reviews, or constructive opinions in the overall positive reviews, will go a long way in solidifying the authenticity of your course. It’ll also give you areas of improvement!

Oh, and don’t forget to respond proactively to negative reviews. Over 50% of customers expect that of you, and nearly 97% read your responses. So, be mindful of how you address such concerns.

Phew! That’s pretty much all there is to it. Now go ahead — use this strategy to get students to write impactful reviews and drive up engagement levels for your course!

In conclusion…

Trust is hard to gain and even easier to lose. Authentic reviews hold tremendous power in establishing credibility and influencing a consumer’s opinion. 

With honest and insightful feedback to back your course, you will be able to convert more students and retain them in the long run!

Ensure to collect feedback throughout the course for best results, and watch your course knock all the competition out of the park!

If you need help with anything, just reach out to us, and we’ll assist you!