Do you still believe in reviews? How about B2B reviews? Well, you should start believing in business-to-business (B2B) reviews and adding them to your marketing mix.
As reported by Forbes on September 22nd, 2020 by Elizabeth Shea.
No matter what industry you’re in, gaining third-party validation and customer reviews is important. Just like a consumer is more likely to buy a well-received product on Amazon or Travelocity, your customers are more apt to purchase your services if you have peer groups and other customers actively touting the benefits of working with your company and its solutions.
Statistics show that 92% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review, and displaying five product reviews can increase conversion rates by 270% compared to having no product reviews.
Building Trust — And A Customer Base
To improve your organization’s chances of getting noticed, ensure that your company is prominently featured on one of the many sites that specialize in corporate and product reviews. A positive review can go a long way toward building your clientele and engendering trust between you and your customers.
Most of these sites will give you the added bonus of better search engine visibility. Just as a consumer searching for restaurant reviews on Google will likely be directed to Yelp, there’s a good chance that an IT decision-maker searching for a technology product will be presented with a list of results that include at least one or two of the top B2B review sites.
For example, my company, REQ, has relied heavily on Clutch reviews over the past few years, and it’s been one of our organization’s bigger lead generators. Some of the new clients we work with first noticed us on this review site. A few other review sites to explore include G2, Capterra (perfect for product reviews), Serchen, GetApp (a great solution if you’re looking to market an app that you’ve developed), TrustRadius and GoodFirms (like Clutch, an ideal resource for services companies).
Why, When And How To Ask For A Review
Consumer organizations never hesitate to ask their customers to leave a review, and neither should you. Indeed, I’ve found that most clients are flattered and delighted to share positive feedback when I ask them to write a review for REQ.
It’s best to inquire whenever you’ve done something extraordinary. For us, that could come in the form of a big story we were able to place, a great marketing piece that has generated a lot of leads or simply by delivering an exceptional experience over a period of time.
While basking in that glow, pick up the phone (calls are more personal than email and give you a chance to interact) and politely ask your client if they’d be willing to leave a review. Have a candid conversation and collect their feedback. Learn what they like about you (as well as things you could improve upon) and take this time to answer any questions they may have. Consider making things personal by asking them if they’d like to recognize the efforts of a specific team member. This will give you the opportunity to shape your customer’s review, rather than relying on an unsolicited post that may not reflect your messaging.
After your customer leaves a positive review, do something in return for them — a thank you note, bottle of wine or a different gesture to show your appreciation. It’s yet another way to build your relationship.
Which Sites Are Best?
Focus on review sites that provide you with some measure of control. For example, there are many sites on which anyone can provide feedback without asking your permission. Other sites may require clients to interact with you before they post their reviews, giving you more control over what gets posted.
Remember that some review sites might be more appropriate for your organization, depending on the type of audience you wish to target. A Clutch review is going to reach marketing and IT services users, for example, while Google Reviews tend to be more general. Steer your clients toward sites that your potential prospects and customers are most likely to be reading.
While some sites are free or have free tiers, others offer premium subscriptions that provide more features. For a fee, you may be able to get expedited submissions, lead matching or a higher placement in site search results. Whether or not you choose to pay may largely depend on the readership of the site — a site that caters primarily to your industry, for example, might be worth the money if it leads to a greater number of leads.
What Not To Do
Reviews should be organic and come from the heart. Therefore, it’s generally not a good idea to offer incentives for reviews or seek out reviews to meet some sort of corporate directive. That can come off as disingenuous when you’re looking for authenticity.
Don’t ask clients to post reviews on multiple sites, which can easily get tiring for them. A single great review on the right site is enough.
Finally, don’t ignore negative reviews. Instead, use them as a chance to engage with your customer. Find out what happened to lead them to post that feedback. Do what you can to make it right. If you’re proactive, you can literally turn a negative into a positive.
An Essential Addition to Your Third-Party Marketing Mix
Companies generally seek third-party recognition and validation through analysts, influencer relations and media coverage, but adding peer- and user-generated feedback to this marketing mix can help you take things to a new level. A positive review can create goodwill between you and your client and, since they’re public record, be used in sales collateral. They’ll give you a better chance at converting new customers, building trust in your products and services and owning the categories that are most critical to your business.
Reviews are an essential when it comes to having a new customer or even a current customer.
Additional Reviews Resources
Creating an online review management strategy (Sprout Social)