Online reviews are becoming the new marketing currency as more and more buyers turn to peer reviews to help make their purchasing decisions.
Here are some of Vinay’s insights on the hidden benefits of user reviews that make them an essential part of any marketer’s strategy.
1. Reviews increase your chances of being discovered
Every new online review is another chance for someone to discover your product—whether it’s a blog post, an Amazon-style testimonial or a tweet. A steady stream of reviews can also increase your search engine ranking for important keywords and build a stronger online presence overall.
The great thing about reviews is that they seem to build on themselves. If one person leaves a review on a website, others will be more compelled to share their feedback, too.
You can inspire your users to write a review by sharing the best ones on your brand’s social media feed. Also, respond to negative reviews in a positive way (i.e. don’t brush off the user’s comments). It shows people you’re listening and will encourage them to leave more feedback.
Online reviews in action: Brightpearl, an Enterprise Resource Planning software platform, had received a small number of negative reviews that were derailing potential deals. But the brand knew they had hundreds of happy users that were not being heard. So it used an advocate marketing program to motivate its satisfied customers to take action. Within a year, Brightpearl received 70 positive online reviews that turned the tide for its online reputation—making it more discoverable by prospective buyers.
2. Reviews can help you beat out a competitor
B2B marketers generally don’t bash competitors publicly. Saying “We’re better than Company X” is usually considered bad form. The problem is that’s exactly what potential buyers are looking for. They want to know if Company X is better than Company Y, but from an impartial third party—not your brand. If a customer positions your product as a better solution in an online review, then that’s their prerogative.
But what if the opinion isn’t in your favor? You might be tempted to step in and correct the customer. Here’s a tip: don’t. Unless it’s a direct complaint about your product, any attempt to steer the customer’s opinion will look like you’re being defensive. Let the customer speak their peace and let your advocates come to your rescue.
Online reviews in action: Code42, a data and security solutions software company, used an advocate marketing program to encourage its brand advocates to leave honest and unguided comments on online review sites. As a result, Code42 generated over 100 reviews in the first few months—blowing past its top competitors on several major review sites.
3. Reviews can increase on-site conversion
Most review sites have links to the product or service being discussed. This is a direct line to your website, and people who read the review will often click through to see the product for themselves.
When they get to your site, grab their attention with compelling web copy and attractive visuals. You might even try presenting them with curated customer reviews to further sway their decision. Make it easy for them to convert by offering something simple and risk-free, like a demo or an e-book.
Online reviews in action: G2 Crowd’s The Impact of Advocate Marketing on Product Reviews and Leads study found that companies with advocate marketing programs received 3.5 times more page views and generated 200% more leads through the G2 Crowd website than the average product. This proves that developing an active base of customer advocates (who will gladly write online reviews) can impact your lead generation efforts.
How marketers can generate more online reviews
Reviews are not out of your marketing team’s control. By creating an advocate marketing program, brands can nurture customers and help them better understand their product before encouraging them to write reviews.