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Many review sites let you add tags to published reviews, which can help you categorize them by company size, use case, industry, and more. Online reviews have become a powerful tool in the digital age for businesses to enhance their marketing and sales efforts. They provide authentic and honest customer feedback that can significantly impact acquisition, sales support, and marketing costs.
According to TrustRadius’ latest report, 43% of buyers stated they need more information to justify software spend, so the more third-party validation and verification a buyer can freely access, the more likely they are to select your product or service over your competitors. Further, the 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews report found that most B2B SaaS buyers who use review sites use them throughout the buying process: 64% in awareness, 68% in consideration, and 54% in decision.
In this post, we’ll walk you through 8 tips for creating successful review campaigns that convert effectively.
Get Aligned Internally First
Before embarking on an online reviews program, it is essential to gain internal buy-in. Collaborate with your marketing or sales teams to understand their requirements and identify priority products or services that need reviews. Offering a demo of the review program to all stakeholders ensures that everyone involved understands how it works.
Address any concerns about over-contacting customers who have recently done other advocacy or company asks by sharing targeting information with your relevant internal stakeholders. Keep them invested in the program by regularly providing updates and results. Getting internal buy-in will help you lay a solid foundation for your online reviews initiative. As you continue running future review campaigns, keep your customer-facing teams updated on who has completed a review recently, any memorable quotes, and important product feedback
Also, make a point to publicly recognize any positive feedback about specific team members that’s shared in a customer review. Chances are, it will make their day!
Vet Your Outreach List
Not every customer will be ready to leave you a review right away. Ensure that customers have sufficient knowledge about your product or service to provide an impactful review. Target customers who are at the right stage in their customer journey such as after a successful renewal or major launch milestone. Just remember that new guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prohibit you from only asking happy customers (e.g., those who score you an 8, 9, or 10 out of 10) to review your company. Only seeing overly positive reviews can be misleading to a buyer, so make sure you aren’t solely relying on customer satisfaction data to decide who you’ll be targeting for a future review campaign.
Craft Compelling and Concise Messaging
First, you need to clearly explain to customers why their reviews are important and the positive impact they can have on your company. Make them feel like an integral part of the process by expressing specific goals, such as aiming to become the top cloud computing provider with the help of 30 reviews.
Next, make it clear why these customers were selected to provide a review. It could be their thought leadership or expertise in the industry. Explain how their input can help their peers and contribute to the overall improvement of products and services. Then, emphasize what customers stand to gain, such as reward points or other relevant incentives. Finally, clearly outline what information should be included in the review, highlighting any competitive advantages.
Here’s an example of an end-of-year review campaign we ran to generate reviews:
We shared our intention for wanting to make the Best Software list, and how their review could help make that happen. We offered a monetary incentive for immediate use and points within our customer community for them to use towards a rewards catalog.
Encourage Different Content Formats
Encourage customers to leave reviews in different formats, such as videos and photos, as this adds more credibility to your campaign. In fact, video content often outperforms text on social platforms and other web pages since its processed 60,000 times faster than text by our brains.
With video, customers are less likely to provide perfectly worded responses like they would in writing. It lets your buyers hear in a customer’s own words how they use your solution to solve key pain points and improve their business. You could even ask a customer to demo their instance of your product to give inspiration.
Consider Incentivizing Reviews
Offer incentives like discounts, freebies, or exclusive content in exchange for reviews. At Influitive, we offer our customers points for leaving a review that can be exchanged for items in a rewards catalog that include gift cards, swag, and other seasonal items. You can even create a special reward that is only unlocked when a customer participates in a review campaign. Just be sure to follow ethical guidelines and be transparent about the incentives. Review sites will flag reviews that have been incentivized, which is very common, especially in B2B software.
Whether or not you offer incentives, don’t forget to personally thank customers via a direct message or email for writing their review. A little gratitude goes a long way! If you coordinated your review campaign within an advocacy platform, you’ll be able to automate rewarding and recognizing both public reviews as well as those that have been left anonymously.
Schedule a monthly or quarterly meeting with the appropriate customer-facing teams that includes a clear agenda and takeaways on current or upcoming campaigns. This timeline helps keep fresh content on each review This cadence will also keep you in contention for review site awards. TrustRadius runs 4 to 5 award campaigns throughout the year, Reputation runs its annual 800 Award, and G2 runs seasonal awards in addition to its annual Best Software Awards.
Keep Your Review Pipeline Warm with Product Education
For those customers who aren’t ready to leave a review yet, consider creating a product education campaign in conjunction with either your product marketing or customer success team. Once completed, the customer becomes a part of your next review campaign. This campaign could run inside your customer community or advocacy portal, exist inside your product via in-app tools like Pendo or WalkMe, or involve a short email campaign with resources.
Think about Review Repurposing
Consider repurposing the review content for sales or marketing purposes, such as creating paid social ads, adding them to email campaigns, a product page, or building a new customer testimonials page on your website. Many review sites let you add tags to published reviews, which can help you categorize them by company size, use case, industry, and more.
Online reviews play a crucial role in today’s marketing landscape. By gaining internal buy-in and implementing effective tactics, you can successfully drive more online reviews and achieve your marketing goals. Embrace the power of customer feedback and let it drive your success!