The Impact Reviews Have on B2B Marketing
Traditionally, B2B marketers would find leads via cold-calling, trade shows, and other direct means of connecting. Today, the internet has vastly changed B2B marketing strategy. There are two key changes that have affected consumer behavior that are helpful for B2B marketers to know…
Firstly, the internet has empowered consumers more than ever to make informed purchases. Seventy-one percent of B2B buyers will conduct online research before making a purchase, and buyers prefer to do this research independently rather than engage with a sales representative- they are usually 57-70% through their buying research before reaching out to sales.
Because of this need for research, content marketing has become a leading strategy for B2B marketers.
Secondly, user-generated content like reviews are considered one of the most reliable sources. Customers trust other customers more than they trust the businesses trying to make a sale, so unfiltered reviews online provide prospective buyers with an honest opinion of the product or service.
Utilizing B2B Reviews
If you want to use reviews to drive sales, collect as many as you can. Having a variety of opinions will give a more accurate and complete image to readers. Sixty-one percent of B2B buyers like to see around 11 to 50 reviews before making a decision.
Getting reviews doesn’t need to be complicated- just ask! Sixty-eight percent of consumers have left reviews after being asked by the business. Inform clients of where they should leave reviews and thank them for their help.
Email is also an effective means of encouraging reviews. With email, you can connect with a client at the right time in the buying process to get a useful and informative review.
It’s important to make reviewing as easy as possible. Include links to review sites on your website and/or create a page dedicated to collecting reviews.
Effectively using reviews goes beyond just collecting. You should aim to respond to every review you receive. Your responses will have a huge impact on your online reputation and how readers react to reviews.
When a company is dedicated to responding to every review with a personal message it tells prospective clients that you are committed to quality customer service and genuinely care about the thoughts and experiences of customers.
Replying can also save a negative review- when replying to a complaint, address the customer’s specific issues and offer a solution.
Taking responsibility for customer dissatisfaction and making an effort to right the wrong will speak volumes to readers about the quality of your customer service.
The numbers speak for themselves…
- 53% of customers expect a reply within a week of leaving a review
- 41% of consumers believe companies that reply to reviews truly care about their customers
- 89% of consumers read replies
- 7/10 consumers changed their opinion after receiving a reply
Review sites are a popular place to read customer comments, but this valuable content doesn’t have to live only on review platforms. Sharing customer content can have several benefits for your business.
Sharing reviews on social media sites like LinkedIn will circulate your praise much farther than if it only lives on a review platform. When you share reviews elsewhere, you are increasing the likelihood that a prospect discovers your brand and further explores your products or services.
This way, you can use reviews like an ad for your brand; otherwise, users will only find your reviews when searching for your business.
You can also collect and publish reviews on your site. Promoting reviews on your own site is a way to fully take control of how reviews are read. Some sites will have a page dedicated to testimonials and reviews, while others may feature certain reviews on relevant pages.
Reviews that address specific aspects of your business are more informative, so including reviews that give the reader information relevant to their stage in the buying process can greatly impact their decisions.
Platforms To Monitor
Before you can use reviews to your advantage, it’s important to know where your customers are leaving reviews. While certain platforms like Facebook are popular for B2C reviews, there are other sites that may be more relevant to B2B marketers.
Google is one of the most popular platforms for online reviews for both B2B and B2C. It is convenient for viewers to read and leave reviews and for businesses to respond, which is key in providing a positive customer service experience.
Keep an eye on your star rating as it will appear any time someone searches for your brand on Google. Don’t worry if you don’t have a 5-star rating; consumers actually tend to trust companies with 4.0 to 4.7 stars, as a perfect rating seems too good to be true.
Having an accessible place on your website to submit reviews will increase the likelihood that clients leave reviews. You can share the link to this page with clients or on other platforms, and a simple submission form will make the process quick and easy.
For SaaS companies, Capterra is dedicated to reviewing B2B and B2C software providers. Reviews from an industry-specific site can be especially convincing as it indicates to readers that the reviewers are knowledgeable about the industry. Additionally, individual webpages for categories appear higher on SERPs and can increase your visibility.
For service providers, Angi, formerly known as “Angie’s List.” is a very popular review site and is especially helpful for businesses with local audiences. Users must pay for a membership, which is a huge plus for businesses- the reviews are thorough and cannot be posted anonymously, which minimizes ranting and spam posts. Another plus- although users have to pay for membership, businesses can create profiles for free!
Slightly stepping away from user reviews, Which? actually tests and reviews products independently. While not technically written by real customers, this site provides users with an honest and informed opinion on a product. Readers trust the reviewers to be unbiased and experienced to give an accurate assessment of the product.
Reviews have become a significant part of any business’ online presence. It’s imperative to monitor, respond, and encourage reviews in order to stay relevant and competitive in the B2B sector.
Thanks for reading,
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in September 2019 and has been edited and updated in January 2022.