Online review activity is most prevalent with products aimed at the B2C market, but that doesn’t mean reviews aren’t just as beneficial to the B2B market and B2B consumers. With the evolution of internet search functionality and the ease of finding business products and services online, comes a greater need for instantaneous credibility and testimonial.
If a consumer is coming across your business in an online search, they will not yet ‘know’, you, let alone have had the opportunity to ‘like and trust’ you. They will be uncertain as to what your product or service can offer them over and above others showing in their search. Research has shown that no matter what you claim in your SEO text or via an advert, they will seek to validate your claims elsewhere, and who better to hear from than your customers, or those who have already interacted with your business.
Common objectives for collecting online reviews:
- Brand awareness: your buyers are already using review sites to learn about the sector. You need to be in front of them!
- User recommendation: because the value of your offering needs to be realised by the masses! Your customers should be happy to review your business and don’t be shy to ask them for five stars. Perhaps you could review them in return?
- Reputation management: you might already be on review sites and the reviews just don’t seem accurate. You can turn this around.
- Reinforcement of transparent and honest values: by opening your products or services up for review, you are showing that you have every reason to believe that what you are offering is of value.
- Displaying customer focus: you might want to prove to your customers that they are at the heart of your business and you care about their experiences with your offering.
- Internal transparency: customer reviews help to motivate and inspire employees by showing that your business is fulfilling its purpose. Sales staff can also use the reviews as testimonials in order to gain further sales.
- Google Seller rating: for review sites that are a ‘Google Licensed Review Partner’, If you gather enough reviews in the first month, you will qualify for a Google Seller Rating extension on a PPC ad campaign. This means that your star rating will show alongside your advert to increase your credibility before you obtain any clicks to your website.
The market offers a good choice of review platforms, but before you start to look into the options, it is important to first consider what you hope to accomplish from being present on review sites, as well as your buyer’s journey. What sources do they turn to when they want an unfiltered opinion about your company? You’ll then have a framework for evaluating the various solutions and determining how each one might fit into your strategy.
Making sure you use a reputable review platform:
- Association: firstly, all review platforms should follow FTC guidelines, so you will not be allowed to incentivise your offering via reviews
- Presence: does the review site have significant market presence and traffic?
- Process: reviews should be authenticated and there should be a process to ensure reviewers are real users and do not have conflicts of interest.
- Engagement: how are buyers engaging with these reviews?
Some of the options for collecting reviews are:
- Your website, via a customer login area
- Facebook reviews and ratings
- Accumulate your positive tweets from Twitter and use in your e-marketing
- Your social media via a link to an online form
- Google Plus or Google my Business ‘Write a Review’
- Using a verified site like reviews.co.uk or Trust Pilot
If you don’t ask, you don’t get…
Typically, customers will ask you for your time in answering their problems and finding solutions. So it might seem inappropriate to ask something of them. But any happy customer, should be willing to take 5 minutes out to do you a review. This might be easier to justify if you offer to give them a review in return.
If you have an established business, a pool of happy customers and your retention is good, and if you are confident in the performance of your own product or service, asking for reviews will only ever be of great value to you.