Keep these tips in mind if you want to use this under-utilized marketing tactic.
By Liz Lemarchand, MediaDev
It seems that not only are new review platforms popping up all over the place these days, but we’ve all become critics. From travel, to restaurants, to product reviews, more and more sites are giving users the ability to write about their experiences and share them with millions of viewers the world over. While review platforms are key in our personal lives (I hardly ever go to a restaurant anymore without looking at the reviews prior), are they really influential when making business decisions? How are we supposed to know what reviews to trust? Do we go by quantity of reviews or by detail? Where can we find the best review platforms?
In the business world, finding new software solutions can be a daunting task. Reading through information (e-books, whitepapers, product brochures, infographics) when more content is available than ever before, and taking the time to evaluate solution demos only to find that the product isn’t really what you’re looking for, can be painful. While review platforms for software are not a new concept, they are becoming more influential sources of information for prospects looking to take the leap. The rise in B2B SaaS solutions is only making the need for reviews that much more relevant as they take the idea of word-of-mouth recommendations to a whole new level.
In fact, a study made by Software Advice showed how large and small companies alike are influenced by online software reviews before purchasing solutions. According to their study, 87% of large companies and 70% of small ones said they consult reviews before making a purchase. Northwestern’s Spiegel Research Center found that marketers using reviews properly for brand awareness can increase conversions by up to 270%. Sound too good to be true? Perhaps, but buyers trust reviews. And brands that respond to reviews show they are listening and care about their customers. This results in increased brand trust, which often gives consumers the confidence boost they need to convert from prospect into a customer.
So, how can you improve your marketing strategy through the use of review platforms? Here are some ideas to consider:
See things through your users’ eyes
Use reviews as a starting point for win-loss interviews
Encourage your clients to champion your brand
Display reviews and ratings on your website (even the negative ones)
Here are some review sites we find useful:
And as an end-user, here are some important points to take into consideration when looking at solution reviews:
1. Goal – what is it exactly that you want to get out of the reviews? What problem do you need a solution for? What is it exactly that you’d like to more about in terms of the product (certain features, quality, conditions, customer base, reputation etc.)
2. Key Features – Establish the key features that your company is looking for, especially when choosing an expensive, larger scale solution or product. You may not need to use all the features available in a solution and therefore you may not have as high of an ROI as you’d like. Paying for a solution only to use a couple of features may not be the best use of your budget.
3. Industry appropriate - make sure it caters to your industry e.g. IT, retail, engineering etc.. should that be a concern.
4. Who wrote the review? You can look at many social media reviews or the comments sections on web sites, however be mindful of the person critiquing the product or solution. If you are after a quality and sound review it may be best to use review platforms as a formality to ensure that you are reading technical standpoints from technicians or people within the niche area themselves.
Reviews are becoming increasingly popular and common in order to assist consumers in their decisions. With seemingly endless online media options (forums, sites, formal review platforms, search engines etc) you can make use of this opportunity to understand the perspectives of your end-users and provide better services.