It’s common knowledge that online reviews are an important part of your business reputation and your ability to impress software buyers. After all, in today’s technology-driven world, 82% of consumers read online reviews and 76% trust them as much as personal recommendations. But did you know that reviews also actively impact your revenue potential?
Let’s take a closer look at the five ways reviews work beyond reputation building to boost your business — and how these benefits can help you to stand out online in an increasingly competitive industry.
1. Reviews catch the eye of buyers
The search for great software can seem daunting, and many buyers turn to reviews early in the research process to narrow their list of potential solutions. One of the biggest mistakes that software companies make lies in missing the opportunity to get on buyers’ shortlists — and therefore missing out on the sale — simply because they don’t have strong reviews.
Consider this: If you were browsing through a directory of products, would you be more enticed to learn more about a company with 100 reviews and a 4-star rating, or a company with only a handful of perfect 5-star, but aging, reviews? Chances are the product with more reviews will get your click. I know it would get mine.
Buyers typically look for four attributes in software reviews: Quality, quantity, consistency and recency. It may seem daunting to apply those principles to all of your reviews, but it doesn’t need to be. As you get started, set a goal to generate at least one new review per month, which will help build your review quantity and keep your reviews recent. (If you can do more, that’s even better.) To learn more about these four key attributes and easy strategies to get reviews, check out our webinar, “10 Easy Ways to Collect More Online Reviews.”
2. Reviews build trust
91% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more, and generally reviews are considered more trustworthy than traditional sales efforts. That trend may be disheartening to your scrappy sales team, so it’s important to leverage your reviews to help deliver more sales-ready leads to your account managers.
Use traditional marketing tactics to build trust by proudly showcasing reviews on your sales collateral and business websites. Add the reviews badge to your site, consider highlighting favorite reviews on a testimonials page, and add calls to action for prospects to read your reviews in email signatures, printed materials, business cards and more. If you make your reviews prevalent, trust will naturally be earned. Plus, the sales process will become easier for your teams because the leads will already be primed to believe the positive impact your software can make for their business — all based on the experiences shared by other users.
3. Reviews impact your SEO
Reviews impact not just people — they also impact search engines and online algorithms. Ranking factors indicate an increasing focus on unique content such as reviews. Currently, reviews specifically account for 8.4% of Google’s local search ranking factors.
Beyond creating fresh, user-generated content that search engines love, reviews also boost long-tail keyword traffic. As your clients leave reviews, they will use language similar to the content your target audience will search for; therefore, you’ll get more direct keyword traffic to your profile pages and websites from your clients.
Finally, reviews can help build authority and generate social proof. It’s best to add reviews to your website to add rich content and inbound links that will help generate more site traffic and improve your rankings. As mentioned earlier, be sure to add a coded reviews badge to your website, which links to your product profile page. That will also naturally encourage your clients to leave more reviews, without any extra work on your part.
4. Reviews create connections
Millennials in particular pay close attention to reviews, and are the most likely group of professionals to leave them. Beyond that, they highly value customer service, and are the most engaged age group when it comes to user-generated content. Why does any of that matter? These individuals make up the largest population in the United States, at a whopping 75 million people, and frequently play a pivotal role in the B2B software research and buying process.
What’s the secret to impress this group? Respond to every review. Doing so not only shows your customers — and those reading your reviews — that you value feedback, but Reviewers generally share positive experiences about your software, but sometimes they can present criticism. We know it’s tempting to only acknowledge great reviews, or quickly defend yourself when things turn negative, but it’s important to be consistent and show that you value all feedback, good or bad.
When responding to any review, remain professional and polite. Work to find the good in every review, acknowledge that first, then offer a solution for the negative — such as how you can connect with unhappy customers offline or by taking accountability for a poor customer service experience. You may even be able to win them over, and retain a client who otherwise would have churned.
Potential customers will be impressed that you took the time to acknowledge each review, which shows how much you value your clients. At the end of the day, no business is perfect. Showing great customer service makes a stronger impression than a few bad reviews.
5. Reviews allow you to humblebrag
One of the best things about reviews is that they are an easy way to let your current customers do the selling for you. Think of them as free advertising from real clients. In fact, on Gartner Digital Markets, we’ve seen software vendors get a 127 percent boost in traffic to their profile pages by collecting 10 or more reviews.
Not sure how to humblebrag? Simply show off your recent reviews by proactively sharing them with others. The next time you get a 5-star review, consider tagging your user to thank them for their feedback while linking to your reviews page on social media.
Now it’s time to get started requesting reviews from your clients and tracking the positive impact they make on your bottom line. Get creative, and don’t forget to bookmark your custom reviews form in your vendor portal to share with customers at any time.
Check out 14 smart ways to collect more reviews and boost your online reputation.
Kari Test is a Manager on the Vendor Marketing team at Gartner Digital Markets. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Kari graduated from Elon University before moving to the Washington, D.C. area. In her free time, she loves exploring Old Town Alexandria, traveling and trying new recipes. Connect with Kari on LinkedIn.
Methodology: Compared average traffic to product spotlight pages in 4Q18, bucketed by review count, against average spotlight page traffic in 4Q19, bucketed by review count. This analysis included both client and non-client products.