You can’t avoid reviews in the digital world. Do you have a strategy in place, or are you passively letting customers’ opinions influence your business’s reputation? Here’s how online reviews can affect your business, and how you can create a solid strategy for incorporating reviews into your marketing efforts.

Reviews Impact Purchasing Decisions

Studies have demonstrated that online reviews impact consumer purchasing behavior, but what about B2B decision makers? With its longer and more complex sales cycle, what kind of an impact do reviews have in the B2B world?

TrustPilot conducted a survey of B2B buyers and found that over half of the respondents used reviews during the buying process. They ranked reviews as more influential above other sources like case studies and media coverage. Unlike consumers, who typically rely on reviews for just the purchasing stage, B2B buyers use reviews during the discovery, evaluation, and final selection process. This means that reviews have multiple chances to impact your potential clients’ decisions.

Reviews Affect Your SEO

There is strong evidence that reviews impact your business’s organic search ranking, particularly for local searches. In Moz’s 2018 local search ranking factors study, reviews ranked third out of the most important factors for the local pack (the map that Google displays when users conduct a local search), and seventh for organic search results.

Displaying Reviews Can Increase Conversion Rate

A study from Northwestern’s Spiegel Research Center found that displaying just five reviews on online products increased purchase likelihood by 270%. The effect was even greater for higher-priced items, which received a boost of 380% from online reviews. For B2B purchases which may cost thousands or even millions of dollars, reviews add another dimension of credibility.

Authentic Reviews Increase Trust

Potential clients will see your business as more legitimate if they can find a variety of positive and negative reviews. With the rise of social media and the internet, buyers are now doing the majority of their research on their own and won’t interact with your sales team until they are seriously considering a purchase. You need to make sure they can find information about your company on their own.

With the impact that reviews make on buyers, your business can’t afford to leave this component of your marketing up to chance. You need to have a solid strategy in place to solicit reviews and utilize them in your marketing.

Creating A B2B Reviews Strategy

You don’t have to wait for a customer to decide to leave you a review. Here’s how you can be proactive in the process.

Solicit Reviews

You should be actively soliciting reviews from current and past customers. One of the most effective ways to do this is through email. After a customer makes a purchase or uses a service, send a follow-up email asking them to leave a review. You could even automate this process with marketing software and surveys.

Avoid Purchasing Reviews

There are services that will allow you to purchase positive reviews for your business. Avoid this tactic. Customers can often tell when a review isn’t authentic, and they may be suspicious if your company doesn’t have any negative reviews. There are also some platforms, like Google, that will penalize your business in the search results if they catch you purchasing reviews. Other sites like Yelp prohibit you from soliciting reviews, even if payment isn’t involved.

Make Your Business Visible Online

If a customer can’t easily find you online, you’re missing a major opportunity to organically generate reviews. Create a profile for your business on every review site you can find in your niche, plus general review sites like The Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, and Yelp. Social media profiles can also be helpful. Google My Business is another great platform for collecting customer reviews.

Utilize Your Company Website

Your own website can be a great source for generating reviews. Add language to your contact form that encourages customers to leave feedback. You could even create a separate page on your website that is labeled “Leave Feedback,” or something else appropriate, and make sure it’s included in your navigation menu. When you get positive reviews or testimonials, feature them prominently on your website.

Create a Response Strategy

Positive reviews don’t usually require a response, but you will almost always want to respond to negative reviews. Make sure you acknowledge the problem, take responsibility for the customer’s dissatisfaction, and tell the reviewer what action you will take to remedy the situation. Never get defensive, place the blame on someone, or dismiss the customer’s concerns.

Don’t be afraid of negative reviews. A few bad reviews can actually help you in the long run, because customers know that no company is perfect, and negative reviews give you a chance to demonstrate how your business responds when issues arise. A few bad reviews with professional responses look better than all positive reviews that could be fake.

Are you ready to start incorporating reviews into your marketing strategy, but aren’t sure where to start? Get in touch with our digital marketing team for a free consultation. We have experience in a variety of B2B industries. We’ll work with you to develop a strategy that’s right for your business.