The power of customer reviews

Are customer reviews part of your marketing strategy? If the answer’s no, it’s time to change tack.

Some key stats

You should care what people have to say about your company. Here’s why:

  1. 92% of buyers state they’re more likely to purchase a product or service after reading a trusted review. [1]
  2. 65% of buyers rate B2B software and service reviews as ‘very important’ when evaluating a set list of solution providers. [1]

What about you – when did you last buy anything without first checking out its reviews?

How many reviews are people reading before buying?

5? 20? 50? Not quite: try 112. Yes, 112! In 2019, US online shoppers looked at an average of 112 online reviews before buying. [2]

What about fake reviews?

We all know sham reviews can throw a spanner in the works. But the good news is we’re getting better at spotting them. In fact, a whopping 95% of us believe reviews are fake if the feedback is only positive. [3]

So loads of people read them – but do they drive revenue?

Yes. Businesses with more than 80 reviews typically earn 54% more revenue annually. [3]

Here’s our theory on how reviews have changed marketing strategies.

A brief history of the funnel

Remember the good old AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action)? All you needed to do was shout loudly and bring prospects in at the top, then keep nudging them along with various tactics until they buy, and ideally, become a loyal advocate.

But then the internet opened up and gave us the platforms to share our experiences, good and bad.

We can see this with McKinsey’s Loyalty Loop – where a new touch point was officially recognised: the influence of other people’s reviews.

Google followed this up when they coined ZMOT – the Zero Moment Of Truth, where someone else’s experience of what you’re about to purchase, becomes your own experience.

Brands recognised the new power of reviews and encouraged it.

When do you ask customers for reviews?

For B2B companies, we think there are four key points during the customer journey when it’s best for you to request reviews from them:

  1. When you’ve just won a new contract – the customer must be feeling positive about you.
  2. Contract renewal – if customers have stayed with you, you must be doing something right.
  3. First 60 day check in – a great feedback moment.
  4. Annual review or quarterly business review – rather more formal, but ask all the same.

And when not to ask for them…

• When a service or product has just failed

• Holidays – summer and winter, everyone’s too busy

• Quarter ends – businesses are trying to hit their sales forecasts and close the books

However, in some instances, company policy is to just not give reviews.

What formats can a review take?

From most effort to easiest:

• Co-speaking at an event or webinar

• Video testimonial – we’re all used to zooming these days

• Client story in a formatted template (so you can keep them all consistent)

• Simple written quote

And remember to get them to sign a release/usage form. After all that effort, make sure you can share it with the world.

Know how to use those reviews

Going back to AIDA, the smart thing is to focus those reviews at the ‘Desire’ point in the funnel. Traditionally, customers have whittled down their comparison list to two items. But things have changed to your advantage.

A few years ago, we analysed these changing habits and found that due to customers reading reviews throughout the entire sales journey, an additional brand was being added into the ‘Desire’ phase, and that was often a brand the customer had not considered when they were at the top of the funnel. The short list of two, became three (and a half).

Sources

[1] Demand Gen Report, 2018

[2] Statista, 2021

[3] Review 42, 2022

Feature image by Nguyễn Phúc on Unsplash.

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