Getting five-star ratings on software review sites can boost your cred with potential customers.

According to a Google study, 60% of B2B buyers search for peer reviews and testimonials before they make a purchase
 

Google also adds "reviews from the web" to its search results. When customers search for your company, they may see your ratings from Google and other third-party review sites.

This can be a double-edged sword.

While good reviews can give you a leg up, a poor review can harm your sales. Just one negative review can cost you 30 customers. A Cone Communications study also found that 80% of buyers change their mind after reading a bad review. 

Unless all of your reviews are amazing, you run the risk of losing customers. Here are two things you need to know about user-generated reviews:

1. Reviews Don't Show the Complete Picture

 

Reviews often don't give customers a complete view of your product.

Most reviews are by individuals who discuss their personal experience. While a good user experience is important, it isn't buyers' only consideration. 

For example, customers want to know how your product will help them solve a key business problem. But many reviewers fail to discuss their company-wide challenges and results. They also may omit statistics related to their ROI, which is something that buyers need to see before they sign a contract. 

2. Incentivized Reviews Come With a High Price 

 

Many companies give their customers incentives, such as Amazon gift cards, if they write a review. Offering rewards can increase your number of reviews, but be careful.

You may get reviews from people who just want the gift and haven't used your product. Or customers may jot down a few meaningless words, such as "great product.” 

Review sites can spot incentivized reviews a mile away. Many have algorithms that filter out posts that don't meet their guidelines. Some also perform manual checks to make sure that each review is authentic. A flood of incentivized write-ups will raise red flags and can get you in trouble.  

Governments are also cracking down on paid reviews. A few years ago, the New York State Attorney General issued fines to companies that paid people to post online reviews. Some companies received fines for simply offering reviewers coupons for their products or services. 

Before you run a review campaign, refer to your latest industry and government regulations.

Attract Customers Who Are Ready to Buy With Compelling Case Studies   

Getting authentic reviews from your happy customers can help you engage prospects. Buyers tend to read reviews when they are in the middle of the sales cycle and want peer recommendations. 

Once buyers narrow down their options, they want detailed information on the results that your product will help them achieve. They search for case studies that tell a complete story - from the challenges that customers faced before they worked with you to their measurable results. Customers need this information to make informed purchasing decisions. It's rare that a single review will provide all of these details.  

And buyers don't seek this information on vendor websites. They want to see case studies and other customer success content on third-party sites.

You'll reach more late-stage sales leads when you publish your case studies in a customer success directory. These sites act as a neutral third party who validates your company, similar to a review site. However, they let you control all of your content so that you can avoid bad reviews and always showcase your best side.

More B2B buyers are turning to third-party customer success directories when they are in the final phases of the sales cycle and want proof that a vendor delivers results. They search Google for terms such as, “Company XYZ + case studies, customer success stories, or testimonials.” When you upload your content to a customer success directory that has great SEO, you will get your name in front of these buyers. 

Next Steps

Turbocharge your ROI from your customer success content by sharing it on FeaturedCustomers.com, the largest directory of testimonials, case studies, and customer videos. Sign up today and gain access to qualified software leads who are ready to buy!

Author:

Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter and the CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting. She helps B2B marketers improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages, and generate high-quality leads.

Rachel has taught white paper, sell sheet, and case study writing for MarketingProfs and was one of the Online Marketing Institute's Top 40 Digital Strategists of 2014.

You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter (@CopywriterTO) or check out her B2B marketing resources at www.freshperspectivewriting.com.