Positive reviews have more street cred than all of your other marketing efforts combined.

According to research from Mintel Market Intelligence, 7 in 10 Americans seek opinions from others before making purchase decisions. Even more interesting is the fact that 70% of those consumers will consult independent review sites, while 57% will ask for recommendations on social media.

In other words, strong reviews from satisfied customers can be a game-changer for your business – especially if you know how to leverage them for maximum results. In this article, we’ll explore four ways you can take advantage of customer reviews to build your brand and get more customers.

 

Use reviews to increase search visibility

An abundance of great reviews can significantly improve your search visibility. Whenever a customer or independent site reviews your product, that creates fresh content that search engines can catalog, thereby increasing the chances of a customer finding you.

As an example, a Google search for “best CRM software 2018” brings up the following results:

 
google search featured hubspot with software reviews
 

Whenever a customer performs a search for “best X” or “top X” in a category, the featured snippet has a high chance of being a review article from a prominent industry site. In this case, any CRM solution that gets a review on PCMag would get a significant increase in visibility for these search terms. As an added bonus, many independent review sites will link back to your own website, thus giving you a direct bump in the search rankings as well.

Aside from organic search results, positive reviews can also help you to stand out on paid search listings. For instance, Google Adwords allows advertisers to include a review extension in their ad, which will add a star rating based on the average Google review score for your business:

 
google search of best flight booking site
Source: https://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/pasted-image-0-15.png

 

Not only does this increase the size of your Adwords listing for no extra charge, it also acts as valuable social proof that can make customers much more likely to click on your ad. By increasing your clickthrough rate and lowering your cost per click, good reviews can literally lower your cost of acquisition.

 

Feature reviews across your site

Another way you can increase reviews is to look for opportunities to display reviews throughout your own website. While having a dedicated page for customer success stories and testimonials is a good start, there’s no reason to stop there. Why not feature positive customer feedback on your home page, as well as on landing pages that cater to specific buyer personas?

Review management software provider Grade.us does an excellent job of this on their website (as you’d expect). Their homepage features a number of strong reviews from industry thought leaders:

 
featured reviews with links to buyer personas below
 

Right below those reviews are links to landing pages for their three main buyer personas: solo professionals, small local agencies, and large brands. Clicking through to one of these landing pages, customers see another set of positive reviews, curated from their own peer group. For example, here’s the page for local agencies:

 
page with featured reviews with strong call to action below
 

And directly after those reviews, there’s a strong call-to-action, with the line “No obligation. No credit card. We’ll earn your trust.” The unwritten subtext being, of course, that if the solution has worked for all the other agencies above, why wouldn’t it work for yours as well?

By leveraging positive customer reviews strategically throughout their website, Grade.us is able to maximize the chances that curious visitors will convert into lifetime customers. There’s no reason why your software business can’t do the same.

 

Use reviews in your advertising and outreach

Now that you’ve earned all those glowing reviews, it would be a real waste for them to only appear on your website. Instead, you should be using every chance you get to spread the word about your amazing solution. You can include good reviews in your:
 

  • Prospecting emails
  • PR pitches to journalists
  • Outreach to social media influencers
  • Sales sheets
  • Press releases

 
But perhaps the most powerful channel for promoting your best reviews is none other than conventional advertising. There are two main reasons for this. First, unlike the channels previously mentioned, advertising is guaranteed to reach a large audience – after all, you’ve paid for it! Second, it’s unexpected, which means it breaks through the noise and comes across as especially authentic. After all, most people viewing an ad are preparing for themselves for a slick marketing presentation, not honest feedback from real customers just like themselves. If employed tastefully, genuine reviews can have a very powerful effect in your advertising.

Kia used this strategy in one of their TV commercials, which focused almost entirely on positive customer reviews:

 

 

By encouraging viewers to go online and read more reviews on their website, Kia was able to increase site traffic by 21% and total Kia vehicle purchases by 12%. While the ad campaign was likely not the only reason for this, the company’s research showed that it was a major contributing factor, as users who read reviews were 509% more likely to search for a local dealer, and 300% more likely to book a test drive.

 

Engage actively with customer reviews

Reviews should not be a one-way conversation, with customers simply expressing their opinions on a company and its products. Instead, companies should think of reviews as an opportunity for two-way engagement with their customers.

While responding to negative reviews can obviously be beneficial for your brand, expressing appreciation for positive reviews is just as important. This can cement relationships with your most invested customers, and help nurture them into loyal brand advocates.

This response by Marketing 360 on Capterra is a great example:

 
vendor responding to review
 

Imagine what a prospect would think if they came across this review. Not only is a long-time customer gushing over the quality of Marketing 360’s service, but the company itself is responding in a way that further validates its culture of close engagement with customers.

Simply put, this is the sort of genuine branding that money cannot buy. Your software business can create just as many of these moments by paying attention to customer reviews and responding to them in an authentic way.

 

Reviews = Spontaneous Success Stories

Every single positive review has the potential to build your brand and win you new customers. Essentially, these reviews act as living proof of the quality of your solution, and smart software companies make sure those reviews are seen and heard in as many places as possible. The ones that do so successfully come to be seen as trusted advisors for the very best customers to build long-term relationships with.