The proliferation of digital information has created a new buying environment. Most buyers do their own research on companies consider...
Your customer is searching. The question is, will they find you?
If your customer is able to find you, chances are they’re looking for something specific. What are they looking for? Reviews.
Bright Local’s 2014 Local Consumer Review found that 88% of the 2,104 respondents read reviews before making a purchasing decision with a business.
Who Would You Choose to Do Business With?
Below is a screenshot of a Google search for B2B “website design in Costa Mesa.” As you can see, each result has a different number of reviews. Based on this screengrab alone, which business would you choose to work with? We can guess that the businesses with the most reviews will draw your attention first, as they have the most opinions to peruse and consider.
Now, try it for yourself. Take a moment to look at what happens when you type your keywords into Google. Do they trigger the “local pack”? If they do, having reviews is essential. Below I have outlined some simple ways to make reviews apart of your business. At the bottom, we have also added a useful review handout from WhiteSpark. You can take this handout template and customize it for your business.
Why Reviews Really Matter for B2B Businesses
Customer feedback is one of the biggest influencers on a company’s well-being. If the customer gives a positive review of a company, that company can rest assured their approval rating will grow. The more reviews you have, the more recognition you get. The more positive reviews you have, the more conversions you stand to make.
Today, it is easier than ever for customers to voice their opinions about a product or service. There are various sites that make leaving a review for a local B2B business as simple as having a computer and internet connection. Local business owners would do well to watch these sites and conversations.
Doing so can help with damage control, customer relations, and even win your business a loyal following. In fact, Moz says that “customer reviews [are] a must for every local business owner, as a means of both protecting and promoting the reputation of your business.”
If you’re in a type of industry that doesn’t see many reviews, you could be in a vulnerable space. This is because B2B businesses fall under a smaller industry than the more common B2C business. The B2B business caters to other B2B businesses, meaning not just anyone wants or needs their products or services. For this reason, the “customer” pool is much smaller and more focused. If one B2B business has a bad experience with another, it could lead to a bad review.
While one bad review might not matter to a B2C company, it could be detrimental for a B2B business. If you’re in an industry that sees few reviews, a single bad review could be just as powerful as a single positive one. With this in mind, as we move through the 5 ways to get reviews for your local business, we want to focus on how to ensure these are good reviews.
Now that you’ve got the foundation, let’s run through the 5 ways to get reviews for your local B2B business.
#1: Reach Out to Them First
While this wouldn’t be practical for a multi-million dollar business, this is a perfect start for a local business! Reaching out first with a call, email, message, or Tweet is a great way to build a relationship with another B2B business. Doing so can immediately help you receive awesome feedback as well as lead to reviews and tangible conversions
Even if reaching out doesn’t lead to a review, it can lead to customer feedback. This is an excellent start to getting more reviews down the line. Think of it as a ladder, and you’re on the very first step. Starting here means you can only go up and improve.
To make you effort of reaching out even stronger, make sure your B2B business is easily found. This means that aside from a business card and a phone number, you B2B customers can find you in other ways. Some of the most practical ways to build relationships are through a website and a strong social media presence. These two should be connected–your social platforms linking back to your website, and your website linking to your socials. This way, you can connect with customers in various ways. You can reach out directly through email, or else Tweet at them, Facebook message them, or call them.This also means that they have more ways of reaching back to you. Some reviews can come in the form of positive Tweets or similar social media interactions.
However you decide to reach out, be sure to take note of everything you do. Learn what worked, what didn’t, what could be improved, and what should be scrapped. Doing this all will help you on the way to getting an awesome review.
Pro tip: Have them leave the review while you are on the phone chatting.
#2: Add Reviews to Your Invoicing
Most B2B businesses have an invoicing process. When they close a deal on a product or service, they send an invoice along to the B2B customer. For those B2B businesses who invoice clients on a regular basis, you can use this to you advantage. Consider adding something simple to your invoice like: “Love your experience? Review us on Google+.” You can use this same approach if you do receipts instead of invoices.
Taking this approach also funnels customer feedback and reviews to the right place. Instead of leaving a review on an obscure review site or message board, you can push customers in the right direction. Some review sites are more credible than others. With this in mind, leave a Call to Action (CTA) that invites B2B customers to leave you feedback in the right places. This ensures your awesome reviews will be seen, and the not-so-awesome reviews will be considered.
It is important to note that while you may want only good reviews, bad reviews are natural and give your business more depth. It shows you are a living, breathing entity. Of course, you can make mistakes, but with every mistake comes the opportunity to make things better. How you handle poor reviews can show other customers you customer relation skills. In short, every type of review you receive is a chance to show how wonderful your local business is.
Pro tip: You don’t need to offer discounts for reviews. Focus on relationships.
Do you have an online payment confirmation page? If so, a great way to get reviews is to add a remarketing tracking code to your confirmation page. This makes it so that you can only tag customers who purchased. A simple image that says: “Love us? Leave us a Review! Google+, Yelp, Facebook. Your Choice.” will get their attention.
Re-marketing is also useful because it ensures that your business is fresh in your customer’s mind. If they had a good experience, they’re even more likely to remember you and leave positive feedback. As you can see above, offering a number of review sites gives your customer lots of options. The more reviews you have, the higher your visibility in a common search engine. What’s more, the more reviews you have, the more likely new browsers are to check out your site. If you have very few reviews, it gives the impression that you are a new local business with little experience. More reviews means you are more seasoned, and so more trustworthy in general!
Pro tip: Google will create a remarketing ad for you, just enter your URL. If you aren’t doing remarketing yet, we highly advise you start. Think of it as 21st century billboard advertising.
#4: Get Five Stars
Mike Blumenthal is a thought leader in local SEO and has an awesome service: GetFiveStars.com. Simply put, GetFiveStars sends an email to your client list asking for their feedback about your business. If they leave you a good review, GetFiveStars will ask them to leave you a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp. It’s a great way to protect yourself from bad reviews and get good ones.
Using GetFiveStars is especially useful for newer local B2b companies who need reviews. As discussed earlier, some industries don’t usually draw in many reviews. For B2B companies, reviews are not always easy to come by. Of course, all businesses need reviews to help with their visibility, promotion, reputation, and growth. To get positive and genuine reviews quickly, try GetFiveStars. It’s a great place to start and can work wonders with customer relationships. As your business grows, however, be sure to branch out to other means such as CTAs and customer review forms. These can can be added directly to your site, winning you great testimonies without the middleman.
Pro tip: Most people don’t want to leave a review twice so follow up with people who left great feedback. Phone calls are king.
#5: Add Instructions in the Footer of Your Website
Sometimes the right reviews are a little more complicated than you might think. Of course, many sites come with useful guidelines or their reviews. Google+ is one of these spots. While the actual sites themselves have guidelines, you can go a step further and add instructions on your own site. Give you customer a helping hand by providing both links to you preferred review sites as well as instructions in your site footer. Not sure how this should look? Jeff Shaffer Plumbing is a great example of a well-made footer with straightforward instructions. Check it out below.
Stay aware that your target audience might not always be tech-savvy. They may be new to this type of marketing and B2B business relations. They might even be learning how to navigate modern business practice for the first time. Don’t assume your customers all know exactly how the ins and outs of the Internet work. Be a big help and give them a some pointers when and where you can.
Pro tip: Be helpful. These websites don’t always make leaving a review simple.
Getting reviews can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. In addition to our five ways above, check out these specific links for different review sites. They come with guidelines and step-by-step instructions. Once you’re done looking at those, don’t forget to download your review handout!
- Mobile Review Instructions for Google+
- Desktop Review Instructions for Google+
- How to Write a Facebook Review
- How to Write a Yelp Review