There’s no question that inbound marketing is the new normal for advertising. Companies have the opportunity to build their brand using organic tactics. Content marketing through blog posts, social media, and even video are all great ways to engage with your target audience.
But there is another piece of organic advertising that is often overlooked: authentic customer reviews.
Encouraging customer reviews can bring your inbound marketing to the next level. If you’re all about building an authentic brand, then encouraging customer reviews may just be the right call for you.
Why Customer Reviews Are Important For Marketing Strategy
Encouraging authentic customer reviews can benefit both your inbound marketing process and your company brand as a whole. Take a look at what one Marketing Director has to say:
“B2B buyers are definitely getting smarter – they want that unvarnished truth, and that’s what reviews do for us.”
~ Julie Perino, Senior Director of Customer Marketing at Marketo
The statistics don’t lie. According to a recent TrustRadius study, 75% of customers use online reviews to discover new tools and brands. Almost the same number (69%) use authentic reviews to evaluate software vendors. Nearly half of customers use reviews during the selection stage of the buying cycle.
It’s clear potential customers use authentic reviews in their search and selection process. But what are the other benefits of incorporating customer reviews into your marketing strategy?
Customer Reviews are Trustworthy: Sales copy can only go so far. Customers are much more likely to believe authenticated, honest reviews.
Customer Reviews are Engaging: Reviews don’t have to be one-sided. They give you the chance to engage with both current customers and your target audience in a new way.
Customer Reviews are Content Rich: Authentic reviews give you a new content pool to work with. You can incorporate quotes into blog posts, social media posts and more.
On top of these marketing benefits, customer reviews can improve customer experience. If you take negative reviews seriously, you can use them to improve your service or product.
With these benefits in mind, customer reviews should become an integral part of your customer strategy. They should play right along with social media, content creation and Search Engine Optimization. But how can you start working customer feedback into your marketing strategy?
How to Get Started Encouraging Customer Reviews
Once you’ve made the decision to use your customer’s voice in marketing strategy, you should be sure to take a strategic approach. In getting started, consider taking these few tips:
Keep reviews authentic. Spend the time you need to receive the high quality and authentic reviews. Keep in mind that you want to target a broad set of customers to get a representative sample of responses and avoid cherry picking reviewers. This can help you represent the different personas and use cases for your product or service.
Get organized with tools. A strategic approach to using customer reviews will require tools. Outreach tools, social media tools, and even SEO tools can help you connect with your current customers to build an arsenal of rich review content that you can utilize within landing pages and other content to help increase conversions.
View it as a process, not an event. Make sure you stay engaged with customers once you start to receive reviews. Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Send a thank you note to customers that leave reviews and send a follow-up email to customers to remind them to leave a review.
If you’re still not sure where to get started, there are plenty of tools to help you use customer reviews in your marketing strategy. You can use online customer reviews to get an idea of which tools will work for you!
Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.