While it’s typically a gateway for consumers to express their like or dislike of a business, review sites also exist for business-to-business (B2B) industries, particularly IT products and services. Sites like BestVendor.com, ITCentralStation.com and TrustRadius.com offer insights and recommendations regarding enterprise software and innovations.
Apparently, these sites can help boost a business’s reputation and can even generate much-needed traffic for struggling online marketers.
Below is a guide on how to take advantage of this opportunity, shared by Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs. “In the e-commerce world,” says Handley, “reviews signify validity.”
Check out her 4-point discussion from Entrepreneur.com:
1. Get yourself on the map.
Spend an hour listing your business on all major directories. At a minimum, make sure you’re on the most well-known consumer review/social sites. But pay special attention to two in particular.
For companies that have multiple locations but have been managing their brand’s presence from a central page, setting up strong Facebook profiles is critical.
You may also want to place profiles on industry-focused review sites: LinkedIn for professional and B2B services. (Yes, LinkedIn. You might not realize it, but LinkedIn allows businesses to list products and services on company profile pages. It also allows members to make recommendations and write reviews.)
2. Encourage customers to speak up.
Don’t miss an opportunity to request an online review or feedback. If you service customers in person, offer a comment card along with the receipt that directs them to your online profiles. You can also ask for a review as part of an online receipt or e-mail follow-up. Include links to review sites from your company website or in your e-mail signature.
Chances are you’ll attract a handful of grumpy customers. Should you ignore them? Respond? Perhaps you should celebrate them.
Invested as you are in your company’s reputation, the criticism might sting. But it’s helpful to remember that not even Tolstoy earns five stars on Amazon. (War and Peace gets a paltry 4.5.) And, paradoxically, a few negative notices will only add to your credibility, signaling that the reviews are authentic and unvarnished.
You may find yourself the victim of an internet troll who just likes to stir things up. “In those instances,” Kramer says, “leaving it alone is the best path, because the worst thing you can do to someone seeking attention by being mean or negative is to ignore them.”
4. Use reviews as a subtle selling tool.
Pillar Properties puts Yelp reviews front and center on the homepage for The Lyric, a Seattle apartment complex. “See what our residents are saying about us on Yelp!” the page says. It’s smart, fearless marketing that projects confidence.
Consider adding a “Testimonials” or “What our customers say” heading to your navigation bar with links to reviews, and mining the best ones to embed. Your prospects trust online reviews above all else. So why not make it stupid-easy for them to choose you?