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On the Topic of Online Reviews as a Means for B2B Leads

Did you know that, according to BrightLocal’s 2013 Local Consumer Survey, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?

We’ve...

Did you know that, according to BrightLocal’s 2013 Local Consumer Survey, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?

We’ve long since understood that word-of-mouth marketing can be one of the most powerful ways to promote a business, products, and services because the layer of trust involved with hearing such information from a friendly source.

Word-of-mouth marketing has made the jump to cyberspace and the surprising result is how quickly opinions from those whom you’d never know can sway a spending decision. In fact, people are using fewer reviews to make their decisions which mean online reputation is more important than ever!

When matched with the actions of gaining B2B leads – it’s apparent that online reviews will be just as important to business owners as to consumers.

The following will take you through how online reputation management is essential when soliciting reviews, our perspective of the market due in part of these reviews , and the leap to turn those reviews into a healthy stream of leads.

Online Reputation and Reviews go Hand-in-Hand

Why is it that if you provide an exceptional service an individual may tell a few friends but if you dropped the ball and angered them they’ll take to the Web, with pitchfork in hand, and tell anyone willing to listen?

Online reputation and reviews go hand-in-hand because of two very important reasons:

·  Rewarding passionate, happy individuals from sharing their thoughts will increase the chances of them returning to your business for future purchases.

·  Doing “damage control” on irate customers leaving bad reviews may help change their mind and update their stance which will remove the low scores within your business reviews.

The only issue that most small businesses face when dealing with online reputation is that the web is simply too massive of a place to keep a watchful eye on every last piece of opinion shared about your business and for this reason we’ve seen a rise in companies offering services and tools to handle this workload.

Through a reputation management system, such as the one offered by Brand.com, companies both big and small can scan and monitor the web for incoming sources on reviews. The tools aid with creating campaigns to respond to positive and negative reviews to encourage brand loyalty or to handle a potential disastrous flow of PR.

In all, having the ability to identify these vocal individuals will allow a business to sculpt their online reputation which, as noted in the introduction, has become a major factor for the buying decisions of consumers.

How Online Reviews Shape our Value Perspective

Reviews, whether you want to believe it or not, greatly influence your perspective of value even if you’re the type to use many sources for your research before making a buying decision.

Ask yourself this:

·  When is the last time you avoided a movie because you heard it wasn’t good?

·  How many times have you passed on a food dish because someone made a comment?

·  Do you immediately look at the 5-star or 1-star reviews on Amazon?

We, humans, are naturally curious to hear the opinions of others; it’s why we love being absorbed into a good story, good movie, or good music. We want to experience the product/service through the eyes of another before we have to make the commitment and we use this emotional response to shape our judgment.

Unfortunately, reviews can be very subjective and sometimes completely off the mark.

For example, have you ever read a review which:

·  Disregarded the product and, instead, was based on the shipping service?

·  Directly attacked a company despite the individual not being a customer?

·  Seemed completely out of place and created by a machine?

If we’re not careful we could fall for a variety of fake online reviews which has recently came under a close look by the New York Times; this means that, as businesses owners, it’s just as important to monitor and help solicit real reviews all-the-while acting upon our own due diligence when making a decision after absorbing others’ opinions.

Leveraging Reviews for B2B Leads

Despite some inherent setbacks caused my irate consumers, fake reviews, and a splintering set of platforms to host these opinions – online reviews can do just as much good for your business to gain B2B leads as B2C.

There are a variety of ways reviews boost B2B leads, such as:

·  Displaying your level of customer service – Your reviews will reveal how you handle customer service which may be one of the main ideals for other business owners; having access to see how you respond could help with the decision to reach your business.

·  Higher search ranking – Reviews will allow your business listing to reach a higher level in search engines. Higher rankings mean a higher chance of being found. Get your brand on the major platforms, nurture the reviews and you’ll see new B2B leads trickle in.

·  Using feedback for improvements – Taking consideration to the reviews and opinions left by consumers will allow your business to explore ways to improve its current offers and spark ideas for new opportunities; these improvements may be what is needed to morph the offer into something more suitable for businesses.

Reviews will act in your favor to other businesses just as they do to consumers because, after all, a business owner is seeking the best value for their interest just the same as a person seeks a great offer for their needs.

Generating a long list of online reviews, handling online reputation, and sculpting the way those react to your reviews will be a great investment for your business when seeking B2B leads.