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The Secret Weapon in Your Startup Arsenal: Customer Reviews as the Ultimate Growth Catalyst

On:
March 19, 2024
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If you're in the burgeoning stages of an entrepreneurial dream, you're likely aware that visibility and conversion are your lifelines. But did you know that nestled within the plethora of marketing strategies is a secret weapon, waiting to accelerate your path to success? Enter the world of customer reviews—a powerful tool that could give your pipeline a boost.

Unleashing Customer Reviews’ All-Encompassing Influence

Picture your potential customers scrolling through the digital marketplace. What makes them halt at your door and, more importantly, stay? It’s not always an outbound call, a marketing email or a sponsored newsletter post. Because your prospects are increasingly doing research on their own, the answer lies in the authenticity that customer reviews bring to your marketing efforts. In fact, according to a 2024 Gartner study, over two-thirds of software buyers say that customer reviews impact their purchase decisions. 

Why Reviews Matter in the Top of the Funnel

Peer opinions wield a level of persuasion like no other. Attribution to customer reviews cannot be overstated; they curate an experience beyond the mere specification of your product or service, into the real-life application of your startup's solution.

Think of your customer reviews as the aroma of freshly baked bread, silently signaling the start of a culinary adventure. It's that pull that invites further investigation without the overt push of typical marketing ploys. 

The Everlasting Expanse of the Customer Journey

The beauty of customer reviews is their endurance. They play a role at every stage of the buyers’ journey, from awareness to purchase. But reviews don't just stop there; they can positively influence retention, referrals, and even upsells—the virtuous cycle propelled by customer trust. 

When leveraged correctly at the bottom of the funnel, reviews add credibility and alleviate the pressure on your current customers for reference calls. 

Tapping into the Power of Public Customer Reviews

Understanding the significance of customer reviews is one thing, but how do you wield this power effectively within the marketing strategy of your startup? Here’s a step-by-step guide to leveraging the full potential of public customer reviews.

Step 1: Laying the Groundwork for Reviews to Thrive

The two B2B review sites that dominate the market in terms of number of reviews and site traffic are G2 and Capterra (owned by Gartner). Both of these review sites have a variety of ways they verify reviews to maintain integrity and public trust. 

I'd recommend you create a free account on both, ensuring you select all of the appropriate product categories for maximum impact. 

  • Create an account on G2 here
  • Create an account on Capterra here

As you begin creating your profile you will notice that each review site has different paid options. The free profile will work well as a starting point, but once you hit ten customer reviews, you may consider upgrading to include more content or to leverage their buyer intent data.

Like any social site, remember that setting up your profile is just the first step; it’s not a one-and-done exercise. Rather, you need to keep your profile up to date with the latest company and product information and engage with reviewers as they submit feedback so it’s clear to everyone that you monitor your reviews and take feedback seriously. 

Step 2: The Art of the Review Solicitation

Gentle requests often yield the most genuine responses. G2 recommends encouraging your happiest customers to share their experience with your product. Don’t limit yourself to one person at each company. Reviews from a variety of roles within the same organization tell a great story. An optimal time, according to G2, is following implementation or after they receive useful support or training. 

Here are a couple email template examples you can use to send the requests. 

Reviewers can choose to remain anonymous if they want. Each person who leaves you a review can choose whether their full name, company name, etc is displayed or not. This can be really helpful to point out if you're selling into enterprise accounts since it can be harder for them to leave public quotes due to company policies. Even if they remain anonymous, you'll reap the benefit from their direct review in their own words being publicly visible. 

While it might feel awkward asking your customers to do something for you, it’s necessary for the health of your business. Gartner’s data lays it bare—more reviews lead to more purchases. Try to get at least 10 reviews to start and continue to collect at least 5 new reviews per quarter. Recency is an important factor in customer trust for reviews. 

And if you’re looking to go above and beyond, I like to send a little token of appreciation to each of my customers that takes the time to leave me a review. I generally send Amplify swag or a $25 Amazon gift card. Note - I don't dangle this as a pay to play incentive, I just send after they have given me a review to thank them for their time and support. 

Step 3: Integrating Reviews into the Fabric of Your Marketing

You’ve done the heavy lifting to create an engaging profile and have customers sharing how your solution solves critical business problems. Now, it's time to put your reviews to work for you. 

To maximize the value of your efforts:

  • Add  a link to your G2 or Capterra profile on your own website - check out the badge in the footer of our website for an example.
  • Add client quotes to your website, either manually (like I did on ours) or you can automate it using a plug in like Elfsight
  • Send your profile link out to prospective customers who you have open opportunities with.
    • Bonus - it cuts down on the # of times you have to ask one of your customers to do a live reference call too. 
  • Promote your reviews on social media like this.

Reviews: More Than Just Marketing Milestones

In conclusion, as you survey the marketing landscape, remember that customer reviews aren't just another strategy; they are your story told by those who use your product. They encapsulate your startup's essence, from the problems you solve to the relationships you nurture.

They resonate with your target audience's personal experiences, drawing them into your orbit. Their influence is sweeping, from the awareness they generate to the trust they instill—throughout your entire buyer’s journey.

The time is prime, the evidence is clear, and the opportunity is boundless. It's time to make customer reviews central to your startup’s growth narrative. 

Want to learn more about how Amplify supports startups GTM strategy and execution? Book a strategy call with our founder.