The TrustRadius Research team interacts regularly with software vendors, and we usually get a lot of questions about reviews — specifically, why reviews matter, and how vendors can go about getting them. Here are some common questions, and our answers.
I’m a software vendor. Why should I care about reviews?
Really just one reason — because your buyers care.
Research shows that:
- B2B buyers are doing more research, and doing it independently.
- Reviews are becoming more influential as a third-party resource.
- In particular, buyers are looking for authenticated, in-depth, and balanced reviews.
- Buyers don’t trust vendors — they’d rather hear directly from end-users.
An added benefit of having reviews on TrustRadius is the ability to be included in our research content that allows buyers to compare products in a category, such TrustMaps and Buyer’s Guides. Participation in these reports requires a minimum of 10 reviews on TrustRadius.
But my buyers are [executives, enterprises, more technical]. They don’t care about reviews.
The data shows that they probably do. Regardless of company size, seniority and level of expertise, software buyers both consume and contribute reviews.
Here are some relevant stats:
- According to our latest B2B buyer survey, 49% of respondents used reviews. This was slightly higher among executives — 51% of respondents at a director level or above used reviews in their research.
- Review usage didn’t vary much by company size of the buyer. The survey found that 50% of small businesses, 53% of mid-size companies, and 42% of enterprises used reviews as an information source in their purchase process. This is supported by TrustRadius site traffic, which is evenly split among small businesses, mid-size companies, and enterprises.
- In the same survey, 50% of IT buyers used reviews as an information source. Additionally, industry studies have found that IT security professionals value what their peers say more than what vendors say.
- When it comes to contributing to the site, individuals from 77% of the Fortune 100 have written reviews on TrustRadius. Additionally, 29% of the reviews on our site are from individuals at a manager level or above, and we have hundreds of reviews from C-level executives.
What if I get a negative review?
Not what if — you will get a negative review, whether or not you try to drive reviews of your product.
But research shows that negative reviews, in addition to providing valuable feedback, actually help make a set of reviews more trustworthy. Buyers are savvy, so if you have only glowingly positive reviews, they won’t influence buyers. What buyers (and therefore you) want is balanced, in-depth, insightful feedback about your product, including strengths as well as areas for improvement.
Ok I’m convinced. What’s next?
You can run your own campaign by inviting your customers to review you on TrustRadius. We also offer programs to help vendors quickly build a library of reviews and leverage the resulting content.
If you choose to drive reviews on your own, here’s a step-by-step guide to inviting your customers to review you on TrustRadius (or any review site).
Step 1: Request your custom landing page
We see better response rates when you send your customers to a landing page specifically for your product (rather than our home page). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your custom URL.
Step 2: Write an email
You’ll drive the best response by emailing your entire customer base, or a random but representative sample, and offering a small incentive such as gift cards or branded swag. Of course, the reward should be offered regardless of the content of the review and cannot be tied to providing positive feedback. That is strictly against our policies, plus it will turn off your customers.
Here’s a sample email template. Note: it’s important to let your customers know that you’re looking for honest, authentic feedback about your product.
Hi [Customer Name],
I have a quick request. Could you please leave an honest review of [Your Product Name] on TrustRadius, a third-party review site for business software?
Just register with TrustRadius via LinkedIn or your work email address, answer a few key questions, and in about 15 minutes you’re done. Your review can be anonymous or public.
As a thank-you for taking the time to share your feedback, I’d like to offer you [incentive] to write a review. Just make sure you let me know if you write your review anonymously, so I can send your reward.
Here’s the link to get started [Reach out to email@example.com to request a free link for your custom /welcome page]
Reviews help us gather and respond to customer feedback, and help prospective buyers make an informed decision about our product.
Thanks, and if there is anything at all that I can do to help you, don’t hesitate to let me know.
Step 3: Build your list
You should target a broad set of customers to get a representative sample of responses – buyers often look for reviews from reviewers like them, so it’s important to have reviews that represent your different target personas, use cases, user roles, experience levels, company sizes, etc.
Most importantly, avoid cherry picking your advocates. This is critical for two reasons. One, as described above, many studies have shown that buyers are skeptical of products with only positive reviews. Two, we correct for positive bias resulting from cherry picking in our trScore calculation.
Step 4: Send, and send reminders
If your first email is ignored, it doesn’t mean that customers don’t want to help you. Ask again. A simple trick can be to resend the same email with a new subject line to all those customers who didn’t open the email.
Another tactic is to add the invitation to other forms of customer communication, such as a community forum, a newsletter, or a customer marketing drip.
Using these methods, you should be able to get about 2 to 5% of your list to write a review.
Step 5: Track the results
Make sure you thank each customer who writes a review, and of course, fulfill your incentive. Another good practice is to comment on reviews, thanking the reviewer, and responding to any feedback.
What if I need help?
Any vendor can run their own campaign, but here are some common reasons vendors choose to go with TrustRadius programs rather than DIY:
- Lack of time or resources to do it themselves
- Prefer the invitation (and rewards) to come from a neutral third-party
- Have a smaller user base and therefore need a higher yield to create a meaningful base of reviews
- Want to drive a very high number of reviews to ensure all segments, industries, roles, and use cases are represented
- Want to add custom review questions to get customers to talk about the product’s unique use cases or benefits
- Want the rights to use review quotes in their own sales and marketing efforts
If you are interested in getting support from TrustRadius, request a demo to learn more about our offerings.
And as always, if you have additional questions about your own review campaigns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help!