Our very own Emily Sue Tomac, Senior Research Manager at TrustRadius, recently sat down with Courtney Wendel-Stevenson, Senior Manager of Community Engagement at Avalara to discuss how Courtney utilizes customer reviews to increase the effectiveness of Avalara’s digital marketing.
Now that most companies are conducting their business online, software vendors have had to transition their marketing to being almost exclusively digital. In our digital event with Courtney (available here) we covered her step-by-step process for incorporating user reviews into Avalara’s digital brand.
“Customers and prospects can’t network face to face at this time, but review quotes provide that trusted first-hand experience.”– Courtney Wendel-Stevenson
Below, we’ll quickly show you how to transform your digital marketing efforts with user reviews.
Get Executive Buy-In
Before working with review sites, you’ll want to get team members as well as coworkers in other departments on board with your plan to invest in reviews. Review programs are most successful when you work cross-functionally. You will find that reviews have a variety of use cases and benefits that will appeal to functions across your organization. Cite third-party research that proves the power of reviews like our 2020 B2B Disconnect or Edelman’s Trust Barometer.
Once they’re interested, demonstrate ROI by A/B testing the performance of different review assets. Experiment with adding a custom CTA that points to a demo request form on your TrustRadius listing or adding review snippets to your landing pages. Compare performance in terms of CTR and sign-ups to observe the difference between buyers that come from a review site vs. other sources, and pages with vs. without third-party social proof.
Scale Your Review Program for Success
Our research shows that buyers are more willing than ever to write reviews for the products they love. Build your customer list, and reach out to them to get the ball rolling on your review program. Reviews not only provide potential buyers with unbiased feedback on your products, they also help you identify customer advocates with whom you can partner for case studies, digital events, and more.
We have some best practices in place for making your review program as successful as possible. For example, we recommend 10 recent reviews for a minimum viable presence. Really, though, you should aim to grow your review base in relation to your competitors, keeping up or surpassing their review counts. You’ll also want coverage for all user personas, use cases, industries, and company sizes.
Then make a plan for using your review content in campaigns. Be mindful of how competitors are leveraging their own review content, too.
Share feedback you receive in reviews with the applicable teams at your business (Product, Customer Success, Support, etc.), as customers and buyers alike like to see vendors take proactive steps towards improving customer experiences.
Broadcast on Organic Social Media
Social media is all about telling stories, no matter how short. If the content is engaging, people will be moved by what they read. If reviews can tell your story better than you can, why not include them in your social media outreach?
With just 16 tweets featuring review content, Avalara was able to earn 26,264 impressions, 54 engagements, and 12 clicks on social media.
Optimize Social & Display Ads
Using reviews, Avalara was able to increase their CTR on LinkedIn ads by 200%, and decrease CPC by 66%. Avalara featured review snippets, visuals showing competitive positioning, key product benefits and stats in the ad campaign. Their best performing ads were those that included star ratings, customer quotes, and the TrustRadius brand logo.
With social and display ads you can target buyers that are interested in your product as well as competitor products’. Our TrustRadius Category Audience Targeting tool supports major ad platforms out-of-the-box.
Transform Landing Pages
Reviews can be leveraged across various landing pages to boost their conversion rates by amplifying the voices of real customers. Avalara had success with supplementing case study landing pages with reviews. Reviews are a more scalable way to get customers on the record as case studies take a larger investment. However, case studies and reviews can work together in telling your story to different personas.
If you’re planning on incorporating reviews to your landing pages, include targeted quotes that speak to the key use cases the page is addressing (for example, integration with MS Dynamics). Third-party sources on landing pages are an important trust cue, and reviews are a simple and honest way to incorporate third-party validation into your marketing.
Using premium content from TrustRadius like the customer story shown above on landing pages can also help you increase buyer engagement and lower cost per pageview. When Avalara incorporated premium content assets we created for them, they saw a 5% engagement rate from buyers ready to contact sales—even before the landing pages were optimized with easy-to-find “Get Started” buttons.
Enable Sales with TrustQuotes & Premium Content
Salespeople need backup to make a strong case to buyers. Customer references are great confidence boosters. But reference calls are time consuming to set up, and it’s hard to find an advocate to speak to every feature and use case. Avalara uses the TrustQuotes Chrome Extension to quickly pull customer quotes on any topic. The quotes are already approved for use by Avalara’s internal Marketing team and by the customer themselves, saving tons of time and legal review.
Since review quotes are so easy to pull on the fly, it’s perfect for specific Sales needs.
One-pagers providing third-party validation are another great way to enable Sales with customer proof. Avalara licenses reports from TrustRadius to back up their key claims, tout their market position in the Tax Compliance category, and highlight differentiators against a key competitor.
Interested in learning more about TrustRadius? You can sign up for a demo here.
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