Online reviews are about more than just where you should go for dinner. If you want to to get a bite to eat, you’ll probably quickly scan the reviews of top-rated restaurants nearby, noting any specific pros and cons, and then make a decision. However, for higher-ticket items – in the B2C and B2B world – reading reviews normally comes in at a different stage in the buyer journey, and serves a different purpose.
For example, according to ReviewTrackers data, when choosing an auto dealership, online reviews are seven times more influential than TV ads and eight times more influential than social media ads. And when choosing a primary care physician, online reviews are seven times more influential than TV and social media ads.
It’s also unlikely you’ll leave a review a year after eating at a restaurant, but according to insight from our sister site Capterra who recently reached 200,000 online reviews, 66 percent of their reviews were written by someone who had been using the product for longer than a year.
“In this age where information is available at the fingertips, most customers tend to explore and research extensively before choosing a product. Third part review sites are the best source for authentic information on a product as it exhibits the verified experiences of the user.”
But this data is mostly in terms of company reputation and trust. What about using these third party review sites as a method for lead generation instead of just boosting employer brand?
Lead generation techniques
At GetApp, in June 2017, we carried out research into lead generation challenges and strategies, and one of the questions that formed part of this research was around the use of third party review sites for lead generation.
We found that:
- 71.7 percent of organizations found third-party review websites to be effective in generating leads
- Only 8.2 percent of these companies don’t use these websites as lead generation tools
- 68.4 percent of B2B companies finds these websites to be an effective way to generate leads, compared to 75.9 percent of B2C businesses
- Companies with 101 to 250 employees were the group that found third-party review websites to be most effective (76.9 percent) compared to only 58.6 percent of businesses with 1 to 10 employees
- Only 5.1 percent of businesses with 101 to 250 employees don’t use third-party review websites to generate leads, compared to 13.8 percent of companies with 1 to 10 employees.
How businesses are using third party review sites for lead gen
Based on this data, we decided to investigate further to find out how businesses were using third-party review websites, whether they were planning on investing to set up lead gen campaigns, and if they had already successfully helped with lead generation or whether they were more useful in terms of boosting brand name. We looked at both B2B and B2C companies.
Samantha Avneri, marketing director at Regpack online registration software
“At Regpack, we use Capterra and GetApp for lead generation and are very happy! We have found that as the number of reviews increases on your site, and others, the greater number of leads we receive on a daily basis.
“We’ve also found that a large percentage of leads we receive from third party review sites tend to be more qualified than CPC ads on Google, Bing, etc. This makes sense logically since these are people who are actively looking for our product and in research mode. They are more likely to be engaged in our sales process – scheduling a demo, etc.
“We are able to track which leads come from which sources, so we can follow all leads from review sites through the sales process and see how many have become clients, who has gone to a competitor, or who we weren’t able to connect with.”
Ksenia Newton, digital marketing manager at CrossCap marketing software company
“Because of the nature of our business and respected price tag, for us, reviews are one of the most important drivers of leads. We have a number of testimonials that we use to pursue the new business, and right now i’m focused on getting us reviews on the marketing software review websites such as Capterra. The leads that come from seeing the reviews are automatically qualified. That’s why i think it’s extremely important to build a reputation online that speaks for itself.
“I cannot measure the effectiveness just yet because we don’t have enough volume of leads coming through the online reviews; however, in the age of social, reputation or peer to peer relationship when customers review and recommend product, it’s highly important to not overlook that.
“As of right now, we are not planning on investing in the sites but we rather encourage our existing loyal customers to review us.”
Chris Post, CEO and founder of Post Modern Marketing
“I built my business in the early years mainly on inbound leads from Yelp, so I would definitely say this is a channel pretty much every business should be engaged in.
“Third party review sites are only effective if you have reviews, other than that they can be a distraction, or worse if you have bad reviews. I have heard of companies “friending” bad reviewers on their competitor’s yelp pages and direct messaging them to give their business a try. Never done this myself, but thought that was an interesting outbound tactic from a review site.
“We get at least 2 inbound leads per week from Yelp (no advertising all organic). We measure this by tracking lead sources in our CRM. It’s crazy that our best customers come from free marketing channels, referrals, and online reviews! We would not pay for premium placement on these services as we believe reviews are an organic channel and should be respected as such.”
Jason Parks, president of The Media Captain digital marketing agency
“When people do a Google search, they see reviews from your site and external sites like Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. Having a strategy to acquire reviews helps with lead generation.
“We ask each new client the reason they came on board with our agency. Over 35 percent say because of the online reviews they left online. We put great emphasis on online reviews.”
Alexandra Bohigian, marketing coordinator at Enola Labs Software, a software consulting and development company
“As a software consulting and development company, it is very important to stand out from the many other tech companies in town. We are able to generate a ton of leads from the reviews our clients leave us on popular review websites.
“We see a fair amount of effectiveness from these sites. We measure this using Google Analytics, as we can see where the user is coming to our contact form from. A significant portion of our website traffic comes from review sites.
“We place a medium-level priority and investment in online reviews as a lead generation tool. These reviews are not only great for lead generation and getting people to visit our website, but they also provide excellent marketing materials to publish on our website and in case studies. Investing in these platforms isn’t too much of a financial or time commitment, and it generally provides a great ROI for our business.”
Third party review sites trends
From the insights we gathered from these businesses, we can see a number of trends emerging:
- Both B2B and B2C businesses are using third party review sites for lead generation
- These sites bring in more qualified leads than other lead generation methods
- However, tracking of how much these sites contribute is still in its infancy
- Businesses are still reluctant to invest financially in these sites to generate more leads, and most prefer the organic approach for the moment.
If you’d like to invest in third party review websites for lead generation, or if you just want to ramp up your lead gen techniques in general, then GetApp has the resources that can help: