How to Identify and Leverage Brand Advocates for your SaaS Company
By Kari Miller, Reviews Marketing Manager
It’s no secret that in today’s world, tech-savvy B2B marketers and entrepreneurs often avoid traditional sales efforts when making a buying decision. After all, when was the last time you listened to an unsolicited phone pitch? Instead, we rely heavily on peers for recommendations and referrals as we hone our software search. That’s where the power of brand advocates and reviews come in!
By now, you know that reviews are essential for your SaaS business growth, and are often generated by your brand advocates. Today, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations, and 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they are asked! Whether you’re ready to start proactively collecting reviews from your customers, or want to take your brand reach to the next level, these tips will help you identify ways to boost your SaaS company’s reputation by targeting and leveraging brand advocates.
How do you find advocates? Here’s five easy ways:
1. Focus on your top customers. First, you need to determine what your business considers a ‘top customer.’ Have they been customers the longest? Are they a top spender for your services? Do they proactively provide referrals or testimonials?
Narrow down your priorities to find your top customer group. They’ll often be the most responsive to your request for feedback like reviews, and as an added bonus will likely provide high ratings!
2. Tap into your engaged audiences: Another key group that’s likely to jump at the opportunity to share their thoughts about your software is your most engaged audience. Who is this group? Social media is a great place to start. Who are your customers who actively reply, mention or like your company’s social posts? Review all your social channels to collect a master list.
You can also evaluate other channels to monitor high engagers such as user forums, blog comments, or, using your email marketing software, even those customers who open a majority of your emails.
3. Consider custom variables: Do you have certain products or use-cases that lead to happy customers more often? Perhaps it’s those with your top feature or functionality set, those who use certain elements of your product offering regularly, or simply those who log in on a daily basis. Work to see if there any correlations you can find that lead to better results with your product, and target this group as advocates.
4. Take advantage of recent renewals: Leveraging clients who just renewed with your company is a no brainer. After all, they just decided to continue to invest in using your software, so they must see valuable results! Consider creating a triggered email campaign to ask clients to submit a review on software comparison sites like Capterra shortly after the renewal is finalized.
You’ll see your online reviews grow steadily and consistently as customers renew throughout the year. You can also work directly with your renewal team to recommend new advocates they work with as you build your audience base.
5. Maximize “face time” with clients: In-person meetings are an ideal time to build relationships and easily determine clients who may make strong advocates. The next time you attend an industry conference, consider collecting reviews a part of your booth experience or presentation for brand building.
If you host your own events, attend local meet-ups, or have in-person meetings, use that time to identify users who are advocates. If they’re taking the time to attend your event, more than likely, they’re open to becoming an advocate of your software. Make sure you ask them to join your program, share a referral, or submit a review on-the-spot while you have their attention face-to-face.
Now that you have your targeted a group of advocates, it’s time to put them to work!
The easiest way to quickly build your reputation online is through customer reviews. In fact, we’ve found that two thirds of software buyers said reading reviews significantly impacted their decision!
As you work to collect more reviews, keep these four tips in mind:
1. Reviews require action. One of the biggest barriers that any business faces while working to collect more reviews is simply not making the ask. While some customers will proactively review you on their own, a majority may need a little push. When you ask, make it clear that you want their honest review, and that you highly value their feedback.
This is why having a group of advocates to tap into is beneficial! Your advocates will likely be willing to give a review, but remember you can’t always control the end result — and that’s okay! Genuine feedback is what makes reviews appear trustworthy to your audience.
2. Focus on your review strategy. It’s important to build review collection into your marketing efforts. The three keys to strong reviews are quality, quantity and recency. What does that mean? Businesses with a strong number of total reviews stand out, but clients look beyond pure review quantity when assessing their software options. Users also look at the quality of your reviews for helpful feedback, and pay attention to your average star rating.
But don’t let the fear of a negative review hold you back! 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores. Finally, it’s important to collect new reviews frequently and show consistency with your rating over time, so clients will feel assured that they will also have a similar experience with your software.
3. Don’t forget to follow up. Your customers are busy, so they may not have a chance to leave a review right away. Don’t be afraid to send a polite reminder after a few days to check in and ask if they have any questions. It’s always helpful to make a personal connection with your review request!
Additionally, following up can help you gain valuable insights into who your top advocates are based on how enthusiastically they respond to review requests. If a client shows a strong interest, consider utilizing them for other marketing programs such as featuring them in a case study, asking them to participate in product feedback sessions, or adding them to a referral program.
4. Say thank you! Last but not least, don’t forget to thank your advocates! It doesn’t take much effort to show genuine appreciation for their time. Simply take a minute to reply to their review, send a note after they participate in product research, or get creative with a small token to show your thanks for their helpful feedback. Expressing your gratitude will help to solidify strong advocates for your business long-term and build an even stronger brand.
Ready to get reviews of your software? Capterra’s free reviews program allows you to collect more quality reviews from your customers quickly — without all the work!
Capterra, a Gartner Digital Markets company, offers a unique opportunity for software vendors to acquire high volume, high quality web traffic and sales leads from one of the world’s leading online destinations for business software buyers. Capterra also offers free services to help SaaS companies collect customer reviews of their software. Sign up now to learn more.