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How Can SaaS Startups Get More Reviews When Just Starting Out

by Arthur Zuckerman

The holy grail for any SaaS brand is their customer reviews. They’re more than mere opinions, acting as a guide for anyone looking to purchase your product or service online. They offer credibility, honest insight, and an understanding of whether a product is worth a customer’s time. Reviews play a crucial role with tipping the scale of decision-making.

But how does one generate enough quality reviews that can improve their credibility?

This can be a chicken and egg problem – you need a lot of legit reviews to drive product sales. But for you to get so many reviews, you need to have a lot of sales going.

Strategically acquiring initial reviews

Studies show that 72% of consumers will be more likely to take action after reading a positive review, while 86% will be hesitant to buy after reading one negative review. The importance cannot be overlooked. They can play a major role in influencing the overall trust and visibility of a company’s product or service.

The absence of good reviews can seriously affect a company’s ability to continue doing online business. Every startup knows the importance of bringing down the CAC or Customer Acquisition Cost and reviews are a sure-shot way of doing that.

The first step then is to recognize the challenges and overcome them. Then, strategic action must be taken to stimulate inorganic reviews because doing it organically takes much longer. Read on to learn more about how to tackle these issues and get it right, straight off the bat.

By following the techniques below, any business will fasten the trust-building process and through it, build considerable market presence and visibility.

Ways to improve reviews online

Paid ads through PPC (Pay-per-Click)

PPC paid ads are one of the most effective ways to stimulate new purchases, and ‌new reviews, in turn. There are many PPC platforms such as Microsoft Advertising, Google Ads, and Facebook Advertising that allow for targeted campaigns to drive relevant traffic to a SaaS landing page to drive sales.

With PPC ads, you can micromanage the sales process, including where the customer is coming from, or what plan they buy. This allows you to make the sale process extremely efficient.

For example, if you have a Construction Management software and want to target real estate companies in Chicago, you could do that by micro-targeting your ads to this specific geographic area.

This way, you can align the entire sales funnel to this specific customer segment, and thereby offer them the best customer experience.

By creating a happy sales experience, you build a pool of satisfied customers who are now likely to leave positive reviews about their experience on platforms like FinancesOnline. You may also inorganically grow your reviews by integrating this call to action in your email marketing campaign automation routine.

However, make sure that you do not offer monetary incentives to customers in return for their reviews. This is not only against the terms of service of review platforms, but also fails to build a community of happy customers that forms the basis for any successful business operation.

Promoting reviews through website ads

One common strategy that SaaS companies use to generate word-of-mouth referral is by seeking paid reviews on third-party industry websites.

While this strategy may work for a while, it is not sustainable. This is mainly because your marketing resources may be better spent on driving traffic to your website instead of promoting a third party review that may or may not drive organic traffic to your app.

This way, you can use automated mail marketing tactics to nurture them and protect them against losses. With time, you can run an automated email campaign encouraging them to leave reviews as well.

One advantage of running automated email requests is that they can be personalized. You can play around with the content based on their purchasing actions and send them a personalized review request here. By following this approach, you can fight bulk review emails that most customers tend to ignore.

By breaking down the email flows based on the stage of their nurturing, the campaign source and overall customer behavior, you can create contextual review requests.

Influencer marketing

Another amazing way to drive sales to your SaaS app, as well as drive reviews, is influencer marketing. It’s a powerful tool that allows potential customers to trust the review of someone who is an expert in that field, buy your product or service, and then leave their own reviews in the process. Over 60% of consumers trust influencer recommendations when making purchases, and 69% of marketers trust what influencers say.

Source: eMarketer

For SaaS, influencer marketing could include social media channels that are typically ignored by mainstream B2C marketers. This includes channels like LinkedIn besides Facebook, YouTube, and even TikTok.

It’s fairly simple to run these types of campaigns – identify an influential vlogger/blogger, YouTuber, or creator and identify their niche. If it falls within the jurisdiction of what your product and brand fall in, you can contact them.

In your contact call or mail, negotiate to provide them with incentives like either generous affiliate commissions for an honest review. You can also decide the format of reviews that you’d like to showcase – whether through video, text, or any other way.

Make sure their review falls within the guidelines set by the various regulations set by FTC and other bodies.

Once they complete their review, promote the same through your socials, blogs, and other marketing channels. It’ll draw attention and also attract an audience that has an intent to purchase, thus increasing your chances of sales. This audience can also be nurtured to provide reviews when the time comes.

Influencer marketing has a better chance of paying off when there’s a new product launch or if you have a decent marketing budget. It can pay off huge dividends through social proof that’s coming from a third-party source.

This type of marketing has the power to work better than paid ads or any other form of advertising.

Of course, the hard work comes in identifying the correct influencer and understanding their audience makeup. If they align with your persona of a target buyer, you can choose them. But, be prepared to pay a premium amount for influencers who have a broad reach, as rates can sometimes extend to hundreds or thousands of dollars if they are celebrity influencers.

Less mainstream and super niche influencers can give you a better return, so if there’s a possibility of working with them, go for it.

Content marketing

While content marketing may not deliver results immediately, it is a necessity if you are looking for long-term success. It can indirectly give you the power to build an audience that values and trusts your brand and products. It helps establish your brand as a trusted, authoritative voice in your industry or sector.

Source: Kinex

Besides this, content marketing sets the ball rolling on email marketing (that we will discuss next) which is quintessential to your review growth strategy.

Here is how you do it – establish a content plan based on where you want to bring in visitors from. This could be SEO-focused to capture visitors from Google Search, or you may also target other channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. to draw in traffic.

Once you bring in a steady stream of traffic, you could then drive newsletter subscriptions to fuel your customer reviews strategy.

These visitors are also potential customers. Make use of Google review widgets to showcase existing reviews on your blog posts – this helps fuel customer purchases right from within your blog posts.

Email marketing strategy

Building your email marketing list should rank high up on the to-do list for any SaaS business that intends to generate reviews. Paid ads and influencers help drive the first batch of sales, but it’s the email list through which you can nurture a relationship with customers.

One thing that separates email marketing from every other form of finding buyers is the level of control you hold regarding what your target audience sees. There are no algorithms and filters that prevent the audience from seeing what you want them to see.

This means that you could promote giveaways in return for reviews on your website. Or, run a contest to drive new customers. But you still have to be mindful of seeking reviews for Google, or other third-party platforms.

Make sure you have automated email sequences as part of your email marketing campaign. These sequences get triggered based on certain customer actions including purchases, booking product demos, abandoned carts, or even content downloads (eBooks, case studies).

For example, you could send a “How did we do?” message nudging customers to review the product after delivery. This could encourage them to click and leave a review. Make sure not to bombard them with review requests or only show them the same.

To summarize

In the competitive world of SaaS, reviews are vital for boosting social proof, building customer trust, and improving conversions. But accumulating a solid portfolio of reviews can be challenging, especially when first starting out.

That’s where leveraging a mix of inorganic tactics like paid advertising, influencer partnerships, content marketing, email nurturing, and incentivized giveaways can provide a powerful spark. However, these tactics need to be deployed while taking care of platform guidelines and without compromising ethics or authenticity.

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