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Think You Don’t Need Software Reviews? Think Again!

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Whenever the topic of product reviews comes up, it’s natural for software vendors to immediately jump to the worst-case scenario. Oh no… we had that one client who was pretty upset last month. What if they write something bad? I better turn off my reviews.

But, believe it or not, that bad review is actually better than having no reviews at all. In fact, according to our research, the number of leads that vendors get from Capterra is directly proportional to the number of reviews they have.

See the results of our study below:

Based on more than 1100 vendors using Capterra’s Conversion Tracking, we were able to study the conversion rates of vendors that had reviews displayed versus those that did not. Adjusting for outliers, the resulting conversion rates broke down like this:

  • 0 Reviews=4.6%
  • 1-4 Reviews= 5.2%
  • 5-9 Reviews= 6.4%
  • 10+ Reviews= 7.1%

NOTE: A “conversion” is measured when somebody successfully completes a lead form after clicking through to the vendor’s landing page from Capterra.

Earlier this year, Danny wrote an in-depth post about why reviews are so important because they help build social proof for your product. He mentioned that you should shoot for about five reviews to start. That’s still a good benchmark, but once you’ve hit five, you definitely shouldn’t stop. And the data above supports that claim.

But why?

With prospective, B2B software buyers, it seems that “more is more” when it comes to peer feedback. There is such a lack of unbiased information about software on the web that companies are desperate to find real reviews of how these products work for other companies. The more experiences they read about, the better they can determine whether the software will be a good fit for their needs. And even someone’s bad experience with software can give a prospect insight into how it might work for their company. They can learn from others’ mistakes. Or, as they say, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Additionally, many buyers are familiar and accustomed to shopping on other sites that offer reviews. This has fundamentally shifted the way we search for products and services online. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people instinctively “filter out” products that have no reviews. The thought process goes something like, “Oh, nobody has anything to say about this one? Hmm, must not be that important.”

But what should you do if that angry client does post a nasty review?

The simple answer is respond. The PR pros at Vocus give some great tips about responding to reviews, such as, say thank you, humanize your response, and keep it short and sweet. Follow those tips and you’ll probably end up with even more leads because they’ll be impressed that you took the time to craft such a thoughtful reply!

Do you have any examples of how reviews (positive or negative) have helped you generate business? Share it with us in the comments!

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About the Author

Katie Hollar

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Katie is the Director of Marketing at Capterra - a free resource that helps businesses find the right software. Her work has been published in VentureBeat, MarketingProfs, CustomerThink, and the Demand Gen Report, and she has been featured in CIO, AdAge, and Website Magazine. Katie has a love of all things marketing, but she is particularly fond of social media and marketing automation. She is a UVA grad (Wahoowa!) and in her free time enjoys reading, running, and cooking. Follow her on Twitter @khollar.

Comments

Anecdotal evidence, but I’m convinced online reviews & testimonials work. I convinced my friend Jennifer Tremaine, a Real Estate Agent, to make a point of getting a review after each home sale in early 2012. She focused on Zillow.com, Google, Realtor.com and Angie’s List. When she asks new clients how they found her, virtually 100% mention her positive online reviews.

[…] If you don’t think online reviews are important to your business, here’s a study that may change your mind. […]

[…] example, Capterra analyzed the effect of adding reviews for software products and found that conversion rates increased […]

Q1: What is considered a “conversion” exactly? The fact of visiting vendor’s website? Or performing an action (for ex: sign-up) on the vendor’s website?

Q2: “… according to our research, the number of leads that vendors get from Capterra is directly proportional to the number of reviews they have. ” – How can you tell that the increasing conversion rates are the consequence of a higher number of reviews, and not the other way around? The better product gets more users because it’s better. The more users, the higher is the chance that somebody will leave a review.

[…] for business, just about every study or anecdotal case suggests that they are. For example, Capterra analyzed the effect of adding reviews for software products and found that conversion rates increased […]

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