Testimonials or Reviews: What Works Better in B2B Marketing?

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A testimonial or a review is an endorsement from a customer that can help you to improve your conversion rate. In this blog post, we’ll discuss testimonials and reviews in B2B marketing. We’ll look at what testimonials are, why they work so well for B2B companies, and how to use testimonials successfully. If you’re looking for a way to increase conversions on your website, then read on!

Why do you need customer endorsements?

Connecting and engaging with customers is crucial for the success of any B2B company. However, to establish and maintain such a relationship, it’s vital to use the correct marketing channels and methods. Testimonials and reviews are two well-known channels that can boost your B2B marketing immensely. For instance, companies like Hubspot use such content to boost client engagement, thereby generating lots of leads.  

Consider these stats — 97% of B2B buyers feel customer reviews to be highly significant. Furthermore, testimonials can generate increased revenue by around 62%. So, it’s beneficial to capitalize on this content to grow your business.

Confusion between the two relatable tactics is reasonably expected. This post aims at distinguishing testimonials from reviews and how each type of content can affect B2B marketing.

Both reviews and testimonials can be used as a great marketing and sales enablement tools! They can be applied as an additional boost in trust in the lower stages of the sales cycle. Especially in the mid-funnel marketing and the lower funnel marketing, they work great!

Why do you need customer endorsements

One of the biggest mistakes that you could do is only using them in one area, i.e., your website but not emailing it out or putting it into social media posts & blog articles! The testimonials are there for you to send everywhere and anywhere!!! You should aim high with testimonials because they work great if put in front of lots of people who have never heard about your product before!  They’re also very powerful when used right which means always asking customers if they agree to share their testimonial publicly (i.e.; Facebook, Twitter etc.)

In my previous jobs we used them these ways:

Use them on the website

When you have a couple of good testimonials, put them directly on the homepage. The same accounts of reviews, often the review sites often embeddable badges that you can implement on your site.

Another best practice is to spread and sprinkle them across the pages and sections so that your statement is immediately approved and proven by the third-party testimonial.

lovefarm testimonial Testimonials or Reviews: What Works Better in B2B Marketing?
Source: belovefarm.com

This testimonial for Be Love Farm takes the form of a video interview. To persuade others to join their organization, volunteer Mark discusses just how much he’s enjoying working on this farm with its happy animals and beautiful nature scenes!

Use testimonials & reviews in emails

Include them in 1:1 sales emails or regular newsletters you’re sending out. It’s definitely a third-party opinion your prospects are interested in hearing about!

Enhance them to something bigger

To convince a customer who gave you a testimonial to work with you on a full-blown case study is not too hard. I recommend always going for the bigger outcome since this will result in a nice pdf or webpage you can use on so many more occasions.

Use them in presentations

You can use testimonials during your webinar or conference presentation if you’re pitching for a client who wants their customer’s testimonial “on the record”.

Use them in social media

The testimonials are great for your LinkedIn company page. If you’re getting testimonials from customers then try to ask them if they agree to share the testimonial on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. That way you can get the testimonial exposure on a much larger scale.

testimonials & reviews in emails

Testimonials or reviews: the differences

If you aren’t an expert in the content marketing field, it’s common to get confused amongst these two terms. In most cases, testimonial and review are interchangeable. However, there is a catch.

A testimonial is a detailed customer experience during the process of dealing with and buying your product or service. Significantly, this content goes directly on your website. But, testimonials can also exist on third-party websites and social media.

By contrast, a review is an assessment of your product or service based on the customer’s experience with it. A review is also testimonial in essence. But, it appears on third-party websites like Google and Yelp. Such content comprises the customer’s experience with your business or service. And this too goes directly to your website via testimonials sharing widgets/badges (or whatever you call them).

A review, commonly known as a customer review, is an entry of your product or service made by a consumer. Consequently, this content appears predominantly on third-party websites.

Testimonial Review
Used on website, brochure, business catalogIt appears on other websites
It can be in video form as per company strategyUsually in text format as the customer writes it
More detailed and professionalMore diverse and objective
Table: Testimonial vs. Review

It is crucial to note that your clients or customers also write testimonials. However, you have complete control over their display.

In the case of reviews, your customer can write about the experience on a social media website or e-commerce platform. Thus, business owners do not have control over customer reviews.

 testimonials B2b

How to use testimonials

To illustrate testimonials’ effectiveness, let’s look at this testimonial about HubSpot.

“Hubspot is an all-inclusive marketing platform that helps us manage our online presence more efficiently.”  — Michael Kors, CEO of Mango Media Group

This testimonial has the credibility of a customer who actually used your services or product before. Consequently, it’s a testimonial by definition. However, in this case, HubSpot has chosen to display it as a review on their website.

In other words, testimonials are mostly displayed about the customer’s experience with your product or service during his/her dealing with you. On the flip side, reviews talk more about how your product or service worked for your customer.

By now, you must be clear about testimonials and reviews — what they are and how best to use them in Browsing websites. You know that testimonials and reviews can boost sales enormously by increasing conversions on your website. However, there is a catch: testimonial content only works when they come from your customers.

In a nutshell, testimonials are excellent for showcasing customer experiences with your product or service on browsing websites. Reviews work better when you wish to increase client engagement and generate more leads in the process of doing so. It is also crucial that testimonial content works only when it comes from actual clients/customers.

review b2b marketing

Which One Works Better: testimonials or reviews?

It is essential to realize that testimonials and reviews can prove equally crucial for B2B companies.

Significance of Testimonials for B2B marketing

Firstly, B2B companies can and should request testimonials from their clients. Obviously only of those who they believe have a good working relationship with. However, it is vital to provide answers to common questions beforehand. 

Questions regarding time commitment, the review process before publishing, and the prior idea of the testimonial expectations are some general queries. If you can address such questions, most clients will agree to proceed further.

If the client is comfortable featuring on a video, you can opt for this marketing format. In short, testimonials provide these advantages.

  1. They improve your product/service credibility
  2. Testimonials increase conversion rates
  3. They present your services positively
  4. They improve your customer engagement
  5. They extend the length of how long customers stay with you (and therefore improve CLTV, etc.)

It should be important to mention that testimonials also boost your search engine rankings. Search engines value testimonial content highly because it is more authentic and therefore trustworthy than any copy you would write about yourself or your product/service on your website.

Testimonials help build trust by showing clients that others have worked with you before successfully. However, this only works when the testimonial has been written by a client/customer.

Significance of reviews for B2B marketing

Firstly, they provide more information about your product or service than testimonials do. This is particularly critical when you wish for clients/potential customers to understand what you offer before making up their minds on whether to contact you or not.

Secondly, testimonials stand apart from reviews in that testimonial content only works when it comes directly from your customer by definition. However, with a review, the business owner can control where they are posted and how much exposure they get online to increase conversions.

Reviews advantages

Reviews provide these advantages:

  • They increase customer engagement on browsing websites through social media platforms
  • They serve as a validation of your product or service value after purchase by customers themselves
  • They help with your customer service process
  • Reviews are particularly effective when you have an existing client base who is willing to use testimonial content on their testimonials.
  • They are often one of the first things to be found about your company since they are published on high-ranking/high-domain authority sites. Therefore they are picked up much fast by Google.

Customer reviews are independent of the business. B2B companies do not ask to submit such reviews.  Thus, reviews are often seen as an honest opinion about a B2B product or service.

However, there are cases when companies incentivised their customers to leave reviews on third-party sites. Happened to me in regards to a software company that offered me Amazon vouchers when I leave a positive review on captera.com or G2.com.

Since reviews are independent, they impact lead generation directly. Note this — 94% of customers prefer a business with positive reviews.

Negative reviews can impact the reputation of your business. However, B2B customers are detail-oriented and often don’t fall prey to false negative reviews.

Negative reviews can also impact your customer service process if they are left unanswered or dealt with poorly. Therefore, it is important for B2B companies to monitor their product/service review pages closely since this has a direct effect on the overall sales numbers of the business.

A blend of positive and negative reviews can improve interest in your business. For instance, diversified opinions about your business can provide greater credibility.

Sales leads often view negative reviews as a sign of high authenticity. Consider this — a business with a 4.2-star rating imparts more trust over one with a perfect 5 stars. Why? Such reviews and ratings imply that the business is transparent.

In addition, a blend of positive and negative reviews helps clients understand how a business reacts to appreciation and criticism. Overall, such a mixture can help establish your business as a genuine entity that strives hard to satisfy its clients. 

Testimonial B2B SMB marketing

Who wins?

The answer is testimonials.

Firstly, testimonial content works only when the customer/client has agreed to feature on your testimonial page as a source of reference for other potential clients. It would be unethical and highly unprofessional if you were to request testimonials from customers without their full consent after purchase or during a working relationship with them.

Secondly, testimonials provide a clear idea of what you offer and why clients should hire your services. It helps potential customers understand the value by reading testimonial content from previous clients/customers who have worked with you before.

Thirdly, testimonial content is usually more detailed than reviews as they include information about how the testimonial author got to know about your business, and testimonial content also provides a valuable insight into the working relationship between you and the testimonial source.

It is therefore clear that testimonials stand out from reviews as they provide more information concerning what exactly it is that you offer by giving valuable insights into each previous customer’s experience with your company or services.  

Reviews are a bit uncontrollable and can work as a double-edged sword. However, a mix of positive and negative reviews can be beneficial to generate client interest.

Thus, what works better is entirely up to your marketing tactic. A good mix of both the content can contribute to your B2B marketing.

Best practices testimonials

Testimonials are detailed and provide a wonderful insight into your business. Thus, you can capitalize on their benefits by designing a systematic approach.

First, it is vital to decide the channels where you post the testimonials. The most common places are as follows.

  • Website
  • Emails
  • Print marketing materials
  • Social media account

Since testimonials are highly important for B2B companies, it’s propitious to post them on your homepage. In some cases, you can dedicate a separate landing page titled, ‘Our Customers’ to post client testimonials. 

Email marketing is a benign way to integrate testimonials in your newsletters. The same applies to offline product brochures.

Finally, you can use channels like YouTube, Instagram, or LinkedIn to promote video testimonials.

How to get testimonials?

It’s important to get testimonials from customers for your small business website. It can be tough, but we’re here with some tips and tricks on how you can make it easier!

There are two main ways to get testimonials on your small business website:

You can ask for them by contacting returning customers and asking if they would be willing to provide a short feedback text. 

Or you could post this information in the comments section of social media channels like Facebook or Instagram; it’s also worth checking out what type of design others have where there are space attributes such as customer photos, videos (especially ones showing how well something works), links from other sites mentioning your products/services, etc. so that people know exactly who relies upon these before deciding whether purchase anything!

Reviews work well

Best practices review

Compared to testimonials, you do not have much control over reviews as a B2B marketer. Still, you can communicate and encourage customers to leave a positive review on prominent external platforms.

These are the most common places where you will find customer reviews.

  • Upcity
  • UpFirms
  • TrustRadius
  • G2
  • Captera

People, including B2B buyers, pay more attention to reviews as they are generally unbiased. Thus, you can get more leads without much investment.

Higher positive reviews can build customer trust in your business. Thus, your reply to each review can prove crucial to improving the company’s reputation.

Summing up

It’s no doubt that testimonials and reviews are both important for your B2B marketing. The difference lies in their end utility and benefit.

Testimonials help maintain a good reputation. On the other hand, reviews are essential to increase lead volume. Thus, it is beneficial to use both these tactics effectively.

However, do not feel discouraged due to bad reviews. Try to approach customers who have had a pleasant experience with your business. After all, B2B or B2C, customer relations are paramount.

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Author: Richard Buettner
B2B SaaS marketing a challenge? Not for me! With my proven track record, I'll execute inbound and content strategies that deliver. Let's grow your business - and enjoy the ride!

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