How to use software review sites (11 top tips)

Updated on 5th September 2021

Every review is a vote for or against your brand. Make the best review sites work for you.

The opinions of our peers play a huge role in our purchasing decisions. Every review is a vote for or against your brand and holds more weight than the claims you make in your advertising.

There’s a wealth of research that shows this extends to review sites and affiliate reviews. Going from 3 to 4 stars or receiving special praise for a cherished feature can make the difference between a sale, or not. Give added visibility. Added trust.

It’s no surprise then that a recent HubSpot survey found that 1/3 of respondents said review sites played an important role in their purchasing decision-making process.

So, if reviews are so important, how can you get more of them?

11 ways to get more reviews

  1. Social proof pop-ups
  2. Know when to ask
  3. Push notifications
  4. Display reviews on your website
  5. Leverage customer success stories
  6. Use incentives
  7. Include a CTA on posted orders
  8. Reply to reviews
  9. Reach out to affiliates
  10. Release updates
  11. Bonus tactic: Tap into independent review sites

The emphasis is not only on positive ratings and reviews, but getting a large number of them.

How and when you ask for reviews can make all the difference on both fronts.

Tactic 1: Social proof pop-ups

Tools such as Fomo and Trustisto tap into the power of personal recommendations to boost your website’s conversion. These tiny social proof pop-ups showcase actual buyer behaviour to show that your store is packed with customers and to direct visitors to popular actions to want them to take.

We gave Fomo 89% in our review with its mini seals of approval delivering up to a 30% increase in conversion rate. Not only can they be used to repurpose reviews, but placed on key pages to encourage others to do the same.

Tactic 2: Ask when customers are their happiest

Timing is everything. Too soon and scores will barely get going. It’s far better to ask for the review when the user is celebrating an achievement or has just bought from you.

For example, using an in-app messaging tool such as Userlist or Customer.io, you can use completed tasks or glowing NPS scores to trigger emails thanking and inviting them to make their praise public. Meanwhile, even review sites let you upgrade to send automated review invitations every time somebody buys from your website or one of your physical stores.

Another path to positive praise is seeking out regular feedback. Check-in, be curious and make it your mission to solve their problems.

Tactic 3: Push notifications

Asking for an app rating with a push notification is hardly groundbreaking but it does work.

A common tactic is to use a tool such as Userlist or Customer.io to ask users how they rate your app. Choose “Happy” and encourage they to leave a review. Choose “Unhappy” and invite them to tell you why.

Make sure not to do so too often as it’ll run the risk of unsubscribes.

Tactic 4: Embed review scores in your marketing

A whopping 74% of Trustpilot visitors say they’re more likely to buy from a website that’s displaying their reviews onsite.

Boost your conversion rates, increase basket size and entice more reviews by embedding a review site widget on your site. It’s easy to do so in your email signatures, social media accounts and newsletters too. Right down to an individual product level.

Many review sites will charge you for the privilege but the boost in conversion can pay for itself many times over.

Tactic 5: Publish customer success stories

Case studies are often dry, drawn-out and inauthentic. Customer success stories, on the other hand, are full of passion and powerful before-and-after results.

These enticing snippets are often traded out of love for your product and in exchange for a backlink to their site. They can also be a gateway to more reviews. Encourage your customers to cross-post their experience on multiple software review sites – the old create-once, promote-many-times over philosophy of content marketing. Just be careful not to fall foul of their terms of service.

Tactic 6: Incentivise more customer reviews

Sometimes your customers just need a little more encouragement. Discount codes, merchandise, upgrades and other rewards can work wonders.

Even the big review sites use them too. G2, for example, acquires new reviewers for its site by reaching out to business software superusers, offering them $10 for their first in-depth critique of their favourite tool. It’s no wonder it’s sitting on 1.5m reviews!

Tactic 7: Include a CTA with every posted order

The COVID-19 pandemic was the making of QR (quick response) codes. We’ve seen companies use them to speed up reordering process, display full supply chain transparency and, yes, encourage reviews.

A really simple but effective use of the technology.

Tactic 8: Reply to all reviews, good and bad

Welcome all feedback as a learning experience. The negative ones can reap the richest insights and can even be turned around if a customer feels listened too. Respond and you could see a +0.7 boost in your 0-5 star score according to Google and it’s not unusual to find customers turn a negative review into a positive one if a resolution is found.

Treat every review as a chance to jump in and have a heart-to-heart conversation with your user.

Tactic 9: Set up an affiliate programme

Tools such as Rewardful, First Promoter and Referral Candy are an all-in-one toolkit to run your own affiliate, referral or influencer program. They integrate with all the major ecommerce and payment platforms and take care of the entire journey, from sign-up, tracking and dishing out rewards. Affiliates are well-versed in giving detailed reviews of products. The more authentic, the better for all involved. Keep them abreast of your latest features to keep reviews fresh and turn your biggest fans into your best marketers. You’ll soon find your reviews multiply on autopilot.

Tactic 10: Release frequent product updates

Your review scores should evolve, as per your software.

Reviews can be a great source of inspiration for your product roadmap and customers will appreciate seeing their feedback turned in action. Be sure to shout about your product updates, with blog posts, customer emails and by claiming and updating the review pages themselves.

Doing so will likely see your ratings both increase and improve after an update.

Bonus tactic: Tap into independent review sites

Don’t underestimate the power of smaller, independent review websites such as Surges.

Surges’ marketing SaaS reviews are 100% honest and written by a real marketer… me!

I aim to be an antidote to fake reviews that are prolific across the web. Sites such as ours usually have an impassioned following and carry more trust in our words. We’re also happy to tell your backstory too and get a real kick out of championing fellow independent makers.

Feel free to reach out if you’re building something special and I’ll be happy to lend my tiny platform to yours.

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