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From customers to advocates: B2B review campaigns that work

You know that moment when you're considering a new piece of software, and you decide to turn detective? Yep, we've all been there — and so have your prospects. It’s a software jungle out there, so how do you make sure that your ICPs find the path for you? 

I've been on a quest to master the art of generating online reviews in the B2B and SaaS space, working with software companies up against some industry giants. Over time, I've learned what works and what doesn't. So, I'm here to share my successful campaigns and the lessons learned along the way.

So if you’re ready to up your B2B review campaign game on G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, and similar platforms, you came to the right place. Let’s dive in!

Here’s what I’m going to cover in this blog article and why. Feel free to skip around, I won't get mad 😉

  • When to start: is it ever too early or too late to start gathering online reviews?
  • Timing: when you have the best chance of getting your customers to advocate for your brand.
  • Messaging: how to multiply the effectiveness of your well-timed campaign with thought-through messaging.
  • Incentivization: how to encourage buyers to leave reviews beyond Amazon vouchers.
  • Examples: some of my most successful review campaigns with real performance data. 
  • Why gather reviews: if you’re not quite sure why reviews are important in B2B marketing, start here.

When to start

You might wonder, "Is it ever too early or too late to start gathering online reviews?" The truth is, there's never a wrong time to get your customers talking. 

In my experience, in the early stages (Seed or Series A), founders have a pretty close-knit relationship with their early customers — so does the rest of the team. So there’s really no better time to get them advocating for you. 

But what if you're past the early stage? Is it ever too late? Well, as they say, the best time to start was yesterday, but the second best is today. I believe it's never too late to kickstart your review-gathering journey, though there are certain times you might want to avoid, which we'll cover in the next section.

Timing ⏱️

The single best time to run review campaigns is between 2 pm and 3 pm on 30 February. 

Okay, but seriously. Timing is really important. So let’s talk about calendar-related timing and behavior triggers. 


Calendar timing

You should choose a time for your ad-hoc, bulk review campaigns that amplify their success. The end of the year is prime time as people feel more generous and are more willing to write a review. You get bonus brownie points if you choose a time that naturally brings the messaging — more about this next.


Behavior triggered

If you have semi-good data and a marketing automation system in place, I strongly recommend that you set up an automated review-gathering campaign that triggers based on customer behavior. This will help with drip-feeding the review platforms with new content. Plus, once you set this up, there’s very little maintenance needed, which is great for a small, resource-poor team. 

Some of the commonly used triggers are: after renewal or repurchase, after upsell or upgrade, or based on a positive net Promoter Score (NPS). My favorite, however, is the “milestone-based” approach. 

Let’s say that your SaaS allows customers to collect donations or membership payments for their services — like Ko-fi or Patreon. How cool, do you think your users would feel if you triggered an automation when they’ve received $100 in donations? I bet they’d leave you a positive review if you asked for it at this joyful moment. 



Avoid times when you know that your audience will be out of the office e.g. summer break in education, Thanksgiving and Independence Day weekends in the US and Canada, Christmas season, Chinese New Year — you get the idea. 

I’d also avoid asking for public feedback during transitional times, for example, if your prices have just increased, you’re experiencing downtime or a particularly bad bug, or right after a big change — like an acquisition or rebrand. 

Messaging 💌

The CEO wants more online reviews is not a good enough reason — at least not for your users. Come up with a good reason to reach out to the user and ask for a review. 

With behavior-triggered workflows, this is easy, because the customer has done something that grants a touchpoint. 

With ad-hoc, bulk review campaigns, you might need to work a bit harder to come up with the ”Why?”. Also, keep the user in focus: it’s okay to mention that the online review will help you reach more potential users and build your business — but this will hardly be a good enough reason for the user. We’ll talk about incentives next. 

Collect your bonus brownie points if you tied timing and messaging:

18 April - Customer Appreciation Day

Come up with messaging around how you appreciate customer loyalty and how you’d appreciate a review. Probably good to build in a discount or gift card. 

A few weeks before Thanksgiving

Similar to the previous one, talk about being thankful and build in some sort of incentive. Remember that Thanksgiving is not an international thing. 

End of the year (Nov-Dec)

I love aligning Black Friday and holiday shopping season messaging campaigns with different incentives. You will see some examples of this shortly. 

Anniversary of founding

We all love an underdog, and especially in the early days, users might be quicker to give you a glowing review after watching a heartfelt video from the founding story.

Avoid force-tieing messaging and timing: for example, asking for a “show of love” around Valentine’s Day might feel a bit cringe and artificial. 

Incentivization 🤑

A few years ago, giving away a $15-$20 Amazon voucher for reviews went a long way and many review platforms doubled down on this. 

On G2, you get $500 — if I remember correctly — to spend on reviews if you are on their lowest-tier plan. You can, of course, top it up any time. Gartner Digital Markets also offers something like this: they finance your initial review gathering efforts — don’t quote me on this but I think they offer up to 200 x $20 Amazon vouchers.

But everybody and their mother is doing this. I sometimes see companies offer $50- or even $100 vouchers for a review. I don’t know man… I don’t think that’s sustainable. 

And if the platform doesn’t offer this sort of incentivization natively, it is a pain to figure out who did and did not write a review and send them the voucher. 

So instead, here are some alternatives you can try as an incentive:

Works regardless of tracking:

  • Donate to charity for every new review
  • Plant a tree for every new review (through TreeApp or MoreTrees)

If you can track reviews:

  • Unlock a feature: give early access to a new feature or paid functionality
  • Lock in price: if your SaaS has built-in annual price increases, offer to lock in this year’s price if X number of employees from the organization leave a review — this works especially well for mid-market and enterprise reviews

Think outside of the box and offer a genuinely thoughtful incentive. I’m sure we can think of other ideas beyond pumping more money into Amazon. 

Examples 👇

Now for the fun part: I’d like to show you the results of two of the most successful campaigns I have run so far — and keep rinsing and repeating. 


$20 contribution to your shopping cart

In November 2022, I realized that the Gartner Digital Markets account that I managed had a review incentivization allowance. Huh! Free money! Well… sort of.

So I set up a small email campaign for a few hundred users (based on recent NPS score data) and set it live within a few hours of picking up the ticket. 

Reviews started pouring in as soon as the campaign launched and the results were astonishing. So much so that I decided to repeat the campaign in a couple of weeks — filtering out contacts who clicked over from the first email. 

email performance metrics screenshot

This specific Hubspot instance that I managed had around 20% open rate and 6% CTR (if I remember right). So the email health stats alone looked fan-tastic — but ultimately, we wanted to generate new reviews. And that we did: after both campaigns ended, we had a whopping 147 new reviews on Capterra — bringing us to 770 overall. 

Performance stats

  • Email open rate: between 20% and 41%
  • Email CTR: between 18% and 38%
  • New reviews: 147 (19% of all reviews as of exiting the business)
  • Send to review rate: 6%

Why this campaign worked

  • Timing: these emails hit the users’ inboxes during major shopping seasons.
  • Messaging: the emails told the customer not only the amount they would get for a review but also exactly what they might spend it on Black Friday Amazon deals and last-minute Christmas shopping.
  • Incentivization: pretty self-explanatory.
  • Good email marketing practices but this could have its own blog article.


$5 to charity for every new G2 review

End of 2020 – January 2021, I was struggling to get customers to spend 15-20 minutes writing a G2 review for the business I worked for. G2 reviews are generally a big ask and in this case, I wasn’t able to throw much money at the problem either. So I thought, let’s try something different: let’s give $5 per new review in January to charity. 

So off I popped to write an email and send it out to some of our users (based on NPS and some other characteristics I can’t talk about). I think this campaign also had an in-app message element but because this was so long ago, I don’t have the exact details. 

I absolutely loved running this campaign — it just felt good. And it worked so well: by the end of January, we had 22 new G2 reviews which — if you work for a smaller company and run the G2 account, you will know — is borderline unbelievable without paying a fortune. 

Performance stats

Sorry, as I said, I’m foggy on the details but…

  • New reviews: 22 (10% of all reviews as of exiting the business)
  • Cost: $110 for charity
  • Context: earlier this year, I ran a classic, Amazon voucher-based campaign that got 31 reviews (15% of all reviews as of exiting the business) — the caveat is, of course, that our database has grown since the campaign earlier. This campaign “cost” $775 in G2-supplied vouchers — let’s not even talk about how much a paid G2 account costs…

Why this campaign worked

  • Timing: we did an email blast in December and in January as a reminder.
  • Messaging: we played on the heartstrings of the contacts and apart from helping ourselves, we gave back to the community. 
  • Incentivization: do something good, even if you’re not directly going to benefit from it.

Jump to wrap-up >>

Why gather reviews in B2B?

Are online reviews important for B2B brands? Is word-of-mouth marketing (WoM) through online review gathering more of a “B2C thing”? Interestingly, it’s still debated amongst B2B marketers whether reviews should play a role in their brand-building exercises.

I’m not very keen on a strict B2C/B2B separation, because I think most things can be translated across if you know your audience well and if you have a good idea.

But especially in the case of online reviews, I strongly believe they are crucial for success in B2B — let me explain why. 


People by from people — not from brands

In this context, what I mean is that your brand can put out as many nicely engineered marketing messages, well-practiced sales pitches, and even in-house-written case studies, and your prospect will always want to hear from the customers who have already bought and tested your products. 

If you can get your customers to sing your praises on independent platforms, that builds more trust than you shoving curated case studies down your prospects’ email inboxes. 


Multi-touch, multi-buyer journeys

You’ve probably heard many different stats around how many touches (both from marketing and sales) it takes for a prospect to “put their hands up” and express interest. I have commonly seen 20+ touches when looking at B2B buyers in various HubSpot accounts — in fact, I distinctly remember a meaty lead that had 27 tracked touches before they reached out to sales for a demo. And that’s just what I could see of their activity. 

The B2B buyer journey is not only bulti-touch but it’s also multi-buyer. According to Gartner’s research, the B2B buyer committee’s size can be anything from 6 to 10 — or even more — depending on the complexity of the solution.

I could quote G2 or TrustRadius research on how much of the buyer journey is spent browsing review sites — and I do encourage you to google it — but I think common sense dictates that with 20+ touches and 6+ buyers, at least one review site visit will happen during every single buyer journey. 


Technical stuff

While G2, TrustRadius, and Gartner platforms allow for more in-depth opinion sharing, short review sites like Google, Trustpilot, and ReviewsIO have another purpose — even though you might feel tempted to ignore them. 

All of these review sites can have positive SEO implications as there are some interlinking and unlinked brand mentions that can boost your rankings. In fact, some of these review sites build SEO benefits into their pricing, e.g. Trustpilot. 

Secondly, some of these platforms — not just Google Reviews — partner with Google Merchant Center to enable Seller Ratings on your organic search results and paid ads. Star ratings on your ads can result in a 24% CTR and 26% conversion rate increase, and consequently, lower cost-perclick/conversion and higher ad rankings. 

So while these technical reasons might not be the main argument for generating reviews across multiple platforms, they are important considerations. 

Back to the top >>

It’s a wrap 💝

So that’s all folks. I hope this article came out on time for your first review campaign project and it feels less daunting now. If you’ve been running review campaigns for a while, I hope I planted some new ideas and you’ll be more successful with these tips. 

Also, if all my ideas seem tired and you have better ways of generating online WoM, it’d be so fantastic if you got in touch and helped me get better at marketing. 


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