If you are a HelpHound client you are doing everything right already. If you are not yet a client - and you want to look like Foxtons on Google, but with major added benefits (read on) - speak to us now.
The recent switch that Foxtons have made: from inviting their clients to post reviews to AllAgents to asking them to write them to Google is so topical (and high profile - see PIE) that we felt we should comment.
First: we agree that Google is the only external site that matters since the independent review sites dropped out of search. We have been saying this for over two years now: This article was written in December 2013 - and the advice contained in it - focus on Google - was right then and remains correct - and current - now.
Foxtons already - within two weeks as PIE says - look great on Google (they will almost certainly have gone back to the clients who wrote reviews on AllAgents and asked those who posted 5* reviews there to copy them to Google). They have certainly put the final nail in the coffin of the argument that 'Clients won't write two reviews' and the old 'We find it difficult to get our clients to copy their review to Google' once and for all.
But - and there is a big BUT...
The first issue we do have with this strategy is that it bypasses a major opportunity: to get credible and verified reviews to - and displayed on - their own branch websites (these currently host testimonials).
Let us explain further: because it's very important in the context of the potential client's journey from initial search to ultimately picking up the phone and becoming an inbound enquiry.
Here is a line from a recent email to HelpHound from a client of ours:
"These reviews have been added to our Google page this week, Please can you add them to our HelpHound module?"
The answer, of course, was 'No' - Google rightly don't like their content being copied (and it's against their T&Cs). But there was a wider - and much more important point underlying the request: that it's the reviews on our client's modules that are driving business.
Clients will recognise this as the header which every visitor to their website sees above their reviews: it contains a considerable amount of information but the most powerful message is that the reviews are independently verified and that we promise to publish all final reviews. Potential clients can also see the 'write your review' button which carries another important message: any client can write a review whenever they want. This takes reviews well away from the 'invitation only' concept of testimonials which so dilutes their power.
Read this recent article for the whole story, but the message from our clients in estate agency is the same which ever way you look at it:
'Looking great on Google - in concert with all our other marketing - drives people to our website. It's the independently verified reviews we show them there - combined with our ability to reassure potential clients that they are not filtered - that are driving the enquiries.'
Credibility - such an important concept
So: Foxton's have done the very best they can. They have - as far as we can see - asked anyone who has written a positive review - to AllAgents or directly - to write a review on Google. But without an external independent mechanism like Dialogue, that solution lacks two key elements that become crucial when facing a potential client (in person or on your website) and at their core is the ability to say 'Yes' to these two questions:
- Are all your clients able to write a review to your website, whenever they choose?
- Are you displaying all their opinions there?
If you would like to read even more on this topic read: HelpHound's Dialogue™ v. D.I.Y.