Friday 5 February 2021

HelpHound - let's break down the value

Where's the most value in HelpHound? It's a question we're often asked, so here we are going to take some time out from the pandemic and attempt to answer it.

The first thing to make clear is that different businesses get different levels of benefit depending on how they use HelpHound - we will try to expand on this point with examples as we go along. For that reason we haven't numbered the benefits, they could be in any order, depending on the kind of business you run and just how that business is run. And if you spot any that we have missed, please don't hesitate to let us know by commenting.

The benefits as we - and our clients - see them

  • Displaying independently verified reviews on your website

Reviews on your website? - great. They drive clicks and contacts. Most important of all they're not 'testimonials', they have the inherent credibility gained from having an external moderator and the promise to publish. 'You've hand-picked those reviews?' 'No.' You screen your reviews?' 'No.' 'You mean anyone can write a review whenever they want and you will display it on your website?' 'Yes'. How powerful is that?

On top of that, we find that the quality of the reviews written through HelpHound is pretty universally high - and reviews such as that one above will drive contacts through your website - just read this one and ask yourself 'Does this inspire confidence?'

  • Owning your own reviews

They're your reviews - not ours or anyone else's. To display as you see fit, and where you see fit: anywhere on your website - on your social media - in your marketing, PR and advertising. 

Look at the alternative: you sign up to an independent reviews site because they may look attractive today. But then a better alternative comes along (this has happened to so many businesses with Yelp/Trustpilot/Feefo when Google became the dominant force in reviews) - you lose all the reviews - and the hard work - and have to start all over again. 

In the example above the business has thousands of reviews - but they are hidden away on an obscure reviews site. How much better advised would they have been to get their own reviews to their own website and then to Google?

    • Having credible reviews

    Credibility means having an answer to the following key questions:
    1. Can anyone write a review?
    2. Can anyone write a review at a time of their own choosing?
    3. Do you publish all genuine reviews?
    It's as simple as that - but try applying those three tests to any other solution. The panel above enables your business to answer these three questions, to anyone who visits your website; it shows them:
    • that anyone can write a review - the 'Write a review' button at top right
    • and the same for 'at a time of their own choosing' - anyone can simply click and write a review whenever they like
    • The 'What is HelpHound' button leads straight to a full explanation of our role

    • Getting significant volumes of reviews to Google

    We aim to get one in every two reviews that are written to a client's website across to Google. Absolute numbers will vary depending on the customer flow your business generates but a great rule of thumb is to aim for at least half of your customers to write a review on your website and then half of those to copy their review to Google.
    • Having your reviews moderated 
    No one likes to see unfair, inaccurate or misleading comments on their business published in an online review, anywhere. At the very least they will be irritating and bad for staff morale - and at the other end of the scale they can literally stop the phones ringing.

    The only sure-fire way of preventing this is to have reviews moderated - checked for factual accuracy and misleading statements - pre-publication. All HelpHound reviews are moderated. Besides helping our clients sleep at night moderation is surprisingly 
    • Having an ally who understands the reviews space to appeal against unfair reviews - on any site
    We know the reviews space better than any other organisation on the planet - because we understand all the solutions on the market, not just our own. This means we can advise clients whatever their issue with reviews. An inaccurate or misleading Google review? We'll handle it.
    • Having a constant supply of marketing ammunition

    How much more do potential customers trust your reviews than your more conventional marketing? About three times as much, according to a Harvard Business School survey. So you need them to fuel your social media: tweet them, Instagram them, post them on Facebook - and use them in your mainstream marketing, PR and advertising.

    • Enhancing your business's potential to see stars in search

    With the correct coding, your reviews and review score should have a very good chance of showing up like this.

    • Boosting your chances of appearing in the Google 3-pack

    Statistically, a business will get more clicks and calls if they look great in the Google 3-pack.

    • Having your reviews show up in 'Reviews from the web' in your Google knowledge panel

    The knowledge Panel is where google gets all the basic information about your business - and it scores all your content held there for SEO (see below), including 'Reviews from the web'.

    • Boosting your SEO

    Google's ranking algorithm is obviously a well-guarded secret, but what is no secret at all is that Google values the contents of your knowledge panel. And the most influential of contents? 'Reviews from the web'.

    • Compliance with UK law and Google's terms of service

    Compliance* is oh so boring, but so essential. It's not just that businesses that select customers to write reviews and/or control the timing of those reviews run the risk of CMA action and enforcement (£375,000 fine, anyone?) but the act of non-compliance is so glaringly obvious these days that it will hand a win to your competitors in any pitch. Who wants to do business with someone who doesn't care that they are breaking the law?

    *see 'Further reading' below.

    So - back to the original question: 'How much value to attribute to these advantages?' Let's behave like a marketing director and allocate a monthly £SD value...

    • Reviews on your own website: £25 
    • Owning your own reviews: £5
    • Credibility: £10
    • Significant volumes to Google: £25
    • Moderation: £20
    • Support: £10
    • Marketing ammunition: £10
    • Stars in search: £10
    • Appearing in the Google 3-pack: £10
    • Showing in 'Reviews from the web': £5
    • Boosting your SEO: £15
    • Compliance: £10
    You can easily put your own value on each of these monthly 'values', but the estimates above add up to £150. You might simply value reviews on your own website at £50, reviews to Google at £50, and Moderation at £50 (you would certainly value the latter much higher if it had enabled you to manage a damaging review in that month!).

    But suppose all of this means you transact just one more piece of business every month or attract (or retain) just one more client?

    We rest our case.

    Further reading

    You may interrogate the 1000+ articles on this blog to find those that are relevant or of interest, but if you only read two more, let it be these:
    • Moderation: this takes the fear factor out of engaging with reviews
    • Compliance: with the UK law and Google's terms of service

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