Wednesday 3 November 2021

Have your cake and eat it!

 This flyer was sent out by a business this week...

What a pity.

Let us explain: how much more powerful would that have been had the business in question adopted a Google-focussed solution?

It has sixty-one reviews on Trustpilot, but what does a prospective client see when they search online?

Remember: Mobile searches now outnumber desktop by 2:1 and that number is growing every month

Google. How much more powerful if they had directed their sixty reviewers there? 

How much more credible? 

How much more visible?

So - no excuse - focus on Google. Or is there more to it? We have heard many reasons for going elsewhere - or even doing nothing - over the years. Here are some...

  • Fear. Pure and simple. Fear of the dreaded killer review appearing where it can do the most harm: on Google. There's some perverse logic at work here: a damaging negative is somehow acceptable on Trustpilot or Feefo, because 'it won't do so much harm' ! But why engage with reviews in the first place? To get them seen by as many potential customers as possible, of course. And that means Google. But with a safety mechanism: moderation. 
Employing a moderator boosts the value of your reviews for everyone: the writer of the review (who doesn't want to mislead anyone), the reader (who is relying on the veracity and accuracy of the review to make a crucial choice) and lastly, and self-evidently you, the business owner. 
A professional moderator will read every single review written to your business's website and then interact with whichever of the three parties to the moderation process they need to to, as far as is humanly possible, eradicate any factual errors or statements likely to mislead a reader.
  • Everyone else is with [name of review site]. So much of marketing involves looking at one's most successful competitor and then taking their lead. But here's a massive exception: Google don't have a salesforce where their reviews are concerned, so you're never going to get a call selling Google reviews. It's up to you to work out the right solution for your business. Here's a hint: if it is a service or professional business - as opposed to online product/retail - you need to be focussing all your review efforts on your own website and Google. 
And: your customer data is extremely valuable, so you need, as far as possible, to retain control over it, not be giving it away to a review site.
  • Consumers won't write a review to Google. We nearly left this one out, but so many businesses missed out on the early days of Google reviews because of this popular misconception. Google now hosts over ten times the number of reviews as Yelp, the biggest quoted review site. If you ask a hundred people to write a review, anywhere, you're never going to get 100 reviews. But we commonly - and confidently - advise clients to target to get 50% of their customers to write a review to their website and then 50% of those to copy their review to Google.
  • [name] review site gives us a drop-in widget that is so easy from a tech point-of-view. That's like saying 'I'm going to do what's best/easiest for my web designers rather than what's best for my business'. Google is so demonstrably the end focus of your review management, but you simply cannot afford to run the risk of inviting reviews unmoderated - see 'Killer reviews' - so your web people must be competent to fully implement a review management API, allowing Google to scrape your own reviews to boost your local SEO.
  • If Google is the right place to have our reviews, why bother with our own website? For two main reasons: first, if you are in a high-value service business or one of the professions you need moderation. It's not a 'nice to have' add-on, it's absolutely core. Without moderation it's only a matter of time before a factually inaccurate or potentially misleading review gets published to Google. And those have the potential to stop the phones ringing, it is simply too high a risk to take with your business's hard-won online reputation.
The second reason: owning your own reviews; don't give that valuable data away unless you're getting something equally valuable in return. In the case of Google you will be (an uplift in enquiries), but you will be far better off, both financially and presentationally, owning your own reviews in the case of those displayed on your website.

If any readers can add to this list we would welcome your feedback, simply use the 'Contact us!' box on the right and we'll include your point along with our response right here.

It's never too late!

Finally, resist the temptation to say 'well, we committed to X review site and its been hard work getting all those reviews, so we'll stick with it'.

We have had great success taking businesses with many hundreds of reviews elsewhere and getting them a well-established profile in Google reviews in short order. 

Have your cake (with lots of great reviews - that you own - on your website) and eat it (with lots on Google too).

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