Before we launch into the list of the best reviews system for your site, let’s start by talking about why reviews are so essential for business. It all comes down to social proof.
Social proof isn’t just a term marketers throw around to encourage you to brag about your company, it’s a proven psychological phenomenon whereby individuals build their own assumptions based on the experiences of others. It’s sometimes referred to as herd mentality and can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
We see it best on social media, where a company with a large number of likes and fan interaction is presumed to be more popular than a company with fewer likes and lower levels of interaction. Social proof is used on websites, too.
For example, a company might inform you of the size of their newsletter database or the number of customers they have – you may have seen messages like “become one of 2 million happy customers”. The assumption is that if a large number of people are already subscribed, it must be pretty good!
This is why reviews can be so valuable to a company. A large number of positive reviews can help to convince potential customers that your company is trustworthy and capable. Likewise, a large number of poor reviews could steer people away from your business.
The problem with reviews is that we are more inclined to write one if we are unhappy with the experience. Some customers may feel compelled to write a positive review if they feel they have received unparalleled service, but more often than not, it’s the poor experiences that drive customers to the keyboard.
This is the main reason that so many companies shy away from engaging with review sites. The fear of poor reviews is enough to drive some marketers to bury their heads in the sand. While there are some people who are hellbent on writing poor reviews – or in some cases, downright hilarious ones – it’s important to remember that reviews should be seen as a two-way conversation.
Engaging with your customers and responding to their reviews, good or bad, is an essential part of the marketing mix. By having a voice on the platform, you can straighten out any misunderstandings and also thank the people who took the time to write a positive review.
Here’s an outline of our favourite review sites and how they can help different types of businesses.
Best for SEO: Google My Business
Google My Business is an essential web presence for any company interested in local rankings. If you want to appear on the map for local search results, you need to make sure your listing is accompanied by a number of reviews. Google will give preference to any business that has more than 5 reviews.
Best for Leisure: TripAdvisor
If you run a restaurant, hotel or leisure facility, you want to make sure you are making the most of opportunities offered by TripAdvisor. Glowing 5 star reviews are just the start as you can then build on your reputation to become one of the top providers in your area.
Best for Tradespeople: Checkatrade
For tradespeople, reputation is everything and you will soon find that business snowballs once you have accrued a number of positive reviews. Many tradespeople assume they can get by without a full website by using sites like Checkatrade. This is risky territory as it means that your whole business is at the mercy of an external website. Using a review site to complement your business website is always the best way to go as you can then benefit from organic search traffic.
Best for e-commerce: Amazon
There’s no denying the chokehold that Amazon has on the e-commerce field. Selling through Amazon is a great way to get your products in front of a highly engaged audience, and if the reviews are strong, you can be assured of repeat business thanks to the Amazon rating system.
Best for website integration: Feefo and Trust Pilot
If you want a review service that is easily incorporated into your website design, then Feefo and Trust Pilot are both incredibly simple to use. Feefo has a range of fun badges that can easily be added to your site to display your average rating. Likewise, Trust Pilot uses widgets to let website owners display their reviews and encourage visitors to write their own.
So, which is the best review site for your business?
Quite simply, it’s whatever review site you feel most confident you’ll get your customers to engage with. The best way to get more reviews is to ask. This might mean scheduling follow-up emails after a customer has bought a product or used your service. Reviews should be seen as a way to get valuable feedback on your business. When framed in this way poor reviews are much easier to handle.
And how many review sites should you be on?
However many you feel comfortable managing. Refusing to engage with reviews shows customers that you don’t care about the feedback they take the time to give you, which ultimately will mean more unhappy customers and less sales.
Which reviews system do we recommend to clients?
If there isn’t an industry relevant review system then we often recommend www.reviews.co.uk. The nice thing about this system is it’s super easy to set up and start getting customers to review you. You can link it into your website, automate emails from online purchases and give incentives to encourage customers to participate.