Online reviews are one of the most effective marketing tools for your business. Plus, they’re free!
- First party reviews are given directly on your website or by letter, email, or other direct communication to you.
- Third party reviews are given through platforms like Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
- You need both first AND third party reviews.
When you can get your customers to publicly share their love for you and your products/services, the impact is incredibly powerful. Reviews not only benefit your customers, they also benefit you as a business owner. You can use them to learn a lot about how your customers perceive your business and make improvements accordingly.
Thoughts on First Party and Third Party Reviews
- First party reviews show that people are on your site, using and (hopefully) enjoying your products/services. People like to see this type of direct engagement on your website. First party reviews are also great for SEO. Google tends to rank first party reviews more prominently than third party reviews. You also have control over which first party reviews display on your website. Businesses tend to delete any that are less than 5 star reviews. While you may not want to display 1 star reviews, resist the temptation to delete all reviews that are not 5 stars. Your reviews may come across as less-than-genuine if there are only stellar 5 star reviews on display. Reminder: Don’t forget to respond to any and all reviews!
- Third party reviews tend to generate more trust because they're tied to a person's account for verification. On platforms like Google and Facebook, you can actually see who posted the review. People read those reviews and base their purchasing decisions on them. Research shows that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Plus, being featured on online review sites helps your business be more discoverable. When people search for your products/services, you increase your chances of being found in their search by way of your third party reviews. Then, the reviews themselves can drive traffic to your website. Reminder: Always respond to your reviews!
- One more thought to consider about first party versus third party reviews is that YOU own your first party reviews. Third party reviews that you get on Facebook or Google are owned and copyrighted by them. This means they can take them down at anytime, for whatever reason.
I Challenge You!
I find that so often businesses fall short when it comes to managing their reviews. They either forget to request them, neglect to respond to them, or don’t think to display any on their website. I challenge you for the entire month of June to pay special attention to your reviews. This could mean asking at least 2 customers to post a review for your business on Facebook or Google, or it could mean going through your reviews and responding to every one you've received so far this year. Set a goal for yourself based on where you are currently with managing your business’s reputation through your online reviews.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.