You hear it all the time—online reviews matter for your business. Today, reviews have replaced a large potion of word-of-mouth recommendations. Why should a customer wait for a friend to answer their questions when they can find thousands of opinions online with just a few clicks? There is so much information about the importance of reviews, but what should your review strategy be?

Let’s break down the benefits of on-site reviews vs. third party reviews, and the steps you should take to strengthen your online reputation.

Interested in knowing what third-party review sites are most important for the home services industry? Download our guide to “Understanding Third Party Review Sites” and start building up your online presence.

On-Site Reviews

What on-site reviews do for your business:

  • Build Site Authority Written reviews increase the amount of unique content published on your site, which influences your search rankings. Search engine crawlers comb through the internet to rank sites, and the more content your business generates in the form of web page additions, blog posts, and customer reviews, the more likely a search engine will favor your site.
  • Act as Personal Recommendation According to BrightLocal’s 2016 “Local Consumer Review Survey”, 84% of consumers view online reviews in the same regard as a personal recommendation. Make sure your website is a destination for positive reviews, because customers expect to read them.
  • Give You Star Power Buyers love that five-star rating. Customers, on average, view a company’s star rating as one of the top influencers in the decision-making process. If you have a five-star rating on your website, a customer’s more likely to stay on your site, look around, and consider your services.

Third-Party Reviews

What third-party reviews do for your business:

  • Increase Site Traffic Businesses with strong third-party reviews experience a high click through rate to their site. BrightLocal reports that over half of consumers (54%) will visit a website after reading positive reviews.
  • Build Trust Reviews on independent review sites are seen as more authentic by customers looking to make a purchasing decision. The more reviews you have on third-party sites, the more legitimate your company seems, and customers believe they’re getting an honest impression of your company.
  • Maintain Competition Everyone values third party reviews— customers, search engines, and your competition. If your company isn’t listed on review website, your customers will find a company that is.

Where Should You Start? Your Review Action Plan

Need a plan for getting more reviews? For a rock-solid online reputation, you need to be building up both on-site and third-party reviews. Think of them as complementary components of your review strategy, as both are important to prospective customers. Don’t be stressed because your review game isn’t where it should be. Here’s your action plan for stepping up your online reviews:

1. Set a Goal. The best way to set a target number is to look to your competition. If your competitors have few to no reviews at all, then getting 5-10 is a great place to start. If you’re in a competitive market, 30 should be your target in the first 6 months. After you reach your initial goal, averaging 2 reviews a month for a smaller business, and 5 reviews a month for a larger one is an attainable goal. Remember, it’s important to exercise caution when building up your online presence. Too many reviews in a short period of time can seem suspicious to customers.

2. Start your Campaign. Here are different ways you can ask for reviews

- Send review requests

- Create customer surveys with built-in reviews

- Ask while you’re on the job

3. Engage with your reviews. It’s not enough to simply receive reviews, you also have to engage with them. Write a quick thank you reply for positive reviews, and address negative ones calmly, professionally, and ask to speak with them offline.

It’s important to execute your review action plan on the right review sites. Download our guide “Understanding Third Party Review Sites” to get the lowdown on which sites to focus your efforts on.