Whether you're new to the review platform market, well-seasoned yet searching, or if you just want to make sure you're getting the most out of your deal, this guide will go through a handy review demo checklist to guarantee you get the best.
Are you shopping around for a review platform to demo? So you know the benefits of collecting, publishing, and managing reviews (if you don't we've got you covered), but with all the options out there, choosing the right platform can seem a bit daunting.
The search is made a little easier by most platforms offering review demo trials. That said, go in well-informed to speed up the search process, and go in savvy so you know the jargon before settling on your best-suited platform.
Here are 7 tips you should consider before demo-ing a review platform:
1) Review ownership
It seems like it should go without saying that your reviews are your own, but sadly that's not always the case. It doesn't matter if the review platform can offer you the world with sprinkles on top, if you don't actually own your reviews once handing over your money, then avoid that platform.
Tip no.1 - make sure the platform lets you own your reviews
2) Seller Rating & stars
The next step to take is to determine whether the review platform is a licensed Google Review Partner. The whole purpose of joining a review platform is to simplify the collection process at your end, enable you to easily manage your reviews, and quite rightly get perks with those reviews.
A licensed Google Review Partner is authorised to display your Seller Rating in Google Ads (paid ads), and display stars in organic searches, which is not possible through independent collection. This is one of the main benefits of Review Platforms.
If the review platform you're considering a demo with claims to be unable to do this, they are either not licensed, or giving you the run around. Whatever the reason, your review platform should be a licensed Review Partner and able to easily get you Seller Rating, stars in organic searches, and - company dependent - product review ratings on Google too.
Your Seller Rating and stars in Google searches dramatically increase your visibility. A consumer is much more likely to be attracted to a company or product which has been trialled and tested by others, represented in the form of stars, than an unknown, unpraised alternative.
Google themselves even highlight the need for reviews to increase your visibility in your Ads. They state:
"Your ads aren't as prominent as they could be if you used seller ratings. Seller ratings are automated extensions that help highly rated advertisers stand out. Gathered from reputable sources that aggregate business reviews, seller ratings show with Search Network and Google Shopping ads. You can get reviews to build your seller rating by signing up with Seller Ratings services." - Google
Increased visibility increases click-through rates, conversion, and revenue, and ultimately reduces your CPC.
Tip no.2 - make sure the platform is a Google licensed Review Partner
3) Review Booster
You've established a foundation, weeding out unreliable platforms from the credible, you now want to determine what you're actually getting. With our demo, you can fully experience an accurate review collection strategy using your real customers, by utilising our Review Booster.
The Review Booster enables you to contact past customers during your platform demo - with 400 invitations at your disposal - giving you an authentic experience of how your collection strategy would take shape.
The Review Booster isn't just a demo feature, and can be used when you sign up to a plan too. This gives you the insight to start collating a list of your previous customers, to wholeheartedly use to your advantage as part of your initial strategy, giving you that handy step-up.
Tip no.3 - be able to experience a genuine collection experience, and prepare yourself ahead of time to advance your collection
4) Types of reviews: Company, product, and review photos
Some platforms may only offer company review collection and management. This may seem like all you need, but you really aren't getting the most out of your reviews, plus you should have the option despite its relevance.
Collecting product reviews allows your customers to praise you further, or highlight areas of improvement. This content generates valuable feedback regarding issues you may have been unaware of in order for you to step-up and do better.
Not only that, as discussed, if you collect product reviews this data can be crawled by Google and displayed as stars in the SERPs. Instant assessment of a product's quality in the search process helps you get the edge over a competitor.
Reviews can be enhanced one step further with the option of photos included in the review. User generated content is already deemed more trustworthy than manufacturers specifications or company advertising as it is peer-generated, therefore personal photos of your company or products validate your services even more.
Being able to see what you truly get at the end point of the transaction instills trust and credibility surrounding your business, enhancing favourable attitudes toward your brand.
Not only that, but research has found that if a relevant image is paired with information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. Review photos may facilitate greater conversion through retention and favour for your brand.
Tip no.4 - get the most out of you review platform with company, product, and review photos.
5) Sharing your reviews
Sharing is different from publishing. Publishing is a given, sharing is having the option to take a published review and post it to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
You should have the option to post reviews to these sites to accentuate your praises. Sharing such as this further increases your visibility, and offers consumers an even broader chance to create dialogue, and assess and solidify your company and products into their purchase behaviours.
Tip no.5 - make sure you can share your reviews on social media
6) Local Review collection
You should also have the opportunity to collect Local Reviews on sites such as Google, Facebook, and Tripadvisor.
Whether you're collecting Local Reviews or not, customers will leave reviews on these sites, out of your control. We always advocate Local Review collection, as review collection on one site alone is short sighted and you leave your online reputation open to threats.
Take control of what others say about your company by dividing your review collection across multiple channels. Your shining Seller Rating may be negatively damaged if you don't, which is not only unfair, but it hurts your wallet too.
If not incorporated into your collection strategy, just one bad review for example left on Facebook is included in your overall rating, dragging a well earned 4 down to a 3 or 2, leaving your score unrepresentative. If you actively collect across the sites of your choosing, you balance those rates and a fair and genuine score is collated, leaving you with a consistent reputation across the web.
Consistency establishes trust for your brand. Spreading yourself across the web helps consumers find you everywhere, and leaves them thoroughly informed, and your brand secured.
Tip no.6 - collect Local Reviews across multiple channels
7) Review management and monitoring
Lastly, if you do choose a platform with all the above, you need to easily manage your reviews, monitor reputation, and generate easy to interpret reports.
Whatever dashboard or portal your review platform offers you, it needs to be easy to operate and understand, and offer you unprecedented control over your reviews.
Once you've nailed all 6 previous tips, this is where you should have narrowed down your review platform demo options and now see if the platform is practical. It needs to be simple, seamless, and if things do go wrong, support should be on hand.
Final tip no.7 - make sure the dashboard is optimised and straightforward
Although not vital, this final checklist are points to consider that may sway your choice between two review platforms before, or after, demo-ing.
Price Review platforms shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg. Consider what you're getting for your money.
Contract Even with the advice above, being tied-down in a long contract isn't ideal, especially as our situations are usually subject to changes over the course of a year.
Support Joining a company with shocking support doesn't make up for the fact they offer great solutions. When those features go wrong, or you're having issues, you need to be able to rely on their help as time is money.
I hope now armed with all that in mind, you'll be able to find the right review platform to demo, and if you're currently with a platform you can sufficiently ask why, if you're not being offered one of the solutions above.
Remember you should:
1) Own your reviews
2) See your Seller Rating and organic search stars in Google
3) Get a boost by contacting your previous customers
4) Have the availability of all review types; company, product, and review photos
5) Be able to share reviews on social media
6) Collect Local Reviews
7) Have ease and control over your reviews on the review platform dashboard
So, mull over everything above, but don't be deterred from review platforms, just make sure you choose the best one for your needs. If done right, which all credible licensed Review Partners strive for, they should take the stress out of collecting and offer you great benefits on top of those reviews.