As a business owner, you are likely constantly looking for ways to improve your experience for customers. Luckily, the increasing presence of online reviews makes it easier than ever to learn what your customers do (and don't) like about your products or services. One way that customers can provide feedback online is through first-party reviews. In this guide, we'll outline what first party reviews are, why they are important, and how they can help improve your business's reputation.
What Are First-Party Reviews and Why Are They Important?
What are First-Party Reviews?
Generally speaking, there are three primary outlets for customers to give public feedback about your business on the internet:
First-party reviews: User reviews that are collected and displayed on your own website with no input from the business owner.
Third-party reviews: User reviews that are collected by third-party websites such as Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, independent from the business.
Testimonials: Customer feedback that is displayed on a website by the business owner, usually pulled from a personal e-mail or a third-party review.
First-party reviews work the same way as third-party sites in that they are created by customers without any input from the business owner. Many business owners monitor their third-party listings, as well as post testimonials to their website. However, first-party reviews are often overlooked by small businesses. Let’s dive into why first-party reviews are becoming more important and how you can better implement your customers’ feedback on your website.
Why are First-Party Reviews Important?
By hosting first-party reviews on your website, you provide customers and visitors with an open forum. This gives your customers an opportunity to write about their experience on your website, which helps convey a sense of transparency and openness.
Add a Personal Touch to Your Website
First-party reviews provide a happy medium for customer feedback. If your website has an outlet for customers to directly add feedback, it provides a more personal sense of transparency.
You can increase this personal touch by responding to reviews on your website (both positive and negative). Potential customers will see you interacting with past customers, which shows that you value their time and business. This can help create a good first impression for website visitors.
Give Your Business Added Credibility
A first-party reviews page on your website is akin to the final step of the sales funnel. Your potential customers have found your website. They have read your “About Us” page, looked through your photo gallery, and, if applicable, your prices. They’re almost ready to pull the trigger - but are you really the best choice out there?
A full page of real-life customer reviews provides your potential customer with an added assurance that they’re in good hands. You can make your website design and copy as compelling as you want, but a page full of positive comments shows that your company has been vetted and approved.
Now - what if all of your reviews aren’t perfect? It’s a harsh reality that no one business will be able to please everybody 100 percent of the time (and most customers understand this). However, don’t let a few less-than-stellar comments get you down. If you visit a website with a 100 percent 5-star rating across the board, you’ve either stumbled upon the greatest business of all time - or, you may begin to suspect that the reviews are less-than-genuine. The best way to combat negative reviews is to respond to them. This will show customers that, while mistakes may have been made, you value transparency and making sure that your customers are taken care of.
Customer Reviews Have Important SEO Benefits
When you include a dedicated “Reviews” page on your website, you are setting your website up for additional search engine optimization (SEO) improvements. Adding a separate page on your website for user feedback is an easy way to expand your website’s content. Since internet users like to read reviews, this allows them to spend more time reading your website. When users spend more time on your website, it sends a signal to search engines that your website is relevant and engaging.
If your business has multiple locations, you may want to consider creating a landing page for each location with its own reviews section. These location-specific landing pages can give you a more robust presence in local listings, along with an outlet to tailor your feedback for each location.
More Opportunities to Ask for Feedback
Many business owners are aware of the importance of positive customer feedback, but struggle to get customers to leave a review. By creating a dedicated page that includes a link to submit a review on your website, users will have an easy way to give you public credit for good service.
Third-party websites have strict rules about soliciting reviews. For example, Yelp’s terms of service explicitly discourage businesses from crowd-sourcing reviews on their platform. If you curate responses on your website, you do not have to worry about the constrictions from third-party publishers.
Without limitations from third-party publishers, you can drive engagement with your website in many different ways. Some methods to get more reviews on your website include:
Linking to your reviews page in your email signatures.
Adding a link to any follow-up surveys or communication.
Creating an email blast to your current customers that links to your reviews page.
Adding the review link on receipts.
Learn More About SpaceCraft's First-Party Review Solution
SpaceCraft’s website tools are evolving to help businesses stay ahead in the constantly-changing search landscape. With SpaceCraft’s enhanced local website tools, you can monitor and generate authentic first-party reviews directly from your dashboard. Learn more about this new tool, or give us a call today to see how we can help craft your space online.