TrustMark, Checkatrade, mybuilder, Ratedpeople... Is it worth it?
In a recent blog post, we took a look at the 10 ways to get more online reviews from your customers and explored how beneficial these review sites can be for your business, but what sites should you be looking to use to your advantage?
We've compiled this handy blog "Which review website should I use for my plumbing and heating company?" to help you decide which one or more review sites are most likely to add value to your business, helping you to generate more leads through positive feedback.
TrustMark is a not-for-profit, government backed accreditation site with the sole focus of providing customers with reassurance and protection from rogue traders. After a careful vetting process that all listed businesses are subjected to, accreditation is awarded to signal good trading practices, good customer service and technical competence.
The scheme was initially launched in 2005 so they have over 10 years experience, and is overseen by a board of directors with direct experience in the trade and consumer protection sector, therefore you can be confident that you'll be dealing with a company that understands the unique demands of your industry.
They display more than 750,000 details to the public each month through their own website and those of their partners, plus membership costs are tailored to each business depending on other bodies that they belong to.
By becoming TrusMark accredited you secure more business, have your details displayed with your own web page. You also have access to press and marketing opportunities, social media, vehicle stickers but most important: you get customers reviews!
The cost of becoming Trading Standards Approved through TrustMark is £150 + VAT per year.
Checkatrade has grown to become one of the UK's most recognisable review brands for tradespeople since it was founded in 1998. Last year alone, more than six million customers from across the country used the service to source a trusted, reputable tradesperson for their needs.
Checkatrade independently vets each of the trade businesses on the site to further boost the credibility of all listed companies, and they claim that many businesses have more than doubled their turnover thanks to site membership.
Although customers are given free, unrestricted access to the site, there is a charge for businesses to be listed. Membership starts from as little as £12 per week with payments spread over a convenient number of months and taken by Direct Debit.
The only con is that Checkatrade only publish your good reviews for you and your competitors, so you have fewer chances to make a difference with some companies that have bad reviews.
Rated People takes a different approach to its competitors when it comes to listing businesses with the site acting as a lead generation tool as well as a review platform. Customers list their jobs online and, once approved, trade businesses can quote on the job at hand by submitting a formal proposal.
It boasts some pretty impressive figures too – more than one million jobs are posted each year by homeowners which are taken on by their recommended list of over 50,000 tradespeople.
The site covers almost every trade sector imaginable with businesses from more than 30 different skill sets available. Each time a job is carried out, the customer leaves a review on your profile for future potential customers to see.
Partially due to the lead generation element, members must pay an annual subscription to be a part of the service as well as a small charge each time a quote or proposal is submitted.
My Builder is perhaps the closest platform based approach to Rated People, but rather than charging an annual membership fee, tradespeople are simply charged a shortlist fee once you're ready to exchange contact details with your new lead.
They have built an intuitive matching system which sees customers matched to a shortlist of the most suitable tradespeople for their needs based on the job at hand, location and dates amongst other key factors.
The fees charged are dependent on the size of the job, ranging from £2 - £35, so you'll always find that the fee is proportional to the amount you're likely to earn.
Reviews.co.uk offer a far wider reaching review service than just covering field service workers and tradesmen. All manner of businesses are listed here which has its advantages and disadvantages depending on what way you look at it.
Since they aren't trade specific, there are no rigorous vetting procedures to undertake, you simply need to refer your customers to the site so that they can leave feedback on your business. On the downside, this means that overall conversions are likely to be lower since many people visiting the site won't be doing so purely to seek out services like yours.
They have three membership packages on offer with the 'small business' plan starting at £45 per month. Free trials are available on their 'growing business' and 'enterprise' plans which are well worth taking up purely for some free advertising.
As with Reviews.co.uk, Yelp attracts customer feedback from businesses in every sector. For that reason they'd attracted a whopping 121 million reviews by the end of 2016. The service is completely free of charge to both businesses and customers alike with revenue earned through advertising sales.
The free nature of the service means that you'll have nothing to lose by joining, although good and bad reviews will be listed as they are submitted and you'll have no control over how they are presented.