Before I declare a winner, I want to make sure that we're all on the same page as far as the difference between reviews and testimonials goes:
- Reviews: Reviews are housed on independent websites—think Angie's List. They can be positive, negative, or neutral. While you can suggest that someone review you on your site of choice, you cannot control where, when, or what they write.
- Testimonials: Testimonials are positive reviews found on your website. Testimonials are vetted by you, so they all show your business in a positive light.
Now let's get down to business. It's time to put the Testimonial and the Review in the ring and see who comes out on top.
Round One: Control
When people write reviews on an external site, you have no say over what they post. They could rip you apart or sing your praises, and there's not much you can do about it. However, with testimonials, you are in total control. You can choose which will be displayed on your website and which won't. Winner: Testimonials
Round Two: Direction
You would be crazy to post negative comments on your website, so testimonials are always exceptionally positive. On the other hand, reviews can range from very positive to extremely negative—but this isn't always a bad thing. Negative reviews give you an opportunity to respond and demonstrate your problem-solving skills. And, believe it or not, they add to the credibility of all other reviews. They show that the review site accepts all reviews and provide legitimacy. Winner: Reviews
Round Three: Source
Testimonials all live on your site. And, while adding relevant content to your site in the form of testimonials is good, it's not great. Reviews are housed on external, independent websites. Because of this, when anyone reviews your business, they add rich, external content and, hopefully, links back to your site. Talk about good link-juice! Winner: Reviews
Round Four: Credibility
According to studies, an average of 78 percent of people trust consumer reviews above any other type of advertising or marketing. This puts reviews as second only to direct word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family members. And while testimonials are written in the first-person, everyone understands that they are a form of advertising. Winner: Reviews
The Clear Winner: Reviews
In this case, the first place loser is also a winner! Before you decide to delete the testimonials from your website, know that testimonials are still an important part of your website design. In fact, video testimonials are second in conversion power only to external reviews and should absolutely be part of your marketing plan. By creating an effective testimonial plan and executing it well, you can make the most of the positive comments people make about your business.
Need help crafting review and testimonial strategies? Call 888-886-0939 today. Our team can assist you in making the most of these powerful players.