Building a positive online reputation is challenging and deciding where to begin can be daunting, but it’s a crucial aspect to gain attention and trust from potential clients. Today, 86% of people read reviews for local businesses and this number skyrockets to 95% for people between ages 18-34, according to the Local Consumer Review Survey 2018. For REALTORS®, this means most potential clients will look to see what past clients have said before contacting you.
How to build your online review strategy
REALTORS® often don’t know where to begin when developing their online review strategy. Some common questions are: Where are prospective clients searching for reviews? How can I talk to my past clients about leaving feedback? And when should I approach current clients about posting a review?
Here are three easy steps to follow:
Step 1: Set-up accounts for online review platforms
Online reviews are important to real estate professionals’ overall digital marketing strategy. To start, you need to decide which review platform works for your business. Beyond Yelp and Google Reviews, most industries have their own, industry-specific review sites.
After deciding which review platforms work best for you, the next step is to continue providing excellent service to your clients and solicit feedback during the time you’re working with them.
Contact your most recent clients and ask them to share their experience by writing a review on your chosen platform. To maximize participation, it’s best practice to follow-up with an email or text if your request was made in-person, or through a call a few days after sending the initial request.
Step 2: Create a system for review collection
It’s never too early to start informing your clients about the importance of feedback and leaving an online review. Big milestone moments, such as when an offer is accepted or when conditions are waived, are great times to request a review. Weekly check-ins give you the opportunity to ask your clients what you could be doing to improve their experiences and keeps the lines of communication open.
Make sure you communicate to your clients how much you value their feedback and how important an online review is to your business. You can do this by adding reviews to all your marketing materials, from emails to newsletters. You can also discuss them during listing appointments.
This will also communicate to your clients you want them to have a five-star experience and it will highlight how much you value providing an excellent client experience.
Remember: every time you firm up a transaction, you should send out a review request. This is a great time to remind your clients to review their experience while it is still fresh in their mind.
Step 3: Amplify your reviews
You can leverage the positive reviews you’ve worked hard to collect by including them on your social media platforms, websites—personal and business—and even in your email signatures.
With between 80-95% of potential clients scouring reviews to find the right professional, it makes sense to put your positive testimonials up front and centre on the right digital spheres where they can easily be discovered.
Creating this strong, effective and positive online presence involves choosing the right review platform; consistently providing an excellent client experience; keeping the lines of communication open with your clients to gain insights and grow from their feedback; and actively asking and sharing their experiences online.
Through the utilization of powerful reviews, you’re not only building your brand, but you’re also increasing your searchability and SEO on Google and other search engines. Most importantly, you gain the trust of potential new clients while showing them through word of mouth you’re the right agent to work with them.