When consumers are in the market for a certain product or service their overall decision will be based on the opinions of others. In the past, opinions were generally expressed through word-of-mouth, but now with the internet, consumers are able to read the opinions of others and rely on online reviews through different websites and social media platforms.
By scrolling through all kinds of sources, consumers are able to research the best products and reputable businesses. These sources include; a business’s own website, review sites (ex. Yelp) and large online portals dedicated to the real estate industry. Today 85% of consumers use online reviews to evaluate a business.
With a large majority of consumers utilizing online reviews, this creates a major opportunity for real estate professionals. When you provide quality service to your clients, positive reviews of your skills and assistance will be seen all over the World Wide Web. According to the T3 Experts of the Agent Reviews and Lead Generation Survey, not only do positive reviews help close the immediate deal at hand, but they become a highly effective word-of-mouth marketing tool. In fact, 73% trust reviews written online.
Consumers are constantly searching for first-hand insight from your current and previous clients. This is why maintaining current testimonials and reviews play a crucial part on where you rank during a consumer’s decision-making process. If you have little to no online reviews, you are most likely missing out on those 85% of consumers who rely on online reviews to evaluate a business. During this day in age, as a real estate agent, lacking reviews online is something you simply cannot afford.
If you are new to the real estate industry, new to the online review game, already have a few reviews or even if you are on-top of your online review testimonials…here are a few helpful tips to build/maintain your review portfolio and produce leads from previous clients.
1.) The best way to get online reviews is to ask
The process of writing a review is not always as easy as one would think. Determine where you would like your clients to write a review and make sure to incorporate a review request into your closing process by pointing them in the right direction.
2.) Provide top-notch service
Obviously you are going to give each client your all; however your clients are more likely to go out of their way to write an online review when they feel they have been provided with the very best service out there.
3.) Become very good friends with Google Plus by using Google My Business
This is crucial for search engine optimization (SEO), local search and maintaining a relevant online presence. Since Google is the highest ranked search engine in the United States, you must have a verified Google Plus business profile for potential clients to find your business on Google search.
4.) Yelp is tricky but equally important
Yelp drives Apple’s iOS maps and business directory. It is also the No. 1 dedicated consumer review site, so your presence on the website is imperative. Yelp is tricky because, if you ask a client who has never written a review on the website, most times the review will not show up or be denied. Remember to only ask active Yelp users.
5.) Zillow & Trulia
Establishing a presence on these two sites becomes more important if you group listings or advertise on these platforms. To increase the likelihood that consumers will choose you over competition, you’ll want the added social proof of customer’s satisfaction and your advertisements to show up next to your name.
6.) Use LinkedIn to bolster personal reputation
As the largest professional career platform in the U.S., your customers most likely will have a profile. LinkedIn should be used as your online resume and should also include recommendations from former co-workers, bosses and clients saying; how great you are to work with and highlighting your strengths as a professional.
7.) Add reviews to realtor.com with SocialBios
Realtor.com is the is the number 3 real estate portal for consumers, making it important for real estate professionals to create a SocialBio. Writing a review on realtor.com is extremely simple and it also allows users to re-use LinkedIn reviews to maximize their value on multiple platforms.
8.) Do your own research
Do some competitive research to see which review sites will provide you with the best opportunity to dominate the local areas you service. As a rule of thumb, if the most reviewed competitor has less than 20 reviews, you should easily be able to overtake them in quality and quantity of reviews.
9.) Set goals, reach them, rinse and repeat
If you want something you have to work for it. Incorporate online reviews into your everyday marketing workflow. To maintain current reviews, you must continually work hard and ask for them.