Five Stars: Putting Online Reviews to Work for Your Business

Can you Generate more Leads from your Online Reviews?

I want you to take a minute before you keep reading this blog and think about the last time you purchased something online, booked a hotel or tried a new restaurant. What was one of the first things you did? I’m going to guess for most of you, you checked the reviews. Well, guess what, that is exactly what your potential landlords and tenants are doing right now with your business. When was the last time you took a look at your reviews? Or tried to get more reviews? It’s time you took this seriously and here’s why.

I can one hundred percent vouch for the value of online reviews. Around 2018 I realised there was a growing trend for people checking reviews online. We’ve always used testimonials in Real Estate, but how true are they? They are often viewed with scepticism amongst potential clients, anyone could type up a nice comment right? Online reviews though, well this is direct from the horse’s mouth, it provides transparency and credibility. Even if there are a few fake ‘5 Star’ reviews, you can bet anyone disgruntled with the business will have had their say in the growing public online forum that is Google reviews. 

Once I focused and intentionally put a strategy in place to grow my reviews, managements came knocking. Honestly, I can’t give you exact numbers, but my organic leads multiplied before my eyes. I had a system in place for finding out where all my new managements were coming from and around this time I had also upped my SEO game and ran some Google ads, and what new clients were telling was this: ‘we googled you and then we checked your reviews’. So why did this help win new managements? Well, positive reviews build trust with your customers, and in turn, can generate more leads for your business. Don’t believe me, well take a look at these statistics:

  • 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 34% searching every day

  • 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020 – up from 81% in 2019.

  • Only 48% of consumers would consider using a business with fewer than 4 stars.

  • 85 percent of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

Now, what do you think? Do you see why it’s so important to spend time, money, and resources generating positive online reviews? In simple terms, positive online reviews result in more leads.

 

Why Online Reviews are important for Lead Generation?

Most customers will read previous reviews of a business before deciding whether or not to engage with them. Now, reviews are mainly opinion based so it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. But what cannot be ignored is their power. Customer reviews do all of the following:

1. Customer reviews show social proof

When potential customers see that others have had a positive experience with your business, it can help them feel more confident in doing business with you. This social proof and can help persuade potential customers to take action.

2. Customer reviews help you stand out from the competition.

If your competitors don’t have customer reviews, it can make you stand out to potential customers, who will notice this and be more likely to choose your business. Customer reviews let you prove your worth as a company over the competition- if others are saying positive things about you, there’s almost certainly a good reason for that.

3. Customer reviews increase organic traffic to your website.

Positive customer reviews can drive more people to visit your site, which is particularly helpful in growing your business. The more visitors on your site, the more leads you generate organically.

4. Customer reviews build trust with potential customers.

When people see that other consumers have had a positive experience with your business, they’ll feel better about giving their contact information in exchange for offers or services. This in turn builds that all-important trust, which can help you generate more leads for your business.

Many positive reviews will outweigh the occasional negative.

Unfortunately, the realisation is that at least one client during the time your business is operating will leave a bad review. Accept it, and do not worry about it. This is why asking for reviews from clients who are happy with your service is so important. Everyone is quick to leave an unhappy response, but not so quick if they are satisfied, it’s human nature. Ultimately the more positive ones you have will help to counteract any negative ones.

Let’s talk about Client Review Strategy

It’s easy said, getting more reviews generates more leads and grows your business right! But how do you actually get more reviews? I’m sure many of you have sent out multiple emails to clients requesting a review. You might get one or two that respond and the rest just ignore it. Why? Well, we are all busy, it is another thing that we have to do on our already bulging list of things to do. So, get creative, get strategic and put some time and effort into securing these reviews. Your business will benefit long-term from a little bit of effort, trust me on this one. I have a whole section on online review and testimonial strategy inside my BDM Growth School.

Some basic ideas to consider are:

  • Create different spaces to leave reviews (website, underneath blogs, product reviews and social media)

  • Create incentives – Give your customers a discount, or ask them to leave a review to be entered into a competition (there are rules around this though so check the Google Review terms and conditions)

  • Respond to your reviews – Easy and simple, no matter if they are positive or negative. Especially, the negative, you can’t keep everyone happy and some people are just spiteful, responding in a respectful, thoughtful way and sharing your side of the story can be a powerful reply to a negative comment. Don’t reply in anger!

  • Share positive customer reviews – Demonstrate the great work you are doing, and what customers are saying about you. Use reviews in your social media and marketing collateral.

  • You don’t ask, you don’t get – Asking clients for reviews at every opportunity in your business. From onboarding to long-term clients, don’t be afraid to ask for a review.

  • Make it easy for your clients – We are all busy including your clients, make it a really simple process to leave a review, include links to where you want them to leave the review, have review template options for them to choose from.

  • Don’t forget your Tenants are clients too – A happy tenant or many happy tenants in your reviews, means less conflict and better management in a landlord’s eyes.

  • Using third party review specialists – There is a growing number of third party companies now who specialise in growing your reviews. If you are short on resources and have the budget for it, this could be an option to consider.

     

Some of the best ways to promote positive reviews include:

  • Publish them on your website and/or blog: This is often the best way to amplify the power of positive online reviews. For instance, you could publish a weekly blog post that shares your most recent reviews.

  • Share them in your newsletter: Do you have a mailing list? If so, spice up your next email by dropping in a few positive reviews.

  • Use them on marketing material: Do you share brochures on your services? One or two positive reviews make your marketing material much more attractive and powerful.

  • Reference them the first time you contact a lead: At this point, you’re already speaking with a lead, but you don’t want them to get away. Sharing a positive review is one of the best ways to give them peace of mind and let them know they are in the right place.

  • Use video reviews: Nothing is more powerful than an actual real person talking. Try getting some of your long-term clients to send you a video review, again make this easy for them, include a script, instructions on how to film it and of course remind them how important it is for your business.

If you would like some Canva templates for your online reviews you can download some here. CANVA SOCIAL TEMPLATES

Many companies use a mixture of all of the above in their strategy, but the key is to be consistent and make sure no matter if they are positive or negative all reviews are accessible. Whether clients do decide to listen to or read the opinions of others, having positive online reviews and testimonials does affect the way in which potential clients will view your business. It is also easy to see why customer reviews can be such an effective and powerful, also importantly, organic, way of generating leads for your business.

Have you signed up for my latest FREE Workshop – 7. Proven Ways to Grow your Rent Roll Organically (even while you are sleeping or on holiday)

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