Reviews play a huge role in the real estate industry today, and as more buyers begin their home search online every year, securing reviews only becomes more necessary. Real estate agents need to invest time into planning a review-focused marketing strategy that sets them up for continued success. Here’s why generating reviews is so important, and how to implement a review marketing strategy to generate more online reviews.
The importance of generating online reviews in real estate
Written reviews that detail your services are compelling. Homebuyers spend the time to read reviews before contacting an agent, so curating some positive reviews from your past clients can be the difference between generating a new lead and getting passed over. Adding social proof to places where people search for real estate agents will do wonders for your lead generation efforts, which is why a review marketing strategy is worthy of your time.
Receiving positive reviews also increases your brand’s search engine optimization (SEO). For example, positive reviews on places like Google My Business help you rank higher in search engines, while reviews on sites like REW bring more traffic into your profile and website. All of this increases your overall SEO.
Narrow down a list of where you’d like to receive reviews. We’d recommend starting with REW, Google My Business, and Facebook, as each of these websites is commonly used by home searchers for evaluating agents. Once you’ve got your target review sites, it’s time to start generating reviews.
Tips to generate online reviews
When and where
Your review marketing strategy should begin by identifying when and where you first request testimonials from your clients. This can be done after you close a transaction, after you show someone their first home, or after you give someone advice that is warmly received. Some agents prefer to request a review in person, while others prefer conducting the request via email or text message. Any of the above combinations are fine, just be sure you stay consistent. This will keep you on track and make sure you’re always requesting reviews from your clients without fail.
Let your email help you out
There are many places you can add links to your review pages, so feel free to get creative. We’d recommend adding a link to any of the websites where people can review your services in your email signature, as your existing clients and partners will see this link when they interact with you. You’ll be surprised by how many people leave you reviews this way without you even having to request it directly.
Your email newsletter is another great place to solicit reviews. Add a footer into your email newsletter that expresses how much you appreciate reviews, and offer your subscribers the links to your review pages to make it easy for them.
Try running a contest
If you’re low on reviews and need to generate some testimonials quickly, a contest can bump your numbers up in a hurry. Set a 10-day time limit on your contest and ask people to leave you a review, giving those who do a chance to win a gift card to a local business.
Ask for video reviews
If you want to go a step further and generate some social media content for yourself, you can ask your most ardent supporters to leave you a video review - family and friends that use your services are an excellent place to start. You could ask them to shoot it on their phone and send it to you, or you could even offer to film it yourself after a showing. A one-minute-long story of a specific way you handled a challenging situation is great social proof for your website and social media channels.
Share your reviews on social media
When you do this, you’re not just promoting yourself. You’re also reminding your audience that you appreciate their recommendations, and this can inspire your past clients to leave you a review. Whenever you share a past testimonial on social media, try turning it into a graphic and adding a link in the post to where people can leave you a review.
Responding to reviews
After you’ve generated an online review, there are some other steps you can take to bolster your review marketing efforts. The single most important thing you can do when a review comes in is to respond. There are a number of reasons this should be a part of your marketing strategy.
1. It builds trust with potential clients
Responding to reviews makes your brand feel trustworthy to potential clients who are browsing through your business profile. It gives you a voice and shows that the people you’re working with matter to you. It also provides the reader with confidence that your reviews aren’t fake, especially when you’re specific about what you helped your clients with during their time working with you.
2. It makes your reviewers feel appreciated
When someone takes the time to leave you a review, you can use it as an opportunity to turn them into a brand ambassador for your business. Since they’ve already expressed a positive interaction with your brand, take the time to respond with sincere thanks. To increase the likelihood that your client will continue to recommend your services, pick up the phone and thank them personally for leaving the review. Send them a small gift, such as a gift card to a coffee shop or local business. This is a wonderful way to stay top of mind and turn past clients into advocates for your services.
3. It shows that you’re responsive to problems
Even if you’ve received a negative review, a response is appropriate and beneficial. It gives the reviewer the opportunity to reach out to you and feel heard while also allowing you to resolve the situation and potentially have the review removed. On top of that, it shows people reading your review that you’re responsive to problems and eager to fix any issues with your services. Responding to negative reviews is much more helpful than letting a bad review sit on your profile unattended to, which can make you seem uncaring and unprofessional.
Take a stab at writing down a review marketing strategy for yourself, and make a list of how you should request, share, and respond to reviews for your business. You’ll start to see more reviews come in just a few months after beginning your efforts.