Why are online reviews important anyway?
With so much competition in the market, how can agents set themselves apart from the competition? Customer reviews are a killer way to stay ahead of the curve.
With 90% of homebuyers now starting their search online, online reviews are becoming more and more crucial to successful real estate businesses. Buyers and sellers check out potential realtors online every day, and social proof from other satisfied customers is very influential for consumer decisions.
Google also flags reviews as confirmation that you are a legitimate and respectable business, and in turn, this helps your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rating on its platform. The better your SEO, the more organic traffic you will get to your website. Win win!
There are two key places you can get online reviews. The first is your Facebook business page. You can set your page settings so that people can give you a star rating and then a text review of your company. This is especially valuable if you’re active on social media or are running Facebook ads, although potential clients will likely look you up on social media whether you are active or not! Being active legitimizes your business and builds consumer confidence. (optional)
The second is your Google business page. To set up a ‘Google business’, you need to submit your business address and a few other details to Google. When people look you up, you will then have a box on the right-hand side of Google with your contact information, address, and space for reviews. Having positive reviews here help you to visually distinguish your business and provide prospects with confidence from the moment they look you up. Because these reviews are on Google’s platform rather than on social media, these reviews are more valuable for SEO.
How to ask for reviews?
- Happy clients love to give feedback! Often, all they need is a nudge in the right direction. Organically, whenever clients throw some happy words your way, just reply with a link to your facebook page and ask them if they wouldn’t mind sharing their thoughts online.
- Include a link in your email signature! Something short and snappy works, or something to showcase your personality. Get creative!
- Add a short blurb and link in your newsletter encouraging reviews to your Facebook or Google business page.
- Run a competition - all reviews this quarter get entered into a prize to win a draw.
- Set up an automated email 1-2 months after a home sale asking for their review, or even better a referral to their friends!
- If you get any offline reviews via email or in person, ask them to also post to your online profiles.
Real Estate Review Templates
Template 1: "I'd like to ask you a quick favour. Reviews really help to spread the word about me and my business and let others know about what to expect working with me. I would really appreciate it if you could share your thoughts here (a link to your Facebook page, google business page or online review software), or if you are more comfortable then feel free to email it to me! Thank you so much."
Template 2: "I really hope you've enjoyed working together as much as I have! If you have a spare minute, it would mean so much to me if you could leave me an online review? These are so impactful to my business and help to show others exactly what to expect from working with me! Here's a link to my Facebook Page/Google Business Page or if you would rather, you can email it over to me here. Thank you!"
To note: Make sure to ask for a review at their "peak happiness" –when they have just closed on the sale, and are really happy with how it has all gone!
What to do with your reviews
So now that you have some reviews, what should you do with them?
Shout them from the rooftops! Do you print brochures or mailouts? You can use testimonials here to reinforce the value of your business. Do you have a testimonials page on your site? Repost them here too. You can repost great reviews as Facebook posts, include them in your newsletter or post them on your homepage. As long as you get permission from the client, you can really use these reviews anywhere you want to!
What to do with a bad review?
Make sure to always reply to them! If you respond to the review in a reasonable and thoughtful manner, you can easily turn around a bad review into something productive! You can still come across as caring and considerate by replying to bad reviews. Imagine you are writing the response not to the original author of the bad review, but for all the people who might see this review in the future.