More prospects are visiting estate agents’ websites than physically going into their offices, more people are finding agents online as opposed to making contact following a neighbour’s testimonial.
This does not mean that ‘word of mouth’ recommendations are any less important. Such recommendations have evolved into online reviews and become a powerful tool for marketing a business. With an interconnected network of digital channels at our fingertips, it is easier than ever for buyers, tenants, vendors or landlords to tell others about their best/worst experiences. Online reviews can make or break your business.
SEVEN POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT ONLINE REVIEWS:
1 Reviews are important from a consumer’s perspective
74 per cent of consumers say that positive online reviews make them trust a local business more, while only five per cent say they don’t pay attention to online reviews. Online reviews should be important to agents, especially those that care about their reputation and invest in building long-term relationships with clients. If most of your reviews speak positively of your service, others will want to instruct you.
2 Reviews are great for conversions
Google gives increasing authority to websites with reviews attributed to them, so estate agencies with reviews and star ratings are more likely to appear in higher positions in organic and paid (PPC) ads. Improved rankings should increase the number of click throughs and conversions to your website.
Agents should have a Google My Business account – it’s free!
3 Reviews can boost your Google My Business ranking
This is one of the best forms of free advertising online. All agents with physical locations should have an account with Google My Business (the maps section below the paid ads in the Google results page) and encourage posting of positive reviews. The more reviews you have, the higher the chances of your Google My Business listing ranking prominently in the search results. If you get in the three pack (the first three when someone searches for ‘estate agents in your area’) you should get and increase in visits to your website.
4 Aim for recent reviews
It is better for reviews to be recent, so estate agents need to be proactive at asking consumers for a review so that you always have a strong number of recent reviews. Agents can send review requests out at opportune moments to vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants to ensure a steady stream of new reviews.
5 Review websites to generate traffic
We have found the following review websites are best at generating traffic and interaction from prospects:
Though there is less benefit in terms of ranking, a selection of glowing reviews on Facebook will give your business a boost and encourage people back to your website.
Estate agents should have a presence on allAgents. In many cases, it will be the first website to rank when people run a search for the name of your agency and the word ‘review’. allAgents is well-established and gets rewarded by Google. Google will usually display reviews from allAgents as secondary sources for your Google listing.
Feefo and Trustpilot
Probably the industry leaders in harvesting reviews for their clients, both are confidence- building brands, and associating your business with their logo usually contributes to a higher click-through rate. If you run PPC campaigns and have over 150 reviews (averaging 3.5 stars or above), you will get their stars appearing alongside Google ads.
TRUSTist amasses all your reviews in one place (this includes some of the review sites mentioned above) and they allow those reviews to appear on all the pages of your website when crawled by Google. It is always beneficial for stars to show alongside the search results.
6 For every negative review, aim to attract 10 positive reviews.
If you receive a negative review, address the reviewer’s comment. Respond without being flippant or defensive, even if the customer is in the wrong. If a review is written on Google with the sole aim to harm your business, you can report it, but always push for more positive reviews.
7 Reviews help to build trust.
Online reviews augment the persuasive power of personal recommendations. Both are necessary. A list of positive reviews can be the deciding factor for a client when deciding which local estate agent to go with. Estate agents should be where their local competitors are, as this is where consumers will go, so aim to have an even greater presence on these reviews sites.