Look. We all like a pat on the back, don’t we? A high five. A “Job well done!”. But in business, these kudos can go a lot further than a feel-good warm fuzzy – especially when it comes to real estate agent reviews. In fact, in today’s business, the ratings, reviews, testimonials, and referrals we receive from our clients are as good as gold. The best advertising is word of mouth, right? Now, the Internet has also caught on to the power of reviews, spawning a slew of review websites, social network review functionality for business pages, and even a boost of authority in search engine rankings! But how do you get those reviews? Here’s the deal:[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@LoriBallen_” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]Reviews have always been important, but they didn’t appear in the Google Algorithm – until now.[/tweetthis]
You’re Only as Good as Your Reputation
Harsh, but true. In order to garner winning reviews, you must deliver excellent service. Period. Go the extra mile. Deliver a bit of wow factor. Stand above your competition in integrity and customer service. You can’t do shoddy work and expect your clients to flock to your review pages with good tidings. It isn’t going to happen. As a matter of fact, a bad review can pack more punch than a good testimonial.
The Power of Social | Who Do You Know?
Way back when, before the World Wide Web picked up traction, reviews were obtained and showcased the old fashioned way: by letter, framed or bound with care in a binder or album. Perhaps a quote from a review would be printed in a brochure to enhance sales. And when someone needed a service, they’d likely ask a personal friend or family member. Why? Because people want to do business with people they know, or with people their friends and relatives trust. And if they didn’t have anyone to ask, they’d go right to the yellow pages and let their fingers do the walking.
Social networks may not have launched out of the gate with the idea of becoming search engines or referral networks, but they sure did happily jump on the bandwagon of opportunity. Instead of going to the yellow pages, we turn to Google. And in many cases now, before turning to Google, we turn to Facebook, “Who do you know?”
Facebook caught on to the user-initiated referrals and began offering a review system for business pages. You can now go to a business page, give a rating between one and five stars, and leave a review based on your experience. But that’s not all!
Facebook evolved to act as a search engine, focusing not only on industry searches, but also on location. When you type the phrase “real estate agent” into the Facebook search bar, you’ll see a display of results based on your location. Then you can click on that business page and check out reviews. Nifty, right? It’s more than that.
Google is Listening | The Relationship Between Reviews and Search Engine Optimization
Search engines have gotten smart. Really smart. In the beginning, search engines focused on keywords – words and phrases that likely corresponded with a user’s search query. Next, they began honing in on location – the local pack .To learn more, read: Local SEO
Catching on to the importance of user experience, Google learned not only to “see” what users are doing by matching up keywords (as well as synonyms and related phrases!) and location, but has evolved to “hear” when a brand is being talked about. Yes, seriously.Google algorithms now recognize reputation in brands. If someone is being talked about by others, they should rank higher in the search engines. This is especially true for the local pack.
Google is aware when someone reviews or rates your services via:
- Facebook Post
- In a tweet
- In a pin
- In snapchat
- In Instagram
For example, if a user is in Las Vegas and types the single word “dentist” in to Google, Google recognizes the users location, showing local dentists first. But then to up the anti, Google shows reviews for that business. A user can see, on the fly, before the click, how others have rated that dentist. Or, if that business has no ratings. But it gets even meatier than that. Check this out:
The results the user sees below the local pack are likely to come from review websites such as Yelp. In other words, before the user sees your website, they may see the websites hosting your reviews!
Choose Your Source | Where to House Your Reviews
There are dozens of options for websites and software that allow you to collect reviews. Although it may be wise to have accounts in several places, it’s also good practice to have one favorite, one hub, one resource you’re able to focus on and promote. When a group of real estate agents were asked where they put their real estate reviews, some of the answers included:
- Zillow (Click here to learn how)
- Yelp (Click here to learn how)
- Facebook (Click here to learn how)
- Realtor.com (Click here to learn how)
- Trulia (Click here to learn how)
We need our reviews to be a great user experience. Leaving real estate agent reviews needs to be easy, a no-brainer for the user. The process must be simple and convenient. The more steps a client has to go through to leave you a review, the less likely they are to follow that process from start to finish.
The reason you should focus on one primary place for your reviews is because you’re going to intentionally begin driving traffic to those sources, blatantly asking for reviews.
How to Get Real Estate Agent Reviews
- In your blog posts, at the bottom, include a request for reviews along with the link to your review page.
- Include a request for reviews in your email campaigns. Do not wait until the end, by then it’s too late. Instead, when you’re communicating with clients via email about their transaction, inform them that you’ll be asking for their review, then deliver exceptional service. You can also automate the process, in part, with Auto-Pilot ISA, an automated inside sales agent that communicates with leads via text message and email.
- Any time you engage in video marketing via YouTube or Facebook Live, include a call to action inviting viewers to leave you a review. Here’s an example from Ballen Brands:
Hop on over to our Facebook Page and leave us a five star review and let everyone know why you’re giving us five stars:
- Are you enjoying our videos?
- Are you benefiting from our training?
- Are you a member of The Ballen Academy?
- Are you attending live classes with us?
These are exactly the kinds of conversations we need to be having with our customers. We ask outright for the five-star rating, invite the testimonial, and tell them where to leave their review.
Summing it Up
Real estate agent reviews are a wonderful way to get word-of-mouth business, but they’re also a resourceful way to gain ranking in the search engines. Whenever you publish a blog post, create a video, or send an email, go ahead and ask for the review! Make it simple for your viewers and clients to click a link and post a review for your real estate business.