If you’re a successful real estate agent in today’s competitive business climate, you almost certainly long ago embraced digital marketing in all its forms as part of your overall strategy. You have a website, updated business listings, a social media presence, and probably conduct email campaigns. But there’s one factor that you might not be placing enough emphasis on, and that’s online realtor reviews from your customers. They’re much more important than you think.
The Rise Of Customer Reviews
Online reviews have always been with us, but most businesses have taken an indifferent approach to them. But the local search marketing landscape has changed significantly over the last few years with the rise of mobile devices and evolving consumer behaviour. As reported by SEO news site Search Engine Land, more than 80% of American adults aged 18 – 44 own smartphones, and over half of those research businesses, products, and services using a search engine like Google (86.3% of search market share in 2018) or going directly to a specific business’s website.
That means they’re seeing customer real estate reviews about your agency, especially Google reviews. And they count more than ever. A 2017 consumer review survey by research firm BrightLocal revealed some eye-opening results:
- 97% of consumers researched businesses online, 12% on a daily basis
- 85% trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from family and friends
- 73% said positive reviews raise their trust in a business
- 49% won’t use a business with less than a 4-star rating
- 30% said business response to reviews was a major factor when choosing a business
- 68% wrote a review when asked to on a website
- On average, consumers read seven reviews before deciding on a business
- Yelp and Facebook are the most trusted sites for local business reviews, with Google and the BBB ranking next.
Obviously, your Google reviews and reviews from other sites, including industry specific realtor review sites like RateMyAgent, both positive and negative, are having big impact on what prospective customers think about your agency.
Customer Reviews And Search Engine Rankings
Most search engines, and especially Google, have recognized the importance of reviews to consumers and have made them an important factor in their search algorithms, and thus they can affect your website’s ranking on a search engine results page (SERP). According to search engine news and ranking site MOZ, 20% of Google’s algorithm is based on customer reviews.
Search results and map results on both mobile and desktop devices include star ratings now, and as shown above, if you don’t have a high rating, you could be losing almost half your potential customers. These ratings are based on reviews from three different sources:
- Reviews from the business’s own website, if they accept them
- Reviews from third-party sites like Yelp, Rate My Agent, Facebook, and others
- Google reviews, reflected in Google My Business ratings
If you’re not monitoring and managing your real estate review statistics, poor ratings might be turning customers away, and making it harder for them to find you online.
Maximizing The Advantages Of Customer Reviews
There are other ways you can use customer realtor reviews to increase your digital presence and improve your business.
- Gain insights into consumer perceptions. Reading reviews allows you to learn what customers really think about your business performance, what areas you’re doing well in and the areas that can use some improvement. You’ll also be able to judge how your reputation stands up against your competitors.
- Respond personally to reviews. Of course you’ll want to respond to negative reviews, and you will inevitably get them. But responding to reviews, both good and bad, allows you to add a personal touch that both former and prospective customers will appreciate.
- Encourage more feedback. You should allow for reviews on your business website and ask customers to leave feedback. Most will be happy to. This will help your SEO too.
Managing Your Reviews
You should consider using one of the many excellent review management solutions on the market today. Most will allow you to monitor and respond to reviews on a single platform, analyze them, generate more feedback, add them to your website from other sources, and much more. It makes review management so much easier, and much of it can be automated.
Start using the power of customer reviews in your marketing strategy and you’ll see more customers, conversions, and profits, guaranteed.