Posts Tagged ‘online reviews’

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Are online reviews important, and should you respond to them?

It used to be that personal recommendations solidified decisions, but in today’s fast-moving digital orbit, news about your company travels differently, and online reviews—think Yelp, Google and Facebook—are a primary source of feedback.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center concluded that 78 percent of Internet users conduct research online and believe reviews are the most credible form of advertising.

A 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by Brightlocal.com reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it’s rated four stars or higher.

Suffice it to say that online reviews are remarkably influential.

Not everyone responds to reviews, but there are several reasons why you should (even if they’re negative), including the fact that replying to feedback shows that you’re paying attention to your clients and customers, you’re not afraid of transparency and your business is all about building relationships.

The goal is to convert fans of your business into super-fans and offer disappointed reviewers an acceptable resolution, which often leads to a revised review or inspiration to remove a negative one. While there are multiple ways to respond to reviews – the positive and the negative – follow these tips to put the face of your business in the best light.

Be pleasant and don’t hurl insults: When a client or consumer is frustrated, they’re ready to fight. The last thing your business wants to do is fuel the fire or burn bridges, so when you’re responding to negative reviews, take a deep breath, be courteous and polite and provide solutions when feasible.

A little sympathy goes a long way in defusing an unpleasant situation. If you sense that the dialogue is taking a turn for the worse, suggest settling the matter offline, far away from judgmental public eyes. 

Keep your responses short and to the point: Social media users are looking to digest information quickly. If they want to read a novel, they’ll grab their Kindle or head to the bookstore. Keep your responses brief and genuine and stay on topic.

Thank those who post positive reviews: While handwritten “thank you” notes are, sadly, a thing of the past, clicking the “Like” button on a positive Facebook comment takes a second. Literally. Typing “Thank you for the kind words!” takes four seconds – five if your typing skills need work.

You don’t have to thank every single person, but if someone takes the time to write a favorable review, it’s a good idea to show your appreciation.

Don’t be a salesperson: When a user writes a review, it’s usually proof that they’ve already interacted with your business, so there’s no need to tell them what they already know.

If you have something new to share about your business, it’s fine to share, but make sure the content isn’t spammy or irrelevant.

Let clients and customers know that you loved working with them: Want to turn a customer or client into repeat customers or clients? If they post a glowing review, let them know how much you enjoyed working with them – and you’d welcome the opportunity to do so again.

If you want people to continue to work with your business, you need to let them know that you’re the kind of business that welcomes them back.


Real Estate Corner:
Mortgage rates are the lowest in a year and a half, but homebuyers aren’t taking the bait

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Mortgage rates continue to fall, but homebuyers aren’t impressed, writes Diane Olick, real estate reporter for CNBC.com.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 2 percent in the last week in May and were barely 0.5 percent higher than a year ago, she notes.

And despite rates that are the lowest they’ve been in a year and a half, “High prices continue to sideline buyers, especially first-time buyers, who are a growing segment of the market.

How to harness influencer marketing techniques to grow your business

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for marketing and growing your business. If you aren’t already utilizing this method of marketing, you’re missing a big opportunity.

And, hopefully you don’t have the mindset that, “I’ve done great so far without it, why start now when it may just be a fad?” Influencer marketing is here to stay!

Influencer marketing has been here for centuries, but in other forms. Referrals and customer complaints are influencer marketing. The art of influence elicits changes in thinking or behavior.

An influencer is someone who has the power to change our perception and behavior.

Because social media is now mainstream, influencer marketing is everywhere. Customers don’t have to go looking for referrals. Referrals (and other influencing content) are everywhere.

So, what’s the best way to use influencer marketing to grow your business?

Here are several ways to increase influencer marketing within your business:

  • Know the influencers and build relationships with them. Influencers include “influential” people within your community, such as prominent bloggers and local non-competing business people. The influencer’s audience should be the same audience you are trying to reach.
  • Offer valuable information (contributed article, tips, etc.) to the influencers, asking them to consider sharing the content on their blogs or other social media. The key is to make it pertinent information for the influencer’s audience, and not “salesy” content.
  • Ask your satisfied customers (who, by the way, are influencers) to review your business on Yelp, Google and Facebook. They love you, so be sure they share their love for you. The goal is for prospective customers to see these reviews when they are researching and making purchase decisions.
  • Ask customers to “check-in” on Facebook when they visit your office. This is a great method for growing your business’s popularity on Facebook. Consider offering a small monthly prize ($25 gift card to local restaurant) via a random drawing from all people who’ve checked in over the past month.
  • Engage with your clients via social media. This is a great method of personalizing your service and further integrating into your community. Be cautious of sharing, liking or commenting on any potentially objectionable content. Keep it clean!

One additional note: you should avoid paying influencers to market your product, as paid endorsements lose credibility with buyers.

Follow these tips and you’ll be practicing influencer marketing! It’s not rocket science. It just takes a conscious effort, a plan and a common-sense approach.

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Build your title agency's business from Angie's List

Wouldn’t it be great if your title insurance business could land one extra real estate closing every month? Better yet, what if the cost to acquire that deal was slim to none?

By now you’ve heard the benefits of having an online presence on sites like Yelp and Facebook, but have you considered Angie’s List? Like all the others, the cost to create a basic business profile is free – minus the time it takes to claim your business page and add content, including links back to your website and information about your title agency.

Many title insurance businesses overlook Angie’s List, which means there’s less competition for visibility on the platform (for now). People who pay for an Angie’s List subscription are more likely to be in immediate need of the services. While the quantity of leads may be fewer, the quality is as good or better than other review sites.

Angie’s List provides more information about your title business operations than other platforms do, such as how much the customer paid for closing and title services and a report card that scores your agency’s responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism among other things.

Because all the members leaving reviews are paid subscribers, and only paid subscribers can read the reviews (business owners can read reviews on their own page), Angie’s List doesn’t necessarily rise to the top of a Google search. On the other hand, the audience on this site tends to be highly motivated to buy.

Online reviews are a window into your title business, and Angie’s List provides another opportunity to rack up the reviews. Studies show consumers are more likely to contact a business if it has a 5-star rating, and improving your title agency’s star rating from 3 stars to 5 stars, for example, can yield as many as 25% more clicks to your business profile.

Many title agents are reluctant to explore customer review strategies because they are afraid of negative reviews. But ignoring platforms like Angie’s List doesn’t mean the negative reviews will go away. They are still impacting your title agency’s online reputation and possibly steering prospective customers to a local competitor with better reviews.

By developing a strategy for acquiring online reviews and targeting satisfied customers, you can mitigate the risk of a negative review torpedoing your star-rating.

And by expanding your scope to include Angie’s List, you provide your title business with an additional pipeline for new customers that can potentially net you one more real estate transaction every month at a lower cost of acquisition as compared with paid advertising.

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Your title agency's online reputation + job seekers

Prospective customers are not the only ones Googling your title insurance business before they call or email. Have you stopped to wonder what kind of impression is your title insurance agency making on prospective employees?

The jobs market is as good as it’s ever been in the last decade, which means more jobs and fewer candidates. The title insurance business has a unique problem when it comes to recruiting new talent – no one goes to school to work in the title business; it’s something we fall into for the most part.

The talent pool is small to begin with, and to attract the best talent your title company has got to stand out to prospective employees. One way to do this is by being aware of your agency’s current online reputation and the myriad review sites out there geared toward job seekers.

Here are two platforms that should be on your radar when it comes to managing your title business’s online reputation as it relates to prospective employees.

Glassdoor

If someone Googles your business name or “working at [your business name],” chances are good a Glassdoor business profile will pop up on the first page of search results. How does your Glassdoor profile appear in search results?

Through Glassdoor, employees of your title business are able to anonymously leave a review of what it’s like to work for your company – including insights into salary, benefits and what the interview process is like. Your HR or administrative team can provide balance on your Glassdoor profile by completing the company information, uploading a logo and sharing company updates.

Unfortunately, one disgruntled employee leaving a 1-star review can quickly torpedo a title agency’s online reputation from the standpoint of prospective employees, especially if the business owner has not taken the time to claim or complete his Glassdoor profile. Claiming your profile is a free and easy way to monitor your business’s reputation so you can attract top talent to your organization.

LinkedIn

With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is the largest social network for professionals. Prospective employers researching a company on LinkedIn are able to see if any of their connections are connected to a business, which allows for more personal insights into what it’s like to work for a company.

While LinkedIn does not currently support a user-review feature like Glassdoor, it does provide great information in terms of visitor demographics, including industry-type, location by region, company size and seniority. Knowing this information can help you tailor your online reputation to appeal to the exact type of candidates you’re hoping to reach.

Both Glassdoor and LinkedIn allow site users to “follow” your title business, a good indicator that these folks may be interested in working in the title insurance business. Both also provide data on how users engage with the updates your title agency shares on the platforms, allowing you to refine your communication with prospective employees over time.

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4 ways to manage your title agency's digital reputation

While the millennial generation is now the largest homebuying cohort, they aren’t the only ones who Google everything. We all like to know as much as we can about who we’re doing business with, and we all tend to rely on the opinions of others (our friends, or even online reviews by strangers) to help us make the best decisions.

As a title agency owner, it’s important to put yourself into the shoes of a prospective customer so you can provide the information they are seeking when they perform a Google search – as well or better than your competitors.

For homebuyers and sellers, a real estate transaction is likely an uncommon experience and they may be feeling anxious about exchanging such large sums of money. If the customer is a lender, there are always concerns of tolerance violations. And if the customer is a Realtor, settlement delays or other customer service issues may be a top concern.

Online reviews are a window into your title business. Studies show consumers are more likely to contact a business if it has a 5-star rating, and improving your title agency’s star rating from 3 stars to 5 stars, for example, can yield as many as 25% more clicks to your business profile.

Your title agency’s online reputation may be the deciding factor between whether a prospective customer reaches out to your business or contacts the competitor down the street. In today’s world, managing your business’s online reputation is essential – here are four platforms that should top your priority list.

Yelp

With more than 123 million reviews to date, Yelp is no longer just a place for reviews of the new sushi restaurant that opened down the street. Realtors discovered the benefits of having a Yelp presence years ago, and now other professionals involved in the real estate transaction are jumping aboard the Yelp bandwagon.

Google

The search engine behemoth holds roughly 75% of the Internet search market, and it’s no coincidence that Google reviews are one of the first things to pop up when a prospective customer Googles your title agency. Google reviews appear not only in Web search, but also Maps search.

Facebook

With nearly 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the largest social network on the planet. Users spend an average of 15 minutes on the site, which means you have ample opportunities to connect with your target audience in a forum where they interact almost daily once you’ve claimed your title business’s Facebook page.

Angie’s List

Many title insurance businesses overlook Angie’s List, which means there’s less competition for visibility on the platform (for now). People who pay for an Angie’s List subscription are more likely to be in immediate need of the services. While the quantity of leads may be fewer, the quality is as good or better than other review sites.]]>

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