Being in the home services industry, there are few things more important to your digital marketing than an abundance of positive online reviews. People are essentially inviting you to their home when they hire you, and they don’t want to just let anybody inside. So they do their research, and oftentimes that research involves reading third-party reviews from your actual customers.
In fact, a whopping 97 percent of people looking to hire a local business such as yours looked online when deciding who to hire. And 85 percent of these people said they trust the reviews they read online just as much as if they were getting the recommendation from a friend.
How Online Ratings Impact Your Local Marketing Efforts
Getting positive online reviews aren’t just about winning the customer over once they find you: They also help you get found in the first place. Did you know that your online reviews are one of the top ranking factors Google looks at when choosing which local businesses to rank? And it makes sense. They don’t want to recommend a contractor that is unreliable or bad at their job. They want a contractor with a proven track record of happy customers.
How to Get More Reviews
As Forbes reports, the easiest way to get more reviews is to ask for them. It sounds simple enough, but there is some strategy behind it. The creator of Starloop, Daniel Vivarelli, spent over two years researching what phrases are the most effective when asking for customer reviews. His findings? It’s as simple as two magic words: invite and feedback. Instead of asking, “Can you leave a review for my company on Yelp?” you say, “I would like to invite you to leave online feedback.” By switching up the vocabulary to be more sincere and less predictable, you will feel comfortable asking for the reviews, and your customers will be happy to oblige.
What Matters When Getting Online Reviews
Since the point of getting online reviews is to improve your contractor marketing, it is helpful to know what specific factors Google is looking at when determining whether or not to show you to potential customers:
- How many reviews you have. You need at least ten before the reviews gain any relevance, but, of course, the more the better.
- What sites the reviews are on. Certain sites have more clout than others. Aim for reviews on Google, Facebook, Nextdoor and Yelp for the biggest impact.
- How many sites the reviews are on. Google needs to know that you are recommended by several different audiences, so they want to see reviews on all of the main review sites, not just one of them.
- How quickly you get reviews. If your reviews are legitimate, they will trickle in slowly but surely as time goes on. So if you have an influx of reviews, Google may consider them fake.
How to Handle Positive and Negative Reviews
Getting the reviews is just the beginning. Now you need to actively monitor and respond to them so readers see that you genuinely care about your customers. Of course, positive reviews are pretty simple to reply to. You express your gratitude, both for the review and their patronage, and you let them know you are always available for questions or additional services.
It is the negative reviews that can be a challenge for some home service business owners. After all, the last thing you want to do is go viral on Twitter for all the wrong reasons, like what recently happened to a Buddhist priest when he let some less-than-priest-like language come out in his rebuttals. When you do get a negative review—and everybody does at some point—it is how you respond that makes the most impact.
- Always take the high road. Always. The comments you make online are there forever. You can’t take them back. If you are too upset about a particular comment, walk away and come back to it when you have had time to rethink your response.
- Take responsibility. Defending yourself or making excuses does not help the situation. When someone is complaining in the form of a review, they don’t care about your side of the story. They just want you to say sorry, so do it. Let them know you are always working on improving your services and you appreciate their feedback.
Online reviews are a key element in your local marketing strategy, and it is important that you approach them this way. By seeking out reviews and actively responding to the ones you get, you can see your local marketing efforts soar. To learn about other ways to improve your contractor marketing, contact Surefire Local today.