It’s no secret that online presence counts for a lot in today’s market. In fact, the first thing most customers do after being referred to a professional, whether they are a broker, personal trainer or even a dentist, is search for that person online to see what comes up. MPA spoke with the co-founder of RateMyAgent Mark Armstrong to see what brokers can do to build a strong online presence and increase their customer base through digital marketing.
Social proof at work
For brokers, building an online presence in today’s climate is important because customers expect you to have one, says Armstrong.
“Nowadays, I think the stats are that 95% of consumers search for online reviews on pretty much everything.”
“Your customer expects to find that information about you, and if they can’t find it, then that’s not great in the customer’s mind.”
Reviews play a major part in this because they offer social proof – something that has become quite a commodity in the online world.
“We all look for social proof.”
“Here’s an analogy I use – it’s like when you walk down the street and you see two restaurants. One’s packed and one’s empty. You’ll line up to go to the packed one, even if you don’t know anything about it.”
“Reviews are the same. If you’re seeing reviews from a lot of people, and particularly with RateMyAgent reviews, where every review is linked to the transaction, you’re seeing social proof from people within your community.”
“People are more comfortable going with a group that they know other people are using.”
Tips on using reviews to drive more business
So, how can brokers use this social proof to their advantage? Armstrong says communication is vital.
“There’s a really important part of the process where the people who get the best customer feedback actually talk about it through the journey of working with that person.”
He says step one is to use existing customer reviews at the start of the process when trying to win over a new customer.
“I’ve seen some people actually read out customer reviews to their customers.”
The next step is to communicate with the client about this throughout your journey together by letting them know that at the end of the transaction you are going to ask for a review. By doing this, you can then ask if there is anything else you can do for the client to ensure the experience is a positive one.
The final step is to use all of your reviews as marketing assets and spread them across social media channels.
“At RateMyAgent we have a promotor tool which allows them to promote their reviews through Facebook, Instagram and Google’s Ad networks. It should be posted into Google Reviews and Google My Business.”
While getting the reviews is one thing, using them to their full potential is another. Rather than keeping a photo album of hand written reviews in your reception area, Armstrong says having an effective system to promote them online is paramount.
“95% of people are looking for your reviews, so the easier you can make it for them to find those reviews, the more powerful they’re going to be for you.”
He says RateMyAgent recently expanded its offering to the broker market, allowing users to search for brokers through transaction-based reviews.
“We look at reviews as being like an article written in a newspaper.”
“It’s a little media article that creates its own webpage and its own link – and now you’ve got something to use in digital marketing.”