How many times have you been told that it is crucial to gather positive online reviews from clients? Probably, every time you turn around. While most understand the importance of reviews, few understand the science behind earning positive reviews and which online review platforms to prioritize. This is a question the OVM Marketing Department receives frequently from our Real Estate Agent partners and Mortgage Loan Originators, so here’s the low down:
Where Should I Send My Client To Leave A Review?
The online review space is crowded and the options are endless: Facebook reviews, Zillow reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, Yelp reviews, Google reviews, and the list goes on and on. It’s really hard to know where to start. Our best advice, is to start with the platforms that most significantly impact local search results: Yelp and Google.
Claiming Your Google and Yelp Listings
It’s important to note that Google and Yelp reviews are location based. If you do not have a physical office location, you will not be able to claim a Google or Yelp listing. If you are a part of a team and you do not own the real estate or mortgage company, it is best practice to contact your broker, marketing department, or company owner before you claim a listing associated with that physical location.
Duplicate Google and Yelp listings for the same location can get sticky. Customer confusion occurs when they search for a business and several listings under various agent names pop-up under the same office location. A real estate and mortgage company will benefit more when all reviews are accumulated under one physical location listing. If an individual agent would like to benefit from Google and Yelp reviews, instruct clients to leave a review under the business’ page and mention the agent’s name in the review.
Let’s face the facts…Google loves google. Google review scores are an important signal for Google’s search ranking factors. In fact, Moz notes that 8.4% of Google’s ranking factor is devoted to Google Reviews. In order to request Google Reviews, you must have a Google account, and you must verify your business on Google by claiming your Google listing. Once your business is verified, you can remind customers to leave you a review by searching for your business on Google Maps, locating your business listing, and choosing a star rating for the quality of service they received. Note that clients must have a Google account in order to leave a Google review.
While Yelp is one of the most widely known review platforms and it does have a significant impact on search results, it is one of the hardest reviews platforms for business owners and entrepreneurs to manage and master. The reason why: Yelp discourages businesses from asking their customers for reviews because they want their review site to be non-biased.
The most devastating thing about Yelp Reviews, Yelp will not post every review that you’ve ever received from a customer to your page. Yelp has their own algorithm that determines which reviews are posted and what order they are posted in. Yelp is biased to those that utilize the platform by engaging outside of their organization. If you have Yelp friends, your profile is optimized, and you are active on Yelp, chances are your reviews are more likely to be posted than if you’re just creating an account for the first time and have no intent on using it beyond leaving one positive or negative review.
Nine times out of ten, a business will not ask an unhappy client to leave a review. Therefore, you’re opening yourself up to the internet critics of the world. Our recommendation: If, and only if you are 100% confident that all of your clients interactions are fantastic and your customer service is top-notch, include a Yelp review button on your website and in your e-mail signature. Let your customers know that you are on Yelp when you are confident that your service offering is streamlined and your clientele are frequently satisfied.
Zillow is next in line on the review platform priority list. Zillow caters to real estate agents and mortgage lenders looking for a way to showcase themselves to potential clients. Zillow also has the highest amount of website visits in comparison to it’s competitors.
While it is also beneficial to have profiles on Zillow’s competitor sites, if you’re starting from scratch, we recommend setting up a Zillow profile and build a significant amount of reviews before moving to another real estate-specific website.
After you’ve mastered Google and Zillow, next in line is Facebook reviews. Facebook is the leading giant in the social media arena, and adding reviews to your Facebook business page will provide a richer user experience for those searching for your services. When someone searches for you online, they will be exposed to your Google listing (if your listing is verified), your website, and your social media profiles. After a customer has taken a look at your website, their next move will most likely be to see what your social media presence looks like.
Reviews are one piece of the puzzle when it comes to having a robust presence on Facebook. In fact, it’s rare to find real estate agents or mortgage lenders with a plethora of reviews on their Facebook business pages. Therefore, Facebook reviews are one way you can leverage against the competition.
The OVM Marketing Department recommends choosing one or two platforms from the above to get started. Once your reviews begin to surface on those platforms, branch out to some of the others. The goal is the quality and quantity of reviews on a single platform versus a review here and a review there on several online platforms.
What Is The Best Way To Request A Client Review
There are several ways to request a client review:
- The old fashioned proposal: This is the scenario where you’re sitting at the closing table, the client is beaming with pride, and you just know in your heart that you knocked the client’s expectations out of the park. Bring a iPad with you to the closing table, explain the importance of reviews to your clients, and pop the question! If the iPad is right there, they can login and leave a review before they even leave your site.
- The follow-up e-mail: Maybe your clients are in a hurry, and they request that you send them a link to where they can leave you a review after the transaction is complete. Build an e-mail template that has clear instructions for how to leave you a review and links to the page you are trying to get reviews on. The marketing team at OVM Financial can build one of these templates for you. Just contact your marketing project manager to get started with a request. If you are not currently assigned a marketing project manager, contact your loan officer so they can assign a project manager to help you with your marketing requests.
- Automate the process with a reviews tool: There are many tools available on the web that will allow you to streamline the review request process. Reputation management software systems like, Grade us help you streamline your review acquisition process by validating if your customer had a positive or negative experience. If the customer had a positive experience, Grade us will then prompt them to leave a review on the review sites that matter to you. It will even remind your customers to leave their review.
There you have it! Reviews are a challenge for every business owner, and the real estate and mortgage lending industries are no different. Hopefully this has answered some of your burning questions. Never hesitate to reach out to the marketing team at OVM Financial to gain some expert insight on industry best practices.