This article series is largely taken from the Real Estate Marketing Playbook with permission from the author.
Online ratings, reviews and testimonials — known collectively as “social proof” — are some of the most critical tools in a small business owner’s arsenal. After all, most of us turn to the internet for guidance before trying a new restaurant, seeing a movie or buying a product.
The same is true for enlisting the services of a business. Reviews and testimonials make an emotional appeal to consumers while providing first-hand insight into a business’s ability to deliver.
Consider a few pieces of the rationale below to understand the value of social proof and why its inclusion on your website can make all the difference when attracting new business.
It bolsters your identity
For those who come across your business online but don’t know you yet, reviews and testimonials act as a firsthand account of who you are as a service provider.
Because reviews and testimonials are cited to specific people, sometimes with their emails or social media handles attached, there’s a personal component at play. Potential customers trust reviews and testimonials more when they can believe that the information is genuine, which is just one reason positive reviews and testimonials can be so powerful.
It separates you from the competition
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent operating in an area with dozens of other professionals. While your qualifications and area specialties may be similar to them, you can set yourself apart by highlighting personal reviews and testimonials that speak to your character, personality and working style.
Imagine you’re a customer, faced with two agents with near-identical experience and credentials. Only one of those agents has glowing testimonials recounting positive experiences and lasting connections made with clients. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to work with the agent who has a proven track record of success with his or her clientele?
Now that the importance of social proof has been made clear, you might be wondering how to go about collecting reviews and testimonials from former clients.
For starters, keep in mind that reviews and testimonials don’t have to be lengthy or long-winded. A straightforward sentence or two about a positive personal experience with your business can go a long way.
At the close of a transaction, consider providing a comment card with room for clients to write a few reflections. You can also touch base via email and ask politely for a review of their experience working with you.
If you have regular and repeat clientele, these are excellent candidates for reviews and referrals, as they’ll know your business well and will likely be happy to contribute their thoughts. If you’re unsure about asking for reviews and testimonials, you could always incentivize this process in a small way.
Whichever way you gather social proof of your business’s positive performance, there’s no question that public reviews and testimonials are invaluable in drawing new clientele and bolstering your online presence. If you want to stand out and inspire interest, there’s no better way than to have past clients vouch for your work.
Real Estate Marketing Playbook was inspired by observations and experiences over many years in the real estate business. This series includes example strategies from the playbook, and the full text is available on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.