Similar to many other local businesses, real estate agents rely on reviews to bring in new clients.
In the past, people would have simply asked their colleagues, friends, and family for recommendations for a trustworthy real estate agent. While real estate agents still depend on word of mouth recommendations, these days recommendations are more likely to be digital.
In fact, 66% of Americans trust an anonymous, online review more than they trust a recommendation from an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.
Now when people are looking to either buy or sell property, the first thing they’re most likely to do is search Google. When they search Google the top results are likely to be review sites like Yelp, Zillow, and other real estate dedicated review sites.
An effective online review strategy will help you win more clients and build both a strong personal and business brand.
In this article, we’ll look at which review sites you should concentrate on, how to ask for reviews, review best practices, and how to market your reviews.
Why Are Reviews Important For Real Estate Agents?
Reviews help establish your credibility as a real estate agent and help build up your reputation. A strong reputation and proven track record in helping clients either buy or sell property will help you show prospects that you’re the right choice.
1. Social Proof for Your Real Estate Business
Real estate reviews act as powerful social proof for your business. These days people use online reviews as their main source of opinions and recommendations.
When you’re looking for a restaurant, a hotel, or any other local business, chances are you do a quick Google search to check out the top reviews.
In fact, 66% of consumers stated many online reviews make them trust a brand online. Reviews validate your business and help consumers feel comfortable.
Both buyers and sellers want to know if you’re knowledgeable and competent and if your past clients would use your services again before they agree to do business with you. They’ll look to reviews from past clients to find out if you’re focused on your clients’ needs, able to negotiate, and are responsive.
Prospects are likely to pay attention to both reviews on 3rd party sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and industry-specific real estate sites like Zillow, RateMyAgent, Realtor.com, and Trulia. They also care about your 1st party reviews on the personal pages of agents and business websites.
2. Reviews Can Improve Your Ranking in Search Results
Reviews also come with a strong SEO benefit. When lots of users mention your name online, search engine algorithms take that into account when they’re ranking sites.
When someone Googles ‘real estate agents in Denver, Colorado’, local real estate agents who have lots of online reviews will appear more highly in the search engine results page (SERP) than agents without much of an internet presence.
When you look at the top results for this search, right below the paid ads you’ll see that the top-rated agencies are dominating the SERP:
According to Whitespark, review signals are the 2nd most important local pack/finder ranking factor, only Google My Business Signals (proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.) have a higher impact.
Additionally, some users like to share the reviews they write on their social media pages. If a satisfied client shares their positive review with their Facebook friends, you may even receive some more requests for your business.
Facebook recommendations will also help boost your appearance in the SERPs. Ultimately, the more mentions you receive along with local real estate related keywords the more the search algorithms will reward your name in search results.
3. Real Estate Is Highly Competitive
Having a strong collection of online reviews and testimonials from previous clients is an excellent way of standing out from the crowd. Real estate is one of the most competitive industries out there and boosting your reputation is important for setting yourself apart from the competition.
Which Sites Are Best For Real Estate Agent Reviews?
There are 3 main categories of review sites that matter for real estate agents.
1. Mainstream Sites
Google, Facebook, and Yelp are the top mainstream sites that prospects use for reviewing all types of businesses, and real estate agents are no exception. Given the sheer volume of searches, Google is the most important site to earn online reviews for your firm.
2. Industry-specific review sites
If you’re a broker, you’ll need profile listings for both your business and yourself on the above-mentioned sites. If you’re an agent, create a profile for yourself on review and listings sites.
In some cases, your business may already have a page which you should then claim so you can edit the business contact information and publicly respond to reviews about your business.
3. 1st Party Reviews On the Real Estate Agent’s Website
When prospects are close to making their decision, they may conduct deeper research into the specific real estate firm or individual agents. They may go through business websites and personal agent pages and view reviews and testimonials there.
Remember, 1st party reviews that appear on either a business site or an agent’s personal page have a greater SEO impact. The content of the review displayed on the website will likely contain keywords that a prospective client is searching for.
These 1st party reviews are also unique content, meaning that they’re not found elsewhere on the web. As we know, Google’s algorithms love unique and original content, so they may reward a site with lots of original 1st party reviews by ranking for more search queries.
Clients are also more likely to leave reviews on a 1st party site than a 3rd party site:
Remember if you’re using GatherUp, you only need to set up one profile for your business. Using tags and a tags widget on your website, our system will then sort and filter your reviews, so any reviews mentioning a specific agent will appear on their personal page.
How to Ask for Reviews From Clients
Most clients are happy to provide a short review or offer some feedback to real estate agents. Once you’re in the habit of asking for reviews, it’s easy to do so every time. Follow these steps when you’re asking for reviews from clients.
1. Wait Until the Deal Has Been Closed or the Search Has Ended
Asking about a review should be one of the last things you do before a client leaves. Prior to asking for a review, wait until the deal has been successfully completed or the client has ended their search.
It’s always best to ask for a review as quickly after the closing as possible. That way your clients’ positive experiences will be fresh in their minds and they’ll be able to share accurate details without forgetting any key pieces of information.
2. Ask For Some Honest Feedback About What Could Have Been Better
Once you and your client have parted ways, send them a thank you note expressing how nice it was to meet them and how much you appreciated their business. Then say something along the lines of “I’m always looking to improve my service is there anything that could have been better?” Their response will give you a better sense of how they felt about your overall service.
3. Following Positive Feedback Ask For a Review
If the client was happy with your service, you can follow up with a request for a review on a specific site. Mention that their positive feedback means a lot to you and that a review on a specific site would be very helpful to you.
4.Use Automation to Follow up on Personalized Requests
While a personalized initial request is the best way to get reviews, sometimes people just get busy and may forget to write you a review. If a client hasn’t written you a review and it’s been 7 days since your request, you could try sending them an automated reminder email.
Real Estate Review Best Practices
Slow and Steady
If you’re feeling under pressure to get loads of reviews as quickly as possible, remember that review sites (especially Google) don’t like to see loads of reviews piling in at once. It’s best to go slow and steady to ensure your review rate looks natural and is in keeping with industry trends.
Don’t Eliminate Negative Feedback
Every business will receive some negative feedback at some point. The key is in how you deal with it. If a client brings up some problems, try to fix them before they take to writing a critical review on Google.
If the client chooses to write a review and include their negative feedback, the best thing you can do is use it as a learning opportunity. If your positive reviews far outweigh the negative ones, potential clients will view you as an authentic and transparent agent.
Resend Requests Every 30-60 Days
Email open rates generally sit in the 30-50% range which means that a large percentage of your clients won’t even open your email requesting feedback. If you send out some scheduled follow up emails, you’re more likely to receive feedback from anyone who didn’t initially respond.
After the initial follow-up after 7 days, we suggest sending a follow-up every 30-60 days. GatherUp allows businesses to send email reminders if the client doesn’t respond to the initial feedback request making it easy to track who has replied to your feedback requests.
Prioritize 2-3 Different Review Sites
While it’s important to have a presence on all the review sites we mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to focus on prioritizing just 2-3 review sites so you don’t get too bogged down. We recommend focusing on Google, an industry-specific site, and your own personal site.
How to Reply to Real Estate Reviews
Authentic responses to reviews are essential for building a trustworthy and reputable image for your business. Research shows that businesses that respond to even just 1 review earn more than 4% on average.
Responding to Positive Feedback
Taking a moment to reply to positive reviews helps build brand loyalty and helps people feel good about being a part of it.
- Always personalize your response and use the reviewer’s name if you have it.
- Keep your response conversational and use a tone that aligns with your brand.
- Say thank you for the review.
- Make a comment about their experience.
- Add value by offering a recommendation for their next visit.
- Acknowledge that it was great doing business with them.
Responding to Negative Feedback
Replying to negative or neutral reviews should be your number 1 priority when it comes to writing responses. It’s important to acknowledge anything that could be improved and reassure your past and future customers that you’re working to make changes.
Authentic responses show customers that you truly care about their experience and that their opinion really matters to you.
- Again you should always use the reviewer’s name if you can.
- Apologize if you need to and acknowledge that your service didn’t meet their expectations.
- Make it clear that you’re making changes to the service so that other future clients won’t have the same poor experience.
- Offer a solution to the problem or an invitation for a free service or product.
- Invite the customer to contact you directly to provide further details.
Here’s an example of a simple yet effective response to a negative real estate review:
When it comes to responding to reviews, it’s always better late than never. Take some time to go through your old reviews and thoughtfully reply to any that may have slipped through the net.
Read our full guide to replying to reviews and try using our free templates.
How to Market Your Reviews
Once you’ve gone to the effort of setting up business profiles as well as gathering client reviews, you need to know how to market your reviews so prospects see them.
At GatherUp we like to take advantage of getting 5X the value of the reviews you gather from your customers. Once you’ve earned them, you don’t want to waste that hard work – you should squeeze every benefit from them. Learn more about our 5X Review Strategy.
Reviews make excellent fresh content for both your site and social media pages.
1. Turn Reviews into Social Media Content for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Automatically adding reviews to your website will also boost your SERP rankings. Search engines crawl your site looking for updates and new content. Having fresh and relevant content like user-generated reviews increases the amount of content that’s indexed for your business in the search results. The more relevant content you have, the better the chance of prospects finding you.
You could also create social media images using quotes from your reviews and try posting them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Reviews also make great eye-catching content for web pages and email marketing.
GatherUp’s social sharing feature enables you to easily turn your reviews into visually engaging content for social media platforms. Learn more about how you can use reviews over and over again to win new customers in our guide to how social sharing images benefit more than social media.
2. Embed the Review Badge
By embedding the review badge on your site, you can easily display the average star rating and the total number of reviews for your business on your site. Prospects can easily glance at your site and quickly learn more about your reputation and past clients’ opinions.
3. Use the GatherUp Widget to Put Personal Reviews on Your Site
Personal reviews that acknowledge your services as a real estate agent as opposed to general ones that describe the firm are important for convincing prospects to choose your services and not the competitors.
By installing the GatherUp tag widget and setting up a tag system you can ensure that agent-specific reviews are published on your site instead of just general ones about the firm.
You could also tag your reviews based on whether they’re from buyers or sellers. Buyers and sellers have different needs and want to see that agents have the right skill set and approach for both sides of the deal.
Online reviews are vital for building up your all-important reputation in a highly competitive industry. Real estate agents need reviews to show that they’re competent, engaged, trustworthy, and reliable to stand out.
Prospects will always look to online reviews to find out if past clients were left feeling satisfied so it makes sense to build a review strategy that uses this to your advantage.
Make it a habit to ask your clients for reviews and then market them to your audience and you should see a steady uptick in inquiries.