When it comes to marketing for real estate, referrals are a big part of finding new clients.
When you know a client has had a good experience, it’s the perfect time to ask them for a referral. However, not everyone is going to have someone to refer to you. The next best thing is to ask them to write a review for you online.
Getting reviews is important. When someone is looking for a real estate agent to buy or sell their home they typically turn to an online search.
Ninety-nine percent of millennials use the Internet when buying a home and ninety percent of younger baby boomers use the Internet when buying a home. (National Association of Realtors)
In the end, you want to ensure your real estate website and listings are found and provide the information people need to decide whether they should work with you — proof that you are great to work with.
In this article, I’m going to show you the ins and outs of setting up and managing listing and reviews sites in the real estate industry. I’ll discuss how to set up and optimize your listings, how to encourage people to leave reviews, and how to respond to reviews.
Ready to find qualified leads, get expert real estate marketing advice, and sell properties faster, all in one place?
The role of listings and reviews sites for real estate
Let’s start by talking about the roles that listing and review sites play in your real estate marketing strategy.
First, the more review sites you’re listed on, the more likely you are to be found by prospective buyers and sellers in the search results.
Second, having a large collection of positive reviews is proof that you are great to work with, helping you get more leads. According to Zillow, agents who use Zillow Premier Agent to maintain their review sections net nearly twice as many leads.
Where to get listed
In the real estate industry, there are three primary sites where you’ll want to collect reviews and maintain your information. Getting listed on these sites first will help you cover a lot of ground in getting found and featuring your reviews.
As one of the most popular real estate websites, consumers spend a lot of time on this site when looking for a real estate agent and viewing properties.
On Zillow, reviews are a prominent part of your profile and they make it easy for consumers to leave a review.
Google ranks as one of the most popular search engines. Therefore it’s also important to set up a Google My Business listing.
When someone performs a search on Google, your Google My Business listing is one of the first things that they will see. On a desktop computer, the listing takes up a large portion of ‘real estate’ on the right side of the search results. It’s hard to miss.
Google My Business is a free tool that gives real estate professionals the ability to promote their business in Google Search and Google Maps. This allows you to provide details about your services: link to your real estate website, get directions to your office, hours, and collect and display reviews. Plus, Google My Business offers additional features to share information and content, right within your listing.
Considering that 75% of home sellers work with the first agent they speak with, Google My Business is great because it allows people to easily get in touch with you. From a mobile search, consumers can click to call, right from your listing.
Reviews on Google My Business are often the first thing that searchers look at. If the reviews are positive, they are more likely to click to learn more about you, andGoogle makes it easy for you to collect reviews right on your listing.
As one of the world’s largest social media platforms, your potential clients likely spend at least some time browsing and connecting with friends and family here each day.
When someone visits your Facebook business page, reviews are one of the first things people may see. Facebook shows an aggregate summary of your reviews and right below, asks people if they would recommend the business.
The great news is that Facebook is often the easiest to solicit client reviews as they are already familiar with the platform.
Identify other important listing sites
After you’ve covered the big three sites mentioned above, you’ll want to think about additional listings and reviews sites that are important to you.
Consider sites important to your local area, your target audience, and even sites particular to the type of properties you focus on.
It’s ideal to have a listing wherever your targeting audience is searching. Therefore, you might consider:
Creating your listings
It’s important to know that some listings sites like Zillow and Facebook are going to require you to create the listing yourself, giving you full control, right from the start.
Google My Business, however, works differently. The system can use data pulled from different sources on the internet to automatically create a business listing for you. If there’s not already one created for your real estate operations, you’ll want to manually set it up.
Listings on other sites like Yelp, can be created if a client goes to the site and leaves a review for you. That creates a profile that you will need to claim to have control of the listing.
After working with many entrepreneurs, I know that many of you probably just cringed at the mention of Yelp above. The thing is, you don’t want a business listing out there that: a.) has incorrect information about you, and b.) is collecting reviews that you aren’t responding to.
It all goes back to where people are leaving you reviews and where people are looking for your services.
Claim a listing
In the instance where a profile is already created through one of the means above, you’ll need to go through a process to claim and verify that you own the business.
Each listings site’s process is a bit different. Typically, you can find the listing that was created and you’ll see a button that says something like “claim this listing” or “claim this business.” Then, you’ll follow the directions and answer a few questions.
For example, Google My Business’s process to claim a listing involves receiving a postcard at the business address and following steps to input a code that verifies your information.
Information to include in your real estate listing
When it comes to your listing profile, each site will have its own standard form you’ll want to fill out. Answer all of the questions entirely.
Zillow, for example, provides a simple box for basic contact and licensing information. The rest of the profile includes information to talk more about yourself, your process for selling, helping people find the right homes, and why you’re the right agent to work with.
Use the respective areas in each platform to tell people about your expertise or niche. Share what makes you unique and great to work with.
Don’t be afraid to use available formatting options of each platform to call attention to specific areas. Using formatting, like highlighting an important fact with bold text, will make your profile descriptions easy to read.
Real estate-specific sites will also be looking for your sale activity in order to complete your profile. Be sure to fill in this information to make your profile robust and helpful to potential clients.
In essence, paint a picture of what it will be like to work with you.
Tip: Write your “about me” sections in first person to sound friendly and personal.
Pay attention to the details – optimize your profile for search
Google Search gives preferential treatment to businesses who consistently display basic information.
Google wants to verify they are providing the best results to searchers, so it looks at how your information is displayed across listings and reviews sites, as well as your website.
Pick a standard way to write your basic company information and stick with it across each platform.
Do you write your phone number like (970) 555-0198 or 970-555-0198? Pay attention to abbreviations, capitalization, and punctuation in your street address as well.
Ask for reviews
Asking for reviews can feel intimidating, uncomfortable, and like you’re bothering your clients.
However, when you provide a great experience, most clients are more than willing to write a review and share their experience for you.
When asking, it’s beneficial to recognize that they are busy, and let them know how beneficial reviews are to helping you gain new clients.
Email is a great way to ask for a review. You can even use email automation to simplify your process. After a deal closes, you can trigger a post-close thank you email that includes a link to a preferred review site.
Pay attention to your client’s email address, if they are using Gmail, it may be easier for them to write a review on Google as they are likely already logged in.
Just remember to provide a clickable link directly to the page where they can leave the review. Make it as easy as possible. Here’s how to share direct links to your listing for the “big three” listings and review sites:
- Zillow: share your unique review link with your clients
- Google My Business: share your short URL with clients from your dashboard
- Facebook: share a link to your Facebook Business page
Note that potential clients may become leery if your last review was over three months ago, so it’s important to continually ask for reviews. They want to know that you’re great to work with now.
Plus, it’s likely you will get one or two bad reviews (it happens to all of us) and the more positive reviews you get the less likely people are to focus only on the bad ones.
Just remember to ask!
Important guidelines for real estate agents asking for reviews
All listings and reviews sites have their own set of rules and guidelines for use and collecting reviews. Here are a few important notes:
Yelp does have strict guidelines for asking for reviews. This platform wants consumers to write a review of their own free will, without you asking. So when asking for reviews and providing a direct link to your review pages, avoid sharing a link to your Yelp profile.
In order to prevent false and biased reviews, the Federal Trade Commission also warns against incentivizing clients to get more reviews. Simply put, don’t offer anything in exchange for a review.
Respond to reviews — including (and especially) negative ones
Once you start getting reviews, good or bad, it’s important to respond.
When a prospective client is doing their research, they’ll want to see if you’re trustworthy and reliable to deal with. They are going to not only read your reviews, but they are going to look at how you respond to the reviews as well.
It’s important to spend a few minutes responding appropriately to each one.
Your response should sound personable and also add some context that will help future clients learn more about what it’s like to work with you.
Start by thanking them for their feedback. Use their first name and provide a few other details such as how quickly you sold their house or helped them find a home. Just be sure to be mindful of your client’s privacy and don’t share anything they might not want to be public.
Together, your client’s review and your reply make a compelling marketing pitch as to why new clients should work with you. Your response will show your existing client how much you appreciate them taking the time to write a review and show future clients your dedication to providing great service.
For negative reviews, it’s important to not sound defensive. It’s your chance to try to correct the situation and show others you value providing great service.
You can thank the reviewer for their feedback, ask questions to fix the situation, and discuss how you work hard to provide the best service. You can invite them to continue the conversation in a more private setting and even offer to help them again in the future.
Looking for more inspiration for replying to reviews? Check out this great article from Zillow: Appropriate Replies to Any Review.
Share reviews to generate more leads
Once you get great reviews, share them in other channels to let people know how great you are.
Many sites give you the ability to easily share the new review. For example, Zillow sends you an email and includes a shareable link. Consider sharing reviews on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Also, make it easy for prospective clients to see your reviews by adding them to your real estate website.
Stay on top of your listings
Last but not least, it’s important to keep your listings on all of the sites updated.
Make an update any time your contact information, hours of operation, or address changes, so people know where and when to get in touch with you.
For real estate-specific listings sites, you’ll want to keep your property listings up-to-date as well. Many of these sites provide stats on your profile on the types of clients you work with, the types of properties you have listed, and typical sales prices. This information can help buyers and sellers make an informed decision.
Take the time to set up your listings today!
Now you have the information you need to use listings and reviews to generate more real estate leads.
Take some time today to set up a profile on the top three real estate listing sites: Google My Business, Zillow, and Facebook.
Don’t be afraid to continually ask for reviews and take the time to respond to them. It will help you make sure you’re putting your best foot forward online.