As a mortgage service provider, and frequent reader to this website, you may understand how important it is to manage your business's reputation.
Simply put, your reputation can make or break your success.
But the thing is, too many businesses and brands have this mindset; that reputation management is like risk management. That is, people tend to see reputation as potentially problematic and deal with it only once a crisis arises. But you shouldn't.
Don't get us wrong, reputation management is highly important. We're not saying otherwise. However, beyond merely managing it, you can actually tap into your reputation and use it as a channel to generate profit.
How? Today we're going to talk all about reputation marketing and how it can bring in more leads and closed transactions.
Yes, the concept of using reputation as a marketing channel is still unheard of. However, it's not new. Remember the word-of-mouth marketing tool?
It's basically the same thing, but in our digital era, the effect and practice of word-of-mouth are magnified in ways we couldn't imagine before. It has come to a point where people simply won't buy anything or go anywhere without consulting what other people say on the internet.
Let's continue with an example. One of the most common advice people give to a job seeker is to polish their online presence. By doing so, we acknowledge that he can use his online reputation to market himself to employers.
This is what we call reputation marketing. It's the practice of mixing the techniques of reputation management and branding strategy to incite more sales.
Here's the first rule in reputation marketing: leverage online reviews. SEO ranking and social media engagement are vital for your business. But you must think about that tipping point between when a customer is still not sure to call you and when he's dialing your number.
There's a greater chance several online reviews are behind that decision (or the one where he contacts your competitor instead). The thing about online reviews is they have become completely trusted by consumers, more than what you say on your Facebook page, website, or emails.
But the most impactful thing about online reviews is their timing. They're usually consulted real time, just before making a decision to buy a product/acquire a service. So online reviews are your chance to convert someone looking to become a buyer.
You're right. And before we go any further, we strongly recommend you not to buy fake reviews from shady companies. Doing this will only hurt your business as most people get suspicious when reading flowery comments.
Okay, now that we've got that out of the way. Even though you can't control what people say about you on the public review websites (Yelp and Google are among the most popular), there ARE things you can do.
Before you say "I've got no time for that", note that we know this will take a lot of time and effort. But it's worth it.
You can't scour each comment left on your business, but you should at least check the most preferred platforms of online reviews regularly. What good does it make?
You can do two things:
By addressing your previous clients, you show them that you care about their opinions and are open to critics. What's more, you're telling potential customers that you make an effort to improve your service when things don't go as planned.
Doing these can erase the doubts that future clients may have about your seriousness and professionalism. Hence, potentially increased sales.
Embrace the online reviews! Whether you like it or not, people will comment on your business on the internet.
There are a few things you can do to get more online reviews, but the simplest one is to ask your clients. Send an email and a reminder. Most people don't mind doing it when you ask them to.
However, they should be clear about your intention with their reviews. Also, don't try to entice or - God forbid - force them into leaving a positive comment.
Tell them, to be honest. But if your clients have complaints, offer them to talk about the issue beforehand.
Also, simplify the process for your customers to leave a review. The rating method on Facebook is a great tool. If you want them to leave comments on your website or blog, don't use complex forms where they have to fill in many lines.
You've got great reviews? Congratulations! To garner more customers, amplify them.
You can share them on your social media accounts. You can also use them as testimonials on your homepage, or even better, landing page. Put them on your brochures and flyers if you have some.
In short: use them as much as possible. How this works is by changing the positive reviews into a social proof that people seek when deciding on something.
And if you can get a neutral third-party review, you've hit the jackpot. A brand tends to be more credible if it has received a third-party approval.
We'd like to invite you to shift the mindset about reputation; to be proactive about it. Don't see it only as something you can manage. Look at it as an opportunity to generate new customers and sales for your mortgage business - a marketing channel.
If the reputation marketing efforts above seem like customer service to you, it's because they are. But customers have always been at the center of what we do. Why shouldn't we take good care of servicing them to our best possible?
What about you? Have you tried reputation marketing before?
Do you need more help with managing and marketing your reputation? We're here to help. Our services are specifically designed for mortgage brokers, agents, and specialists.
Contact us, let's talk about how to improve your reputation and local marketing efforts.
Aaron is the President & Founder of Mortgage Reputation. He is a passionate and driven entrepreneur, with experience in the Mortgage Industry and Digital Marketing Technology.