When a potential client wants to find out more about your brokerage, where do you think they look? Probably not an encyclopedia or newspaper. Nowadays, we all head to a search engine. That’s why we want to talk about the importance of business listings. Then we are going to look at your business’s online reputation and how reviews can make a huge impact on your bottom line.
Did you know that 66% of your ability to show up in local search and outrank your competitors is directly linked to managing your listings and reputation?
That means you are in control.
Many online business listings are powerful but often overlooked. Listings give consumers critical information about the business they are searching for like; location, hours of operation, and how to contact them.
Have you ever looked up a business online only to find they have no hours of operation listed, or you found a different address on their Facebook page vs on Google? That’s frustrating, right? If your business cannot be found online or your customers are being pointed in the wrong direction, they are more likely to give up on you and go to a competitor.
Listings are one of the best ways for your business to be found. If you only have a few listings, you’re missing a huge opportunity. With the majority of time spent online whether it be for leisure or beneficial purposes, you want people to be able to stumble across what you have to offer at your brokerage.
Here’s a shortlist for listings that matter to your small business in North America. They might not all matter to you personally, but to search engines, they can hold a lot of weight:
- Google My Business
- Bell Canada
- Car Manufacturer
Google Business Profile
(formerly known as Google My Business)
You’ll notice that Google Business Profile is right at the top of the list. That’s because it’s one of the most popular search engines. Creating a Google Business Profile listing is free and very effective in establishing an online presence.
When claiming your Google Business Profile listing, make sure the details of your business are accurate and robust, so Google sees your listing as a valuable response to search queries. It doesn't build any confidence for a customer to read conflicting business hours on a business Facebook page and Google listing and Google knows it, now you do too.
You should know that while most local searches start in Google, Yelp and Facebook aren’t too far behind, so it makes sense to be listed on a variety of sources. That being said, listing your brokerage on Google Business Profile is a good place to start for customers, new or returning, to find you and your brokerage.
Listings are the foundation of your online presence. Once your listings are established properly, your potential clients will be able to find you. The next step is managing and controlling what they will find out about your business once they find it. Stay tuned for next month’s blog about reputation management when we dive into reviews and testimonials.
How Reviews Connect to Your Reputation
We’ve covered listings, now let’s look at your reputation and how the reviews you receive directly impact your online reputation for your mortgage brokerage.
Put simply, your reputation is what you say about yourself and what others say about you. It is probable that every day, customers are talking about your brokerage on websites like TripAdvisor, Google Maps, Facebook, blogs, and elsewhere. This chatter has a direct impact on your revenue, so you need to be part of the conversation.
Some business owners are hesitant to open up this channel for fear of negative reviews that might hurt their reputation. No need to fear, positive reviews that help to promote your business are much more common. Remember, even a negative review that is responded to well can be turned into a positive point towards your reputation. When a consumer reads a review, it affects the “Zero Moment of Truth”. A few years ago, Google coined the term “Zero Moment of Truth”. This is when you either win the new customer or you don’t.
Since you know reviews and managing your reputation are crucial to the client journey, it’s important you leverage reviews for your brokerage by completing the following 4 tasks:
- Ask your clients to leave reviews.
- Monitor your reputation.
- Respond to your reviews; both negative and positive.
- Share your best reviews on social media.
We’ve outlined the top 5 benefits managing your reputation online can have on the success of your brokerage:
Boost Your Online Presence
When you find a business through a search engine, you will usually see their reviews right away, and the businesses with the best reviews will show up first. When deciding how results are returned in local searches, Google considers review scores from a variety of different pages. Your ranking with search engines is directly influenced by your rating and the number of reviews you have. That is why you always need to encourage customers to leave reviews. Think about it as a cycle. The more reviews left by clients means more clients to leave even more reviews which leads to more success for you.
Build Trust and Credibility with Clients
Consumers trust online feedback almost as much as personal recommendations, according to reports. Most review sites have made huge strides to ensure reviews are unbiased and anything less than authentic will be penalized, and readers know this, which is why they trust reviews.
Reviews Impact Buying Decisions
When deciding to purchase online, the majority of people (almost 70%) say they are influenced by online reviews. It’s the “Zero-Moment of Truth”. Think about it, when you are deciding where to go out to eat for your next date night, what influences your decision? When you narrow down your options, you probably read through some reviews and the restaurant with the most positive reviews wins.
Get Valuable Feedback From Clients and Improve Client Service
Receiving negative feedback from a client is an opportunity to listen and make improvements. Taking credibility for mistakes or addressing negativity towards your business shows your passion for what you have to offer. Other readers will see your integrity and devotion to good client service. You might even get a second chance with the client who left you a negative review.
Referrals and New Clients
It’s important to mention the chatter you see on social media, not only formal reviews but recommendations and commentary with tags are also valuable referrals for your brokerage. Word of mouth takes time to generate, but it’s incredibly influential and effective in converting more clients.
A First Look at Social Media & Content Creation
Remember your reputation is not only what others say about you, but what you say about yourself, so it’s important you get social and join the conversation if you want potential clients to know who you are and what you stand for. Your audience needs to hear that directly from you.
Your social media marketing strategy is an important part of your digital marketing plan for your brokerage so you can:
- Stay top of mind with your clients.
- Become the go-to expert in your field.
- Build a loyal community
Content creation refers to the development and promotion of digital materials to increase brand awareness, traffic, lead generation, and customer acquisition. Content comes in many shapes and forms like; blog posts, social posts, ebooks, infographics, and newsletters, among others.
The following are some of the platforms that can be used to share your content.
- Your Website
Now you know even more about digital marketing. You are almost an expert on online listings, reviews, and protecting a positive reputation. On top of that, you’ve got a sneak peek into the world of social media.