Real estate marketing often focuses on websites like Zillow and Trulia. If they’re not, they’ll talk about social media like Facebook. We’ve written our fair share of such articles, like you can find here, here, and here.
Such sites are important, but they’re not the final word. At the end of the day, people come to you based on trust. And what’s the fastest way to build trust? As always: Positive reviews. As a service business, you’re still ultimately dependent on your reputation
That makes review websites like Yelp effective if you can get reviews on them. Let’s look at how.
Okay, so the first question we have to answer is “Why Yelp?” Why not just rely on Zillow and other realtor-specific websites? They also have reviews, right?
The reason is that Yelp simply has more reach and weight. When a lead Googles for a local business, Yelp reviews will often appear on the first page. A strong Yelp presence is a great way to get on the first page of Google.
Yelp also syndicates to other websites. Good reviews on Yelp will be seen in a far wider range of places than good reviews on Zillow. Even if most leads do check Zillow (and we’re not denying that), the realtor with a wide-ranging review base will still be seen by more leads more often.
The first rule to getting Yelp reviews is that you don’t get what you don’t ask for. Clients—even when satisfied, just don’t think about this. Even if they ask “Is there anything I can do for you?” the thought of a Yelp review won’t be on their mind. You have to ask for it.
The best time to do so is right after you’ve done something good. In other words, just after they’ve moved into their new home or sold their old one. In your wrap up discussions with the client, make a point of asking for the Yelp review.
However, this still needs follow-up. Even those clients who are open to the idea of leaving a review may intend to… then forget. In the elation following a real estate deal, writing a review won’t be high on their mind.
The best way to perform this follow up is to create a series of drip emails for clients that just closed. These emails can take the client through the necessary post-moving in stage steps. At the end of every email you can ask for a review.
Of course, if a client does leave you a review, you should make a point to remove the reminder from emails going to them. The easiest way to do so is to simply create two identical email lists—one with the review reminder and one without. As soon as you get notified a client left a review, move them over to the “has reviewed” list.
Every realtor needs a system for staying in touch with long-term clients. The traditional approach (that still works), is paper-based mailing lists—like Christmas cards. However you do it, keeping in touch with past clients on a yearly or half-yearly basis can do wonders for when the same client thinks about moving years later.
Coincidentally, it’s also a great way to gather more Yelp reviews. As with the immediate follow-up emails, when you keep in touch with past clients, note which ones have not left a review. For these, you can leave a friendly reminder on the bottom of the mailing. For example:
P.S. I’m just starting to build up my online review profile on Yelp. If you’ve been pleased by what I’ve done for you in the past, it would be wonderful if you could be so kind as to leave me a review—good or bad!
Keep this as conversational as possible. If you feel giving them the invitation to leave a bad review takes a bit of the edge off asking them, that’s fine too. You can expect that people won’t leave bad reviews if they actually go to the effort more than 6 months after your business with them ended. How many past clients are going to say “I hated the Christmas card—one star”?