There was a good, healthy debate on an industry Facebook forum a couple of weeks ago.
At its centre was the assertion that winning awards was worth promoting.
And they certainly are.
As is having a dominate market share.
As is using your testimonials as part of your content marketing mix.
As is highlighting the amount of work you do in your community.
And shining a spotlight on your Google Reviews is always a good idea.
These are all essential pillars of your agency’s marketing temple.
It’s called a marketing mix for a reason – to work properly, it needs to be mixed.
But if I were backed up into a corner by a ‘hangry’ Mike Tyson and asked to choose between awards or reviews, I would go with reviews….then dive through the ropes to safety.
And to head off any accusations of pushing an agenda, for the record I have both—awards for my journalism and loads of Google Reviews for my business.
Here’s my thinking.
I feel you can do more with good reviews than you can awards. There are more stories to be told around why customers regularly leave you great reviews than why judges picked you for an industry gong.
The Gods of Google Reviews
Google Reviews are becoming increasingly influential in a customer’s buying decisions.
Google a sandwich bar or a hairdresser in your area.
The most prominent thing that’ll be put forward to you is the reviews the business you are looking for has received from customers.
For estate agents, these Google reviews need to be taken as seriously as a brown envelope landing on your doormat from the HMRC.
If people are using Google Reviews for making decisions as small as where to buy a cheese and ham sarnie what do you think they’ll make of an estate agency with a 2.5 (out of 5) star rating?
Who is more likely to get called in for a valuation? The agency with 69 reviews, a 4.9-star average and a legion of fans, or the agency that might be good but doesn’t have review gathering as part of its marketing strategy?
Check out Google Review Gods like Location Location and Paramount Properties. I’d instruct those guys off the back of the Google Reviews alone.
Customers are digitally savvy now, and the battle to win their instruction starts WAY before that first point of traditional contact.
But how do you get more Google reviews?
Follow Stephen Brown, from SJB Consultancy’s advice and ask for them. And keep asking. And keep asking.
Or speak with someone like Alex Evans from Estate Apps, who has a cool app for agents that makes getting them a lot easier.
Or use John Paul from the Castleden Group’s systemised approach to agency and have processes in place to collect them consistently.
It takes time, but it’s worth it.
Keep the faith.
PS: One way of getting more great reviews is winning more instructions. My canvassing letters campaigns are now on general release. For more information ping me an email with the postcodes you serve, and I’ll send you samples.