Last updated September 3, 2020
Reviews and ratings have flooded the internet, now playing a key role in millions of purchase decisions each year. and homebuilders who don’t fully embrace them are quickly falling behind.
Let’s take a look at why customer reviews make a difference in the success of your business and how you can leverage them in your marketing.
Why do reviews matter for homebuilders?
To understand why customer reviews are critical to marketing and growing your business, here are a few striking facts about their consumer impact:
- 97% of people read online reviews when considering a local business.
- 94% of buyers say a negative review has convinced them to avoid a company.
- Almost three-fourths of customers won’t take action until they’ve read reviews.
- The minimum star rating most people will engage with is 3.3. Many won’t consider working with a business unless it has at least 4.0.
- Improving your review rating by just 1.5 stars could equal 13,000 more leads.
The real power of online reviews lies in social proof. Today, many customers are wary of advertising tactics but they trust recommendations from their peers. In high-consideration purchase decisions like building a new home, third-party opinions are even more important.
Leveraging customer reviews…
How to use reviews in your marketing strategy
Here are four key marketing strategies to make the most of your reviews:
- Keep regular tabs on your customer reviews
- Respond to reviews as soon as possible
- Feature positive reviews to enhance your reputation
- Actively seek more customer reviews
Keep regular tabs on your customer reviews
Quite simply, you can’t use online reviews to your advantage if you don’t know what they’re saying. Keeping track of customer feedback might sound like a lot of work — but it’s an integral part of effective reputation management.
The top three platforms customers use worldwide are:
To make the most of your effort, focus your energy where it counts. Make sure you have an active business account on each review website, and consider turning on notifications to check in on your reviews a few times a month.
At Avid, we make reputation management easier by helping homebuilders measure, understand, and improve how your brand performs at every touchpoint. Take a look at our AvidCX platform capabilities here — and reach out to us with any questions you have.
Respond to reviews as soon as possible
Responding to both good and bad reviews leads to higher ratings overall. Why?
- Quick responses show that your business is active.
- You seem more accessible to potential customers who might reach out with questions of their own.
- Thoughtful replies highlight your humanity, making it easier for customers to empathize with your brand.
- If done correctly, the right response can not only turn a negative customer experience positive — it can actually create a brand loyalist.
The sooner you respond to reviews, the better. Customers expect timely responses — but there’s still value in going back to address older feedback, as well.
How to respond to positive reviews
When responding to your customers’ glowing feedback, be sure to emphasize how much you enjoyed working with them.
You might also consider offering an incentive for spreading the word about your homebuilding business. Handwritten thank you notes, public shoutouts, and entries into small prize drawings for referrals can all create an even stronger brand image.
How to respond to negative reviews
Handling negative feedback is a bit tricker. Below is a general framework to follow, and you can get additional tips about how to respond versus react to negative reviews here.
- Greeting (apologize): Use the customer’s name and take responsibility for your business.
- Explanation (show accountability): Explain how the mistake happened and validate the customer’s experience.
- Encouragement (provide resolution): Show you welcome the customer’s engagement and offer appropriate means of atonement.
- Signature (apologize — again): Express regret, offer to make things right, and sign off with your name and title.
Feature positive reviews to enhance your reputation
Including positive reviews in your marketing materials can help potential clients fully trust your homebuilding business. Here are a few ways to tell the world about your excellent customer experience:
- Include reviews on your website. Consider adding a sidebar or top banner that shows your star rating and links to more information.
- Showcase feedback in your promotional emails. This helps your messaging sound more authentic.
- Feature favorite reviews on social media, and tag the loyal customer who left it. They might go on to share with their own friends!
- Consider including reviews on paper documents. Brochures and informational folders are great places to include stories from happy customers.
- Make sure to weave your reviews into your content naturally so readers don’t get bored. Avoid putting too many ratings on one page.
- Get permission from your customers before sharing their reviews publicly. This increases their confidence and trust in your brand.
Remember: Customers trust third parties
Customers trust ratings from dedicated review sites more than they trust testimonials you feature on your own, especially if they can’t see the source. To combat this, consider embedding your positive ratings directly from a reputable third party.
At the end of the day, authenticity is key. Don’t overstuff your marketing materials with too many reviews — but be proud of the positive customer experience you create!
Actively seek more customer reviews
There are multiple ways you can earn more positive reviews. Take a look at our complete article with plenty of advice here.
These are some top strategies:
- Be direct. Ask for feedback in person, over the phone, via email, and more.
- Make it easy to leave a review. Streamlining the process increases the odds that customers actually take the time to share their experiences.
- Help customers see the benefit to them. Emphasize that reviews provide valuable insight — and consider offering some sort of incentive.
- Keep your Google My Business listing in top shape. You can learn more about how to do this here.
- Respond to every review. Active responses lead to more positive ratings in the long run. We can’t stress this enough!
- Make changes based on customer feedback. Show that you are listening — and responding — to the reviews you receive.
Ultimately, customer reviews have become one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s not enough to leave your review strategy on autopilot; make sure you understand how to get the most out of every piece of feedback.
With the help of AvidCX, you can quickly generate more reviews across products and processes that provide key insights while helping you build your reputation. “Ratings and reviews” is only one feature of AvidCX. This 360º platform can help you better measure, understand, and improve your company at every customer touchpoint. To learn more, please get in touch.
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