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Building Your Online Reputation-World Of Mouth

Day 41/365
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In business, reputation is huge.  In a business like real estate where all real estate agents APPEAR to be the same, consumer decisions can often be based on reputation-on Word Of Mouth. I am a business development manager for a national title insurance company, I help real estate professionals-real estate agents and loan officers-get found online.

Whether you are a newbie real estate agent or a seasoned professional that has weathered the storm, you have a reputation.  Your reputation can be summed up into one of three things-GOOD, BAD or NONE.  Depending on who I ask about you, who a potential client asks about you will determine which of the 3 categories you fall into.  Hopefully a consumer considering working with you will ask someone you know that will provide a positive review of you and your services.  Hopefully.  There is one problem though.  More and more consumers are not asking a person about you, they are getting their recommendations and referrals online. They are asking the 800lb Gorilla in the room-GOOGLE.  And what Google says about you can often be more important than anything a face to face encounter can yield.

What Does Google Say About You?

Have you checked?  Hopefully I am not the first to tell you that it should.  If you have ever bought a book from Amazon.com you know that near the description of the book there is a rating, 1 through 5 stars that offers reviews of that particular book.  Did you know that there are REALTOR websites that rate you?  There are.  Incredible Agents, Zillow, Yelp, realestateratingz, and ripoffreport.com among others offer reviews of you.  Most consumers have never even heard of these sites because they don’t go there directly, they ask GOOGLE.

We are all consumers. Have you ever bought a new car?  If you have you most likely reviewed it online first.  You probably first landed on the manufacturers website that of course spoke highly of the car-its speed, comfort, safety, gas mileage etc.  If you are like me, you dug a little deeper and looked for reviews from actual consumers that have purchased that particular car.  This is often where the sale is made or killed.  Good reviews-you take your buying process to the next level, Bad reviews-you keep looking-AT ANOTHER CAR.  This scenario is playing out more and more in the real estate space.  What consumers find out about you will determine whether or not your phone rings.

Whispers
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Peer reviews

I am influenced by peer reviews, what about you?  Back to the book review on Amazon.  If the book you were considering buying had 2 stars, would you buy it?  What if it had 5 stars?  The crazy thing about peer reviews is, we often don’t even care about whether or not we actually know the people that have reviewed the book.  The fact that others liked or didn’t like the book is good enough for most of us.

A survey conducted by the Nielsen Media Research, a leader in research providing the most credible information on the media trends today shows that internet users trust recommendations from other consumers more than they do any other form of advertising. The survey also showed that 61 percent of internet users say they trust customer opinions on review sites. Remember the agent review sites I referenced earlier?  Statistics show that eight out of ten U.S. consumers use product reviews as a basis for their spending. It also found a significant seventy-five percent of U.S. shoppers saying that it is “extremely” or “very important” to use customer reviews before a purchase and 85 percent of consumers prefer peer reviews over expert reviews—this is a reflection of how product reviews posted on websites can be a fantastic tool in achieving more sales and more new clients.

What should you do?

Identify real estate or REALTOR review sites. A quick search in Google for “Realtor review sites” will return plenty.  Go there.  Fill out your profile, add a picture and some basic information. Tell these websites about you.  Not from a marketing perspective, but from a consumer perspective.  Why should a consumer choose to work with you?  Then-call your past clients and ask them to provide a review of you.  Then-start asking your future clients to review you on video (60-90 seconds) for your website.  Why video?  Because most consumers prefer to watch a short video than read a short article and because Google LOVES VIDEO!  Video is over 50% more likely to make it on the 1st page of Google compared to text.  The next time someone Google’s you-and they will-a video of past clients raving about your services-how you saved them time and money-will help put you above your competition.

Start building your online reputation.  The jeanie is out of the bottle and it aint going back in, we are all in Google’s sandbox.  What will a consumer see when they Google You?  Your facebook, Trulia, Twitter, Youtube, Zillow, ActiveRain, Linkedin?  What about your website?  Will your personal website be in the search results?  What about client testimonials?  A positive online reputation can reinforce a consumers choice in you.  No reputation can be the same as a bad reputation.  Wan’t help building your online reputation?  Lets Talk.

Stephen

Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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