According to Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors, review signals are one of the fastest growing thematic signals making them even more important to local search as well as your online reputation. Your online reputation is critical to your brand and maintaining it is critical to attracting new prospects. 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and one negative review can drive away as many as 30 potential leads.

Direct review solicitation helps businesses generate authentic reviews from customers and strengthen a brand online. Learning how to ask for reviews and how to respond to them will help your brand thrive.

Dos & Don’t of Direct Review Solicitation

Direct review solicitation involves sending emails and text messages to customers or prospects and asking them to review their experience at your property. G5’s Reputation and Social tool offers you the ability to send these messages requesting they write a review or participate in a Net Promoter survey — a management tool designed to gauge customer loyalty. Reviews and surveys give you greater insight into the move-in/move-out experience and help you identify areas of improvement.

When to Solicit Direct Reviews:

We recommend asking for reviews after positive events along the buyer’s journey — after they visit your property for the first time, when they renew their lease, after they tag your brand in a social post, and if they refer another resident.

Dos:

  • Send a personalized email after move-in to each new customer
  • Individually thank those who leave reviews
  • Encourage customers and prospects to visit your Facebook page
  • Post signs like “Find us on Yelp and Google” around your property or in the leasing office

Don’ts:

  • Incentivize reviews by offering freebies which encourages inauthentic reviews
  • Send a mass email to your contact list or social media followers
  • Ask friends or family to leave reviews on your behalf
  • Run contests for staff to compete and collect reviews

Don’t Forget!

It’s important to note: Yelp doesn’t allow businesses to directly solicit reviews on their platform. Yelp believes that businesses shouldn’t solicit reviews on their website as an effort to combat deceptive and biased content. This includes working with companies that send review solicitation emails, offering incentives in exchange for reviews, and asking friends, family, and customers to write reviews. If Yelp finds indicators of review solicitation it can result in a search ranking penalty and may lead to a Consumer Alert on the business’ Yelp page.

Best Practices for Responding to Reviews

The review solicitation process doesn’t end after you’re received that coveted testimonial. Both positive and negative reviews need to have responses. According to the Local Consumer Review Survey from Bright Local, 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to online reviews, making it essential to your marketing operations. If the review is positive, respond within 72 hours – this validates your appreciation of their time and demonstrates a similar courtesy.

Negative reviews should be responded to in less than 48 hours. If the individual thought their comment was important enough to share publicly, it deserves your immediate attention. Respond quickly to show you hear their feedback and that you’re an active participant. It’s best to move the conversation offline after giving them a thoughtful initial reply.

Take Advantage of Direct Review Solicitation

Direct review solicitation helps your brand reputation as well as your website’s ranking in local search. With 85 percent of consumers reading a business’ response to reviews both positive and negative, it’s essential to a strategy in place for managing how your brand is perceived online. Asking for reviews after positive milestones helps your properties increase the number of positive reviews at key touchpoints. Remember not to use incentives for reviews and not to solicit Yelp reviews.

Schedule a demo of G5’s Reputation and Social tool and see how your portfolio can use reviews to your advantage online and in the physical world.