Have you ever ordered a specific brand of suit, dress, pair of shoes, or electronic gadget because a friend you trusted recommended it to you? If so, then you have an idea of how powerful consumer word-of-mouth can be in marketing.
As consumer shopping preferences increasingly evolve toward digital, you can leverage the modern-day format of word-of-mouth to drive sales and grow your insurance business. Since a single friend’s recommendation is not always enough to inform a policy decision, most prospects today will seek a second or third opinion in the form of direct consumer reviews online.
In fact, about 95% of buyers check customer reviews before choosing a product. This means that the opinion that your current and previous customers share online about your insurance services or products is crucial for enhancing brand trust, sales, and website conversion rates.
The folks at Google understand this pretty well. This is why consumer reviews can influence as much as 15% of the local search visibility you get via the platform.
Understanding the Difference Between Reviews and Testimonials
While both reviews and testimonials are user-generated content that give interested prospects an idea of your customer's experience with your brand or services, they aren't the same.
Here are a few important differences between reviews and testimonials:
- Customers usually write reviews on third-party sites like Google, Yelp, or Health grades. On the other hand, your customers provide testimonials directly to you.
- Reviews include both negative and positive remarks. In contrast, you will not request a customer to provide a negative testimonial.
- Reviews are brief and mainly comprise text along with a star rating. Customer testimonials are detailed and can be created and published in multiple formats, including text and video.
- You may not have the right to publish customer reviews from third-party sites on your website. However, you can request a customer to help record or write a testimonial to feature on your business website or other promotional platforms.
Strategy to Gain More Reviews and Leverage Them to Drive Conversions
Part - 1: How to Generate More Positive Reviews
When it comes to review generation, quantity is important to have an optimal impact on your brand image and business growth. You can leverage various tactics to optimize the ROI on this effort and make every generated feedback count.
An easy formula that works for most successful businesses involves nailing these key areas:
- Who (identify the best candidates to request a review from)
- When (the ideal time to request a review)
- How (best methods/approaches)
Ideally, each client is a potential source of meaningful online feedback. However, to generate more favourable remarks or sentiments, you should prioritize buyers who have had recent positive experiences with your insurance products or brand.
The best time to ask for feedback is immediately or not too long after completing a transaction with a client. That’s when the experience is fresh enough in their mind to provide an accurate “from-the-heart” review.
You can ask directly in person, such as after a successful sale or an in-office engagement. Consider incorporating review links in strategic online places like your social media posts, customer survey or newsletter, or personalized postcards.
Part - 2: What to Avoid When Generating New Reviews
If you’re going to claim your business profile on a third-party review website, be ready to follow their review generation guidelines. These rules ensure the objectivity, credibility, and reliability of user-generated content.
The following are a few costly mistakes to avoid when generating new reviews:
- Fake reviews: Do not solicit feedback for your insurance services from your employees, friends, or family members. Such content would be fake and detrimental to your business image in the long run.
- Incentivizing reviews: Google, Yelp, Facebook, and similar sites prohibit rewarding customers for their online reviews. You should avoid this practice as it mostly generates subjective and potentially misleading consumer feedback.
- Buying reviews: It is similar to cheating as most reviews you get are not from real people who have used any of your products or services.
- Review gating: This practice is unfair to unhappy customers who’s not-so-favourable remarks are deliberately discouraged or somehow suppressed. You shouldn’t ‘gate reviews’ if you’re keen on success with Google My Business.
- Using a single review site: Be versatile with review platforms, allowing your customers to leave feedback on their favorite online channels.
Part - 3: Which Review Sites to Focus on for Getting Reviews
There are many review sites on the web, but you should claim a listing on places where most prospects spend their time. The three most popular review websites are:
- Google: About 72% of consumers say that they check Google reviews while finding a business. Google is the most popular customer reviews and listing resource with the greatest potential impact on your local search ranking.
- Yelp: A whopping 97% of people transact with businesses they find on this platform, with more than half buying within 24 hours of visiting a business website. With well-optimized Yelp listings, your insurance agency can rank highly on Google for local searches.
- Facebook: You should definitely generate customer reviews on the world’s most popular social media site. The platform generates half of all social referrals and 64% of all social revenue.
Part - 4: How to Tackle Negative Reviews
Showing professionalism in your responses to each disgruntled customer’s review is not easy. Nonetheless, it’s necessary to protect your online reputation. Try these tips to create the best possible brand experiences out of any negative feedback:
- Respond as soon as possible to calm the unhappy customer and limit the potential reputational damage
- Others are watching, so be kind and use a professional, friendly tone (seek to deescalate by not getting into a heated argument)
- Show empathy and compassion with an honest response tailored to the customer’s specific pain points
- Act on feedback by taking appropriate remedial action to improve customer experiences (this demonstrates to customers that you value their opinion)
- Quickly apologize for the issue and invite the customer to an offline engagement (if possible, get their phone number or email address for private communication)
- Appreciate the role of negative reviews in improving your product’s imperfections (don’t try to gaslight reviewers or make them feel bad about their unfavourable remarks)
Part - 5: How to Automate the Entire Review Strategy?
Reliance on manual processes is a major factor in most poorly performing review generation systems. To consistently generate high-quality reviews in bulk, you should automate all the relevant workflows and features. Here’s how to do it with an online reputation management system:
- Manage reviews from a single centralized dashboard: This way, you can pull all your reviews, respond to feedback, or generate reputation reports at any time. You can automatically extract reviews from Yelp, Facebook, Google, and more.
- Track unhappy customers : Easily intercept negative feedback, respond quickly, and start remediating before it’s submitted online. This proactive approach prevents negative remarks from dominating and misrepresenting the customer/brand experiences you actually offer.
- Automatically generate positive reviews: Send after-service or sale survey forms to your happiest customers on multiple channels, including text, email, and social media.
- Integrate with customer database: Sync your reputation management tool with your CRM system or other apps for personalized review requests and responses.
Build Your Reputation and Grow Your Insurance Business with Stratosphere!
Online reviews play a critical role in shaping your brand image and online reputation. They are key to generating new leads and driving conversions while retaining and growing your existing customer base.
At Stratosphere, our team of highly experienced digital marketing professionals can help you manage your online reputation and tactfully leverage your online reviews to attract new prospects to your insurance business. Contact us today to learn more!