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The adviser’s guide to digital marketing #5 – Sam Turner on how to get online reviews and put them to best use

The final instalment in a five part series on improving your digital marketing, by Sam Turner of ClientsFirst

Online reviews – what are they?

Online reviews are really what they say on the tin: reviews of your business posted somewhere on the internet. Common ‘homes’ for online reviews include social media websites such as Facebook, dedicated review sites such as Trustpilot, search engines with review functionality such as Google and adviser-specific sites such as VouchedFor.

Why should my advisory firm be interested?

With so many options for clients, colleagues and strategic partners to leave you a review, it should be no surprise that leave you a review they shall! Be it positive or negative, there is a home on the internet for everyone’s opinion these days and, sooner or later, a review of your business is likely to surface somewhere. It’s a good idea then to ‘own’ your review equity, use it to your advantage and get out in front of any negative reviews that could one day come your way. A negative review has far less impact on the perception of your business when you have a huge number of positives reviews alongside it, but when it’s the only review on offer…

How do I use it?

The first step to owning your review presence online is to decide which review sites you are going to focus on. As per the above, there is a long list online and it’s difficult to get a sound bank of reviews across all options, particularly if you’re just starting. Your business will have some form of Google listing (see a previous digital tip for information on how to get access to yours), so we often recommend starting here. Trustpilot is another good choice.

Your next step is to prepare a ready-to-send email. You can use an email marketing system for this, or just your personal email. The purpose of this email is that you have something ready to send when a client gives you good feedback. The gist of the text needs to say something like ‘thank you, I’m glad you’ve had a positive experience. It would make a big difference to both me and the business if you could leave me a brief review to that effect here’, followed by a link to your review platform of choice. One of our clients, for example, sends an email out to every client who completes a mortgage with them, on completion of their house move. In a short time of asking for reviews they have a collection of 23 reviews and an average rating of 4.8/5.

Now what?

Now you’ve gained reviews, it’s time to put them to good use. Consider using snippets or full reviews in your social media output, or in your email marketing efforts. You should also have a dedicated section on your website where you collect quotations from the reviews you’ll be adding on a regular basis.

If you’re using Trustpilot or a similar dedicated review solution, you can also pass this data to Google, giving you the chance of having your reviews featured in the Google results pages. This is a developer-level task, using a type of website coding called schema, but the results of asking your developer to complete this work can be impressive… just take a look at the below ‘snip’ from the Google results and see which business your eye is drawn to!

Sam Turner is Head of Digital at ClientsFirst, a digital marketing agency specifically for professional services firms. Visit: www.clients-first.co.uk.