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Think beyond the transaction to access 70% more review opportunities
Hey! Welcome to Local Marketing Insider where thousands of local marketing professionals get better at reputation strategy & more 2x a month.
Getting reviews boils down to 3 steps:
At least this has been the process, traditionally.
Each local business has the same fundamental review goal: get good reviews frequently to key review platforms and reap the local search benefits.
The challenge for any business trying to increase its review totals is a clear ceiling of opportunity: transaction volume.
Basically, Review volume = Transaction volume * Conversion rate
Transaction volume varies wildly by industry, but within a single industry, the playing field is relatively level amongst competitors.
That is, unless you choose to expand your definition of a “reviewable event” to a material interaction outside of an exchange of monetary value.
Our Take: Asking for a Review Does Not Require a Transaction
Why does a customer need to buy something to leave a review?
If you’re converting sales opportunities at 30%, which by any normal measure is fantastic, that means 70% of your prospect interactions are untouched and unheard.
Some of these not-quite customers may still choose to leave feedback organically, but by asking this group for reviews, there is the potential for 70% review growth without increasing your conversion rate. Yes, you may want to be a bit more strategic than simply asking every prospect that does not buy for a review, but even 40-50% growth in review volume is huge.
As a prompt, during which substantive, non-transactional interaction(s) with your staff and/or product could you start asking for a review?
Taking advantage of this interaction could be the differentiator you need to pull ahead of the local competition in search.
These kinds of mid-funnel reviews paint a better picture of the entire shopping process for your prospects. By setting accurate expectations of the experience working with your business, prospects are more likely to trust that your representatives are easy to work with and approachable.
I sat down with Matt (Widewail CEO) to get his thoughts on the topic:
Rapid Fire, Here are Some Ideas for Reviewable Events by Industry
Standard: vehicle purchase, service completed
New: test drive completed
How many more review opportunities a month could adding a review request after a test drive produce?
Standard: lease signed/move-in, renewal
New: tour completed
Widewail property management clients have more than doubled review request opportunities by utilizing the tour as a request trigger.
Standard: completed job
New: proposal or estimate completed
Standard: review of event upon completion
New: review a specific session, ask for video reviews at the parties, ask why the person came to the conference, ask what the person is trying to achieve at the conference, ask virtual attendees where they are tuning in from
Standard: review your stay
New: booking experience, secondary events like spa, after a check-in experience, request a review after 50% of a completed stay.
New: also after 6 months of use
The Clear (but Manageable) Downside
As a marketer, this approach definitely strikes me as a “test and see” sort of situation. The upside is obvious - potentially 70% more reviews.
That’s worth some risk.
The potential downside is interrupting a sales process, the request coming across as premature, or increased risk of negative feedback because without a sale we don’t have a clear understanding of a positive outcome. Legally, texting those that have not transacted with you will also need to be dealt with according to TCPA guidelines. You’ll need a process in place to get texting approval when collecting a phone number.
In my experience, the risk of negative feedback is more instinctual fear rather than reality (the proportion of positive reviews in the Widewail system has hovered around 90% for years). But the dynamics of the ask are different without a transaction.
The viability of this strategy will be heavily influenced by your industry. For example, we know from working with clients in property management that asking for a review after a tour is very effective.
I haven’t seen any car dealers actively pursuing test drive reviews yet, but we do regularly see organic reviews talking about an experience without a purchase. Like I said, definitely worth a test.
Thanks for reading this week’s Insider. Reviews, like many other things, is a numbers game. Yes, tuning conversion is important, but more opportunities will have the most impact (and Widewail’s technology is really good at automating this type of work).
See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail
FTC Sues Roomster Over 20k Fake Reviews
“There is a term for lying and deceiving your customers to grow your business: Fraud…”
- New York Attorney General Letitia James
Roomster — an online platform assisting with apartment and roommate searches — and its executives are in legal trouble after the Attorney General and FTC found they’ve been buying and posting tens of thousands of fake reviews.
Along with some questionable listing practices, Roomster is estimated to have defrauded a mind-boggling 27 million dollars from low-income renters.
In 2022, trust is built through peers - not institutions - but each time a fraudulent review scheme is exposed consumer trust in review content takes a hit. What a shame.
The FTC continues to strengthen its posture against deceitful review practices, and the team at Widewail supports this work.
Reviews are a long-term strategy, and attempting to game the system isn’t worth it, especially when it is possible to sustainably get legitimate review content.
Matt gets deeper into the local business implications in this week's LMI Live:
I’m Marketing Manager here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. In Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0-100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!
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