Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Referrals are the cheapest way to gain business, and having happy clients can bring you an amazing amount of business. Unfortunately, word-of-mouth can be an anti-marketing tool as well – especially in our hyper-connected time.
The Impact of Online Reviews
The importance of Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com in today’s real estate market cannot be overstated. In early 2014, these three online portals alone were capturing one-third of all desktop visits in the real estate category. Zillow had the lion’s share by far, capturing 16.53% of real estate traffic by itself. The recent Zillow-Trulia merger only makes this platform more powerful.
The reason this is important is that since 2010 Zillow has offered unfiltered reviews of agents, lenders, home improvement pros, and more. Over 780,000 real estate agents have Zillow profiles, hoping to capture leads from the thousands of visitors to the site. Each of these agent profiles – including yours, if you’re one of them – has unfiltered reviews from customers available.
Reviews are intensely important to online buyers, and with many prospects using them as a form of interview without actually contacting the agent. Unfortunately this means that you don’t have an opportunity to craft your message or present your best side. You reviewers do that for you – and not always the way you wish they would.
How to Impact Your Review Profile
Because Zillow’s reviews are unfiltered, you don’t have a chance to approve or deny someone’s comments. However, you can use the profile feedback to your advantage – in fact, it can become an important marketing tool if you have a large number of positive reviews.
One of the primary ways to impact your review profile, of course, is to provide the best service you can to every single customer. We’re all already doing that. To stand out, take these additional steps:
- Contact anyone who leaves a poor review and see if you can resolve their concerns. If you do, ask them to update their review with the steps that were taken or consider revising their rating of you.
- Include a request for a positive review on Zillow as a standard part of your customer follow-up routine. The more happy customers you can get to share on your profile, the less impactful a negative review will seem.
- If you feel someone is spamming your profile or has left completely inappropriate feedback, or you didn’t actually work with the person who left a negative comment, use the ‘flag’ feature to report the issue to Zillow. The inappropriate or spam review will likely be removed.
There are many real estate agents who are unaware that their Zillow profiles have unfiltered reviews attached. As a Realtor®, take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen your marketing position by asking for positive reviews from clients. Try to resolve any negative concerns that are shared. By doing so, you’ll have a whole new way to appeal to clients that doesn’t cost you any additional time or money. That’s a win!
How do you handle Zillow reviews? Do you actively solicit them? Share in the comments!