Boost business earnings with online review platforms
Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing and online reviews super-charge their already powerful effect. Research shows that both have a growing role to play in purchasing decisions: a massive 70% of people trust online reviews, and 72% of people are likely to trust a local business more, based on a positive online review.
Focus on quality and quantity
Online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of modern purchasing decisions, but you need lots of them – a handful of five-star reviews won’t cut it. Instead, focus on getting scores and reviews from every job you do. Eventually, your customer review count will hit the hundreds mark, showing customers that you’re popular, reliable and consistent.
Reviews and SEO
Reviews are an effective way to associate your trade business with popular search keywords and phrases. For example, reviews that include who you are and what you do, e.g. ‘Plumber in Parramatta’ and ‘Fixed my blocked toilet in Birkenhead’, will increase your online credibility and raise your ranking. That means more eyeballs, more clicks on your website and importantly, more jobs.
Here’s a guide to scoring five-star reviews every day – and masterfully creating an online presence for your trade business that will help win you more jobs.
Getting reviews – a strategy
Ask for a review when the job is done
Most customers who enjoyed a positive experience won’t proactively submit a review – you’ll have to ask.
If customers are happy with your work, show them how they can leave reviews right there on the spot. Whatever the platform, you’ll find people are more willing to get a one-minute task out of the way when you’re with them, than to complete a review days, or even weeks later.
Here’s a list of things to be mindful of when asking for reviews:
- Embed links to your review profiles on your website, so people can find them easily
- Make requesting customer reviews part of your business as usual
- Mention your review profiles on business cards and flyers
- Follow up with emails requesting reviews (embed links here, too)
- Offer customers a choice, by signing up to different review platforms
- Hassle customers too hard for reviews. If they don’t want to offer feedback, leave it at that.
- Write fake reviews or pay third parties to leave positive reviews. Customers are smarter than you think and are experts at smelling rats.
- Source too many reviews all at once. This could trip review site filters and lead to reviews being deleted.
Look local for reviews
As tradies offer local services, it pays to focus on localised sites. Here are our top picks for highly effective review sites for trade businesses, backed with local relevance.
Facebook is an ‘all in one’ resource for converting customers. If set up correctly, it can be used as an alternative to a website – people can message you directly and book appointments. The extra cool thing about Facebook is that when users leave a positive review, their friends will probably see it, exposing your trade business to a new network of potential customers.
Yelp is another popular internet search and review service – and has proven to help increase revenue. ‘Yelpers’ rate their experiences on a five-star scale and are offered the option of leaving text-based feedback. Profiles are free to set up, and you can respond to any review you receive. When you set up a profile, be sure to request a “Find Us On Yelp” or “People Love Us On Yelp” sticker to stick on your ute or van.
Google My Business (GMB)
Creating a GMB listing is a great way to reach potential customers in your immediate vicinity. It’s as simple as listing your hours of operation, phone number, website and location, so people in your local area can find and contact you. The listing gives your customers additional insights too, like what your busiest time of day is, as well as review ratings.
The information on your GMB profile will also get pushed to Google Maps, an increasingly common search tool for finding local tradies – especially if the job needs attention straight away.
Online directories can work wonders for your trade business. They’re highly targeted platforms, meaning customers who use them are actively looking for someone to hire. They generally categorise by trade and location, so to win business in your local area, you need to demonstrate why you’re the best. Use your reviews to do this.
Online directories for New Zealand and Australian tradies:
- New Zealand Certified Builders Association
- Tradie Centre
- Your Tradie Australia
Online directories for UK trade businesses:
Streamline with software
Getting customers to write reviews without asking isn’t easy, but with a little encouragement, they’re all too happy to shout out about your services. Cue modern software like AskNicely. Simply sign up to the service and AskNicely will automatically send basic net promoter score (NPS) emails to your customers once jobs are complete. If feedback is above average, it’ll automatically prompt them to complete a customer review on a site of their choice. For low scores, the software follows up with a complaint mitigation email designed to find out where the experience went wrong. For tradies on a budget, Delighted offers pretty much the same service, at a cheaper price point.
Managing your online presence
Share those reviews
Whenever you receive a great review, go through your list of online platforms and consider where it could help to generate brand awareness and enhance your online credibility. Take an excerpt from the review and add it as a testimonial to your website or share the quote as a social media post on Facebook or Instagram.
In the same way that Google loves fresh web content, customers respond far better to recent reviews. Anything 12 months or older is too old.
Don’t stress about bad reviews
There’s no way around it – now and then bad reviews will be flung your way. But rather than get all hot under the collar, take it as an opportunity to improve your service. If the feedback is constructive, make some changes, and respond to the reviews, thanking them, and letting them know what you’ve done.
If the review feels wholly unfair, still respond – and contact the reviewer offline to hear more about why they’re upset and how you can resolve things. Handled well, bad reviews can show that you’re transparent and responsive – fronting up and trying to make things right builds more trust than never making a mistake in the first place.
Monitor your reviews
53% of consumers expect businesses to respond to online reviews. This is where services like Google Alerts can help. Sign up and you’ll be notified every time your trades business is mentioned online. This will help you stay on top of the chatter and proactively manage your online reputation.
Reviews pay back in spades
Online review ecosystems are immensely important. They’re one of many online marketing tools you can use to build a successful, long-standing trade business. Establishing a glowing online presence doesn’t happen overnight, but with a little time, commitment and proactivity, you can turn your customer reviews into key sources of leads.
For more tips and tricks on how you can create a stand-out online presence and get more work for your trades business, download our Marketing Toolkit for Tradies.