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    This Review Campaign Took My Company to Almost 5 Stars on Google — Here’s How You Can Replicate It.


    Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

    Like many industries, our clients rely on referrals and social proof for recommendations for products and services. In the competitive landscape of PropTech, any mention of your brand is valuable, whether it’s in a review, article, comparison guide or forum.

    High on the list of Google search results for our industry are PPL (pay per lead) review websites, that do collect honest reviews from users, but display results that are curated by the site based on bidding strategies and those who want to appear at the top of the list regardless of rating or number of reviews. These sites may display results for “most recommended,” which basically means if you pay a premium, the site will list your product first and as a result “recommend” it the most.

    I’ve had profiles on these PPL sites for over 10 years, and I’ve grown increasingly frustrated at the cost versus value. I’d place a bid to get to the top of the recommended list, only to be outbid the next day and drop to the bottom, even though our product’s rating by customer reviews was still one of the highest on the platform. Rather than continue to compete with the advertising budgets of competitors, I choose to shift our marketing budget in another direction.

    I decided to reinvest our advertising dollars back to my employees in the form of review bonuses. The results? In less than a month, our Google rating has jumped to 4.9 out of 5 stars, which is higher than any of our top competitors. Here’s the exact approach I took to reward my employees for reviews, which gave impactful results in only a few weeks.

    Related: 5 Tips for Getting More Online Reviews for Your Small Business

    1. Start with a feature worth bragging about

    I’ve always known that my company has great customer service; it’s one of the key differentiators that makes our product stand out in the industry. Our customer success team goes beyond being friendly and helpful; they provide additional value because everyone has training and experience in our industry, so they can build a personal connection with our clients.

    I know that our clients loved working with our customer service team, I often receive personal emails from clients telling me about their positive experiences. I’ve also seen emails between clients and our support team saying something like, “It’s been a pleasure working with you, I’d be happy to refer you.”

    2. Give your employees a reason to ask

    It was clear that we had a feature worth bragging about and that our clients would share their experience given the right opportunity. I asked our team to ask their clients to leave reviews after positive interactions.

    But the suggestion to ask was not a motivating enough reason for my team to follow through. Perhaps it was the fear of rejection or the fear of asking for help that prevented them from asking for reviews.

    Review solicitation campaigns are fairly common and traditionally involve a company paying someone to leave a review. I wasn’t opposed to offering incentives to our clients to leave a review, I just wanted to see what would happen if we just asked first.

    I still needed to figure out how to motivate my team to get over their fear, so I developed the simple “Rewards for Reviews” campaign for our customer service team.

    Rewards for reviews (this is a copy of the exact project proposal I shared with my team)

    We want to reward excellent customer service and user experience! If a client has a good experience with you or the software, we want to hear about it.

    According to BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Great reviews increase our brand awareness and lead to more clients using our services.

    How it works:

    1. Provide great service
    2. Ask for a review
    3. Earn $20 per review you gather

    Details

    1. After a positive client interaction, ask for a review. A great time to do this is with a follow-up email to a service call. (see the example below)
    2. If a client leaves a Google review, and if you were the last person to speak with the client, we will pay you $20.
    3. When we receive a new review, it will get shared on the #reviews slack channel and Nathan will follow up with the SSO team to see who asked for the review

    Email example (we can add this as a saved reply):

    It was my pleasure working with you today. If you have time, would you mind writing a review on Google for us? This lets others learn about the value of software for their rental business and helps us a ton!

    Related: 5 Ways to Grow Your Startup With Online Reviews

    3. Work as a team

    While a program like the one suggested above awards an individual, you can encourage the whole team to work toward success together. If an individual receives a positive review, share and celebrate the praise with everyone. This validates the work everyone is doing to meet a mutual goal of a good product or service. You might also consider offering an additional bonus if the whole team hits a certain number of reviews together.

    4. Follow through with the rewards

    In a few weeks, I’ve already paid over $500 in review bonuses to our customer service team. This $500 could have gone towards a PPL bidding strategy that might have moved the needle on a software ranking site for a day or two. Instead, this investment is going back to my employees and has positively impacted our Google rating. Each fraction of a point on Google is meaningful. As an added bonus, we get to see real feedback from clients about their experience with our company.

    You can look towards strategies like this to bonus your employees, get insight into your clients’ experiences with your product and, hopefully, earn new business as a result of your company’s online reputation.

    The bottom line

    Managing your social reputation, collecting reviews, providing a top-quality product or service and rewarding your employees — these should all be a high priority in your professional strategy for success. If you want to increase your reviews, you can follow the steps outlined above and see the additional return of rewarding your employees and collaborating on a mutual goal.



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