You’ve done everything right: Optimized your website’s SEO, developed and implemented a social media strategy spanning multiple platforms, published print ads in all the important publications, built and sent strategic emails to targeted audiences, but you don’t seem to be getting a strong return on those investments. The numbers and results just aren’t there. Why? One key area of focus you may be forgetting about is your online reputation.
Think about it — you see tons of ads for a local restaurant. You decide to check them out on Yelp or another review platform. You’re shocked to learn their rating is incredibly low, and that their pages are overrun with negative comments that haven’t been responded to. You’re not going to eat there.
It’s the same for student and multifamily housing. Why would you choose to live somewhere that has a questionable reputation? It’s simple — you wouldn’t. If potential residents see that your community has a bad reputation, they aren’t going to visit your community, much less sign a lease.
While your typical marketing efforts, such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and print ads, are incredibly important, they can be completely useless if consumers don’t trust you. According to a recent survey by BrightLocal, 73% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. Furthermore, consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business, and 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So, how do you harness the power of online reputation to amplify your marketing efforts and those results?
Encourage Past and Present Residents to Leave Reviews.
As previously mentioned, consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business. If your community doesn’t have reviews, you’re alienating a significant portion of potential leasing traffic. If potential residents are directed to your profiles via your marketing efforts but don’t see any insight from those that have already experienced your product, they’re likely to dismiss you entirely.
Building a positive online reputation is no small feat, so if you have it, flaunt it! Having a high star rating on Facebook, Google, or Yelp is a huge selling point, so take advantage of it by including those numbers in some of your marketing materials. Additionally, leverage testimonials in these materials so your potential residents get the insight they’re looking for without having to do any of the legwork.
Respond to All Reviews.
We know that potential residents are going to read positive and negative reviews, so make sure you have a presence in those narratives. Whether negative or positive, defamatory or glowing, all reviews should be dignified with a response. By responding to each review, both the reviewer and review reader are made aware that your business takes this feedback seriously and is paying attention. If your marketing efforts bring a potential resident to any of your online profiles and they see you are actively monitoring and responding to reviews, they will know you sincerely care about the resident experience. If they see you aren’t monitoring and responding, they may think you are apathetic.
When you market to an audience, you’re inviting them to scrutinize every aspect of your community as they work to determine whether they want to be part of it. It’s imperative to ensure that your online reputation is ready to be scrutinized because your leasing traffic and bottom line depend on it.