They’re becoming more important every day based on consumer shopping behavior, social media, and search engine optimization factors.
On top of that, building online reviews is a totally underutilized strategy for insurance agents!
If you don’t believe online reviews are a HUGE opportunity for your agency it’s time to pull your head out of
your a** the sand.
In the past week I bought a pair of sneakers, an e-book, and a rice cooker all based user reviews and I’m not alone.
The more often consumers have positive experiences using reviews to buy stuff online the more it’s going to creep into the insurance industry.
There was a major update to the biggest local business review website (Yelp.com) last week and I want to show you how to capitalize on it.
(I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you)
First, What is Yelp?
Yelp is the most popular website and smartphone app for local business reviews in the United States.
Although there’s a lot of sites that allow reviews, Yelp is pretty much based entirely around the idea of user reviews.
(If you want to learn more about Yelp and how to setup a perfect Yelp profile for your agency read this article.)
Here’s 3 Reasons Yelp Reviews Matter:
1) Good Yelp Reviews Will Generate Phone Calls
Yelp is different from all the other sites that allow user reviews.
Yelp is more like a social network for people who really value reviews.
Yelp users place more value in good customer service and are willing to pay more for enjoyable experiences.
Yelp users start the shopping process on Yelp and the reviews guide them.
If your profile stands out with lots of positive reviews Yelpers will call you, email you, and show up at your door!
2) Yelp Reviews Effect Search Rankings
Because the Yelp business model centers around high-quality legitimate reviews they are more proactive about preventing fake reviews than other sites.
For this reason, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing place more value in seeing many positive reviews on Yelp than they do on reviews on other sites that are easier site to “game”.
More reviews = better agency search rankings.
3) Your Yelp Profile Ranks For Your Agency Name
When current clients or prospects search for your agency by name, there’s a good chance your Yelp profile will show up on the first page.
It might even rank HIGHER your own website!
The number of stars you have on Yelp will display right there in the search results.
How do you think it would make your clients feel if they saw this when searching for your agency on Google:
There’s only 3 reviews there.
Can you honestly tell me there aren’t 3 people out there that would say something bad about your agency?
What Changed With Yelp?
Earlier this month, Yelp changed it’s smartphone apps to allow “in-app” business reviews.
Prior to this, you could only write a review from the desktop version of Yelp.com.
This meant someone would have to remember how great your agency was hours after interacting with you.
That may have worked for day spas and mexican restaurants, but insurance doesn’t always give the lasting impressions that inspire a glowing review several hours later.
Now any Yelp user can write a review of your agency right at your desk, in your waiting room, or anywhere on the planet.
There is a catch though:
People still aren’t going to review your agency unless you’re proactive about it.
Okay John, But Can You Make it Easier For Me?
I hate telling agents what to do without also trying to make it easy.
That’s why I created a one-page template you can display in your agency or hand to customers who are willing to write a positive review of your agency.
Here’s what it looks like:
I’m providing three file types for you to use. The PDF is best if you don’t want to make any adjustments but if you want to edit anything I’ve also provided two Microsoft Word files.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
1) Don’t create fake reviews
First of all, it’s lying and unethical.
I think some agents might need another reason so here goes: you will likely get caught and Yelp does not take kindly to people trying to game their system.
2) Reviews from active Yelpers are best
I’m not saying it’s bad if someone wants to download the app, sign up, and then write a review of you, but generally Yelp doesn’t really value these types of reviews much.
They’re likely to not even display it.
The best scenario is to ask people if they use Yelp first, and if they say yes then ask them for a review.
3) The more they write the better
According to Yelp’s website:
To help make sure that (in app) reviews are high-quality and useful, we may post any reviews that are too short as a Tip
So try to get your clients to elaborate as much as possible if they’re writing a review.
What to do next:
1 – Print out the template I made for you and use it in your agency as a sign or handout.
2 – Incorporate a conversation about online reviews with all your positive customer interactions.
3 – Share this article with an agent or sales manager you think would value the advice.
4 – Click “Like”, “+1″, or Share this article on LinkedIn if you value content like this. (It takes a good amount of time)
I hope this helps your agency,