Online reviews – Why they matter & how to get them…

The first interaction customers will have with your business is likely to be online. Customers will invest time researching what you have to offer before making the effort to travel to your dealership. Without even visiting your location, a potential customer will start to build an idea of the type of dealership you are, and the kind of service they might expect from you. One thing that potential customers will come across when browsing the web is online reviews. These can be a fantastic tool that you can utilise to best effect. If collated and managed properly, online reviews can be extremely effective at driving new potential leads to your business. Here at Spidersnet we know the importance of online reviews, which is why we have created this comprehensive guide to help you understand how best to use them.

Online reviews are good for the user

Reviews, whether they exist on your own website or elsewhere, give a potential customer an idea of the kind of service your dealership offers. It’s good for potential customers to see feedback & interaction from real customers who have bought from you in the past. 60% of consumers consider ratings and reviews important when researching local businesses, and good review can make the difference between a customer contacting you or clicking away and looking elsewhere.

60% of consumers consider ratings and reviews inportant when researching local businesses! – neustar

They’re also good for organic search

Having reviews on your Google My Business or Google + profile makes your profile more “complete”. There is strong evidence that having a complete profile can help your Google My Business page to appear higher up within map search results. If you have more than five reviews on your Google My Business page, your listing in the search results will display your aggregate review rating. This makes your listing look far more appealing and therefore the chances of people clicking on your website (we call this the CTR or click through rate), is increased.

Having the option for customers to add reviews or testimonials directly onto your site is a great way to gather written content that is completely free ! Within their reviews, your customers will naturally mention their hometown, the make and model of car that they bought and other relevant terms. All of these could help your website to appear in search engines for a mixture of search queries.

Where to get reviews

There are a number of ways in which you can collect reviews and there are plenty of places already in existence that you can tap into to ensure your customers are leaving them. If you utilise all of these effectively then your business will benefit! 1. Google My Business The reviews section on your Google My Business profile page is the most important place for you to gather customer reviews. As mentioned above, having more than five reviews here will change the way your listing appears in the map results, making it far more appealing for customers to click on.

Look at the search results on the right hand side of this page. The dealerships’ Google star ratings stand out. These star ratings can increase clicks by 20%. There is also strong evidence that Google uses review quantity and quality as one of many factors to decide where to rank a site within it’s local search results. Reviews on Google My Business are considered to be trustworthy by consumers, as it’s very hard to fake them. It’s difficult for a business to remove “bad” reviews from their profile meaning the consumer knows they are likely to be looking at a full range of honest reviews from real customers.

On average businesses that rank number one in Google search results have 33% more reviews than those that rank number seven.   – Local Visibility System

2. Third party sites

Some customers might not have Google accounts, in which case a well trafficked and trusted third party site might be a better option. The following sites allow customers to review your business:

  • Trust Pilot
  • Scoot
  • Yell
  • Touchlocal
  • 192
  • Yelp

Customers who see these will learn more about your business through the reviews and, as long as the majority of your reviews are positive, they will be encouraged to visit your website.

3. On your own website

There is plenty of value to having testimonials and reviews on your site, but it’s not as important as getting your reviews on Google Plus or third party sites. This is because it could be very easy for a business to write their own reviews placed on their site and consumers are well aware of this. However, real testimonials can still provide useful insight for a potential customer and could provide that little bit of extra trust that leads to a customer making an inquiry.

How do I get reviews?

Getting customers to give reviews is not easy and unfortunately customers who have had a bad service are more likely to leave reviews without any encouragement. However, customers who have had a good experience with your business are likely to be singing your praises to their social groups by word of mouth, they just need some encouragement to write about it online.

Contact your old customers

Email, call or write a letter to your past clients (avoiding any you know will provide a bad review). Ask them politely if they would mind leaving you a review on any of the places listed above. Even if only a handful of customers respond this can still be a hugely useful outcome. As mentioned above, you only need five reviews on Google Plus to get your star rating showing in Google search results.

Ask new customers

Make a habit of asking new customers for reviews soon after their purchase. Create business cards with the url to your Google Plus account and leave it in the new car. Here is an example we made using Spidersnet as an example dealership.