The importance of customer referrals for all home improvement contractors cannot be overstated. When you have a steady stream of new leads coming in, your business thrives and you can better plan for projects throughout the year.
To increase homeowner insight for contractors, we survey our homeowners on a weekly basis to learn more about their home improvement preferences and pain points. Our most recent homeowner survey revealed, after price, 26 percent of homeowners are most impressed by a contractor’s online ratings and reviews. This statistic shows how much reviews play a role in your business growth.
Why Customer Reviews Matter
Here are a few important reasons why customer reviews should be a focus in your marketing efforts:
- Online Visibility: A variety of factors affect SEO rankings, including online reviews. When your target demographic searches online for a phrase relating to your business, you need to be sure that your business shows up in the search results. It’s common for people to search for “local electricians” or “roofers in XYZ city.” It builds credibility when your business has online reviews, which might be the edge you need to beat out the competition in the search results.
- Higher Revenue: A recent study found that for every 10 positive online reviews of your business, you can gain one new customer. These reviews act as a free marketing tool that brings new leads to your business.
- Customer Satisfaction: Customer reviews shine a light on the things that make your customers happy— as well as potential areas of improvement. Use this feedback to identify ways to optimize your offerings so you can build stronger relationships with your contacts.
How to Ask Customers for Reviews
Some homeowners will leave reviews online without you asking, but the majority of customers need a reminder to share their experience with your company. Always assume that reviews won’t come in unsolicited. Instead, you need to invite your customers to leave reviews.
If you do a great job on the home construction project, there is no harm in asking for a review. Find natural points where you can include this request in the communication with your customers. For example, when you finish the project, you might ask the customer’s permission to share before/after photos on your website, along with a short testimonial from the customer. Include a review request in the final checklist for project completion.
As you are walking the customer through the project, invite them to share their experience online. Of course, don’t make customers feel obligated to help, but a simple invitation can go a long way:
- Office Posting: Hang a sign in your office asking customers to leave a review. You might place an iPad in the lobby so customers can share their information before leaving the office. Not only do you benefit from immediate feedback, but it solves technology concerns for customers who have limited digital access at home.
- Printed Flyer: Leave each customer with a small piece of paper or a card that contains simple instructions on how to leave a review online. Pair this flyer with your contact information and final project statement.
- Follow-Up Email: After each project is done, send a follow-up email with a link to leave a review on Facebook, Yelp, and/or Google. Including the link in an email reduces the likelihood of the information being lost in a stack of paperwork.
When you request a review, be specific in how the customer should share their feedback. For example, you might ask them to email a few sentences that you will feature on your website. Or, send a link to your Google My Business page that hosts the majority of your customer reviews.
Leveraging Customer Reviews in Your Marketing Campaign
Now that you have good customer reviews, be proactive in sharing these messages for others to see:
- Social Media Posts: Customer reviews provide great content for your social media publishing schedule. Post before and after photos, along with a small caption about the project. Schedule the posts on the social media platforms of your choice such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Website Testimonials: Your website is the foundation of your online marketing campaign. When potential customers are viewing information about your company, it is helpful if they see social proof on the site. Ask your web designer to build a testimonials section onto your homepage.
- Email Marketing: A smart marketing strategy is to have an email list of current and potential customers. If you are building an email list, then make sure to share customer reviews in the messages you are sending.
Leveraging these tips and tricks in your marketing campaign not only builds your brand but also helps to grow your bottom line. Over time, this strong online reputation will continue to bring in the customers you need to help your business thrive.