This article is based on a presentation by Shawn Hill at the 2021 Maid Summit. Shawn is the Community Marketing Manager for NiceJob, a reputation management software company and Maid Summit sponsor. Shawn specializes in building engagement and customer interaction.
You can have creative ads and big marketing campaigns, but when it comes to your reputation, your customers are in control. Their opinions about the quality of your service create your reputation.
If you’re not regularly getting and sharing positive customer reviews, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity. Reviews can help build trust with potential customers long before they enter your sales funnel, making it easier for them to say yes to your service when they do.
Another plus: Reviews and testimonials are user-generated content that will help boost your search engine ranking and drive more visitors to your website.
Even if you have the best service, you can’t expect glowing reviews to flow automatically. But many business owners don’t know the methods for getting good reviews. Or the right way to share those reviews.
All of this falls under a growing field called reputation marketing. If done right, reputation marketing will help increase your sales and revenue, and build your brand. It will also help you hire – and retain – great employees by giving them the recognition they deserve.
In this article, you’ll learn what reputation marketing is and why it matters. And you’ll get examples of how to use it to attract leads and grow your business. That includes an answer to the question most business owners ask: How many reviews do I need?
Reputation marketing makes your customer reviews work harder
Reputation marketing has elements of brand marketing and reputation management. Let’s review the difference between them.
Brand marketing is about publicizing your company’s identity and values. Your brand is how you tell the world what your company stands for.
Reputation management involves decreasing negative reviews, responding to feedback and resolving customer complaints online.
While dealing with negative reviews is important, today it’s not enough to just react to negative reviews. You have to get ahead of the game.
Reputation marketing is an active way to use your company’s reputation to attract new clients and customers. Specifically, it’s getting and promoting customer reviews, testimonials, online ratings, community awards and social media mentions.
Reputation marketing influences what your customers think about you by highlighting the good, not just by avoiding the bad.
Set the stage for great reviews
To get a five-star review, you have to prepare your customers from the very beginning. Here are some ways to do that:
Manage expectations. Most customers don’t leave negative reviews because of a bad experience, but because a service didn’t match their expectations.
Make sure their expectations aren’t unrealistic by explaining early in your process exactly what you’re going to do and what you’re going to charge.
Show that their feedback will be part of the process. By highlighting reviews in your marketing, you’re showing customers that you’ll be asking for their feedback, too.
Develop a five-star service. When you’re developing your sales package or offer, ask yourself “What does five-star service look like? What does a 10-star service look like?” By doing that, you’ll now know what you need to do to meet the expectations for that level of satisfaction from your customers.
Remind your customers about the five-star service they received. At the end of the process, remind your customers about the things you did that you’d like reflected in their review.
This will increase your chances of getting a review that has detail and context, because a five-star review with no description won’t do much to help build your reputation.
Here are some things you can say and ask:
- “I hope you enjoyed how the whole process went for you today.”
- “Were you happy with the timeframe? I know we were 10 minutes early, but we try our best to be as early as possible.”
- “Did you like how we answered the phone? Did we answer all your questions?”
After this conversation – and hopefully they’ve stated they were happy with your service – ask them if they’d be willing to leave a customer review. And then tell him exactly how to do that.
Make it easy for your customers to give you a review
Make sure the process for giving reviews is simple. Difficulty is one of the biggest reasons consumers don’t leave reviews. Think about all the positive experiences you’ve had with businesses. How many times did you review them?
NiceJob finds that the two-week period after service is the best time to collect reviews.
You could use reputation marketing software like NiceJob to automatically collect your customer reviews, or you can use a manual system. You can also use QR codes, email review links or text link code. No matter which methods you choose, make it as easy as possible for your customers.
And if a customer doesn’t immediately leave a review, follow up. You could send a reminder text message and up to three emails, if necessary. Once a review is left, make sure they don’t get any more messages.
If you’re doing this without Nice job software, they recommend sending a reminder three days after the initial service. You can then choose to follow up seven or 10 days after initial service.
What’s the magic number for reviews?
Now let’s get to the question most business owners have. Exactly how many reviews do you need? It’s a complex answer, but let’s start here: If you don’t have at least 20 reviews, you can’t consider yourself a competitor in your market.
In the eyes of your potential customers, 20 reviews shows enough experience to be trustworthy.
To start, aim to get one review for every 10 jobs. With that as your minimum, you will start to collect enough social proof to begin sharing them and see results. You might say, it could take you 20 months to get to that number. That’s why it’s the bare minimum. As your reputation starts to grow, you’re going to get more than 10 jobs a month.
To recap: You need one review for every 10 jobs, 20 reviews to gain competitor status, but ultimately, you want to have as many reviews as possible.
Why some negative reviews are good for business
If you think you should aim to have only five-star reviews. Think again.
Consider this example from the world of computer generated graphics. When something that’s computer generated looks too real (referred to as “uncanny valley”), audiences have a hard time connecting and trusting.
The same concept applies to your reviews. If you show only five stars, it’s hard for people to believe those reviews as real. A few not so positive ones will contribute to a realistic presence online so don’t remove them.
Also, if you start seeing more negative reviews roll in, you’re able to determine what part of your system is contributing to those negative reviews so you can quickly resolve those issues.
Where and how to share your reviews with potential customers
Once you have 20 customer reviews, it’s time to start marketing the reputation that you’re starting to earn. Here are four places where you can start:
Add the customer reviews to your website. According to Shawn Hill at NiceJob, customers read about 10 reviews before buying. And they think reviews are 12 times more believable than sales copy.
If you don’t display reviews on your website, you’re probably missing out on a good percentage of business. In fact, having at least 10 customer reviews can increase your search traffic by 15% to 20%, says Shawn.
Consider having a dedicated review page that highlights your reviews from other platforms, like Google and Facebook. You can embed their widget onto your site so they can update information automatically.
It’s a good strategy to highlight the three best and three worst reviews. Remember, some negative reviews actually help. You can also add a widget that shows virtual thumbs-ups in real time.
Save your top review for the homepage. A recent study showed that adding a review underneath a hero section improves the conversion rate by 56.2%, says Shawn.
Use your reviews in your advertisements. Whether it’s an ad on Google, Facebook or Instagram, sharing reviews and social proof of your great service helps improve your paid marketing performance.
With paid ads, there’s no way to outbid competitors for clicks. That means your reviews and your average star rating are going to be the two most important criteria for ad placements.
Draw them in with the social proof and pair it with a convenient call to action, also known as a CTA. Examples of CTAs are “Book a free consultation,” or “Sign up now.”
Share your reviews on your free social media accounts. By sharing there, you’ll market your reputation to people doing a natural scroll through their feed. You can craft posts through software such as NiceJob that will help you automatically share those reviews. Or you can use tools like Canva to easily create graphics. Add photos to the reviews to create more impact.
You can also share things like awards for community service, or your involvement with charities or local events. This kind of marking material is just as useful as a customer review, because it show’s your company is reliable and trustworthy.
Maximize your Google My Business profile. If you’re not claiming it, controlling it, and connecting your reviews to it, you’re leaving a huge opportunity on the table.
Results are found in consistency
Using reputation marketing to dominate your market can take work, skill and time. But investing in the effort can lead to big rewards for your business.
For more tips on how to use reputation marketing to grow your maid service business, watch Shawn’s full talk below:
For more resources on how to grow and perfect your cleaning business, check out the replays from the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid. The summit featured more than 63 presentations from other maid service owners who shared tools and strategies to help you achieve the highest levels of success in your business.
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- How to hire great employees for your cleaning business, fast!