With 86% of consumers reading reviews for local businesses, it’s not only important but essential for insurance agencies to stay on top of what people are saying about their business and manage their online reviews.
There are many considerations to keep in mind when monitoring and managing your online reviews, as well as a number of factors that influence agents’ perceptions of promoting them. In this webinar, BrightFire’s Spencer Breidenbach covers the do’s and don’ts of the various categories related to managing online reviews, including:
- Online Review Perception
- Increasing Review Counts
- Responding to Online Reviews
- Leveraging Your Reviews
- Managing Reviews
Finally, Spencer dives into how BrightFire’s Reviews & Reputation Management service addresses each of these categories to support your agency’s online reputation management needs.
Watch the Webinar
Hello everyone! My name is Spencer Breidenbach and I’m a Sales Executive here at BrightFire. Thank you to everyone for attending the first 20 Minute Marketing Webinar of 2021.
Before our short break in December for the holidays, we had a great turnout in November for our 20 Minute Marketing webinar on ADA Compliance for Agency Websites. If you missed any of our webinars in 2020, don’t forget that you can access all of our webinars on-demand by visiting www.brightfire.com/webinars.
The goal of these webinars is to provide you with digital marketing advice and discuss current digital marketing topics in a brief 20-minute format followed by a Q&A period to answer any additional questions from the attendees.
We believe this format will be received well by busy insurance agents and agency owners.
Today’s 20 Minute Marketing webinar is focused on the do’s and don’ts of managing your online reviews to help insurance agents build brand awareness and enhance customer loyalty.
If you have questions during the webinar, please use the Q&A feature in Zoom to submit them.
Before we get into our online reviews of do’s and don’ts, here’s a brief background on BrightFire, since we have a mix of current customers and some agents that are new to BrightFire attending today.
BrightFire began by providing Insurance Agency Websites in 2000. Over the years as the needs of insurance agents grew, we expanded our digital marketing services beyond agency websites to also include:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Reviews & Reputation Management
- Social Media Marketing
- Local Listings Management
- And Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Today, we work with over 2,000 agencies across 48 states, and we are proud to say that our first agency customer in 2000 is still a BrightFire customer today.
So with that background on BrightFire, let’s get started.
When it comes to managing online reviews and protecting your brand’s online reputation, there are many considerations to keep in mind, and a number of factors influencing agents’ perceptions of promoting online reviews. The categories and considerations we will cover in this webinar include:
- Online Review Perception
- Increasing Review Counts
- Responding to Online Reviews
- Leveraging Your Reviews
- Managing Reviews
Finally, we’ll dive into how BrightFire’s Reviews & Reputation Management service addresses each of these categories to support your agency’s online reputation management needs.
Online Review Perception
First up is addressing the perception that agency owners sometimes have towards online reviews. We often hear from our clients that they’re scared of review sites, hesitant to ask for online reviews, or simply want to fly under the radar.
Our first point today is to not be scared of online reviews. Whether we like it or not, online reviews for any company can be left even if the company hasn’t claimed their listings and will be seen by consumers. In fact, a 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal found that 86% of consumers read reviews online for local businesses.
Instead of being fearful of them, I want to encourage you to embrace your reviews! When you take control of the websites and review management platforms that your agency is represented on, you have the ability to manage your brand reputation, strengthen your relationships with customers, show appreciation for positive reviews, and turn negative reviews into positive experiences.
Another common misconception we see at BrightFire is that agency owners think it’s important to have all 5-star reviews. While collecting as many positive reviews as possible is a great best practice, negative reviews can actually show that your reviews are authentic and not fake.
When consumers read some negative reviews online, they are more likely to believe what they read in the positive ones. As individuals read your negative and positive reviews, they can compare each experience and paint a better overall picture of what kind of customer service and experience they can expect from your agency. When only positive reviews are shown, customers begin to think the company must be hiding something and they can become skeptical of the positive reviews they read.
In summary, as it relates to the perception of online reviews, don’t be afraid of them, and don’t think you need all 5-star reviews. Rather, do embrace the opportunity to regularly generate new reviews and do be authentic by displaying some of your less-than-5-star reviews on your website. We’ll discuss how to handle those negative reviews later on in today’s webinar.
Increasing Review Counts for Independent Insurance Agencies
Now that we know it’s good to embrace reviews, let’s address the do’s and don’ts related to increasing the number of reviews you receive.
First, it’s important you don’t create fake reviews. It can be tempting to compare how many reviews your agency has versus others and create fake reviews to compete with them. Or maybe you’re tempted to fake a review to promote a certain carrier and highlight your great customer service. You might have even received a negative review and want to offset it with a handful of new positive ones to increase your overall star rating.
However, many review platforms and search engines like Yelp and Google have strict rules against creating fake reviews. When they are detected and/or reported by others, your account can be flagged or penalized, and your rankings on Google and other review sites can fall, decreasing your chances of new customers finding your agency.
There are even marketing companies you can hire to create fake, realistic reviews for you. But once again, we would never recommend you do so for the reasons detailed a moment ago, as well as the fact that your marketing dollars would be better spent promoting your current reviews and asking customers who haven’t reviewed your agency yet to share their experiences in an online review.
Instead of faking reviews and risking damage to your agency’s reputation, have confidence in asking your customers for reviews. It’s easy for people to forget to share their positive experiences in an online review, and oftentimes, people are more than happy to do so when asked.
Strategize ways your agency can receive new reviews, including emailing surveys, adding links to your review sites in your email signature, sending postcards in the mail asking about their experiences, and more.
BrightLocal found that some of the most common ways businesses ask for reviews are in an email, in person, on a receipt, through social media, or over the phone.
Responding to Online Reviews
The next topic we’ll dive into covers how to respond to your online reviews. With a BrightLocal survey finding that 96% of consumers who read reviews also read the businesses’ responses to them, it’s imperative you don’t ignore your reviews. Take a moment to answer each one, showing appreciation for their business and for sharing their experiences online. We’ll discuss how to respond specifically to negative reviews in just a moment.
But first, let’s talk about the logistics of responding to every review. While it may be tempting, don’t fall into the trap of providing strict, templated responses. If consumers see the same comments time and time again, it will start to look impersonal and unauthentic.
Instead, offer a personalized response to each review. This doesn’t have to be as difficult or time-consuming as it may seem; it’s okay to draft a handful of responses for both positive and negative reviews. Just be sure to leave room to customize each message with the policyholder’s name and perhaps a sentence or two building rapport with the customer by acknowledging that you remember them and appreciate their business.
There’s one last word of caution I need to mention on this topic – in the event that you receive a negative review, refrain from arguing with the reviewer or getting defensive about their comments.
Remember that your comments should reflect your agency’s reputation and maintain professionalism. Apologize for the customer’s poor experience, share your core values or the experience your agency strives to provide to its policyholders, and offer to take the conversation offline to resolve the issue.
A survey by Harris Interactive found that 33% of customers who received a response to a negative review later changed it to be more positive, and another 34% deleted their negative review altogether. Lastly, that same survey showed that over 40% of respondents believed a great response from a business on a poor review would win back their business.
If you need to, wait an hour or so before responding to a negative review so you can avoid letting anger or frustration show in your message back to the reviewer. Retain the Harris Interactive survey statistics to remember you still have a chance to create a positive outcome from the negative review, and also keep in mind that your comments will be viewed by other potential customers researching your agency.
Leveraging Your Agency’s Online Reviews
Now for the fun topic – leveraging your positive reviews! Don’t just keep the reviews to yourself or let them only live on the review network it was posted on. Do share and promote your positive reviews with your employees, praising them for their great work. You should also showcase your reviews on your social media accounts, your agency website, and other marketing materials such as flyers and brochures. Don’t be afraid to really highlight your reviews and turn them into promotional tools that can help your sales leads see what your current policyholders love about your agency.
You should also avoid limiting opportunities to gain new ones. Leverage your reviews by showcasing the review site links like Google and Yelp on the footer of your website and email newsletters, as well as in your normal email signatures.
Managing Your Insurance Agency’s Reviews
And for our last topic, I want to cover the logistics of managing your online reviews and business listings. It’s imperative you don’t leave your brand reputation unprotected by turning a blind eye to your reviews or only claiming a couple of your business listings.
Maintain control over your online presence and reputation by finding and claiming all of your citations for each of your agency’s locations. Brand them appropriately with your company name, address, and phone number (otherwise known as NAP).
But don’t stop there. New business listings can be created for your agency automatically if a customer leaves a review on a review management platform you have yet to create an account for. To make sure all of your citations remain active and accurate, look frequently for new listings, monitor each listing for new reviews, and correct any outdated or inaccurate information.
Last but not least, it’s important to not stress about managing your reviews. I know we covered a lot of topics and tips today to put your best foot forward online with reviews, and I also know that finding time to manage your online reviews with a busy agency can seem impossible.
As with any new initiative your agency takes on, it’s vital you know when it’s time to outsource tasks. If you find yourself overwhelmed or unable to efficiently and effectively manage your online reviews, seek assistance from professional digital marketers who can protect your brand’s reputation and monitor your online reviews for you.
How BrightFire Provides Reviews & Reputation Management
At BrightFire, we know how important, yet tedious, it can be to manage all of your reviews. That’s why our Reviews & Reputation Management service is designed to take the burden off of you and help your agency easily grow, nurture, and protect its online reputation.
With the support of our digital marketing experts, your agency will be able to generate new reviews with ease, improve your online rankings, and gauge your customers’ happiness.
We provide everything you need to successfully manage your online reputation, including:
- Convenient Dashboard
- Two Managed Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys Each Year
- Review Monitoring
- Review Generation
- New Review Alerts
How To Get Started with BrightFire
BrightFire’s Reviews & Reputation Management service only costs $80 per month, and like all of our digital marketing services, does not have any setup fees or contracts. We also include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Additionally, our Ultimate SEO Bundle, which includes Reviews & Reputation Management, Insurance Agency Website, and Local Listings Management, costs $190 per month and saves your agency $30 per month off of the standalone prices.
Our onboarding process is designed to take the burden off of you as much as possible and consists of one 30-minute phone call. Typically, we can launch our Reviews & Reputation Management service within about a week of signing up.
As a thank you for attending today, we’re offering a $50 promo to webinar attendees. You can receive a $50 account credit for signing up for our Reviews & Reputation Management service. This promo ends on January 31st, 2021.
To get started managing your online reviews with BrightFire, please visit our website at www.brightfire.com or you can also speak with a BrightFire expert at 888-778-4393.
Q&A on Reviews and Reputation Management
That concludes our presentation on the Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Your Online Reviews.
We’ll go ahead and start that Q&A session now. If anyone has any questions, we’ll do our best to answer anything that comes through. And if we don’t get to your question today, we’re going to make sure that someone from BrightFire reaches out to you later via email to make sure you get the answer that you’re looking for. Let me see if we’ve got some coming through thus far.
“What other review sites are there to manage other than Facebook, Yelp, and Google?”
Great question. There are many other review sites like Better Business Bureau, Superpages, Yellow Pages, and a host of others. When you work with Brightfire, though, you don’t have to find and manage all of those on your own. Our experts will reach out, pre-research, claim, monitor, and manage all of the links for you. We’ll aggregate them into a clear and concise dashboard so you can easily access and respond to the individual reviews you’re getting from various networks.
“My agency already has over 50 positive reviews and an average rating of 4.9 stars. Why do I need more?”
That’s awesome to hear. That’s a really great place to be in; congrats. I would encourage you to keep up the good work and strive to get more reviews. The more that you receive, the bigger impact that’s going to have with Google on your local SEO, and the better your ranking on Google is, the easier it’s going to be for local consumers to find you when they’re actively shopping the lines you go after and are trying to make a buying decision. If you stop getting new reviews, eventually your current reviews are going to become old or outdated.
And you’re also leaving the door open. If you have a big head start on the race relative to the competitors around you, taking a pause on generating new online reviews is going to give people an opening to catch-up and come closer to your total review count. I’ve also heard a lot of consumers say, “Oh, awesome, this place has a great reputation. But wait, their last review is a year old. What’s going on? Are they out of business? Did they stop having good customer service, or are they under new ownership?” When they see current ones, they instead think, “I’m confident in the past they’ve had great customer service, but I know people are also recently having good experiences with them.”
“How does BrightFire help my agency generate new reviews?”
As I mentioned earlier, we’ll do two Net Promoter Score campaigns for your agency each year, which will ask your policyholders how likely they are to recommend you to a friend or a colleague. Each campaign also offers policyholders links to leave a review directly for you on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
“I have multiple locations. Does your service bundle these together?”
As we touched on a little bit, it’s imperative to claim and manage each separate location to improve the local SEO for that location and enhance your rankings on Google. BrightFire’s Review & Reputation Management service is set up to maintain and cover a single office location. And we do recommend purchasing the service for each location if you’re looking for optimal coverage and support. I do sometimes talk to clients who started out with one location and say, “This is working great. Let’s add it for the other locations as well.”
“You mentioned a recurring cost. What all does that cover?”
That’s a good question. When managing your online review networks, it’s important to not just set it and forget it saying, “Hey, I’ve got it set up and now I’m just going to leave it be.” When you do, that can make it easy to miss new reviews or forget to update info if your company name, address, or phone number changes. And if you have different information out there, Google doesn’t like that. It gives the algorithm more uncertainty, and Google will ding your rankings. That being said, BrightFire’s recurring costs include access to your reputation management dashboard, where you can view all your results and stats, and respond to reviews, the ability to run those Net Promoter Score campaigns we talked about, review alerts, and the ongoing addition of new reviews. As new positive reviews come in, we’ll automatically pull those into your website, if your agency also has our Insurance Agency Websites service. That way you’ve got fresh reviews and feedback from folks.
“Can we put review requests in an email and send them out in our day-to-day emails?”
Yeah, that’s a great idea. You can add links to write a review in your email signature or store those links in a document that you can easily copy and paste into select emails when it’s a good opportunity. You can shoot them over and say, “We would really appreciate it if you would leave a review for us when you have a moment,” and send them that link.
If you need help figuring out what the links to have customers write a review for your agency’s website that is with us, email us at email@example.com, and a member of our team can help you out and show you where on your BrightFire website for your agency that specific link is.
“Is it a bad idea for employees or family members of an employee to review the agency when they are also a policyholder? They are legitimate customers, but I can see why it might be a conflict of interest.”
That’s a tricky one. If they’re legitimately policyholders, in theory, that wouldn’t be a true ethics problem. However, you always want to keep in mind the potential perception customers could have. If somebody locally that knows they’re related to the agency sees that, or somebody online can put two and two together and figure out that this person is related to this other one, even though you’re not actually doing anything wrong and it should be totally fine, you may just want to keep in mind that it’s easy for people to jump to conclusions because they’re not able to see your book of business and see that they are also policyholders.
That’s all we have time for today. If there are any remaining questions, we’ll follow up with you individually by email afterwards and make sure everybody gets any questions addressed that they had. I want to thank you all again.
Upcoming 20 Minute Marketing Webinars
Before we close, I’d like to remind everyone of our upcoming 20 Minute Marketing Webinars.
Our next webinar is, “10 Tips to Humanize Your Agency with Social Media Marketing.” Insurance sales is about developing relationships, and that’s exactly what social media can do for your agency. Communicate and connect with insurance consumers in the fun, casual structure of your social media channels where you can show the human side of your agency. Join us to discover ten tips to make your agency more “human.”
This will be held Thursday, February 25, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern or 11:00 a.m. Pacific.
Our webinar in March is, “How to Personalize Your Sales with Video Proposals.” The importance of personalizing your prospects’ and clients’ online experiences only continues to increase as COVID-19 continues across the country. Join us in this webinar as we show how video proposals can take your agency’s sales efforts to the next level and offer strategies to convert more prospects, build client relationships, and grow your sales.
This will be held Thursday, March 25, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern or 11:00 a.m. Pacific.
You can reserve your spot at these webinars by visiting the webinars page on our website at www.brightfire.com/webinars.
So that does it for today! From me and the rest of the BrightFire team, we’d like to thank all of you for attending.