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Increase Online Reviews and Generate New Leads

People don’t rely on phone books or even personal recommendations to find an insurance agent. In the internet and information age, people head to the search engines to look for a reliable insurance company. Today, Google and social media are the main places where people go to look for reviews and recommendations for practically every product or service imaginable. In fact, the average consumer trusts third-party, online reviews just as much as a recommendation they’d get from a friend. For insurance agents, knowing how to increase online reviews on Facebook and Google can help them find new, qualified leads for their business.

Why are online reviews critical for today’s insurance agents?

When consumers research a business, product, or service online, reviews for that business on Google and Facebook will show up on the search results pages. Reviews offer several benefits for insurance agencies. For one thing, they give your insurance agency credibility. On the other hand, reviews also help increase your online exposure and visibility online.

As online reviews become more commonplace, consumers will continue to rely on them to help them make a purchasing decision. For today’s insurance agents, cultivating visible and positive online reviews on Facebook and Google is the most beneficial way to help them find new leads. Another benefit? Online reviews never expire. Once there, they’ll be visible forever, and prospects will always be able to sift through your business reviews.

How do online reviews impact purchasing decisions?

Visible reviews will impact someone’s decision to buy a product or service in several ways. When a consumer realizes they need insurance coverage, they will most likely go online to research their options and find an insurance agency local to them. Since online reviews help improve your SEO and search ranking results, an agency with several reviews will be seen first on the search results page.

Potential leads will also use any online reviews you have for social proof and credibility. Studies show that when a business has at least five recent reviews on Google, they will get conversion rates as high as 58%. When a company has ten or more reviews, its online foot traffic increases by 20%. While the number of reviews is somewhat significant, the time the review was given is more critical when it comes to conversion rates — the more recent the reviews, the better. For insurance agents, it’s important to generate a steady stream of leads, so they appear credible to both consumers and the search engines.

Where do online reviews matter the most?

An online review that’s on either Google or Facebook will give you the best results for your insurance agency. Google and Facebook are some of the most trusted third-party sites for online reviews. Feedback on a business or product is considered unbiased and the most trustworthy on these platforms. Facebook and Google reviews plugin directly to the other major search engines Bing and Yahoo. And in general, Bing, Google, and Yahoo are where most people go to search for business offerings.

For insurance agents, it’s also worth it to check out other industry-specific online reviews sites. Generating a steady stream of high-quality leads for your business in several high-profile places at once is the most effective strategy. Make an effort to spread the good news about your business across a range of high profile sites, but be sure to focus a lot of your attention on Google and Facebook, specifically.

What else should insurance agents consider regarding online reviews?

The quality of online reviews, frequency of new reviews, and the comments generated from the reviews are all critical factors insurance agents need to consider. The Google algorithm is sophisticated and uses certain metrics to determine how an insurance agency will rank when a consumer searches for insurance online. One thing that factors into the search rankings is how many reviews a business has.

But insurance agents shouldn’t increase online reviews just for the sake of having them. Instead, it’s more important to focus on the quality of the reviews. Quality is more important than frequency too. An agent with 100 reviews over a year old won’t rank as highly as a new insurance agency with only five reviews that have appeared in the last few months.

For insurance agents who want to start generating leads fast, it’s understandable they would want to get as many reviews as possible in a short period. But that might actually impact your search results ranking negatively. Google’s algorithm gets suspicious of sudden, overnight “success” when it comes to online reviews. The algorithm may think you’ve been soliciting reviews in bulk. If that happens, your agency will be punished with a lower search results ranking, even if you have way more reviews than your competitors.

High-quality, helpful reviews that happen over a steady, reasonable period look organic and natural to Google. Potential leads are also more willing to trust reviews that appear authentic, rather than those solicited in bulk.

Also, reviews that generate comments, not just a star rating, are looked on more favorably by the Google algorithm. Reviews that create additional feedback for leads appear more credible too. A review with comments is less likely to be a fake review. The search algorithms also prefer reviews that have generated comments and feedback. Any efforts you make to generate new reviews for your business should also encourage clients to leave some feedback along with their star rating. Responding to the review with any additional input or insight will also reflect on your business positively.

What about negative reviews?

No one likes to get a negative review, but even good insurance agencies can have some on Google or Facebook. It’s not the end of the world. However, if you get a lot of negative reviews, something might be going wrong with your business. You may need to change your strategy or customer service protocols. But in some cases, former disgruntled employees, or shady competitors will try to flood your online profiles with negative reviews by creating multiple fake profiles and accounts. If this happens, you can try to appeal these fictitious reviews and have them removed.

It may seem counterintuitive, but having a negative or critical review or two can actually make your agency appear more authentic in the searcher’s eyes. Negative reviews aren’t always a lead killer, either. Sometimes, one person’s negative feedback can offer some insight into what your business has to offer. This might be just what another person is looking for.

 If you do get a negative review, you might want to consider responding to it diplomatically. But do it in a timely fashion. Don’t wait for weeks to respond. That can look opportunistic or inauthentic. Instead, try to make a habit of checking your reviews once a week and responding accordingly. Whatever you do, don’t lose your temper on the critical reviewer. Try to address their concerns either directly, indirectly, or in a private message.

How can insurance agents increase online reviews?

Consider the following methods to encourage current and former clients to leave a positive review on your online profiles:

  • Make it a habit to ask every client if they are happy with the service they’ve received. If they are satisfied, ask them to leave a positive review on your agency’s listing or profile. If clients aren’t happy, ask how you can improve the service for them.
  • Always respond to positive online reviews with gratitude. People are more likely to leave reviews for your company if they know their efforts will be acknowledged with a thank you.
  • For new customers who take out a policy with your agency, ask if they would tell their friends and family about you, and to then leave a positive review on Facebook or Google.
  • When claims are settled favorably, follow up with your client and see if they are happy with the way everything was handled. If they were, ask them to leave a positive review for your business.
  • If clients leave positive reviews, send them a handwritten thank you card. This can encourage referrals for your agency.
  • On your agency website, set up a page dedicated to displaying reviews and testimonials to highlight customer satisfaction with your agency.

Getting online reviews doesn’t need to be hard. All you have to do is ask and make it easy for your clients to leave their feedback. Responding promptly can also go a long way to making your clients feel appreciated. This will help encourage them to generate referrals for you. The more visible your agency is with positive online reviews, the more leads you will generate for your insurance agency.

For more information on how to encourage positive online reviews and generate new leads for your business, contact Lift Local today. We’re ready to get your clients to say how happy they are with your insurance agency!