In today’s digital age, consumers are bombarded with flashy images and catchy taglines wherever they go. We live in a society where ads follow us online and appear as based on our search history.
With all products claiming to be “the best,” differentiating between two similar choices can turn into a daunting task. Once targeted ads are thrown into the mix, the volume of options can overwhelm anyone.
How are consumers expected to make the right choice?
According to Jia Wertz, a contributor for Forbes.com, “Customer reviews are powerful – so powerful, in fact, that the vast majority of people trust online reviews just as much as they trust the opinion of a close friend,” (Wertz, 2019). Honest and authentic online reviews from real people that have used, or are using the product or service, have become one of the primary resources referenced during the research phase of buying. Wertz goes on to site that 63% of consumers seek out online reviews before visiting a business. This phenomenon is no different in the apartment complex industry.
Globally, across AFI’s 14-state portfolio, our average Google rating is 4.5/5.0. All AFI on-site managers are continually coached to acquire as much feedback as possible from stakeholders of the property (tenants, neighbors, store owners, vendors).
Entrepreneur.com provides five great tips on how to improve your company’s online presence:
- Use an online reputation management software. While not feasible for all businesses, this solution could be helpful for companies looking to make the transition from small to medium business who are also in need of scaling their marketing efforts.
- Educate customers on how to leave a review. If a consumer agrees to leave a positive review, help them do it. AFI managers are encouraged to direct stakeholders to the property website while they are still on site in order to capture their true feedback.
- Ask every customer for feedback. “It builds amazing legacy and forces you to get better. Asking everyone to write a review will expose most flaws publicly, giving you free insight on how to improve the business,” (Nwazor, 2017).
- Respond to reviews honestly and publicly. All reviews, whether good or bad, deserve thanks to the individual for sharing their opinion or a professional response regarding corrective action, if applicable. See below for examples of responses to both positive, and negative reviews:
- Provide an incentive for customers to write reviews. While incentivization should remain a last resort, promoting contests with prizes awarded for posting reviews can be a great way to encourage audience engagement.
Nwazor, T. (2017, February 6). 5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Site’s Online Reviews. Retrieved from:https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288388
Shewan, D. (2019, January 23). The Rise of Ad Blockers: Should Advertisers Be Panicking?(!!!). Retrieved from: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/10/02/ad-blockers
Wertz, J. (2019, May 28). The Business and Monetization of Product Review Sites. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jiawertz/2019/05/28/the-business-and-monetization-of-product-review-sites/#3b80685b5d4b