No reviews cause hesitation. Bad reviews cause apprehension.
The good news? Getting great reviews is under your control.
You spend a ton of time, money, and effort to make sure your home looks good online, but people want more than good image. They want proof. This is where reviews come into play.
The more positive reviews you have, the higher your credibility. And credibility is essential for senior homes. People need to trust that their elderly relatives will feel good in your facility before they even consider picking up the phone and scheduling a visit.
Google drives more traffic to the sites that have more reviews, whether those reviews are on Google or other platforms that point back to your website. All other factors held constant, the more reviews you get, the more traffic comes your way.
More often than not, people go through a long research process before they contact a senior home. But, sometimes, they just look for something in their area, and, when they see listings with many positive reviews, they just contact it to schedule a visit.
You may think getting online reviews is out of your control, and it just happens, but that is not the case. In fact, one of your marketing “tasks” should be to regularly work on getting as many positive reviews as possible. You won’t be able to make each of your clients leave you one, but if you manage to get one review out of every three to four clients, you’ll be ahead of your competition (and that matters a lot).
It’s simple: ask. Because senior homes provide ongoing services, it could be a bit difficult to decide at what stage to ask for a review. Our advice is to do it as early as possible.
Even at the stage of meeting a prospect, you can say you’re extremely motivated to deliver excellent service, and not only because he/she is an important client for you, but also because you would love him/her to leave you a review online.
Then, if they have not left a review yet, remind your seniors to leave one anytime they are impressed with your service. (train your staff to ask for reviews, too).
Finally, have your marketing agency set up an automated tool that will request reviews from your residents if they haven’t left you one yet (ask us or the agency you trust).
It’s also a good idea to explain to people how and where to leave your reviews.
Google. Google reviews are extremely powerful, but it’s not that easy to leave them. For whatever reason, Google has made the process somewhat cumbersome. We recommend that you Google how to do it, and give the instructions to your residents.
Yelp. Many senior home managers underestimate the importance of Yelp listings, but what most of your prospects know is that Yelp reviews can’t be “rigged”. They have created a strong algorithm that filters out many reviews. Because it is a well-trusted platform, millions of consumers check out reviews there.
SeniorDirectory, A Place for Mom, or other platforms for senior facilities. If you have decided to invest in marketing through online directories, you should also make sure your listings have reviews, which are one of the main triggers for a potential client to contact you.
Facebook. You may think it’s not the place to focus on, but it is the easiest place for people to check you out, so don’t ignore it. Additionally, you should consider the fact that even though your clients are of different age, the people who actually hire you — their children — are spending time on Facebook.
True, a marketing agency can’t directly ask your clients to leave reviews, but what we can do is to periodically remind them to do it. We’re talking about a very gentle, respectful approach, of course, but you’d be surprised how effective it is: the moment their elderly parent is comfortably set up, they stop thinking about you, so it’s your job (or rather, our job) to remind them to leave a review.
Another thing an online marketing agency can do is claim your listings in various directories and get instant notifications anytime someone leaves a review: positive or negative. This monitoring is extremely important because you don’t want to leave negative reviews unaddressed, plus answering reviews fast makes you look knowledgeable and responsive.
We can also design simple how-to’s that help clients leave you reviews on various platforms, and offer them a variety of places where they can go and post: Google, Yelp, SeniorDirectory, Facebook and others.
No matter how hard you try, you will get negative reviews sooner or later. In fact, that’s why some business owners are wary of claiming listings and dealing with online reputation — they know that people are much more likely to complain about something than they are to praise it.
But negative reviews are nothing to worry about. Here’s what to do about them:
Always address them as soon as possible. All platforms give the owner of the listing a chance to respond to a review. The best way to answer is to explain the situation and, if you have made a mistake, take responsibility and offer a solution. This will show your prospects that when things go wrong — and they sometimes do — you don’t shy away from fixing the mess.
Get as many positive reviews as possible. If your negative reviews are a small fraction of the positive ones, no one will care. If, however, you have 2-3 reviews and they’re all negative, even the biggest marketing budget won’t help you.
Comrade is a Chicago based digital marketing company that specializes in marketing and website design for senior homes. Read more about our marketing service for senior homes.
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