Written by Landon Bentham, originally published by Agency Nation.
I realize there are numerous options for automating your review process. But that costs money which you may or may not have. If you do, GREAT. Investigate and implement.
I argue that you need to start with a little manual labor to prove to yourself and your agency that Google can be a game changer.
Once you’ve bought in, the challenge will be to keep the review monster fed!
I don’t currently have this automated to the fullest extent it could be in my agency.
That’s partly by design, and partly because I have other priorities on the table.
Finally, for some context. This article is from a guy in the trenches. I’m not a marketing coordinator. I’m a retail agent in a family-run single-location agency.
Before You Dig In
Do a quick Google search for “Insurance Agent” or “(pick your favorite line of business) insurance.”
View the local business results. Take note of the other agencies in your city and what their reviews look like.
Who do you consider your competition? How many reviews do they have?
Who has the highest number of reviews and how many?
Write this information down. It will become your motivation!
When/How Do I ask?
If you're starting at 0, or close to it, make it a habit to ask for the review after every “positive” conversation you have with a client.
After you sell a new policy and have a happy customer, ask the question.
Maybe you’ve just saved a client serious premium at renewal, ask the question.
When someone calls for advice on adding a youthful driver, ask the question.
Make a smooth new vehicle change, ask the question.
It’s a belly to belly game (or maybe phone to phone game) in the beginning.
Now the “How” part.
Say something like this:
“So you found us on the web, we are trying to improve our digital footprint and it would be a huge help if you could leave us a review on Google.”
I typically DON’T ask for the “5-star” review. I think its tacky, and honestly, you should know they will leave you a 5 star review before you ask.
I then say something like:
“All you have to do is pull up a Google launch page and search for our company. I can also email you a link if that works better for you?”
Notice, this is a PHONE conversation. A time will come for email asks later.
Tip: If they have a Gmail account it will be easier for them to leave you a review as they likely will already be signed in to their Google account. When I see email@example.com it triggers my brain to automatically find a way to ask the question.
Low Hanging Fruit
Ask your friends, and friends who are clients, to help.
Stick with your policy holders and have them write a paragraph about their experience directly on your Google listing.
Action: Just pick up the phone and call your people right NOW! I give you permission to steal my lines… See step 1.
Tip: Google could penalize your rankings if a flood of reviews hits your Google My Business page in a short period of time. Try and spread out the new reviews over a period of a few weeks.
And seriously, DON’T fabricate reviews. We’re all tired of Fake News and Google is wise to it.
The Necessary Technical Step
“Verify” your business if you haven’t already.
Google My Business has a well laid out process for this.
It’s important, but I’m not going to spell it out here. Just follow it. Just do it.
Do it so Google can give you maximum SEO for the reviews you obtain.
Do it because it confirms that you are an established business in your community.
Automation Made Simple
After you personally solicit and receive 10-15 reviews you can start to automate.
For example, I have a button in my email signature that links to a Google Search for our business.
You can also send them a direct link in the body of the email directing them to the review location.
I use much of the same language as in step 1 and only send the link after I’ve had a great experience or communication with a client. Again, increasing the likelihood they will leave a 5-star review without specifically referencing it.
Another strategy would be to have the link built in as a preset email signature so you can quickly insert the ask at the bottom of a final communication email to a client.
Yes, you can automate with email on-boarding campaigns.
And yes, some of you are at the point where you absolutely should automate this process.
If you feel like I’m talking about you, get on it!
Tip: don’t use crazy colors and/or fonts in your email signature ask.
The goal is to make it seem like you wrote it personally to them.
Anything beyond typical black typeset will trigger an immediate “used car salesman” feel to the ask.
Don’t do it.
Get Others Involved
Once you grab some early success, share the results with your staff.
They will be excited to help you keep it rolling.
That energy lasted 2 years with us. These days, I’m getting more creative with contests and gift cards when staff members obtain a predetermined amount of reviews.
Set quarterly goals for the agency and keep it front of mind.
BEAST MODE #1
Make a video on how clients can leave a review and add it to email on-boarding campaign/website…
I’ve yet to personally implement this one but it’s on my list!
BEAST MODE #2
Get reviewers from your niche to leave specific reviews referencing the niche.
Example : “Landon and his team did a great job helping me find insurance on our NEW HOME” or “NEW BUSINESS.”
I haven’t fully verified the SEO value on this one (talk with Chris Langille or Nyssa Lieder). But, I do know, other prospects in that same niche will notice when they search for and see the nice things other people said about you.
Ask Where They Found You
Train your staff, and yourself, to ask:
“How did you find me today.”
The number of people that say “Google reviews” will floor you!
Start tracking all the metrics as if this was any other marketing or referral campaign.
Our agency’s numbers, after a full two years of tracking this data, are staggering, extraordinary, unbelievable, (insert your favorite hyperbolic term and get fired up!)
If you’re still not convinced and would like to know more specifics I’d be happy to share. Shoot me a message.
A Word About Social Proof
The #fire here is in the social proof.
We experienced a time in the early stages when our leads were mostly shoppers or “non standard” customers. (That’s a legit business model by the way, just not what we typically look for)
I’ll bet someone reading this right now has used this posture as a reason NOT to get moving on Google.
I’ve personally seen the leads improve with the increased quality and quantity of reviews.
It’s evolution, not revolution, that you are seeking with Google reviews … It is changing the way people find you online.
YOU HAVE TO ASK, IT MUST BE AUTHENTIC
It all boils down to this one thing. Just ask and find a way to be authentic.
I promise you, the first review will feel as good or better than the first insurance sale of your career!
Once momentum starts to build a funny thing will start happening.
The phone will ring.
Ask them how they “found you”
Your ears will delight when they reference GOOGLE.
I can’t promise you instant results, but after just a dozen or so reviews our agency started getting the calls.
Now I know, there are insurtech folks out there that are jumping out of their chair at the seemingly inefficient nature of this process. “We have a better solution for that!!!”
You have an important role to play.
As I said before, there are countless automation technologies you can purchase and processes that you can follow.
Just remember, you will still have to manage the process one way or another.
For more information on these solutions, ping one of the Agency Nation folks and they can direct you to several awesome agents or companies who have built impressive automation systems.
Still, if your agency is anything like mine, you might need to prove the strategy before you invest in tech to hopefully super charge the results.
Friends, what’s sad is only a small number of you will actually implement this.
None of this is new.
My challenge to you…Don’t fall further behind.
Let me know if you have any questions.