If you don’t think online reviews of your self-storage facilities matter, think again. What others say about your business is one of the most important factors potential customers consider when making a purchase decision. In fact, 97 percent of consumers read reviews of local businesses before they decide to buy.
What does that mean for you? It means you need to be proactive in managing your digital reputation if you want to get—and stay—ahead.
Why Reputation Matters
In today’s mobile-first world, consumers can find everything they want to know about your storage business with the click of a button, especially if they’re using Google. Google reviews show up on search engine results pages and may appear next to your listing in Google Maps and Google Search.
According to Social Media Today, 88 percent of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they would the recommendation of a friend. If you have strong reviews, that’s great news. If you don’t have strong reviews, or are lacking reviews, a reputation strategy is something you need to master, and fast.
Create a Strategy
You can’t always control what others are saying about your business online, but you can engage in the conversation. That’s why having a reputation strategy is so important. To get started, you must identify your top review sources. By doing so, you can work to optimize your reviews on these sites to ensure the first impression potential customers have of your self-storage facility is positive.
Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook are the most popular—and trusted—review sites among consumers. To improve your reputation, determine how many new reviews you need to stay competitive, and then increase the number of positive reviews on each site. Tapping into your existing customer base is one of the best ways to attract leads. By encouraging happy tenants to post on popular review sites, you’re more likely to attract new customers.
The process of soliciting feedback should be proactive and ongoing. You can measure the success of this strategy by tracking the number of new reviews monthly.
Respond to Posts
There’s more to managing your online reputation than just soliciting reviews. You also need to respond to them, whether they’re positive or negative. In the 2017 “Consumer Review Survey” by marketing firm BrightLocal, 30 percent of respondents indicated that responding to reviews is key when judging local businesses, and 68 percent of customers will leave if they feel a company is indifferent to them.
Don’t know how to respond to a review? Follow this advice:
- Thank the reviewer for his feedback.
- If the review is negative, acknowledge it in a professional and appreciative tone, and then offer a solution where appropriate.
- If a solution is offered, outline the timeline for when the reviewer can expect resolution to his complaint.
- In extreme cases, take the response offline and contact the reviewer directly to continue a solutions-based conversation in person.
The most important thing to remember when responding to online reviews is to make sure all your customers feel supported, even the unhappy ones. While reputation management does take time, it can be especially rewarding for self-storage facilities looking to increase occupancy. Having a strategy in place ensures your attractiveness to new customers and maintains relationships with existing tenants.
Ashleigh Hinrichs is the marketing campaign manager at G5, which provides Digital Experience Management software and marketing services to the self-storage industry. The company’s offerings include responsive-design websites, search engine marketing, social media, reputation management, lead tracking and management, analytics, and client-performance management. For more information, call 800.656.8183; visit www.getg5.com.