THIS JUST IN… Online reviews MATTER. Groundbreaking, right? 😜 Alright, we know most dealers have been building their digital reviews for nearly a decade now, but we have to ask: once you get them, what are you doing with them?
While many of our dealers have reached incredible feats of collecting hundreds and thousands of positive reviews on third-party platforms, few are giving those happy customers the starring roles on their website and digital ads. Now more than ever, new shoppers want to know the safety, quality, and convenience of your experience — and there is no better way to tell them than with 5-star ratings and reviews. Using your top promoters on your own platforms just makes sense to build trust and give shoppers the confidence they need to choose YOU.
But Katie, you say, “Shoppers can easily find thousands of my great reviews on DealerRater, Cars.com, Google, and Yelp,”
That’s fantastic! But getting ratings and reviews on third-party sites is just the beginning. If you’re not sharing all of those shiny stars yourself, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build trust and increase conversions in your own marketing. (I’ll get to that in just a bit!)
Today I’m going to share five easy ways to amplify the voices of your happy customers, so they work harder across all of your marketing channels, not just review sites.
Want even more tips to on how to generate, respond to, and market your reviews? Check out Bill & Ted’s Excellent Dealership Adventures streaming now on Inspire+!
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR REPUTATION
Your reputation is your most valuable asset, so let’s not keep it a secret. With your reviews on solid footing, it’s time to showcase your stars on YOUR platform. These are proven strategies I personally recommend to my clients with confidence because they are highly effective, easy to implement, and don’t cost you more than a little time and effort (which we can do for you!). In my book, that makes these hot tips 5-star rated.
1. Turn Happy Customers Into Homepage Heroes
“Welcome to Katie’s Kia” may be a very nice greeting for visitors to your website, but could it be stronger? ABSOLUTELY. After all, we know your customers are cross shopping. You may only get a moment to make a first impression, so every word on your homepage needs to hook shoppers and show them why they should buy from you.
At Dealer Inspire, we’ve found reviews are the perfect way to start engaging visitors and building trust the minute they land on your website. When you dedicate a homepage slider containing a recent review quote with a link to more reviews — you can immediately give shoppers a view into how well they’ll be taken care of.
They’ll see that you take pride in your experience and that customer feedback is important to you, all while getting comfortable with your team and proven service.
I’ve been blown away by what this simple shift has done for clients. As we’ve tested homepage reviews — engagement has skyrocketed. Check this out:
You can also use Dealer Inspire’s Personalizer™ tool to make sure customers see fresh reviews whenever they return to your site. By showcasing new quotes with each visit, you reinforce your credibility and establish trust in your entire dealership team.
2. GIVE REVIEWS THEIR OWN LANDING PAGES
Don’t make shoppers investigate your reputation across platforms — have a page on your website that syncs your 4 and 5-star reviews from Google, Facebook, DealerRater, and Cars.com all in one feed. This dedicated landing page for your reviews (which is free out of the box at Dealer Inspire) gives your SEO efforts an extra boost, increases engagement and time on site, and provides a much needed hub to both showcase and solicit reviews.
With all of your best customer feedback in one place, it’s easy to build trust! That’s why I also recommend sending a link to this page to any leads you’re working. It builds confidence and can help you close the deal. It’s also a perfect destination for email campaigns and other communications you have with your customers.
3. Build a Page To Build Reviews
48% of shoppers say that reviews need to be less than two weeks old to make an impact on their decision¹, so it’s important to be constantly generating fresh reviews.
By building an engine to drive reviews on your own website, you can easily include it in your process and marketing. Feature the most important platforms to be present on, and give customers the option to leave feedback where they are most comfortable.
This is the perfect destination to use when asking customers to leave a review after they take home their new ride. Once they’ve had a chance to give their new car a name, show it off to their work buddies, and pick out a new license plate cover — it’s your moment to shoot them a text with a link to this landing page.
We recommend texting within the first 24-48 hours. Often that’s all it takes. But to give yourself the best shot to have that text message result in a positive review, include a picture. We found that 50 percent of all review requests that include a picture will lead to a review²!
The bottom line is that your customers are usually happy to share their experience with the world, and a simple text message with a photo linking to a well designed landing page makes getting that review easy.
4. Showcase Your Top-Rated Sales Stars
Just like you wouldn’t let a customer aimlessly stroll through your showroom without assistance, you can begin making 1:1 connections with your digital showroom shoppers by introducing them to your top-rated salespeople on your staff page and VDPs using Salesperson Connect™ from DealerRater®.
Not only can your visitors choose who they’d like to work with, but they can also schedule 1:1 appointments with them right on your website, making those shoppers more likely to show up and purchase — because leads generated from Salesperson Connect™ have a 2.5x higher close rate³ compared to standard website leads.
5. Power Up Your Ads With Promoters
Nothing beats the words of your customers. A happy car buyer sharing their experience is way more impactful than any claim or offer you can make. So instead of tooting your own horn or offering a rock bottom price, I recommend incorporating reviews into your digital ad campaigns. They’re free to use and they WORK!
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Show social shoppers what sets your store apart: Build a targeted social campaign to introduce your store to local in-market shoppers who may not have discovered your dealership yet. Our video templates that showcase dealership reviews and awards are consistently among the highest performing for our FUEL: In-Market Video partners.
- Show your stars in Google ads: An easy way to boost conversion is to incorporate reviews in your paid search campaigns. Google has an ad extension that will allow you to show your star rating and review count within your Google ads. If your dealership has at least 100 unique reviews in the past 12 months with an average rating of 3.5 stars or better, you’re eligible to activate this extension.
Another opportunity to shed some light on your dealership’s reputation in your paid search ads is by incorporating a sitelink to the review aggregation page on your website.
WE CAN MAKE YOUR HARD-EARNED REPUTATION WORK EVEN HARDER
Your dealership’s reputation is your most valuable asset, so let’s work together to show it off. Whether it’s a new campaign featuring reviews, homepage testimonials, or a website hub for all of your great customer feedback, let’s see what we can do to turn your well deserved reviews into bottom line results.Let’s Talk Strategy
¹BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey Dec. 2019
²DealerRater® LotShot Pilot Data September 2014
³Based on Cars.com VDP lead submissions between January 2019 – February 2020