9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog
Where automotive meets digital marketing.
Reviews are a way for consumers to find social proof that a business is either trustworthy or untrustworthy. For dealerships, reviews are a huge opportunity to gain new customers online. How huge of an opportunity? Today, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
People are turning to review sites to gain key insight and judging reviews with a fine toothed comb. Learn how to navigate the diverse world of online reviews and put your best foot forward by practicing some key methods we’ve outlined below.
It’s not just about having 5 star ratings. Following up with poor reviews – online and offline – is just as important. Do not leave a poor review unanswered. Instead, apologize and try to move the conversation offline by providing a phone number and name to contact.
If the person is already in your customer database, you can also just contact them yourself and try to sort out the issue. View it as a learning lesson. Even if your team did nothing wrong, the customer still had the perception that something was wrong. Get all the details and report back to the source of the issue in order to avoid it in the future.
One study found that the more reviews a business has, the more trustworthy they seem to potential customers. So what’s the magic number of reviews? Simply a number greater than your competition’s total reviews.
If your closest competitor has zero Yelp reviews, then it’s fine just to have a handful of Yelp reviews yourself. However, if your top competitor has dozens of Yelp reviews compared to your handful, then it’s time to focus more effort on gaining reviews on that platform.
It's also important to factor in the competition’s average rating. They might have more reviews than your dealership but a lower average ranking. Consumers factor in the ranking along with the volume of reviews so make sure you have a healthy balance between the two elements.
Not all reviews are equal. Each reviewing platform has its advantages and disadvantages. Below are the ones we have found to be the most used in the auto industry.
After five reviews, Google shows the ranking stars underneath the map listing and snippets of reviews in the right-side knowledge pane. These features make it easy for searchers to see customer reviews and ratings. Google has not definitively said they count reviews in search results rankings but it is widely accepted that it plays some role in SEO.
Bing’s local search is powered by Yelp, making it extremely important for those with decent Bing/Yahoo traffic. Yelp reviews also show up high in Google search results, especially when the term “review” is used in a query.
DealerRater has a polished setup as far as ease of use for reviewers and dealerships. From our experience, however, it has proved to be practically useless. It rarely gives dealer sites any referral traffic nor does it seem to have any search results power. Until they improve their SEO efforts, focus on other review sites.
Cars.com and Edmunds
These two sites are primarily used to research and find vehicles online regardless of dealership. However, they also offer a reviewing feature for dealerships. Unlike DealerRater, Cars.com and Edmunds have proven more successful as far as referral web traffic and SEO.
So how many reviews do you need? There is no single magic number that can be applied industry-wide. Look at your reviews from the consumer standpoint. Consumers focus on three main elements when judging reviews: number of reviews, average ranking, and the businesses’ level of interaction.
Keeping that in mind, invest time to research and investigate your own reviewing presence. Building a positive review system takes time but in the end it will give your dealership an edge of the competition.
Want to learn more about getting reviews? Let’s talk.