Climbing the search engine rankings with a smart SEO strategy and raising brand awareness with targeted ad campaigns are two (of many) digital marketing tactics to get your facility’s website in front of more prospective tenants. But when it comes to converting prospective tenants to paying tenants, nothing helps seal the deal like online reviews. After all, 90% of consumers are influenced by reviews, and over 63% will visit Google reviews before they ever set foot in your storage facility (source).
But how do you get more reviews on Google? We’ve rounded up 15 of the best techniques you can actually use to encourage more online reviews for your business.
1. Just Ask
Any time a tenant makes a positive remark about their experience with your facility is a great time for you or your manager to ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review. And then…
2. Help Them Help You
After the ask, make it as easy as possible for them to go from considering leaving a review to hitting submit. For in-person interactions, consider keeping a stack of “Yelp Us Out” or “Put Us on The Map” (for Google) cards on hand. Take it to the next level by incorporating a QR code that tenants can scan with their phone to take them directly to your facility’s Google or Yelp profile.
3. Meet Tenants Where They’re At
It’s been proven that the likelihood of someone scrolling facebook, instagram, or watching youtube to leave that platform to complete an action on an outside site is pretty low. For example, creating a Facebook post asking your audience to “leave a review on Yelp by clicking this link” isn’t likely to garner much response, because users don’t want to interrupt their session to access another app or website.
With that in mind, meet your reviewers where they’re at by reaching out within the platform on which you’d like to collect reviews. If you have a robust Facebook following, then try boosting your Facebook recommendations and reviews by sending out a request within Facebook Messenger. Make it as easy as possible for your audience to leave a review, and they just might stop scrolling long enough to do it.
4. Include a Link
To grab reviews from tenants you rarely see in person, add a line to your ecommerce receipts and outgoing tenant emails asking them to review, and include a link directly to your Google My Business profile and/or Yelp page.
5. Display Your Accolades
Encourage more Google reviews (and brag a little bit!) with the help of Google Marketing Kit. Download a kit of free collateral including window stickers, posters, table tents, and social media graphics that feature reviews pulled directly from your Google My Business listing (see example below). You choose the style and color of the designs – they even have seasonal options! – and print them out or post to suit your needs.
6. Host a Raffle
You want reviews to be from customers who have had actual experience with your facility. Incentivise existing tenants to leave a review by entering them into a raffle for a discount on one month’s rent, or a gift card to a local store or restaurant. The frequency with which you draw the winner(s) and award prizes is entirely up to you – this could be weekly/monthly/quarterly – and depends on how many reviews you want to collect and how aggressively you want to go after getting them.
Keep a stack of “I left a review!” entry forms in the office for tenants to fill out, and have your manager verify the existence of the review before signing the form and putting their entry into the raffle. Should the tenant alert you via email that they have left a review, the manager can follow the same process and fill out an entry form for them.
7. Bring Google to Them
Remind tenants to leave a Google review while your business is already on their mind by providing a Google review link right on your website. This can appear in a variety of ways, from a call to action in the header or footer, or a fillable pop-up.
8. Send a Follow-Up eMail
A move-out doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship – unless you want it to! Thank your recently moved-out tenants with a personal follow-up email after a day or two, asking them to review your facility and providing the direct links to do so.
9. Get Creative
Build your social media presence and your reviews by asking current tenants to review your facility on YouTube so that you can share it on your facility’s Facebook page. This is a big ask, but can pay off dividends by creating user-generated, shareable content that raises awareness of and encourages interaction with your brand.
10. Don’t Forget Your Manners
Set aside some time at least once a week to check your online reviews and say “thank you” to those that have left a review. Google says replying to reviews builds your customers’ trust, and doing so shows potential customers that your facility is active on Google, Yelp, and any other platform you choose. And should you receive a less-than-stellar review, checking in frequently allows you to catch it in a timely fashion and reach out to the reviewer to offer a resolution.
11. Leave a Leave-Behind
Contractors and other in-home service professionals will often leave a review card in their customer’s home upon completing service. You can take this idea and flip it, welcoming new tenants to their unit with a review tent card. If you’re running a raffle for tenants as mentioned above or have a great referral program, this is the perfect place to highlight that information.
12. Say It at the Gate
Catch your tenants’ attention as they key in their code on the way out with a custom keypad message, such as “Don’t forget to enter our Google review raffle & have a great day!” QuikStor keypads offer up to four lines of programmable text; to create your own messages, click here for a tutorial.
☆.｡.:* Make it Magical *:.｡.☆
For most people, self-storage is like waiting in line for a ride at Disneyland: a mundane and somewhat inconvenient, but necessary, step to get to the main attraction. That main attraction might be a move for a new job, taking the leap to move in together, buying a new home for their growing family, or packing up to travel the world. Your storage facility plays an important part in the journey of each tenant. You can demonstrate this understanding by bringing a little Disney magic to your customer service processes, and gather glowing reviews as a result.
The following three tips are adapted from the book Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by the Disney Institute.
13. Turn Around Misfortune
A major complaint at Disneyland came from parents of small children who waited in line for a ride only to be told they weren’t tall enough when they finally got to the front (they hadn’t seen the height requirement signs). In these instances, Disneyland employees were given special tickets that enabled the family to skip to the front of the line on a different ride, turning a big disappointment into a win for everyone.
Empower your manager to turn a negative situation into a positive one. One example is a tenant has come in to the office to rent a 5×5 they saw online (but didn’t reserve) this morning, only to find it’s already been rented to someone who did complete the rental online. They need storage today, and are ready to walk out the door. A 5×7 is available, and your manager offers it at the 5×5 rate for three months if paid upfront.
14. End the Experience Strong
Ever forget where you parked your car? Not surprisingly, this happens to guests leaving Disneyland every day. Their team of customer service pros devised a uniques system to track arrival times and tram drivers to help lost guests find their car when it’s time to head home.
Offer your tenants the same level of wow all the way up to the end. One simple way to do this is to send out an email or have your manager ask a tenant if they would like some help with their move out, and follow through if they say yes. Even if the tenant declines, it reinforces that you still value them and their business. Ending on a strong note is especially important if you offer or plan to offer a past-tenant referral program, which is responsible for as much as 20% of new move-ins at some facilities.
15. Fulfill Unique Needs
Wanting to ease frustrations and enhance the experience of their disabled guests, Disneyland came up with Special Assistance passes and extensively trained staff to identify and meet the needs of disabled guests without calling attention or asking invasive questions.
Considering the needs of tenants of all abilities before they walk through your door can help you plan for and provide outstanding and memorable customer service. Simple gestures of caring are often the most appreciated, and leave lasting impressions. Two ideas are keeping treats on hand for service dogs and reserving a few downstairs/drive-up units for elderly tenants or those with mobility issues.
Asking tenants for online reviews and the ethics issues raised in how to go about it can be tricky to navigate. Social media messaging, raffles, and signage aside, getting more Google reviews for your business comes down to just two things:
- Give them an experience they can’t help but share, and
- Don’t forget to ask!