Most financial advisors have no interest in adding reviews or testimonials on their website. This is understandable since they want to avoid dealing with regulatory and compliance issues that concern advertisements and endorsements. In addition, established firms prefer a more traditional or conservative approach when it comes to their marketing, and are pretty much stuck in their ways.
The SEC rules can be quite confusing. But what is clear is that you can have reviews on your Google My Business and Yelp pages because these are third party sites that you have no control over. In addition, user reviews posted on these sites are unsolicited and you’re not paying for people to post their experiences. The SEC has also recently announced that it will be revising its rules regarding testimonials and endorsements.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s find out how online reviews can really help your business.
In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, checking online reviews is an essential part of a lot of people’s decision-making process. Millennials and younger generations grew up with the Internet as part of their daily lives and will turn to it first if they ever need more information. Even older generations are just as tech-savvy nowadays, especially with the ubiquity of smartphones that are connected to the Internet 24/7.
According to a recent study, 97% of consumers aged 18 to 34 read local business reviews online, and people over the age of 55 read reviews 81% of the time.
It’s not just good reviews that make a positive impact. Sites that include negative comments engender a sense of transparency and honesty that consumers appreciate.
In fact, a glut of exclusively good reviews can create a sense of distrust. According to Yelp from this post on PracticalEcommerce, when business owners use only self-selected, overly positive reviews, it creates bias in the business listing. “A bias,” said Yelp, “that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away.”
In general, leaving negative reviews and responding to them positively shows that you are able to recognize your mistakes. This is the type of information that customers value. It’s inside information that can actually help build trust in your brand and increase conversion rates.
Search engines, like Google, consider reviews as unique content, giving your website more authority and increases your search ranking. This is especially true when it comes to local SEO results. When you have a lot of 5 star Google reviews, you’ll show up higher up in the search results.
While many consumers trust and use Google, recent research has shown that social media is even more effective. 68% of consumers read reviews on Facebook, and many prefer to leave reviews on Facebook because they’re frequently logged into the platform.
By using social media platforms for financial advisor reviews, you’re exploiting omnichannel brand exposure and getting far more bang for your buck.
According to a study published by Harvard Business Review, even a one-star increase in Yelp ratings can increase business revenue by 5 to 9%.
Reviews can literally make you more dollars and cents. And for savvy financial advisors that should make a lot of sense.
Find out how AltaStreet can help you manage your online reputation by sending us a message through the form below.