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Episode 26 - Critical Tactics for Driving More Reviews Online for Your Financial Institution

Meredith Olmstead
May 18, 2022

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Podcast Episode 26: The FI GROW team discusses best practices to drive more online reviews for banks and credit unions. It's key for your financial institution to gain more positive online reviews at the right time, promote them to future potential buyers as a reflection of happy experiences with your institution, and much more.

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Transcription:

Have you ever been talking about something that's really useful and thought that's a great idea? Let's hit record so we can share this with everyone. If you're looking for best practices for your bank or credit union, join us while we talk all things, sales, marketing, and strategy for financial institutions. Let's make it happen with FI GROW Solutions.

Meredith Olmstead:

Hi, there I'm Meredith Olmstead, founder and CEO of FI GROW Solutions. We are a digital marketing and sales consulting agency, and we work exclusively with banks and credit unions. And I am here with our client success manager, our director of client success, Nida Ajaz. Say hi, Nida.

Nida Ajaz:

Hi, everyone.

Meredith Olmstead:

And we were just having a really interesting conversation about how to drive more reviews for banks and credit unions online and we know this is a huge priority. And so I wanted to push record and just talk for a few minutes about what we've seen that works for driving reviews.

Meredith Olmstead:

So just really quickly, one of the reasons that we really like to see financial institutions trying to drive more reviews online is because we know that reviews are an authentic reflection of what customers' experiences are, or at least that's how they are consumed by others, or that's how they're seen by others online. And something like 90 to 92% of customers will consult an online review while deciding around making a purchase decision, so it's really, really key that these reviews are out there and that you're promoting them and getting more of them and especially positive reviews. So getting reviews at the right time when people are happy with their experience with your institution is really important.

Meredith Olmstead:

The other reason is that Moz, it's a search engine or a search ranking company out there, estimates that reviews are the third-largest factor determining your search ranking on Google, which means that the better your reviews are on Google, when you get your reviews there, and just in general, the better your rankings organically when you're trying to come up in Google search.

Meredith Olmstead:

So somebody is searching for your products or services, if you have lots of reviews online, you have a better chance of having your business come up above others on those search rankings. So that's kind of why reviews need to be a priority for your financial institution, but now let's really think about, okay, how can we drive more reviews and more positive reviews for your bank or credit union?

Meredith Olmstead:

So Nida, if one of our clients was asking you this, what would be the first thing that you would tell them to do?

Nida Ajaz:

Well, number one is to prioritize reviews. A lot of times marketing strategy doesn't even include having reviews as part of the mix. So there are multiple reasons that you've already mentioned, of course ranking better, but then also managers can use these reviews for improving sales and customer experience. And then also helps the customers get an authentic experience in the mix as well.

Meredith Olmstead:

So really just first of all, saying, "Okay. Hey, this is important. It needs to be on our strategy period. And now we're going to figure out ..." That's the first step. Right? Got it.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. Exactly.

Meredith Olmstead:

So then I know one of the other things that we've done, and I've talked with our social media team about this as well, is try a campaign or a contest around "leave a review for a chance to win," to enter to win a contest. You can do that on social media. You can do that on Google. It can be a bit of a manual process to run a contest like that. But, hey, if you end up with 20 or 30 new reviews on one of those platforms, it was totally worth it. And if you've prioritized it in your marketing strategy, you're meeting or you're checking off some of those goals of trying to drive more reviews for the year.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. I mean, and that same contest could just very well be an email as well, right, like to all your email lists and all the customers that are getting onboarded. So that kind of goes to my next point, which is using how your customer, your members are busy. So timing is key when you're asking for reviews, and usually when they've just closed a loan, or if they've just opened an account the first 48 hours are key to follow up with them. And really at that moment of delight, you're capturing those reviews for them. So asking for those reviews that during those times, in the mode that's more easy for them. Like text, especially, that we talked about in our episode 22, was basically using those to kind of leave the reviews that [inaudible 00:04:52] text directly.

Meredith Olmstead:

Absolutely. I think making leaving a review as easy and seamless as possible is also key. So one of the things that we talk with clients about is using a tool like a third-party tool. We've seen Podium, we've seen Birdeye. There are lots of different tools out there that you can consider that will automate your review request process. We are a HubSpot agency, and so any of the tools that we recommend to our clients have an integration into HubSpot. So you can actually have an automated process, even maybe in your new customer onboarding where within the first 24 to 48 hours, you send a text message and/or an email that links to the review platform that you're trying to drive to and even opens it. The cool thing about doing it on text is it'll even open it right there on their phone. And it's so easy to just do those number of stars, write your quick review, and hit publish.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. For sure.

Meredith Olmstead:

So that can be a really, really great way to try to drive more reviews.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. And that's basically incorporating in the sales followup, but at the same time, marketing also has to prioritize responding to these reviews as they're coming in. So one of the things that I was attending a recent webinar about Google Reviews, and actually they had mentioned that responding to each individual positive and negative review with unique language.

Nida Ajaz:

So sometimes you just have a template and you just copy/paste the automated response. That doesn't work. So you have to use custom language addressing the exact products that they've mentioned in the review or the negative complaint they've mentioned in the review and responding to it in a custom way that helps you rank better as well. Responding to those reviews is very important within a certain time as well, so a certain timing.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah, 100%. 100%. And also responding to those on reviews on Facebook as well. We've gotten to a point where we don't necessarily recommend that you respond to every single comment on Facebook anymore, especially if they're not business related, but your reviews are really important. If somebody's giving, taking the time to give you a five-star review, it is really important to take the time to respond to it.

Meredith Olmstead:

The last thing that we were also talking about was putting links to leaving a review in email signatures for an employee. For example, if you have branch managers of a certain location, why not include a link to that branch's Google Review in their signature, or any member who works in that branch, and that could be a really easy way for somebody who is at that branch to say, "Hey, you had a great experience. If you don't mind, feel free to leave us a review. The link is below." It could be a great and authentic way in the moment to drive more reviews.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. So it's not just a one-and-done thing. It definitely is a change in processes within your organization. And it's an ongoing, agile thing that you continuously update. Yeah.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Great tips. Thank you so much, Nida. I appreciate it.

Nida Ajaz:

No problem.

Meredith Olmstead:

And I think that we're going to be able to get out there, and everybody's going to be able to get out there and make it happen. If you all are interested in learning more about what we do at FI GROW, please visit us at figrow.com. We have a lot of great trainings on our FI GROWTH Academy specifically around winning on Google and driving pay-per-click ad results, which are also related to reviews and rankings online. Otherwise, let's get out there and drive some great reviews for our banks and credit unions, and we'll all make it happen together. Thank you.

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