One of the most powerful types marketing messages is a recommendation. We often think of these recommendati0ns as happening in person, but thanks to reviews, they don’t have to be. These local review sites like City Search and Yelp, as well as the local listings in Google , Yahoo, and Bing, all give people the ability to rate an organization and leave a review.
A good review takes a listing to a whole new level. Now you are not just letting people know about your church, you are including a recommendation. This makes people much more likely to decide to visit. It also can give people a glimpse into the personality of your church as the reviews talk about the different aspects of your church and its ministries and their effects on people’s lives. It gives your members the opportunity to tell people about your church. If you do not have positive reviews on your church’s listings (if you even have listings), then you are loosing visitors before they even step into your church.
The More The Merrier
When it comes to reviews, you just can’t have too many. Think about it. If one person tells you they like a restaurant, you may go eat there. But if you keep running into people who are telling you how great the restaurant is, then you are going to make sure you eat there, and soon. The more positive reviews people see for your church, the more likely they are to visit. This is the case both with having multiple reviews on one site and with having reviews on multiple sites.
The most important thing about reviews is authenticity. If you are looking for a computer and someone recommends a store, you may consider shopping there. If they work for the store, that recommendation may mean a little less, but you may still shop there. If they are pretending to just be a customer and then you find out they get a commission from the sale, then you probably won’t shop there because they were deceptive. The same is true with reviews.
The best reviews are from church visitors and members. Church staff can also leave reviews and those can be good effective reviews, but the review should indicate they are staff. Never have staff members post reviews pretending to be non-staff members. The review sites don’t like it and neither to visitors. Along with staff members being transparent about being staff, encourage all people (members and staff) to leave honest reviews. People tend to be suspicious when reviews are too good. No church is perfect. People know this. If the reviews say the church is perfect, visitors won’t believe it.
So, get on out there, create listings, start getting those positive reviews, and stop loosing visitors. In my next post, I’ll give some tips of how to get those reviews.
Have you talked to church visitors who came to the church because of the positive reviews? If so, tell us the story.