“Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is” ~ Chris Anderson
As the owner of an online school, if there is anyone who understands the importance of building a rock solid brand reputation, it is you! And while you can adopt a variety of brand marketing strategies to get the “good” word out there about your online school, perhaps the one medium that is most likely to get you the highest dividends, are online reviews, testimonials, and referrals from students and parents.
You probably already know that online customer reviews can prove to be extremely influential. And proof of this lies in the popularity that online review platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List among others, enjoy among users.
People actively share their experiences on various aspects of brand interaction – what is being said on these sites matters to a business because it has the potential to impact customer behavior and their decision making process. In fact, 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews.
Coming back to online schools such as the stellar University of Phoenix which changed the paradigm for adult education, the reason why online reviews matter so much not just to potential students but to you as well, is simply because potential students and parents of the students applying to the courses value and trust what reviewers say about your school.
Considering all of this, the question begging to be asked is this – where are you with your online reviews program?
The Role of Reviews and Referrals
Your online school/organization has the all-important responsibility of providing access to quality education to hundreds and thousands, if not more, people.
For a student seeking education at your online school, it is their ticket to success and a better life. And it is for this very reason, that students and parents are extremely apprehensive when it comes to selecting a reputed online school to pursue their goals. In such a scenario, the onus of ensuring a credible reputation for your online school lies with you.
The market for online schools is not bereft of competition – at the end of the day, you are running a business in a market space that is getting increasingly competitive. Which is why you might already be facing challenges in getting students to enroll into your online school.
Consider this, you have all your fundamentals in place, vis-à-vis selection of competitive courses, highly trained and efficient staff, your digital assets (website, blog, social) – all that is left is for students to start enrolling for courses. And yet, despite your preparations and expectations, your enrollment numbers are not encouraging. What do you do?
In addition to all of your other marketing activities, focusing on customer reviews and referrals can help you boost your online reputation and attract more students to your online school. Simply put – it is about displaying the trust students and parents have placed in your brand name and using that trust to gain more students.
Worried and confused about how to get Google reviews for your online school from clients? If yes, then consider using a robust online reputation management software such as MyReviewEngine.
Online Reviews can Boost Your Search Engine Results
If your online school has a lot of positive reviews, your chances of getting featured on the first page and among the top searches on Google search increases – Google will display your star rating right under your name in its search results.
Now imagine this – a student or parent types in “best online school in ABC city” and the search results displays your online school’s map with 5 stars and 30+ reviews. In the same search results are also featured, other online schools but with fewer star rating and reviews.
Which result do you think the student or parent is most likely to click on? Another advantage of online reviews is that these results show up on mobile searches as well so you brand visibility will cover both desktop and mobile searches.
It’s all about building credibility – and in the digital world, reviews and ratings can help give you the brand credibility that sets you apart from the competition!
4 Tips to Get More Online Reviews for Your Online School
If you are not sure about how to collect more positive online review schools for your online school, then consider the following four tips.
Go ahead and Ask for a Review!
Asking for a review is the most simple and by far the most effective way of gathering more positive online reviews. A disgruntled reviewer will proactively leave a negative review because they want to tell others about their unhappy experience.
This is not so much the case with a happy client. Which is why you need to be proactive and direct about asking for a positive review from students or parents. Keep in mind that one of the best ways of beating negative reviews/comments is by balancing it out or negating those negative reviews with a greater number of positive reviews.
You could send emails to parents and students, plan simple surveys, or simply encourage staff and teachers to ask students and parents about their experience with your online school.
Prompt Students to Leave Review after Completing a Course
This expands on the above point of asking for reviews. Make it point to ask students who have completed a course with your online school for a review immediately after they have completed the course.
A student will be more receptive to your suggestion of leaving a review since they are still in a happy state of mind having successfully completed their course. So when you send out an email congratulating the student for completing a course, you could include a section asking for a review in that email.
You could also include a small feedback survey in the email covering specific areas of the course and your online school to get greater insight into brand experience.
Simplify the Process of Leaving Reviews
When you ask for a review, provide links to popular sites frequented by potential students and parents. These could include sites such as Google Maps, Yelp, and Facebook among others.
By doing this, you make it easy for students and parents to directly access the listing of your school on the review site and leave their review.
In addition, provide tips or a guide on how to craft a review – you want a review to say more than just “Good school,” or “great online school.”
A good positive review should extoll your best aspects such as the course structure, or the curriculum and faculty among other such features. These are the reviews which potential clients will consider when selecting an online school.
Incentivize Your Review System
Incentivizing a referral program is a common and highly effective brand marketing strategy – it helps in personalizing brand experience and attracting more customers. You could do the same with your review system – encourage students to leave reviews by incentivizing your review system.
So for example, you could offer students discounts or vouchers for leaving a review. And while there are plenty of options when it comes to the kind of prizes you want to offer, some of the most common and popular options include the following:
- Discounts of future courses.
- Giveaways – desk/computer accessories, stationery, hoodies. Take your branding further by featuring your online school logo on these items.
- Coupons for educational material that the student will use.
- Shopping or meal vouchers.
When deciding on how to incentivize your review system, keep in mind that it should be something that it is relevant to the needs or preferences of the students. Including a timeline to your review system will give it a sense of urgency and encourage a faster turnaround time.
In today’s digital era, online reviews can help you stand apart from your competition and help you build a strong brand identity. For this reason, while crafting a marketing strategy for your online school, it is important that you focus on a robust online review system.
Keep in mind that positive online reviews for your school are not only important for balancing out any negative talk or comment that you might gather along the way, but online reviews can also help boost your search engine rankings.
Online Review Management Services with MyReviewEngine
Tools such as MyReviewEngine can help you expand your brand reputation not only among potential clients, but it can also help you boost your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
MyReviewEngine is a highly intuitive and user-friendly review management program. Using MyReviewEngine, you can score more five-star reviews for your online school, monitor your online reputation, and keep tabs on your negative reviews among so much more!
This review management software simplifies the process of getting positive reviews not only on top review sites such as Google, Yelp, but also on more than 100 review sites popular among users.
So if you are looking for a comprehensive and robust reputation management software for monitoring, managing, and boosting online reviews, then MyReviewEngine should be your one-stop-solution.
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