How to Get Google Reviews for Your Business
A Google My Business listing for your business defines part of your internet reputation. A My Business Listing will be an invaluable tool for your online marketing plan to help potential customers quickly find and engage with you. Beyond the listing, reviews can make or break you; they are what often provide potential customers with the information to make a decision. Consider the following statistics:
92% of customer consult online reviews before making a purchase decision. Customer reviews are the most authentic advertisement.
44% of them consider reviews older than a month irrelevant. New reviews give customers an accurate picture of how your business is performing today and what they can expect should they choose to purchase from you. Customers value newer reviews over older ones.
82% of people that search online say that reviews influence their purchase. Most people feel that the information found on reviews carry the same weight as a review coming from a personal friend.
Just think about the last time you purchased a product or selected a service. Did reviews influence your purchase decision? Most likely, yes. Also, think about if the number of reviews when picking between two products has influenced your decision. I bet it did.
Why getting online reviews is important for your business?
It’s called social proof. The one with more reviews will most likely win. Reviews will tell potential buyers that if many people have had a positive experience with your business, they will most likely experience it as well. Your reputation builds the foundation for your success. When your customers take the time to leave you positive reviews, it will help you show potential buyers of your great reputation. You want plenty of positive reviews in order to make the most out of your Google listing. The reviews you receive should be relevant, high-quality customer accounts.
Reviews can also indirectly and directly impact your SEO ranking.
Indirectly: Having a large number of reviews will improve your click-through rate and consequentially it will boost your ranking.
Also, having reviews that contain keywords that are relevant to your business will directly raise your ranking. This doesn’t mean you need to pass a keyword list to your reviewers so they can keyword-stuff their reviews. However, keeping reviews narrowly defined and targeted to match the services you offer greatly upgrades the quality of your reviews.
So How Do You Get More Reviews for Your Business in Google?
Before getting to the details on how to get more reviews in Google My Business, make sure you have a place where your clients can go to leave them. Make sure your business is listed in Google My Business by going to business.google.com. Sign up and follow the prompts to complete your profile. Make sure to use the same contact information for your business location across the web including your listings.
Now, let’s look into 5 tips to get more reviews:
Tip #1. Make it Easy!
You may think everybody knows how to Google your business and find you. Your customers could figure it out, but if you make it super easy, the chances of them leaving you a review increase significantly. Here is what you can do:
Search for your business on Google.
Once you find your location in the Google Search Results, click on the “Review” tab.
Copy the URL.
Go to a URL shortener such as bitly.com and create and account. Follow the prompts and then paste your long URL.
Bit.ly will give you a shortened version of that URL that you can copy and send to your clients.
Send an email or SMS (assuming you have their permission) with the link and ask your customers to write you a review.
Once you receive the reviews, make sure to thank anybody leaving a review. Three reasons for this.
It’s a good business practice.
Google will recognize that the review is not spam/fake.
It will help you get more reviews (go to Tip # 5 for the full explanation).
Tip #2. Automate it!
If you are thinking about creating a massive review solicitation, think twice. Reviews should be organic and come naturally. You would want to avoid going from zero reviews in 2 years to 10 five star positive reviews in one week. Google will potentially label it as suspicious. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a system to make it easier for your customers to leave you a review and make the experience more relevant to them. For example, if your business offers local services, it would be most appropriate to ask for their feedback immediately after the service was rendered, not 3 weeks after. What if you can’t manage the volume of requests?
Having a reputation management system can automate the process to ask for reviews without you lifting a finger. Just to clarify, a reputation management system is not a green light to provide bad service and then shun bad reviews. Soliciting or gating your reviews will not work to your favor as your business may end up being penalized or delisted. Rather, a reputation management system will only go as far as to help you automate certain tasks to make it easier for customers to leave reviews and for you to request them.
Also, a reputation management system will allow you to have a full view of all your listings in one place in one dashboard. This will allow you to respond quickly to either thank any customer leaving you a review or address a review from unsatisfied customers.
Tip #3. Personalize the review request
Sending a request from the owner of the business will feel more personal than sending a canned request from a generic email from your business. Create a friendly and personalized experience when sending your request and communicate the importance for you and your business to have their feedback to keep improving your service/product for them.
There are ways to help create mass customization with email marketing combined with a CRM tool to make the message more personalized and more relevant to your client. The initial set up could take some thought and time, but you will see the response rate go upwards.
Tip # 4 Remind your clients with a multi-touch strategy
Your clients love your products and services, but they just need to be reminded. Try sending the review request through different communication channels (at different time periods), to be top of mind and remind your clients about writing you a review along with a shortened URL (as already discussed in tip # 1), and explaining how in 3 easy steps they can accomplish the tasks. People get busy, and sometimes, they just need to be reminded. 😄
Tip # 5 Respond to people that leave you a review
Your clients will be more inclined to leave you feedback if you respond to their messages. They will feel that their message will be heard and addressed. Besides, responding to reviews carries just as much important as receiving them. Unfortunately, there will always be people who are unhappy with your business no matter what you do.
Sometimes these people will be unhappy with any business. Don’t deny a negative review and always keep it professional. This will show the negative reviewers you are paying attention to what they have to say. Make an attempt through your response to resolve any existing issues. Express your perspective in a way that does not insult or self-justify. For example, you can reply to a negative review with something like “This is not how we typically operate. I appreciate for taking the time to bring it to our attention. Please call me at my office so we can discuss this and address your feedback”. The important thing to remember is that how you handle bad reviews will tell a lot about your character and your business culture.
Whenever you are getting bad reviews, try your best to take those conversations offline. A publicly disputed conversation over a negative review only makes your brand appear unapproachable & combative. As in the example above, guide the negative reviews to phone calls, in-person conversations, or a support desk system.
Beyond Google My Business
Google is not the only place you can list your business. There are dozens of directories available to any local business and in order for a listing to show up in the search results, it must be consistently optimized similarly to Google My Business above. Each directory listing needs to have complete descriptions, with the right keywords, pictures, and videos. The features of the business and the categories all need to be listed in such a way that it gets the attention of local searchers. The more online directories you can register your location, the more chances people will find you and leave you a review. Also, make sure you also invite people to write you reviews on your Facebook Page. Facebook has 1.3 billion monthly active users, so reviews there offer another opportunity to make it easier for customers to leave you a review as they are probably already logged on.
If you need help in creating an online reputation management system for your business, we can definitely provide consulting or we can have it all done for you. We don’t provide cookie-cutter strategies, as a successful online reputation strategy requires careful attention to the brand, customer, and product/service this involves. We understand every business is different and we will craft and implement a custom strategy for your business. Click here to request a "Rapid Growth" phone call so you can get all the details.
Statistics from BrightLocal, Business2community, and Social Media Today.