Google reviews are one of the key factors in the success of your business online and they impact more areas of your marketing than you may realise. Below, we outline the importance of generating positive Google reviews and the reasons why you should respond to all reviews- good or bad.
Why are Google Reviews Important for Your Business?
The first and most obvious reason is that potential customers are using your reviews to judge the quality of your business and using this as a key factor in choosing to engage with you. At the end of 2019 research showed that positive reviews make consumers 91% more likely to use a business and 76% trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. On top of this only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than a 4-star review average.
Positive reviews also have a strong impact on your search result rankings. Google’s algorithm looks at multiple factors when determining ranking order on a search results page and reviews are considered as part of this. Think about it this way – Google’s main aim is to provide search results that give the best answer to a user’s search query. If a user is looking for a podiatrist or a plumber in their local area, Google will prioritise the businesses that have evidence showing they provide a quality service.
As you can see, putting your energy into maximising your review profile is time well spent. The next question you’re probably asking is how to get your customers to leave you a positive review – after all, isn’t it up to them if they want to provide feedback? Maybe so, but there are a number of ways you can increase the probability of this happening.
1. Request a review
This might seem obvious but you would be surprised at how many businesses haven’t thought to simply ask a customer for a review. Don’t assume your customers have thought of this themselves, extend them the invitation. If a customer provides you positive feedback after you have completed a job or appointment, ask them if they wouldn’t mind posting it to your Google profile as well.
2. Generate a review link
Google encourages businesses to generate more reviews and they’ve created a handy tool to help you do this. Just login to your Google Business dashboard and on the home page you should see a box labelled “Get more reviews”. Simply click on the button and you’ll be provided with a link to copy and options to send it via your social media channels, messaging or email.
The idea is to make it as simple as possible for a customer to leave you a review – this link takes the users directly to the review entry window so they don’t have to fuss around searching for your Google Business profile.
3. Add a review request to your website and email signature
Once you have your review link you can also use it in a number of ways. Adding a button to your website or a link in your email signature inviting users to review you is a great way to build up your review profile without too much effort as your regular customers will see it often. This also provides an easy way to direct customers when you ask for a review – just send them to your website and ask them to click the link.
4.Add review instructions to your website
Take this a step further and include a page on your website with step-by-step instructions on how to leave a review, along with your review link. This makes the process even easier for your customers, especially those who may not be as tech savvy and may otherwise not know how to leave an online review. It also gives you the opportunity explain how reviews support your business and to thank your customers in advance.
Top Tip: This is a great option for businesses that have a Google profile for multiple business locations – include the links for each of your profiles and ask customers to select the location they visited or the one closest to them. This will help your business build reviews across all your profiles equally.
5. Send a follow up
The best time to target your customers for reviews is when you have just completed work for them as the details of their interactions with you are fresh in their minds. Send a follow up email after an appointment to ask your customer how they are going and include a review link or add the link to your final invoice or payment confirmation.
6. Leave a flyer or card with your customer
While you may be asking for an online review, it’s worth remembering that not all your customers will manage their day-to-day tasks digitally – some of your clients may have every intention of leaving a review and simply forget. Leaving a flyer or business card with a request for a review gives them a physical reminder to jump online and follow up, and means they have your details on hand for next time they require your services.
7. Create friendly competition in your workplace
Run a business with multiple employees? Set your staff a challenge to see who can request the most reviews from the customers they deal with each day. We’ve seen businesses successfully build up great review profiles using this method because customers have also made a personal connection with individual team members and often leave more genuine and positive reviews.
8. Contact your previous clients
Asking new customers for a review seems like the obvious way to keep fresh reviews coming in but don’t forget about the people who have been loyal to you before. Send a well worded email to previous customers, especially ones you know were happy in their interaction with your business, and you’ll probably find that they’ll be more than happy to provide feedback on their experience.
9. Respond to existing reviews
This is the step that is most commonly overlooked but can provide a huge return on the small amount of time it takes to implement. Of the 82% of users that read online reviews for local businesses, 97% of them also read the response posted by the business. While it may be tempting to only respond to negative feedback in order to set the record straight, the best practice is to respond to all reviews.
A simple thank you for their feedback is good, even better is to respond directly to a point they have made in their review or mention a specific detail about the job that you remember from your interaction with them. Personalising your response is far stronger than a generic copy and paste answer and doesn’t take much more time to do.
How you handle a negative review can also be a make or break factor in how a potential customer sees your business. Read our simple guidelines on responding to a negative Google review.
10. Provide great customer service
The best and most important way to generate more positive Google reviews is to provide an experience that your customers can’t wait to tell others about. Word of mouth advertising has worked this way for years and there’s no reason this can’t be translated into an online testimonial. If you’ve followed our steps above your customers should be well aware of how to leave a review for your business and a fantastic experience gives them the incentive to do so.
When used effectively, Google reviews are a strong asset to your online marketing strategy. Start implementing some of these tips today and see the results as your review profile grows. For more information on Google Reviews or to discuss your digital marketing strategy, contact practiceedge.