Customers can get the details they want on almost any local business within seconds by doing a simple Google search, making a positive online reputation more important than ever.
As a business owner, you must leverage the advantages that Google offers local businesses. When both existing and potential customers do a Google search for a keyword associated with your business, you should strive for your business to pop up as a solution, preferably as a local/Google maps result listing.
Creating a Google My Business listing can do wonders for a small business by strengthening its exposure, building an online reputation, and increasing credibility. One benefit of the listing is through growing your Google business reviews.
Read on to find out the benefits associated with increasing your Google reviews and five easy strategies you can adopt to make your online presence flourish.
Benefits of Google Reviews
Did you know that 90% of customers read online reviews before deciding to drop by a store?
Reviews play an integral role in familiarizing your customer with the kind of service and quality they can expect to receive from your business. By showcasing positive reviews and star ratings, you build credibility and trust in their minds before you’ve even met them personally.
Here’s what you stand to gain by focusing on increasing your Google reviews:
Generate more leads: Customers trust reviews and will feel more confident in engaging with your business if they receive validation from other happy customers. Making positive reviews public on an expansive review platform like Google can attract more customers to your service offering.
Rank higher with better reviews: A business with five reviews will have a lower search engine ranking than a company with 500. Naturally, the more reviews a GMB-listed business has, the higher ranking it will gain through Google’s search algorithm.
Free publicity: Unlike other forms of advertising, getting reviews is a zero-cost method of getting your business’s name out there. If customers go out of their way to write a good word about your business, new prospects will see this as a sign of excellent service.
5 Ways To Get More Google Business Reviews
If you have a GMB-listed business, you’re halfway to the finish line already! Creating a business profile will inform your customers of critical information on local search results. This includes details such as your company name, phone number, and general customer feedback.
Getting those reviews may seem a little daunting, especially if you’re new to the foray of digital marketing and online reputation management.
But if you equip your Google business account with these 5 strategies, you’ll be sure to succeed.
Strategy #1: Ask for Google reviews
Strategy #2: Design attractive leave-behinds
Strategy #3: Leverage Google’s resources
Strategy #4: Create a Google review email campaign
Strategy #5: Leverage a review management tool
#1. Ask for Google reviews
If you’re surprised to see this as the first strategy, don’t be! It might seem incredibly obvious, but directly engaging with happy, satisfied customers and asking them for a review is one of the most effective methods to grow your Google reviews.
There are different ways you can go about doing this. For example, if you run a storefront business, kindly asking your customers to write a review as they leave is one option. On the other hand, if you’re a service-based business, you can request reviews over the phone or via text or email(say, if you’re a plumber or electrician.)
Don’t be scared to get creative here! Although directly asking customers for reviews during a good conversation works, customers also appreciate when you go the extra mile here ,too. This leads us to the next strategy.
#2. Design attractive leave-behinds
Maybe you’re a general contractor, and after a long, important remodeling project at a client’s home, you’re finally done! The homeowner has expressed their sincere gratitude and appreciation for your work. You want to encourage them to share this feedback online and keep your business at the top of their mind for future referrals.
How can you do this in a fashionable, yet modest way? This is where leave-behinds come into the picture.
Leave-behinds refer to the marketing content you create that can be left behind with the customer, so they remember your business. Think of it as a business card, except to generate reviews.
Depending on the kind of service you offer, the type of leave-behind that you give your customers may differ. For example, if you’re in a plumbing business that installs new bathroom fittings, you could provide the homeowner with a package leave-behind in the form of:
Cleaning and maintenance tips based on the material
Basic DIY plumbing manuals for small fixes
Warranties (as you see fit)
A customer service number
A Google review card with step-by-step instructions
Including a nicely designed review card as part of this package will give your happy customers a nudge to share their praise online. Keep the language short and simple here. Here’s a basic template you can build off of:
Did you like our service? Leave us a review on Google!
When you leave a review on Google, you’re helping others in your community find our services when they need them. Your feedback also helps strengthen our operations so we can serve you better!
Have a minute? Drop us a review for us at [shortened link/QR code].
Have a great day!
#3. Leverage Google’s resources
Google itself has several resources for small business owners to help achieve their local SEO goals. Here are a few resources that Google provides for this purpose:
You can create your own Google review link. Creating a unique link that can be shared directly with your customers will help redirect customers straight to the review page. This link can be embedded into your website, blogs, social media sites, and even receipts. Brainstorm all the platforms that your business is on that your customer base frequents, and how best to position the customer review link.
Be thorough with Google’s review policy and guidelines. Soliciting reviews is a great way to grow your business, but make sure that you don’t cross any of the lines (for instance, by incentivizing fake reviews or offering payment for them). Buying reviews is ethically wrong and can lead to your business listing being removed.
Leverage the Google My Business Marketing Kit. This kit is a free and helpful resource for Google account users to download and distribute marketing material to their customers. It can also be customized depending on the platform (social media, or otherwise.)
#4. Create a Google review email campaign
Email campaigns have proven to be effective in engaging with customers. 80% of marketing professionals claim that email marketing increases customer retention.
When you collect customer information, make sure that you also get their email addresses. Suppose you already have a database of your customers’ email addresses. In that case, you can take it a step further and divide them into sub-categories depending on the type of customer (i.e., new customers, loyal and long-time customers, or even dissatisfied customers.)
Creating Google review campaigns personalized specifically for these customer groups can go a long way in growing your reviews.
Pro-tip: Remember the custom Google review link mentioned before? You can build it in here, into your email templates to directly drop a review.
In your follow-up/post-purchase or service email template, make sure you:
Do not sound generic. Engage them in a personal tone.
Thank the customer for doing business with you and make them feel valued.
Politely request feedback.
Mention how their feedback can benefit both of you.
Provide the Google review link with a clear CTA.
#5. Leverage a review management tool
Depending on your level of operations and your business capacity, managing online reviews internally may be too difficult. Small businesses in the growth stage may also have a hard time manually tracking, monitoring, and responding to reviews.
This is where review management tools come in to make your life easier. These tools help streamline and automate these processes so you can redirect your efforts to other value-add activities.
It’s essential to choose a review management tool that aligns with your digital marketing and online reputation goals. Even possible stressful tasks like responding to negative reviews can be taken off your shoulders.
It’s an undeniable fact that getting your business ahead online involves growing your offering on Google’s platform. Reviews matter. Customers want to know what others say about your business, trusting in a stranger’s review of their customer experience just as much as they would the personal recommendation from a friend or family member.
Incorporating Google reviews into your business operations can help you meet your goals and increase your business’s online visibility.
We can help you succeed. Signpost’s review management platform offers multiple support functions, including:
Automating review generation
Responding to negative reviews
Growing positive reviews
So, without further ado, let’s get those great reviews flowing!