Reviews are a powerful resource for small businesses to tap into. Every business owner wants to hear their customers sing praises of their service, but imagine turning that into a tangible business benefit for yourself.
When customers post positive reviews, they don’t just boost your local SEO or reaffirm their customer experience. They also attract potential customers to your local business, giving you a genuine opportunity to increase revenue.
With the rise of online marketing, Google reviews carry a degree of authenticity and trust that traditional marketing strategies cannot replace. Studies show that 3 in 4 customers don’t trust traditional advertising and turn to testimonials before deciding to engage with a business.
Among the many review platforms like Yelp and Tripadvisor, Google offers small businesses several capabilities to boost their online reviews and visibility. By having a Google business account, you can manage your Google My Business listing and invite more happy customers to leave star ratings and good reviews.
Keep reading to find out why you should capitalize on this online business opportunity for customer engagement and how you can get started.
Benefits of Google Reviews for Business
The more business reviews a company has garnered on Google, the more trustworthy customers will find it. Why? It’s simple human nature to be cautious and customers, especially in today’s digital age, have access to information at their fingertips thanks to the Internet. What better way to assess the integrity of a business than by reading through reviews?
You can gain a lot of benefits by attracting more Google reviews. Here are the main benefits they will have for your business:
#1. Authentic social proof
Any business can go out there, shell out a few hundred bucks and post an ad in the newspaper, on a billboard, or even on television. But customers see such traditional means of marketing as a clear motive to try and grow your profits. Imagine if you can cut through the clutter and drive an impact with potential customers by ensuring that they see just how excellent your service is for themselves?
When happy customers leave glowing reviews of your business, they are essentially brand advocates. If customers don’t trust the business at face-value, they’ll turn to other customers who’ve done business with you to form a perception of your brand. The more positive reviews you grow, the better your online reputation.
Google reviews help authenticate and strengthen your brand image with validation directly from the end-customers themselves.
#2. Boosts your business exposure
A business with several hundred Google reviews will rank higher in search engine results than one that has just a few. Depending on the type of business you have, for example, if you’re an eCommerce seller for plumbing and housing materials, you can even earn a verified Google Seller Rating.
These credentials will help you rank higher in Google search engine queries and increase your business visibility.
#3. Increases lead generation
Online reviews can generate more leads for your business, encouraging new and potential customers into your sales funnel. This can lead to more traffic on your business profile and business page, more queries from interested customers, and, in the long run, higher revenue.
Which Customers To Ask For Reviews on Google
If you’re a new and growing business, you may be tempted to jump the gun and shoot out review requests to every customer you’ve interacted with. But don’t! It’s important to be selective and focus on asking happy customers for reviews.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Which customers have been happiest with my service?
Who are my loyal, repeat customers that have good feedback?
Do I have any customers interested in becoming brand advocates (or are even influencers online?)
Although there is strength in the number of reviews you have, you can attract a lot more business if you amass glowing, quality reviews. For example, a company with a hundred reviews with a low rating would not be perceived as well as a business with twenty reviews that are all singing praise and showcasing four and five star reviews.
Of course, over time, you can work on building email campaigns and a systematic database to send review requests to all of the customers you have. However, this carries the risk of attracting negative reviews as well. A negative review is not the end of the world, and can be turned around with the right strategy.
So, how can you narrow down on who to ask to submit a Google review of your business?
Ask yourself the previous questions and undertake some social media monitoring if your business has those profiles set up online. If you can pinpoint followers and customers who already speak highly of your business, it wouldn’t hurt to send them a review request.
When To Ask For A Review
Now, the second ‘W’ to consider here is when. Timing is of the essence when it comes to asking for reviews. You can’t ask for a review from a customer when they’re at the beginning of their buyer’s journey. Likewise, you also shouldn’t wait till the very end to take action.
There are pivotal moments you can consider when sending that Google review link. Here are some options you can consider.
Following a specific customer experience
Depending on the type of business you conduct, whether it’s product or service-based, and how often you interact with your customers, a customer’s journey with your business and the milestones they encounter through it may differ.
But there are specific incidents during a customer’s experience that you can align your review requests with, including but not limited to:
When a customer has had one or more repeat purchases with your business
When you’ve retained the customer for a certain period of time (e.g., three months)
When a customer has already referred your business through word-of-mouth
When the customer is incredibly engaged with your email marketing campaigns
When the customer has signed up and availed a loyalty program or promotions that you offer
If you’ve found customers that remain keen on doing business with you, hold onto them! Better yet, show them you care and value their customer feedback by asking them to review your business on Google.
After delivering the product/completing the service
You want to ask customers to write a review when your business is fresh on their minds. One great example of this is when you have delivered the product or right after you’ve provided the service.
Your customer’s feedback and praise for your business service will be their primary thought, and you can capitalize on this opportunity, providing them a review card with instructions on how to leave a review, or by simply asking them.
During post-sale interactions
If a customer reaches out to you with questions following the transaction, your customer support representatives are responsible for making them feel heard and resolving their queries. Your customer service reps must be trained well for this purpose.
At the end of the phone call, the reps can gently nudge the customer for a review if they’re happy with the quality of the service, mentioning that a review link will be sent to the email address on the account, thus making the customer’s life easier to drop in a good word.
After product or service updates
If your business is expanding and you’re releasing new products in the market or making more services available to your customers, it’s a great idea to ask those that have tried and tested them out to leave a review!
What better way to stoke new customers’ curiosity by having those who have tested the ‘prototype’ leave sparkling reviews?
This can help encourage business from your existing customers that are yet to try these new products and services.
Resources To Help You Ask For Google Reviews
There are several handy resources for you to consider as you get started on your Google review journey. Whether you plan to launch an email campaign, engage with customers through social media, or promote your business through face-to-face tactics, Google has resources to aid each strategy.
Access our in-depth resource blog posts on how to request reviews through each of these tactics:
Create a standard, but classy review request email template for your customers. Remember, you can create more than one email template depending on the customer category (new, existing, loyal) and their customer experience.
Generate a Google review link (through a Google review link generator) that will directly take your customers to your business’s Google review page. This will cut the work they need to do and help get those reviews flowing.
Embed Google reviews onto your website and other supporting platforms. This will open up review options to customers that may just be surfing your site. If they’re new customers, this still works in your favor by giving them an opportunity to read existing reviews.
Plan out SMS campaigns or time sending text messages to your customers containing a Google review link directly after their purchase of your product or service, providing a direct CTA.
Customer reviews form the foundation of managing your business’s online reputation, and Google is a powerhouse platform you should leverage to grow it.
Signpost’s review management services can make this process easier for you by helping automate review-related tasks and streamlining your activities.
So, what are you waiting for? Get cracking on those Google reviews!