In recent years, online reviews have become very important for most businesses and marketers. You can find online reviews almost everywhere nowadays from Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, social media platforms, among many other sites.
Consumers have become particularly reliant on other people’s referencing and opinions in almost everything. Nowadays, there is a big chance that a customer will go through the reviews first before deciding to dine at a particular restaurant.
This applies to almost all businesses, and for this reason, people everywhere are taking online reviews very seriously. While some businesses excel in the reviews front, there are many of those struggling to move past four starts and manage their customers’ feedback.
Now since everyone is talking about online reviews, this might be the right time to help you and your business get those reviews and increase your reach. When it comes to online reviews, there is no site that comes close to Google.
The search engine giant is rapidly becoming everyone’s go-to when you want to learn about a certain business or even destination. According to Reviewtrackers, Google accounts for over 64% of the world’s reviews.
To put that into perspective, that is over three times the second in the list, Facebook. You might think of these reviews as writings by random people, of which they are but there is a lot more to these online reviews.
For example, what people write about your business on Google may have a very positive or negative impact on your business’s overall performance. Whether the reviews will make or break your business will mostly depend on how you manage these online reviews.
Due to the impact that Google reviews have on various businesses’ performance, many business owners have come forward to create Google My Business (GMB) accounts.
Whether you’re a small business or an established one, when you register with this account, you’ll be able to monitor and respond to each Google review that your customers will write.
The best thing about getting reviews for your business is that it will increase its overall visibility and potentially reach more customers. When you manage your reviews well, you could even end up on the prestigious Google Local Pack.
You stand a chance to appear on the Google Local Pack if you constantly get good reviews. What the Google Local Pack does is to ensure that whenever anyone searches a specific location-specific term, it will match them to your business.
Yes, you can think of reviews as a form of effective advertising for your business. So now that you know what setting up a GMB account and getting Google reviews could to your business, I think it’s time to learn how to start getting such reviews.
How to get started on Google reviews for your business
Using a computer
- Open your computer and sign in to GMB. In case you have multiple locations, it’s advised you open the location you want to manage.
- On the left side of the menu, click Home.
- In the ‘Get More Reviews’ card, copy the URL and share it with your customers on the platform you prefer.
Using a mobile phone
- On your mobile devices, open the Google My Business app. If you have multiple locations, it’s better to switch to the one you want to manage.
- Tap on Customers>Reviews
- On the top right corner of your screen, tap Share. In case you haven’t created a short name, it’s advisable to do so.
- Copy the short URL and share it with your customers on the platforms you prefer.
After you have all this setup, you’re ready to go. Now customers you’ve shared the link with can rate your business and leave a review at any time. You and the customers will also be provided with Google review policies for them to go through.
This is because the reviews that go against these policies will be removed from the site immediately. It’s also against the Google review policies for business owners to solicit reviews from their customers via review stations or incentives.
How to get more reviews for your business
After you have your Google My Business account and shared the reviews URL with your customers, the next step is to get more people reviewing your business. Like I mentioned earlier, Reviews are very important for your business’ performance.
It’s reported that over 88% of potential customers trust reviews on Google just as much they’d trust a recommendation from a family member or a friend.
Also, of the customers who are likely to do business with you, 90% of them read the reviews first before visiting your business website.
Not only are these reviews supposed to act as recommendations to potential customers, but they also hold a lot of weight in the Google search algorithm. The more people are reviewing your business positively, the likely for it to top the search rankings, contribute to more traffic, and in return, increase your overall sales volume.
Even if you have 200 customers who have given your business a 5-star rating and given it positive reviews, you can’t stop there. This is because 85% of customers do not trust online reviews over three months old and about 40% of them only look for two weeks old reviews or later.
For this reason, it helps to keep getting positive reviews from your customers regularly. However, if you’re having a hard time getting these reviews, there are practical ways you can use them to increase them. They include;
1. Ask your customers for the reviews
The best way to get reviews on Google from your customers is by asking them. This is also the most effective way to go about it. The best thing about asking your satisfied customers to review your business on Google is that they will be happy to.
So the next time you’re on the phone with one of your customers, ask them to leave a Google review for your business, and they’ll surely do it. It’s even better when you meet your customers regularly in person because you can ask them, and they might do it on the spot.
2. Send follow-up emails
After a successful delivery or service for your customers, you can always send them a follow-up email asking them to review you on Google. Your email should be personal and also showing your appreciation that they chose to do business with you.
At the end of the email, ask them to review your business on Google and explain how feedback is important. This email should be accompanied by a link that directs the customer to the Google review site.
3. A leave-behind always works
This technique is particularly popular among professional installers and local companies. It’s also one of the most effective ways to ask your customers for a Google review. For example, if you’re a plumber after you’re done unclogging that sink or fixing the drain, you can leave a leave-behind for the customer.
The best thing about a leave-behind is that it doesn’t have to be a hard copy; you can create digital ones and send them to your customers after you’ve completed a certain task.
The leave-behind will entail the following;
- Maintenance tips for the sink and piping system.
- Your phone number in case the customer needs to contact you again.
- Your business card.
- A Google review card with guidelines on how the customer can review your services on Google.
4. A review link on your business website
This is probably one of the easiest ways you can get a Google review from your customer. For this, you can add a review link on your main website or create a custom review link. A custom link is basically a URL that contains your review link on Google.
Whenever a customer clicks on the link, a box will pop up containing the Google review details. This is both convenient for you and your customers. You can add the review link to any part of your website that you prefer, including the header and the footer.
5. Follow up your review request multiple times
When you send your review request to your customers the first time, it doesn’t mean that they will review your business right away. On the other hand, failure to do so doesn’t also mean that they do not want to.
Sometimes these review requests can catch your customers at a bad time, or they could forget. For this reason, it’s helpful to create two or more follow-up review request templates that you can send out to your customers in case they missed the first one or two.
Some people might not leave a review due to their own reasons, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t when you’re persistent enough. The best thing about sending follow-up review requests to your customers is that your business will always be on their minds.
6. Maintain your cool when replying to bad reviews
Another way to increase good reviews to your business that might seem unusual is by responding positively, even to bad reviews. Being a good and kind person will get you to many places, and there are cases of this character getting you great reviews.
If you get a bad review, ensure that you respond politely, accept fault, and promise to do better. When prospective customers notice that you respond to all reviews, including bad ones, they’ll view your business in a very different light.
They will start seeing your business as genuine and one that cares about customers’ feedback. For this reason, keep responding to all the reviews. Don’t be picky because some people are not kind to you and your business.
7. Use popups on your website
Another way you can get your customers’ attention and have them leave a Google review is by using popups on your website. Most people like to procrastinate things, and the same applies to leaving reviews.
This will act as a reminder to all the customers visiting your website, and they’ll feel the need to leave a Google review.
8. Provide great service to your customers
This is one of the best ways to get good reviews from your customers. All the follow-up emails and popups do not work as effectively as providing great customer service to your customers.
When your service delivery stands out in a good way among your customers, they are likely to review your business in the best way possible. So while you can use all these other methods to get customers to leave a Google review, being consistent with great service delivery is the best way to go about it.
Whether you’re running a small business or an established one, online reviews is one of the best ways to shape up your business. It’s important to give these reviews as much weight as you give other operations in your business.
This is because online reviews are no longer just writings; they are a true reflection of your business to the public. This means you should be cautious with how you respond to people who criticize your business or services.
Being calm and composed while responding to bad reviews might not appear at the top of your list, but it is necessary. Holding criticism with the same weight you hold compliments is a needed piece for any succeeding business.
Responding to both bad and good online reviews is your best chance to show your customers that you care about their feedback.