Rarely will consumers buy a product or use a service without having done their due diligence and checked what other people are saying about it. Google offers a review service as part of the Google My Business (GMB) Knowledge Panel. Should you have set up GMB already, it’s likely to be playing a big factor in your search visibility results, particularly if you’re a local business. Below I’ll explain how you should go about getting great new reviews on Google, and what not to do.
What are the benefits of having Google Reviews?
Word of mouth is important, and according to Invesp, ‘90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business’, and ‘88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations’. It goes without saying that getting people to talk about your service or product is vital.
Take a young aspiring footballer as an example. Their brand is the style of football they play, the team they represent and what the future may hold for them. But, if nobody knows who they are, the chances of making it as a professional footballer fade away. For them to succeed, scouts need to know about them, watch them play and tell the world about the exciting new footballing prospect. The same can be said for your business… if nobody has heard of it, then nobody is going to be talking about it in a positive light, which makes the chances of success very slim.
Simply put, having lots of great reviews make Google My Business profiles look amazing, increasing the likelihood of clicks through to your site. Take the British Museum for example, the number of positive Google Reviews on this profile suggests to me that it’s an awesome museum to visit!
What’s more, these reviews are a ranking factor and do help to improve local search results, as they send positive signals of expertise, authority & trust to Google. As a starting point, aim to make sure you have more positive GMB reviews than your main competitor does.
How can you ask for reviews?
1. Know who to ask when going direct
This is the important part, as there are rules and regulations in place to (the dreaded GDPR!) which prevent the spamming of databases in order to get as many emails sent out as possible. However, the silver lining here is that we’re now forced to take a more personal approach when asking for reviews. From my experiences, these are the best places to start:
- Brand ambassadors – much like those football scouts, these are the people who have been with you from the start and spread the word to larger audiences.
- Loyal customers – these may not necessarily be the most vocal of customers and may prefer to keep their opinions to themselves, but asking a customer of 5+ years for a review isn’t going to hurt.
- Ask people with Gmail accounts – if you have customers that you’re able to contact for marketing purposes, then focussing on those with Gmail accounts makes things a whole lot easier. There is no need for them to create a Google account to leave a review and you can supply them with an easy link to the review page.
2. Link to your Google review page
Setting up a review page or a simple link to your Google review page will be perfect for directing users to where they need to be. This link could even sit on a contact us page where people are looking for phone numbers and addresses. Being proactive when asking for reviews will show that you are not hiding from your customers.
3. Include links in emails
If you can incorporate email campaigns into your marketing strategy, be sure to include a ‘Leave a Google Review’ link somewhere prominent in the email. This strategy can be particularly effective when emailing existing customers. This technique can also be effective when used as a footer on emails, as this way it is present on every email sent out.
4. Ask for reviews in the right way
Asking people for reviews is naturally going to be an effective method, whereas just hoping your customers want to leave a review and know where to look is not going to be effective. Here’s a few techniques when asking customers for reviews:
- Face to face – asking customers to leave a review when in conversation could be a perfect way to add a personal touch to the process.
- Social media – a simple link and a polite request for a review on social media can be an excellent way of reaching a dedicated and engaged audience.
- Closing the deal – at the end of the customer journey, slip in a simple request for a review on Google, especially if the client’s happy with their experience.
What to do about bad reviews?
Make sure to monitor your GMB profile regularly, replying to all the reviews you receive if possible, but especially bad reviews. If a bad review is left on your profile then you’ll need to take action. Sitting on it and hoping it fades away is a terrible idea, whereas taking the chance of openly and directly replying to the bad review will show that you’re listening and that you care about your customers experiences with your company.
Ignoring bad reviews shows that you are either unprofessional, frightened of the ramifications or simply don’t care enough to worry about the bad experiences your customers had. Google has even provided guidelines for replying to negative reviews, which are definitely worth a read.
Know about the Google policies
Google has a set of very specific Terms of Services which you’ll find here. We strongly recommended reading these terms before embarking on a campaign to build the number of Google reviews your business has. There are a couple of biggies in there which need to be understood – for example, using incentives and rewards is against Google’s policies, and receiving reviews from employees (both past and present) is a big no no. This means if you have a number of negative reviews, replacing them with positive ones from employees is not going to work in your favour.
If you don’t have a Google My Business profile set up for your business, you can find out more here. If you would like to discuss what we can do for you and your business, give us a call today on 0845 450 2086.