One of the first things people do, when considering a business, is to look up reviews on the company. This is why Google, Yelp, Urbanspoon and Trip Advisor are so big. Make getting Google reviews for your business a part of your marketing plan.
Why Your Business Should Care About Google Reviews
Online reviews are your business’s first impression. It is important to get them, reply to them, and to manage your reputation online.
No Stars = No Local Rankings. Your loss.
Also, customer reviews matter to your local rankings. I’ve found that the average #1 ranking has 33% more customer reviews than the average #7. Moreover, it’s been shown that positive reviews provide a greater boost to conversion rates than any other local SEO effort.
No Stars = No leads. Your loss.
But, Google reviews matter the most because of the way Google displays them. No matter what company you Google, there is a review. Everyone sees them and those golden stars catch their eyes.
How to Get Google Reviews
- First of all, you must have registered your business on Google My Business.
- Next, you need to get Google reviews. How? By asking for them.
Ask After Checkout (In Person)
If you have a brick and mortar location, you probably have a computer with a POS system. Be sure you get their email address during checkout.
Once the checkout is completed, ask them how their visit was. If they enjoyed it, ask them to write a review on the spot.
Send Out a Follow-up Email (Remote)
You got their email, right? Online, or off, you should be building your email list.
Follow-up emails should be sent no more than 3 days after the completion of a transaction.
Google Reviews for Products
Sending a follow-up email right after they have made an online purchase is the best time to ask for a review. They are still in the “new product thrill stage” and this is the peak of their emotional motivation.
First, thank them for buying your product, then ask for the review.
Google Reviews for Services
We use software called SmartSheet to track our website development projects.
They usually take months to complete. It doesn’t make sense to ask someone to review our services before their website is finished.
However, once the site is launched, and we have given them a few business days to breathe, and to take on the role of website owner, we use SmartSheet to automatically send them an email that asks for a review of our services. We have a 99% rate of getting reviews if we ask within a few days of launch.
We have tried to go back and ask long-time clients for reviews, and the response rate is very low. Not because they don’t like our services. But because they are busy, and we haven’t had a recent “transaction” with them that brings to their mind how much they like our company.
Best Practice for Getting Google Places Reviews
- Don’t expect every customer to write a review. Keep in mind that they are busy with work, family and life. Value their time. Have an attitude of gratitude.
- Ask your customers in the most natural way possible. People appreciate a no-pressure situation. Tell them you are passionate about improving, and would love their feedback.
- Keep in mind that it is against Google’s policy to offer any kind of prize or remuneration for reviews. Such reviews will be removed. Other penalties from Google can be enforced.
- Don’t tell your customers exactly what to write or how to rate you (stars). If they aren’t sure what to write, send them to your review page to read a few. Or send them to a non-competitor’s page for examples of good reviews.
- Make asking for reviews a consistent habit. If you get a whole bunch at once, because you only ask once a month, it looks unnatural, and Google will flag your account.
- Make it easy! Offer the exact link to write the review.
- The best way to get this is the do a Google search for your company name. In our case, the resulting URL in the address bar of Google search results is this: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=2c+dev+group
- Next, click the ‘Write a Review’ button. THIS is the link you want to include in your communications with them. Copy the URL.
- Check back to see who has left a review at least once a week, if not more.
- Respond to every review that customers have written. Good and bad.
- Write in a personal and natural way. Thank them, and speak highly of them, or their company. Show that you care about your customer’s opinions, and appreciate their feedback.
- You will get a few negative reviews. Don’t avoid them. You MUST respond to them quickly. Even if the person is a troll, others will see the professional way you handled the situation.
- If a customer has legitimate concerns, show people how well you handle your own imperfection. That is critical to being an authentic, genuine company.
- Use a complaint as a customer service opportunity. Turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, or to point him/her to a company that may be able to serve their needs better.
- Remember, you cannot be all things to all people, but you can be known as the company that refers business to others, when that is in the best interests of all. That makes you look confident, gracious, and generous.
Stop hoping customers will leave reviews. Start asking for reviews and top it off by making it simple.