Did you know that 89% of customers won’t take action on a business’ website before reading online reviews? Or that nearly 80% of consumers trust an online review more than a personal recommendation from friends or family? Google business reviews are extremely important for your small business, and if you aren’t getting enough—or the right quality—you might struggle to build an online presence and reach new customers.
Why You Need Google Business Reviews
Imagine you need to hire an electrician. Your research leads you to two local candidates, both with a 4.5 rating on Google. However, one electrician has 240 reviews and the other has eight. Which seems more trustworthy?
Google business reviews are an affirmation that your business is reputable. By sourcing Google reviews, you can:
- Create customer confidence. The more positive reviews your company has, the more likely consumers are to trust you. In fact, 71% of people say customer reviews make them feel more comfortable that they’re buying the right product.
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses. You can use your business reviews to learn more about your reputation. Customer feedback allows you to see what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
- Increase your online visibility. Google has confirmed that high-quality, positive reviews can improve your chances of getting found online. That’s especially true of reviews from verified buyers, which are more impactful than anonymous reviews.
- Maintain long-term customer trust. Rather than relying on previous successes, businesses must consistently garner new reviews. 85% of customers don’t trust reviews that are more than three months old, and 40% only look at reviews from the last two weeks.
How to Get More Google Business Reviews
It’s clear that Google reviews are important for your local SEO strategy, but how can you encourage customers to leave timely, quality reviews? Here are eight tactics you can deploy.
Ask for Reviews
Only 28% of consumers said they would leave a review after a good experience with a business, but 72% of consumers who are asked to write a review will leave one, which means simply asking a customer to leave a review on Google may be the difference between getting more reviews and not.
Tell Customers Why Online Reviews Matter
Most customers don’t always know how impactful Google reviews can be for your business. Use your website, email marketing, and social media channels to instill the importance of online reviews and why just a few seconds of a customer’s time can make a big difference when it comes to helping your business.
Show Customers How to Leave a Review
Some customers may want to leave a review but don’t know how. Include a quick how-to with screenshots on your website or in an email campaign that walks them through the easy process step by step.
Share a Unique Google Review Link
When you create a custom Google review link, your customers are just one click away from being able to leave a review, making the process as easy as possible. Place this link anywhere customers might happen upon it, including:
- Buttons on your website
- Social media profiles
- Email newsletters
- Website pop-ups
- Business cards
- Invoices or receipts
Actively Seek Out Reviews
The more channels you use to request reviews, the more likely one may inspire a customer to leave one. Nearly any interaction with a customer—online or offline—offers a chance to ask for a review, so look for unique opportunities, such as:
- With an email receipt after an online purchase or at the bottom of an in-store receipt
- As part of a social media or email marketing campaign
- After the point of sale
- At the end of a phone call
- At the completion of a project or job
Highlight Reviews on Your Website
When someone leaves a glowing review of your business, display it on your website. By showing positive reviews on your website, you can potentially push new customers who are checking out your website to get in touch with you, and you can encourage existing customers to leave reviews of their own.
Respond to All Google Business Reviews
Reviews are one of the many ways businesses get to interact with customers online. In fact, customers expect their reviews to start a conversation—53% of reviewers expect a response from the business they’re reviewing within seven days, but only 37% ever receive one. Not only does responding to reviews provide customers with transparency and a stronger connection to your business, but it can actually increase your visibility on Google as well. Here’s how to respond to positive and negative Google reviews:
- Positive: It’s important to acknowledge those who not only invested in your products or services, but also used their valuable time to leave a business review. Address the customer by name and thank them for visiting and sharing their positive feedback. If the customer mentioned a specific product in their review, repeat it in your response. Do your best to ensure your response is personal and individualized, rather than canned or templated.
- Negative: Nearly half of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews, so this can be your chance to salvage a poor customer experience. Take responsibility and personally apologize to the customer for the particular problem they encountered. Encourage the customer to contact your business privately so you can discuss and rectify the situation. Give them a direct line or email to get in touch with you or a member of your customer service team.
Avoid Fake & Incentivized Reviews
NEVER offer a price or incentive to customers for leaving reviews. Not only are baited reviews often easy for consumers to identify as fake and untrustworthy, but they’re also expressly prohibited by Google and can cause reviews to be removed from your Google My Business profile. Both Google and the FTC discourage businesses from incentivizing reviews to inflate their online ratings.
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