One of the most important business and consumer tools provided by the search giant are Google My Business reviews. Instead of turning to a small number of family and friends for recommendations, consumers now have access to recommendations from potentially thousands of individuals who have had direct experience with a product or service.
The cool thing for local businesses is how easy it is for them to collect Google My Business reviews to help instill trust with consumers. Below we will highlight how to get started collecting Google My Business reviews, proven best practices to significantly increase your number of Google My Business reviews, and give you tips to maximize the value of your online reputation.
How to start collecting Google My Business reviews
If you want to collect Google My Business reviews, the first thing you’re going to need to do is get your business verified on the platform. The process to do so is super simple.
- Navigate to business.google.com.
- Search for your business by name and address.
- If your business isn’t already claimed, you will be directed to fill out some basic information, including your street address and phone number.
- Click submit.
- Google will then send you a postcard with a PIN to your business, which you will then need to enter when logged into your Google My Business listing.
Best practices for collecting Google My Business reviews
Now that your listing is set up, you can start collecting reviews. At Podium, we have developed six tried and true tactics that have been proven to increase the number of Google My Business reviews on your listing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. The easiest way to get more reviews for your business is simple. Just ask for a review. According to research conducted by Podium, nearly 80 percent of consumers would be willing to leave a review if asked. But just because they are willing to leave a Google My Business review, it doesn’t mean they will. You need to make it as easy as possible to leave a review, which brings us to our second tactic for collecting more reviews.
- Eliminate barriers. In the past the process for customers to leave a review has been cumbersome. That’s why we encourage eliminating as many steps as possible. We’ve found that by removing just one step in the review process, you’ll see conversions go up 20 percent. If you’re able to point them directly to the stars page on your Google My Business on a device logged into a Google account, you should see the number or reviews you have coming in increase significantly.
- Find the right time to leave a review. The timing of the review is one of the most important factors that determines whether or not a review is left. The exact time is going to be different for every type of business, but we suggest finding a time during the sales process where there is some downtime while they’re still on your premises. For example, when paperwork is being processed. Doing so will ensure their experience is top of mind. The longer you wait to send an invite, the less likely it will be that you receive a Google My Business review.
- Walk them through the process. When you’re asking customers for a review, make sure you let them know:
- Why reviews are important to your business
- When they will receive the invite
- How they will receive the invite (text or email)
- What aspect of your business you want feedback on
- Invite via text message. If you want your customers to see and respond to your review invites, send them via text message. Text messages have an open rate of 99 percent with 90 percent of those messages being opened within 3 minutes.
- Use an online review management platform. One of the best ways to increase the number Google My Business reviews you have coming in is implementing a customer review software. A good online review management platform will streamline the invitation process, ensuring your customers get invited at the optimal time. Additionally, it will give you the ability to see and respond to reviews in real time.
Getting the most out of your Google My Business Reviews
Google My Business reviews are an excellent tool to not only get found because they impact local SEO ranking, but also get chosen because they influence purchase decisions. Because reviews are so powerful, you shouldn’t just let them sit on your Google My Business listing. You should look for ways to put them front and center. Below are a couple of examples of ways you can do just that.
Pull Google My Business Reviews in with a widget
Through WordPress, you can add a widget to your website that will automatically pull in and display your latest Google reviews on your site. This post provides detailed instructions on how to get started.
Incorporate Google My Business Reviews Into Your Advertising
Another thing you can do is look for ways to incorporate your reviews into your other advertising and marketing activities. Snowbird, a ski resort in Utah, even found a way to use a negative review to its advantage in a creative ad campaign. The ad featured a one-star review that talked about how difficult the terrain was to ski on, which is actually a positive for its core audience.
This tactic might not work for everyone, but highlighting positive reviews or pointing out highly rated employees is a good way to increase the visibility of your online reputation in other aspects of your marketing mix.