Now more than ever it’s important for businesses to get Google reviews. In addition to giving a boost to your business’ visibility, there are a number of benefits Google reviews can bring to your business.
Why are Google Reviews so important?
1. More Google reviews increase trust and credibility: This might sound strange, but a vast majority of people (84% to be exact) trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends as long as they meet certain criteria like authenticity, is in the right industry, or you have multiple reviews on the same site.
Because Google is one of the most used, and most trusted search engines, people are willing to give trust and credibility to Google reviews more than reviews from less trustworthy sources. This means understanding how to get Google reviews is more important than ever.
2. Google reviews influence purchase decisions: Online Google reviews can be just what a consumer needs to push them from consideration to purchase. A lot of times when consumers are reading Google reviews they are looking for confirmation that they are making the right decision. And positive online reviews can do just that, but the opposite can also be true.
If your business has a low star rating or a lot of recent negative Google reviews, customers could be pushed to the competition. Knowing how to get Google reviews and also how to understand what your reviews mean is a big deal. Don’t believe me? A recent survey said that 13% of consumers wouldn’t even consider purchasing from a business with a 1- to 2-star rating.
3. Google reviews improve local SEO: One of the biggest benefits that online reviews bring to your business is a boost in local search ranking. This is important because if customers can’t even find your business when they are looking, how can they possibly make a purchase from you. Knowing how to get Google reviews helps with rankings and revenue.
The impact of online reviews on your Google Maps listing helps your business stand out from the crowd. More importantly, it means your business is highlighting the fact that you offer a great service, great product and that customers love you.
How to get Google Reviews with a free Google My Business listing?
Hopefully by now you realize the importance of collecting more Google reviews, but you might be wondering how to get started. The first step is to set up a Google My Business listing in order to start collecting reviews. Below is a step-by-step process for setting up your Google My Business listing.
These instructions will walk you through the process of setting up your GMB listing for the first time, but if you've already set up your GMB listing, skip to the next section.
Step One: Log in to the Google account you want to be associated with your business.
Step Two: Visit Google My Business and click "MANAGE NOW" to get started.
Step Three: Enter the name of your business.
Step Four: Enter the address of your business and select the service area.
Step Five: Select the category that best fits your business.
Step Six: Enter your company's contact information.
Step Seven: Verify your business. There's a few different ways to do this, and Google has instructions on each method.
How to make your Google My Business listing stand out from the competition.
Once you have the ability to update your listing you should put in the effort to make sure it’s attractive and filled with relevant information that will entice searchers to click on your listing. Google reviews themselves help to make your listing stand out and bring real customer feelings to the forefront. At the very minimum you should do the following:
Add relevant information about your business: While you can no-longer update your business description on your Google My Business page, your description can be updated via your G+ page. When you do fill out your business description, it should include all of the information about your business that customers might find relevant. You can include keywords, but make sure you don’t use this field as an opportunity to stuff keywords. Oftentimes, Google views this as spam and your local search ranking could suffer as a result.
Upload high-resolution photos: One thing many businesses neglect to do is upload enough photos to make your listing stand out among the competition. Pictures on your Google My Business listing help tell a visual story about what it’s like to do business with you. Photos on your listing will help you garner more interactions with online searchers as well. Google has found that listings that feature photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions from Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to a business’ website
Include up-to-date hours of operations: One piece of information customers are looking for when they Google your business is whether or not you are open. Because of this, you should take the time to update your hours of operation whenever a change occurs. It is also important to include any variations that may occur. For example, if you have special holiday hours.
Start collecting more Google reviews and interacting with customers.
Once your business listing is claimed and you’ve taken the time to optimize it, now it’s time to start collecting Google reviews and interacting with customers. When it comes to collecting Google reviews, you shouldn’t let them come in organically. You should make a proactive effort to ask all of your customers to write a Google reviews.
We previously mentioned that 70% of consumers would be willing to leave a review for your business if you ask them. What we left out in that stat is that 20% of those who said they would leave a review ultimately didn’t. One of the main reasons customers who are more than willing to leave a review fail to do so is sometimes the process can be difficult and cumbersome. They don’t know where to go on Google to leave a review or you send them an email with a link, but there are too many steps and they ultimately bail before actually leaving a review.
To prevent this from happening, you need to make the process as frictionless as possible. This can be accomplished by implementing an online review management platform that streamlines the invitation process and makes it ridiculously easy for your employees to invite customers and for your customers to leave reviews.
Reviews, for example, uses text messaging as the primary channel for invitations. Doing so can result in a significantly higher response rate and enables you to collect as much as 15x more Google reviews than traditional email based platforms.
How to get more Google Reviews
Implementing an Interaction Management™ platform is a good place to start, but if you really want to see the online reviews roll in you should consider doing the following:
Determine the right timing of the invitation: You know that you need to ask your customer to leave a review, but the problem you run into is it’s not always clear when the best time to invite your customers. In our experience, the best time to ask is when there’s some downtime in the sales process. For example, in the auto industry, a good time might be after the sale is completed and the customer is waiting in finance. Your customer is just going to be sitting there anyway, so why not ask them to leave a review and walk them through the process.
Set the expectation for the review: After you’ve determined the right time to invite the customer, now you can start setting expectations for what you want them to do. When setting expectations, you should let the customer know:
- >Why online reviews are important for your business
- How they will be receiving the invite (text or email)
- When they will be receiving the invite
Eliminate barriers: The harder it is for customers to leave reviews, the less likely they will be to leave a one. That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible, and if you’ve implemented an online review management platform as mentioned previously, you’re headed in the right direction.
Google reviews should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. They help increase your visibility, build trust and credibility with consumers, and help push consumers through every stage of the buyer’s journey. If your business is taking proactive steps to secure reviews, it should see both an increase in traffic to its website as well as to its physical location.