Table of Contents
- Why Google Reviews Matter
- Benefits of Google Reviews for Your Business
- Build Your Brand's Reputation
- Improve Your Business's Trust on Google
- Discover Customer Service Trends
- Spy on Your Competitor’s Customers
- What's The Best Way to Get Authentic Reviews on Google?
- Make It Easy with Instructions
- Include Links in Your Email Signature
- Send an Email Drip Campaign
- Don’t Forget the Other Top Review Sites, Too
- How Do I Respond to Reviews on Google?
- Positive Review Response Examples
- Negative Review Response Examples
- How Do I Manage My Reviews on Google?
Do you use Google to find local businesses near you?
It’s likely you answered yes, and the fact is – you are not alone.
97% of consumers use the internet to find a local business, and 68% say positive reviews make them more likely to choose a business.
Therefore, Google Reviews have a significant impact on your business. If you haven’t considered Google Reviews for increasing your brand’s visibility online, now is the perfect time to shift gears and focus on your reviews management strategy.
In this easy-to-follow Google Reviews article, you’ll discover the value of online reviews, how to generate more authentic reviews, and how to quickly respond to positive and negative reviews.
Let’s dive in.
Why Google Reviews Matter
According to Bright Local, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And 73% of consumers trust a local business more if they have positive reviews.
So, what does this really mean? In short, your business’s reviews on Google are just as important as word-of-mouth referrals. While many brands may focus on generating new leads through word-of-mouth referrals, there are plenty of opportunities to reach more people by building your reviews on Google.
But every business is different. Some industries are more popular for reviews.
In a Bright Local study, they discovered the most popular industries for reviews are:
- Grocery Stores
What do you think? Makes sense, right?
Restaurants typically have a high influx of new customers, so people read these reviews to see where others recommend eating. These popular review industries are highly competitive, so frequently generating new reviews is a must.
In contrast, the least popular businesses people look at for reviews include:
Are there any industries you’re surprised to see that are more popular with online reviews? As you can see in the graphic above, people read reviews for all types of industries.
So when businesses harness the power of Google Reviews, the benefits are incredible. Let’s take a look.
Benefits of Google Reviews for Your Business
You’ll always have competitors. That won’t change. But with Google Reviews, you at least have a competitive edge. You see, reviews appear on your business’s listing on Google Search and Google Maps.
This means reviews show up at a pivotal moment in a customer’s journey. Either people are looking for a new restaurant, comparing competitors, or searching for a nearby place or product and service.
You too can reap the benefits of Google Reviews. Here’s how.
Build Your Brand’s Reputation
Reviews on your Google My Business tell customers whether they can trust your business.
And while you may try to define your own brand’s reputation, your customer reviews will do the job for you.
Here’s an example from a community college:
This review is teeming with great feedback. Now for this scenario, let’s say the college had 20 additional reviews also highlighting the art on campus.
The campus may not have intended for their art to be so popular, but it’s what resonates with their students. For all we know, the students might even refer to this community college as, “artist’s campus.”
It’s your customers that define your reputation, not the other way around.
Improve Your Business’s Trust on Google
People trust reviews. And Google does, too.
With a well optimized Google My Business account and review strategy, you’ll often find businesses rank higher in local search results than a website.
Once you start generating lots of reviews, Google will highlight keywords people frequently use when they talk about your business.
Check out this example from a local coffee shop:
You’ll notice Google highlights “coffee, location, environment, staff, and music.” These bold keywords stand out and bring the reader’s attention immediately to the context of the review.
Do your competitors have highlighted keywords in their reviews? What stands out? Is there an opportunity for you to focus on this messaging, too?
Discover Customer Service Trends
Google Reviews offer valuable insight into how customers perceive your brand, how employees engage with customers, and so much more.
Let’s take a look at a dentist office.
This review reveals a couple of things. First, the customer knows the front desk employees by their first name, and they’ve made quite the impression. For many brands, this is exactly what you want to see on your customer reviews.
Once you start gaining reviews, frequently audit them to see if there are any customer service trends. Are your customers happy? Unhappy? Do they complain about long wait times?
Spy on Your Competitor’s Customers
There’s a good chance your competitors have reviews on Google. And fortunately, you can use their customer reviews to your advantage. How do customers talk about their service? What do they offer that your business doesn’t?
Here’s an example Google Review about a local plumber:
As a competing plumber, you’ll discover key takeaways. This plumber offers weekend services, and from the looks of it, the company employs fantastic professionals.
Audit the reviews of your competitors. What commonalities do you find? What differences? Are there messaging opportunities for your brand?
What’s The Best Way to Get Authentic Reviews on Google?
We get it. Asking for reviews can feel…imposing, like you’re asking for too much or you don’t want to be bothersome.
But once you get used to receiving reviews, it will become more natural to ask. The best way to get authentic reviews on Google is to segment your target audience.
Generally, you can segment your target audience by:
- Grandfathered in Customers
These are customers who are longtime customers but haven’t bought in a while. If you haven’t touched base with these customers in a while, asking for a review on Google might be the perfect icebreaker.
Just wanted to say thanks for being a loyal customer! As a valued customer, we’d really appreciate your feedback. If you have a moment, leave us a review on Google.
- New Customers Who Have Recently Purchased a Product or Service
Right after a customer purchases or uses one of your services, you can follow up in a day or week to ask for a review.
Thanks for coming in for a consultation. I look forward to helping your business succeed! If you have a moment, do you mind providing feedback about my services on Google?
Let me know if you have any questions.
By segmenting your audience, you’ll be able to tailor your message for a more natural approach. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to do it if you just ask.
Now that you have an idea of who you want to target, let’s focus on how you can easily ask for reviews.
Make It Easy with Instructions
Don’t make your clients do the heavy lifting. Make it as easy as possible for them to leave a review. Have easy to follow instructions ready with screenshots.
You can use these instructions in both digital and print format to ensure no opportunity is missed.
Include Links in Your Email Signature
Do you send out daily or weekly email to clients? If so, your email signature is a fantastic real estate space to ask for reviews.
Even better – you don’t have to directly ask for reviews, but you can make it easier for the reviews to come to you.
Send an Email Drip Campaign
Email drip campaigns are great if you’re a “set it and forget it” type of person. The marketing automation platform, MailChimp, is a prime example.
With its email automation features, you can schedule emails in advance as well as send emails based on a set of actions the person performs.
For example, if they signed up for your service, downloaded an eBook, or made a purchase on your website. These actions can then kick off a series of emails related to what they did or to a topic.
Want more reviews on Google? Give your customers the opportunity to do so!
Don’t Forget the Other Top Review Sites, Too
While Google is awesome, other sites and directories with review capabilities are equally as important.
Get in front of your customers no matter where they are by placing your business on multiple review sites.
Here are some online listings you should consider for your business:
Once you start generating lots of reviews, you’ll have to craft an approach of how to respond to reviews, good and bad.
How Do I Respond to Reviews on Google?
Engage your customers with a thoughtful review response.
Use these best practices when engaging with customer feedback:
- Use First Names – It’s so simple, but shows you acknowledge the reviewer as an individual and makes your response feel more personal.
- Show Your Appreciation – Be warm and inviting with your response. Take the time to say “thank you” for the review.
- Customize Your Responses – If you leave the same response for every review, your responses will feel disingenuous.
- Respond Promptly – Responding sooner than later shows you’re actively engaged with your customers. If someone left you a review a year ago, and you’re just now leaving a response – your audience will be questioning why there was such a long gap.
While now you know the key characteristics of a review, you should also consider how to respond to them appropriately.
Positive Review Response Examples
Responding to a positive review is an easy way to engage with happy customers.
When responding to customer reviews, seize the moment and celebrate the customer, your employees, and the value of your business.
Look at this response on a hospital’s review on Google:
The owner does an excellent job of thanking the customer and leaves the reader with a positive impression of the business.
Negative Review Response Examples
Negative reviews happen, too. And that’s okay. The best thing you can do in this situation is to try to remain positive while reinforcing your brand’s value.
Even if you disagree with a negative review, the response you write doesn’t have to be for a negative review. Instead, think about the other individual or customers who will be seeing the review.
Here’s an example from a daycare center:
See how much better this response is, rather than one where the owner denies the pain point of the customer? Keep it simple and humble.
How Do I Manage My Reviews on Google?
Time, energy, and effort. As a business owner – it’s hard to invest in online reviews on your own. And encouraging customers to leave reviews isn’t easy.
With Strategy as your partner, our Review Management services are a great solution to getting more reviews on Google. Ready to show the world you’re a 5-star business? Start today with a free consultation.