Let's get you some new reviews!
Here is a quick online review statistic from my friends at BrightLocal and that is that 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Now you probably didn’t know that specific statistic, but what you do know is that reviews are important. That is why you are here and why in this instructional blog I will be teaching you everything that you need to know about how to get more reviews on Google.
Why are Google reviews so important?
Before we devote the time and begin strategizing on how we are going to take over the world one review at a time I think it’s important to know why we should be getting reviews. We should never do anything that we don’t understand and that includes learning how to get more reviews on Google. As mentioned before I’m sure you have an idea (at least subconsciously) of why it is important, but below I will be sharing 4 things that you may have not thought about before.
Google reviews are a local search ranking factor
Google keeps a ton of secrets about how their search algorithms work, but one thing they have told us about how to improve your local ranking is that positive 4 and 5-star ratings will improve our visibility in the search engine. And trust me when I say your business definitely wants to be as visible as possible. It is simple business 101. The more our business get’s seen the higher chance we have of bringing in sales which is what business is all about.
People make their buying decisions based off of them
Ladies! When you are shopping for some fancy new high heels how often do you look at reviews to see things like how comfortable they are and if they fit true to size? My guess (and your answer) would probably be every single time! Men you can create your own analogy to prove my point which is that potential customers look at reviews to see if they are going to buy something or not. Whether you sell a product or provide a service if you have a bunch of reviews talking about how amazing it is people will be more inclined to buy. And on the flip side if your reviews are bad people will run before they even have time to see what you offer.
They provide you with helpful feedback
We often think about online reviews as a bunch or praise or hate for a business, but have you taken the time to realize that you are often getting very valuable feedback? A good review will tell you what is working so that you can continue doing things a certain way. A bad review (although very scary to some) might tell you about areas that your business can truly improve on. Instead of just smiling or frowning about the Google review that you take the time to actually read what customers have to say. You might just learn something very valuable!
Review posting guidelines
Now that we know why getting more reviews on Google is important I think we should take a second and dive a bit into Google’s actual review guidelines. We don’t accidently want to generate a bunch of Google reviews in a way that is not allowed by the big G. Doing so may result in our reviews being removed or worse (much worse). Your business does not want to get punished by Google. That is a recipe for disaster. So let’s run through some things.
- Can I ask a customer to leave a review for my business? Yes, but don’t solicit reviews in bulk such as sending a mass email to 1000 different customers.
- Can I stop someone from posting a bad/negative review? No.
- Can/should I buy reviews? A bigger no.
- Can my employees post reviews for us? Nope.
- Are there any consequences if I don’t follow Google’s policies on reviews? Yes. Google has and will remove reviews or ban you from using their services.
Okay that should cover some of the main things that we have to know, but here is a link to Google’s policies for further reading.
Claim your Google My Business Listing
Okay now that we have gotten that out of the way it is time to get into the nitty gritty of why we are here! It is my sole mission to teach you how to get more reviews on Google. So let us begin with our first action step which is…
To claim your Google My Business Listing.
We can’t get any reviews on Google My Business if we don’t have a GMB listing so that is our first step. Visit Google's landing page for GMB to claim your listing by logging in with your Google account. This is completely free to do and very easy/intuitive. I’ll be waiting here when you are finished.
Generate/find your Google review link
And you are back! Okay now that we have claimed our Google My Business listing our next step is to generate or find our Google review link. The easiest way to get more Google Reviews is by sharing a link that directs customers to a pop up where all they have to do is choose a star rating, type in a message and hit submit.
So how do you get that wonderful Google review link? Luckily Google provides one for us!
To find your review link login into your Google My Business Listing click on the ‘Home’ tab on the left sidebar.
Scroll down until you see a box that says ‘get more reviews’.
Inside that box there will be a button that says ‘share review form’. Click the button.
And now Google should generate a review link that you can copy and past and share with your customers! Easy wasn’t it?
When should you ask for a review?
So we have our GMB listing, we have our fancy review link prime and ready to get reviews, now the question is… when should you ask for a review?
The honest answer is that there is no one correct time to ask for a review, but there are times that are better than others. As a rule of thumb I would ask for a review on the day of the customer hiring/purchasing from you and after the goods or services have been delivered. This way the experience (which hopefully was a great one) is still fresh in the customers mind.
Creative (and not so creative) ways to ask for google reviews
Okay so we now have a review link and we know when we should ask for the review. Now how do we actually ask a customer to leave us a Google review? There are many ways, but here are 4 ways to ask a customer to leave your business a review.
This is a simple and straightforward way to ask for a review. Simply create an email template (so you don’t have to write a new one every single time) input your Google review link that we generated into the email and send it on it’s way to your customer. It really couldn’t be any easier than that. Sending out emails requesting for a review works great for service based businesses.
Send them a text message
Very similar to requesting a review via email you can also request a review via text message the same exact way. Create a template, pop in your review link and hit send. The great thing about using SMS messaging is that the open rate is very high! In fact the open rate on a text message is as high as 98% This means a lot more people will actually be seeing your request vs if you were to send it via email.
Give them a review card
Moving away from the digital you can also also write your review link on a review card and hand those out to customers. A review card is kind of like a business card, but with the purpose of making it easier to tell people how to leave your business a Google review. You can design your review cards to match your brand and with services like gotprint.com you can print them out at a very affordable rate.
Ask them to scan a Google review QR code
Combining digital and print materials you can generate a Google review QR code and print that off on your review cards. This way your customers just have to point their camera at the review QR code and they will be presented with your review pop up box without having to type anything to get there.
How to automate Google Reviews
Asking for Google reviews shouldn’t be time consuming in fact you can automate or semi-automate some of the work to make things easier on yourself. We already mentioned how you can make templates to save on time, but you can also schedule those messages to go out automatically. Most email and cell phone services offer you the ability to pre-schedule messages to be sent out at a certain time. Use this to your advantage and you will feel like you are collecting emails on auto pilot!
What to do after someone leaves a review? (Spoiler: respond!)
Let’s all give ourselves a huge pat on the back! At this point we have learned a ton about Google reviews and how to get them, but there are still a few things left that we have to do. Yup once you get the review your work isn’t over with until you respond to their review.
Google likes it when you respond to the reviews and your customers probably like it too! They took the time to leave us a (hopefully positive) rating so we as business owners should take the time to acknowledge them and continue building our brand. It doesn’t have to be anything big, a simple “Thank you we are happy to have you as a customer” goes a long way.
What to do if they don’t respond to your request to leave a rating
Follow up! But don’t be pushy. That’s it really. If someone didn’t leave you a review after you messaged them it doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t want to. Sometimes life gets in the way and we forget about things. Don’t be afraid to follow up after 3 days. You will be surprised at how many people you get to leave your business a review on the followup message. Just don’t go overboard and send a thousand follow up messages. No one and I mean no one (except for this one guy I know) likes spam.
What to do if someone leaves you a negative Google Review
I am willing to bet some of you jumped to this section first as you skimmed through this blog post. Gotcha! We are all so terrified of getting a negative review when honestly you shouldn’t be assuming you are truly running your business well. Bad reviews will happen no matter how perfect your business is. That is just part of running a business. Whatever you do…
Don’t: Get upset, say something bad about the customer (especially online), or panic. Instead…
Do: Respond and apologize, learn from it (if there is something to be learned, move on and go generate some more good 5 star review.
Eventually your new good reviews will hide the bad one. Getting a bad review might not be such a bad thing either as there are numerous review studies that show a 4.7-4.8 rating might be perceived better as a 5-star rating since it looks more real.
All in all just don’t sweat bad reviews… unless that is all you are getting. Then you might need to think about things ha.
Hooray! We just learned how to get more reviews on Google. I hope you found this instructional blog helpful and I wish you the best of luck in getting your business a bunch of 5 star reviews. If you need any help along the way don't hesitate to get in touch.