5 tips on collecting and managing reviews for your business.
Online reviews have become the new “word of mouth” and can help increase a company’s visibility. With more positive coverage, your brand will enjoy increased exposure across search engines, social media websites, online directories and review sites.
The importance of online reviews for your business cannot be overstated. They are the best way to get a sense of how your products or services compare to those offered by competitors and help shape consumer opinion in their decision-making process.
Let’s look at some stats from Brightlocal’s 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey.
They report that:
- 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 34% searching every day.
- 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020 – up from 81% in 2019
- 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month
With studies showing that 90% of all search engine traffic goes through Google, it stands to reason that having positive Google reviews for your business can bring the most impactful results. Google has incorporated reviews into their ranking system too. This means essentially, that the more positive reviews your business has, the higher you will rank in the Google Map listings making Google Reviews one of the best ways to increase your visibility and get noticed by potential customers online. Surprisingly, even with all these great benefits, so many businesses still haven’t taken advantage of this and have no reviews or too few to make a difference.
At some point, you’ve probably consulted Google Reviews when making a purchasing decision. You wanted to make sure that the business you were considering spending your hard-earned cash with is as good as they claim to be and that their reputation is a good one. Studies show that online reviews have a strong influence on customer behavior and are more trusted than any other form of advertising.
The time has never been better to make sure that your online reputation is a good one. It makes sense then, that you should make it a goal to get as many reviews on Google as possible. But how can you go about doing that?
Here are 5 tips that will help you grow your customer base by getting more Google reviews and incorporating online reviews into your marketing strategy…
It may seem a simple one, but so many businesses forget to ask their customers to leave a review.
Remembering to ask your customers for reviews whenever they complete a transaction with you is the easiest way to get those all-important positive reviews stacking up.
Most customers will be happy to leave you a review if you ask them, but they rarely think about it automatically and they’re probably not aware of the impact it can have on your business.
Here are a few ideas to help when asking customers for reviews:
- Ask when their experience of doing business with you is fresh in their mind. Even the happiest customer may not leave a glowing review if you wait until weeks after their transaction, so the optimum time to ask and hopefully secure a fabulous review for your business is when you know they have had a good experience with you and are therefore likely delighted with you and your service.
- You can ask customers for reviews but you have to let them make up their own minds when it comes to how they rate you. Google says – “Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.” This means that all of your customers should have equal opportunities to leave a review. So, you can’t ask for a 5-star review but you can let your customer know how much you would appreciate them leaving feedback about their experience with you
- If your customer is not present you can ask for reviews by text or email
- Remember to let your customer know that reviews not only benefit your business, but that their feedback can help you to improve your products and services and refine the customer experience which ultimately benefits them if they do business with you in the future, and benefits other customers too
A quick side note here: employees of a company are not allowed to post reviews as this is considered a material relationship and is forbidden. Oh, and of course you can’t bribe or pay people for reviews!
2. Make it Quick & Easy With Links!
The most important key is to make it easy for your customers to leave you a review. One of the simplest ways to do this is by creating a Google Review link that they can click to go straight to your Google review page.
- Open the Google Maps Place ID Finder
- Search for your business
- Copy the place ID shown in the results
- Paste your place ID within brackets in this link: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=[paste place ID here]
For speed and convenience (or if you’re providing your link offline such as in print), it’s also possible to shorten or customise your link using a free link-shortening service like Bitly.com. It’s really easy to do; you simply enter the original (longer) link to your review page, press the ‘create’ button, and the site will automatically display a shortened link for you to use online.
Now you have a unique Google reviews link that will take your customer straight to the page they need to leave you a review.
So what do you do with it? You can copy and paste it for use in a number of different ways. Here are just a few…
- Send in a text or email to your customers
- Include it in your newsletter
- Link it to a dedicated “review” button on your website
- Use a hyperlink with some anchor text on your social media profile
3 – Make it Quick & Easy With Questions!
Another way to make it easy for customers to leave reviews is to ask a pre-determined set of questions to encourage them to provide feedback.
The list of questions can be sent with your review request in a text or email together with a request for permission to repurpose their answers into a customer review and include it on your website with their name.
How is this helpful? Well while most satisfied customers will be happy to give you good feedback, they often see it as too much of an effort, especially when they can’t think of what to say or where to start. By giving them specific questions to answer about their experience of doing business with you, it helps them to organise their thoughts and makes the review process a much easier, less time consuming one.
You can decide on your own questions and make them as personal to your business as you want to, but here are a few to consider:
- Why did you seek out this product/service
- What was it that made you choose our product/service over those of our competitors?
- What has been the best thing about doing business with us?
- What is the main reason you wouod recommend our product/service
- Is there anything we could have done differently to improve your experience?
- Out of 10, how would you rate your overall experience with our company?
4. Use Your Website!
If a customer remembers to leave feedback without being asked, or if you haven’t provided a link for them, they will likely visit your website to search for a reviews feature. You need to make sure you have a simple and clearly visible method of doing this from your site.
There are a couple of ways you can do this…
Create an easy-to-find hyperlink to your Google review page
Select an appropriate webpage on your site. You may choose your site’s homepage or if you have a testimonials page or client feedback section, this is ideal.
Simply write some relevant copy and a call to action anchor text such as ‘leave a review here’ or ‘click here to check out our Google reviews’ and create a hyperlink with the unique link you created earlier for your Google review page.
Create a dedicated reviews / Google reviews page on your site
You can take this idea one step further and create a whole page on your website for reviews which can be accessed from your home page or navigation menu.
You may choose to include copies of existing customer reviews in the page’s main text or provide links to the reviews themselves.
You can then include a call to action and anchor text such as ‘leave us a review here’ with a hyperlink as above and link out to your Google reviews page.
Alternatively, you could add the link to a ‘leave a review’ button.
By including a reviews page or feature on your website, prospective customers will be encouraged by reading your existing reviews to do business with you, and any existing customers who haven’t previously left feedback may see this feature and be reminded to do so!
5 – Enlist the Help of an Online Review Management Company
If all this sounds great but you know you’re going to be struggling to try and implement these steps as well as maintaining focus on your core business activities, you should consider enlisting the help of an online review management company such as Online Reviews Guy to help increase your online reviews.
Using a review management company doesn’t just save you time but can really be a huge help in building regular positive reviews for your business. Collecting reviews isn’t just a short term strategy. If you want it to work as an integral part of your marketing strategy you will need to keep on top of monitoring your online reviews and make sure you’re getting consistently positive feedback.
When Google can see this happening regularly and that there is a pattern of happy and satisfied customers, you will see your business start to move up the Google Maps ranks. As we’ve shown already, higher rankings mean higher visibility which will naturally translate into more new customers!
Negative reviews are an inevitable part of the online business world and it’s possible you may at some point receive some reviews that paint you in a not so favourable light. Although negative reviews can’t be removed, by flooding your review pages with lots of positive reviews, those few negative ones will be buried in the background ensuring there’s no lasting negative impact on your reputation.
While we’re on the subject of negative reviews, it’s also worth mentioning that by using a review management company your negative views will be internalised. This enables you to make contact with the customer and address their concerns quickly, politely and appropriately and ensures your reputation stays intact!
If you’re looking for some free marketing and promotion, review management may be the answer. Most marketing and promotional activity can be expensive but online review management if done properly, will generate recommendations and get more people searching for your business online. The result? More prospective clients landing on your website which will have a direct effect on your profit margins and therefore provide you with free lead generation.
So, what are the main benefits of using a company vs doing this yourself?
Here’s a quick summary:
- An influx of regular, consistent, positive reviews
- Positive reviews will outweigh any negative ones
- Internalised negative reviews so action can be taken quickly
- Higher search engine rankings – increased visability
- Reviews are not just limited to Google but multiple platforms
- Monitor competitor reviews on various platforms and exceed them
So, are online reviews already part of your marketing strategy? Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that it’s something you should definitely consider if you haven’t already.
We’ve given you plenty of ideas on how to get more Google reviews, but we know that every business is different. If you need help figuring out the best way for your company to go about getting more online reviews, feel free to give our team a call and let us guide you through the process.
We’re happy to answer your questions too so drop us an email or reach out on social media if there’s anything you’d like to know!