Reeling in more Google customer reviews

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Google customer reviews help business owners know what their customers think about their business, whether it is a brick-and-mortar operation or an online store. Knowing what your customers think can help you better shape your business and policies.

Related: How to ask for testimonials and reviews from your clients

How to get more Google customer reviews

In this guide, we’ll review why Google customer reviews are important and how to gather them the right way.

  • Why do Google customer reviews matter?
    • Google reviews and search engine benefits.
  • Important considerations for Google customer reviews.
    • Establish a Google My Business profile.
    • Do not “review shame”.
    • Never buy Google customer reviews.
  • How to get Google customer reviews the right way.
    • Hop on the email marketing train.
    • Give your customers a page to land on.
    • Get your team involved.
    • Be responsive.
  • The bottom line? Deliver superior products and customer service.

Let’s jump in.

Why do Google customer reviews matter?

Online customer reviews have emerged as one of the most important digital marketing tools, especially for small businesses that want to compete with much larger companies. The best part is your company does not have to do much of the work except encourage customers to leave their favourable impressions about your business on one or more of the leading customer review sites.

Google reviews and search engine benefits

Google has dominated the search engine market for years. The company has recently placed much more emphasis on how its algorithm calculates search engine results.

Although YouTube videos and social media sites have gained more prominence in how Google ranks businesses, the company’s own customer review site has morphed into one of the most important search engine ranking factors.

Important considerations for Google customer reviews

Asking for Google reviews involves much more than a short conversation every time a customer leaves your store. You have to account for the power the internet has for requesting feedback about the performance of your company. Customers love to see their names behind engaging and informative reviews posted online.

Here are a few key points to take away from businesses that want to piggyback on the marketing power of Google customer reviews:

Establish a Google My Business profile

Google My Business is a widely used tool that gets your company noticed online. When you sign up at Google My Business, you immediately gain access to your business information on digital applications such as Google Maps and Google Search.

More importantly, a listing on Google My Business allows you to respond to customer reviews, which is critically important whenever you need to address menu items or customer service issues.

Editor’s note: Need some extra help with Google My Business and other digital marketing endeavours? Websites + Marketing from GoDaddy can help you get set up on Google My Business and show you your reviews on one dashboard.

Do not “review shame”

Google does not like it when business owners and operators respond to customer reviews by using a confrontational tone (or review shaming). In fact, focus on being positive when you respond to reviews with three stars or less. Consumers are looking to see how you handle that feedback because it gives them a better idea of your dedication to the overall customer experience. In essence, treat a negative review as an opportunity to show that you want nothing but the best for your customers.

Never buy Google customer reviews

Perhaps the practice most frowned on by Google is paying for positive Google reviews. There are a growing number of companies that offer what is referred to as “Five-star customer review services” that promise to deliver the best reviews on the Google platform. Taking a short cut by paying for positive customer reviews places your business in direct violation of Google guidelines.

Earn your positive reviews, don’t pay for them.

Above all, respond to the customer reviews uploaded on Google’s popular platform. Research demonstrates that more than half of your customers want a response from your business no more than one week after posting a review on Google. To demonstrate that you care about your reputation, try to respond to a review within 12-24 hours.

How to get Google customer reviews the right way

You now know what not to do when soliciting customer reviews presented on Google. The time has come to learn how to solicit customer reviews the right way.

Hop on the email marketing train

For Google customer reviews, it is not simply about email marketing, it is about reminding your customers about Google’s customer review platform. You can add a reminder at the end of every email newsletter, as well as run a feature campaign once in a while that clearly asks for new customer reviews.

Related: Using email marketing to get repeat customers

Give your customers a page to land on

You can guide your customers to writing customer reviews by developing a landing page. You can create a customer review landing page by using review management software or going it alone with the development of a unique page dedicated to promoting customer reviews. We recommend sharing links to the pages that send customers off into cyberspace to post reviews.

Get your team involved

Spend 15 minutes describing how your team can ask customers to leave reviews online. You can use the same principle that your business uses for comment cards. Something like “When you have a couple of minutes, please leave us some feedback on our Google My Business page.” You can print the information on a small card and hand out the cards before customers leave your business. This is an especially effective way for hotels, restaurants and other service-oriented businesses to solicit Google customer reviews.

Be responsive

It is not enough to just read the reviews left by your customers on Google. You have the opportunity to turn an unfavourable situation into one that attracts another loyal patron to your business.

The bottom line? Deliver superior products and customer service

What is the best way to motivate your customers to leave glowing reviews on Google? The answer is by beating the competition with superior products and customer service. In other words, you want to make your customers happy.

With so many digital tools to spread the word about your business, Google customer reviews often take a back seat for many company marketing campaigns.

Running a powerful programme focused on boosting the number of positive customer reviews is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase the number of new customers, which in turn, leads to a substantial uptick in sales.

Don’t delay — take charge of your Google customer review programme today!

 

 

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Bryan Caplan helps businesses elevate their digital marketing. The award-winning CEO of BJC Branding and professional speaker has provided digital marketing strategy to well over 1,000 businesses -- from startup to Fortune 500 -- since 2010. Bryan is a guest lecturer at the Suffolk University School of Business and a contributing columnist to several publications, including Constant Contact, BusinessTown and the Boston Business Journal. Invite Bryan to present at your next event.