Did you know that 40% of prospective customers form an opinion about a local business from reading just one to three reviews? That’s not a figure to be ignored if you are working hard to build a local business and expand your customer base. . In addition, 90% of prospects trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from family and friends. That’s how powerful online reviews can be.
Customer reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook and other review-dedicated platforms are essential for growing your business – but Google reviews in particular should have top priority in your overall marketing and SEO strategy.
Why are Google reviews important?
- Google loves reviews. Customer reviews will show up on your Google My Business profile, Google Maps and in search results, boosting your business’s online visibility and presence. The more visibility and presence you get through a steady stream of reviews, the more Google will love your business and raise you in its search rankings.
- Google is the most popular search engine on the planet. It may be equal in functionality and features to other sites like Yelp but Google simply outstrips them all when it comes to popularity. Quite simply, your business needs to be listed on Google, if only for the sheer number of visitors it gets. Many of those will be potential prospects searching for local businesses, including yours.
- Google My Business is the best search engine for local businesses. It is the place almost every prospect will go to first when searching for a business in their area. Google’s many local business-friendly features like Google Maps and Google My Business posts are simple and free tools that attract new prospects and interact with current customers.
- Google is highly trusted by users. Google’s powerful filtering algorithm and strict review policies ensure that spammy or fake reviews do not go undetected for long. Readers trust Google in this respect because they can be pretty confident that the reviews they are reading are honest and organic. Yelp comes in a close second.
Tips to get customers to give you great Google reviews
- Ask your customers. You’ve probably read this in a dozen different places before but really, it is the easiest and most straightforward way. Start by asking your best customers if they would leave a review on your Google My Business profile. Your best customers are obviously your most satisfied customers, so you can be sure that the review will be a good one. Whenever possible, try to do this in person and convey to the customer how much you would personally appreciate their feedback. Nine out of ten times, that customer will be more than happy to give something back for the great service they’re getting.
- Train your staff to ask for Google reviews after positive transactions. It should be easy for them to know whether a transaction has been successful or not and whether the customer has had a positive experience with your business.
The best way to accomplish both of these tasks is by incorporating a robust but inexpensive software, like ReviewerPro.com to help do most of the heavy lifting.
- Create a direct link to your Google My Business Reviews. Some customers are pros at giving reviews, but others have no idea how to go about it. Use ReviewerPro to create links, make them user-friendly and also to track their usage. The easier you make it for customers to review your business, the more likely they will be to do so. Place the links wherever you can; on your website, your receipts, under your email signature and in your newsletters. Some businesses print little flyers which they hand out to customers following on-premise transactions. You might consider doing this as well. An example would be, “We hope you enjoyed doing business with us and we look forward to seeing you again. Would you consider leaving us online feedback?” After which relevant links would be added. ReviewerPro has a text, email and print option that gives the customer various effort-free ways to review you.
- Handle bad reviews professionally. The occasional bad review is inevitable but the way you handle it affects the impact it will have on your business, Address negative reviews promptly, professionally and politely and offer a resolution to the customer’s problem, or inform that the problem has been dealt with. The way you handle bad reviews can actually be a benefit rather than a bane. It is your chance to show readers that you are a reputable business that cares about customer satisfaction and resolved issues quickly, professionally an efficiently. Using a service like ReviewerPro has a built in feature that helps keep the bad reviews out in the first place – which many have found to be invaluable!
- Be worthy of great reviews. The best way to ensure great Google reviews is to earn them by providing outstanding service. Ultimately, it’s your commitment to customer satisfaction that will guarantee good reviews and keep them coming in. All the tips and tricks in the world will not help if your business and your service do not meet customer expectations.
Finally, do online reviews really matter? Can they make or break a business? Absolutely! At the very least they certainly do have an impact on conversion rates and ultimately, a business’ bottom line. When you consider that customers turn to online reviews before making purchasing decisions and that consistently good reviews build trust in prospects then yes, online reviews in general do matter – and Google reviews in particular are vital for any local business that wants to stay ahead. Just remember not to put all your eggs in one basket. As a matter of fact, Google will think there’s something fishy going on when you have reviews only on Google My Business. Google reviews are a must but in addition, you need to cultivate reviews on other sites as well for maximum exposure and visibility.