Google is king in the world of SEO, with 92 percent of the global search engine market. When customers use Google to research your company, one of the first things they’ll see is your profile on Google My Business. This inset window contains helpful information such as your hours, contact information, relevant photos, and customer reviews.
Having more Google business reviews will pay off in several respects. More reviews and a higher rating will improve your Google search rankings, which in turn will generate more interest in your business. After all, 88 percent of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Obviously, you’d like your customers’ first impression of your business online to be as strong as possible. So how can you generate positive, enthusiastic Google business reviews?
In this article, we’ll discuss 5 solid, proven strategies for getting more Google business reviews—as well as one giant mistake that you shouldn’t make under any circumstances.
The best way to get more Google business reviews is to ask your customers in-person, as soon as they’ve had a positive experience with your business. Your employees can ask customers directly, or you can place signs and cards in strategic locations.
When requesting Google business reviews in person, you should aim to make the process as clear as possible. Many of your customers may not have left a Google review before, so help them out by providing some simple instructions about how to do it.
Even if people fully intend to give you a review when they leave, they don’t always follow through—writing a good review takes time, and life can easily get in the way. That’s why capturing your customers’ contact information and sending a reminder is one of the most effective strategies to get more Google business reviews.
Sending a quick follow-up text or email can dramatically increase the percent of customers who leave you a Google business review. The best messages make it easy for people to give feedback—for example, a short and sweet email asking for a rating from 1 to 10, or from 1 to 5 stars.
People who follow you on social media are much more likely to have had a positive experience with your business (or to want to have one in the near future). Some forms of social media, like Facebook, even have their own built-in feedback system for Facebook business pages—another valuable target for your customer review campaign.
As such, asking for customer reviews on social media is a great way to get positive, authentic feedback on Google. One good strategy is to make a post promoting a good review you recently received, which can encourage your followers to leave a strong review of their own.
Powerful customer feedback systems like Humm capture the real-time data you need to improve your business and build better customer relationships. These systems are devices or software that collect customer reviews in real time, often before they’ve even left your business.
Businesses use feedback systems both to drum up more reviews in general, as well as to get customers’ reactions about a specific issue or question—for example, asking customers about how long they waited to be served, or proposing a new menu item that you might introduce in the future.
Your customers are more likely to leave a review if they know that someone on the other end is actually listening to them. Make it your aim to respond to every Google customer review you get, thanking them for their feedback and addressing any concerns they have.
Answering your Google business reviews is also an excellent way to mitigate negative feedback, both for the reviewer and for potential customers reading the review. Customers who didn’t have a positive initial experience can often be won over with a prompt and polite response on your part—whether it’s an apology, an explanation for the disappointing experience, or a discount on their next visit.
Getting your customers to leave you a Google review can be tricky, even if you follow the steps above. For this reason, you might consider offering a small incentive as a token of appreciation for customers who take the time to write you a review.
However, this practice is clearly banned in Google’s terms of service, which state: “Don’t offer or accept money in exchange for reviews.” and “Don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk.” This means explicit financial rewards such as coupons or discounts, as well as contests and competitions designed to acquire large amounts of reviews at once.
The Kentucky law firm Winton & Hiestand Law Group learned this lesson when it ran a series of contests and giveaways to solicit Google customer reviews. After Google discovered this violation, nearly all of the company’s Google reviews vanished overnight—from more than 100 to just 1.
Getting more Google reviews is one of the most valuable ways to generate interest in your business. However, you need to make sure that you acquire these reviews through organic customer interest, not through financial incentives—otherwise, you could find yourself on the wrong side of Google, no matter how honest your customers were when leaving feedback.
Humm is a feature-rich real-time feedback platform for capturing customer reviews and monitoring your ratings on websites like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Want to learn how Humm can help restaurants and clubs gain better customer reviews and more actionable insights? Get in touch with the Humm team today.