Today, customers hold more power than ever before. They may be the most informed consumers in history, with their easy access to extensive knowledge of products, services, and businesses. They also exert tremendous influence over the choices of other consumers. 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from people they know and trust them 12 times more than manufacturer product descriptions.
Wise companies recognize this rise in consumer power and take advantage of it by maximizing customer reviews. But if you have limited time and resources that makes a full-out customer review campaign on every platform challenging, you will get the best bang for your buck by placing a high priority on getting more Google reviews.
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
Everyone knows that Google is the most popular search engine site in the world, dominating all others with almost 93% of the global search engine market share (as of Sept 2019). Therefore, it’s no surprise that Google is also one of the largest targets for digital marketing efforts.
Google reviews check all the boxes for ways that customer reviews benefit your business:
- They increase trust – Reviews make a business feel more trustworthy both in the eyes of customers and Google itself.
- They establish credibility – Customers place a lot of stock in what they see as an unbiased third party opinion.
- They create social proof – People are more likely to buy something if others agree that it’s a good purchase.
- They provide opportunities for great customer service – How your business seeks to rectify a customer’s negative experience (on a platform where other customers can see it) can be as important as reviews of positive experiences.
- They help with search rankings – Search engines factor reviews into how your website ranks.
However, Google reviews pack an extra punch. Google trusts their own reviews more than those from some other sites, simply because they have more power to verify the credibility of the reviews. For example, If one person leaves 10 reviews for a business from 10 different Google accounts, Google has ways to track that. If someone sets up 10 Yelp accounts to post fake reviews, Google can only hope that Yelp will notice and stop it.
Therefore, while all reviews are a driving factor in Google’s Search Engine Page Rankings (SERPs) and in Google My Business pack rankings, Google reviews can help you fare better in both.
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How to Get More Google Reviews
Luckily, there is a simple and effective trick to get more customer reviews on Google. It doesn’t take a complex campaign, costly giveaways, or learning new business strategies. You don’t have to be an expert in SEO either. All you have to do is ask.
How to Ask Customers for Reviews
Customers are usually more than happy to leave you a review if you ask them. It’s a simple tactic, but that doesn’t mean you put minimal thought and effort into it. Strategically choosing how and when you ask for reviews will produce better results.
Asking for a review in person can feel awkward, but it’s likely to be the most effective method. A great time to solicit a review is when a customer compliments or praises something about your business. Then ask them if they’d be willing to share their opinion on a Google Review. You can also make it as non-threatening as a tablet set up near the cash register with a sign asking for feedback.
A typical way to ask for reviews is via email. Customers can be very responsive, especially if the request is made soon after a conversion event, like a purchase, sign up, opt-in, or follow. Keep your email short, sweet, and to the point. Consider using a rating scale or brief survey. Don’t forget to make it match the voice and feel of your brand.
On Social Media
If someone tags your company or product on social media, that’s a perfect opening to respond that you’d love to hear more about it and include a link to your Google My Business page where they can leave a review. You can also share reviews from customers on your own social media pages with a CTA saying you’d love to get more feedback from your followers.
Through SMS/Text Message
Text messages give you immediate access to customers. Plus, it might be a better way to get your request actually seen. Studies show that consumers read 82% of text messages within 5 minutes, but only open 1 in 4 emails. Just make sure to keep your message short—and don’t forget a review link.
On Thank You Pages
Another place to ask for reviews is on your thank you page after a customer makes a purchase or completes a download.
When to Ask for Reviews
Timing is just as important in getting more Google reviews from your customers. It’s in your best interest to pick the moments when your customers are satisfied enough that they would leave a positive review, like:
- After a purchase
- After a product has been delivered
- When a customer re-purchases or re-orders
- After a customer tags your brand on social media
- When customers are browsing your site for other products/services
- If they refer another customer
- Before a customer walks out the door
Make It Easy
No matter how you ask for reviews, make it as simple as possible. No one wants to wade through multiple steps just to leave their opinion. The easier you make it, the more likely you are to get the reviews you ask for.
Get Started Today
Most businesses now realize the importance of customer reviews. Be aware that you might need to be careful with some review sites, like Yelp, who have strict policies about asking for reviews. But Google is perfectly okay with it and Google reviews can be extremely effective. So there’s no time like the present to get started.
Visit the Big Leap blog for more tips on improving your company’s status online.