How to Ask for Google Reviews
If you own a business and have a Google Profile, you already know it can impact your reach. It’s why you have one.
People can do a simple online search of your business and see your hours, services, sales, announcements-whatever you want them to know about what you do and how you do it.
Along with all the general information about your business, people can see reviews left by other customers who wanted to rate and share the experience they had with your business. Some people will love you, some...not so much.
Guess who’s more likely to leave you a review?
Bad reviews are unfortunately part of running any business.
What’s that saying?
You can’t please everyone, you're not pizza?
Well, even pizza restaurants get bad reviews.
While you cannot avoid negative reviews, how you handle them is really important.
At the very least, you have to reply to any negative reviews right there in your Google Profile. Acknowledge that you see the unfavorable commentary by responding appropriately and respectfully. Show a willingness to make things right if there is merit to the complaint. In doing so you will demonstrate you really care about your customers and their experience, and it gives your brand some authenticity.
Even the best businesses will get a negative review once in a while.
Being proactive in getting more positive reviews will significantly offset the few bad reviews you might get. A single one-star review in a sea of over 100 5-star reviews doesn’t carry much weight, but if your business only has a few reviews and one of them isn’t so great, it will have a bigger impact on someone checking you out.
So how do you get more good reviews?
Do your happy customers even know how much they can help your business just by leaving a review? They might not, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t ask them to leave you one.
There are actually many reasons why you should.
Businesses looking to gain visibility, boost reputation, earn referrals, and get more customers will benefit from a proactive approach to increasing the number of Google reviews they receive. This is particularly true for local businesses.
It is essential for any business to get more Google reviews.
It takes time and patience to ask customers to leave Google reviews. However, asking for reviews is one of the best investments you can make when marketing your business.
The good news?
A cohesive plan combined with easily accessible tools will make it much easier for your business to ask for Google reviews in a faster and more automated way.
We've Compiled A List Of Clear and Actionable Ways To Get Started, Including:
- 6 reasons why your business should ask for Google reviews.
- Top tips for asking for Google reviews (and what to avoid).
- 7 ways to ask your customers for a Google review, including examples you can build on right away.
6 Reasons Why Your Business Should Ask For Google Reviews
1. Nearly all consumers read reviews before making purchases.
This should come as no surprise, but 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. In this ecommerce-driven world, 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision. Even negative reviews can have a positive effect on your sales. Research by social commerce specialist, Revoo, indicates that consumers spend five times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews, surprisingly with an 85% increase in conversion rate.
2. Reviews = Social Proof.
Reviews are hugely influential to consumer behavior. Not only are customers reading your reviews, but people also trust Google reviews. Of those polled, 42% say that Google is the best source of customer reviews for services. According to a BrightLocal report, 79% trust online reviews as much as family or friends. However, while they expect to see a 4-star average or above, consumers also rely on seeing negative reviews as proof of authenticity. We’ve become more savvy about this and it shows-30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews.
3. Reviews can lead to more clicks and purchases than advertising.
Save your ad budget and focus your efforts on asking for reviews. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “Today, customers can tell whether a product and service is good because there’s so much transparency. They can compare it to others very easily, and then they can tell all their friends — the customers will do part of the heavy lifting, marketing-wise.”
Buyers also tend to rely on customer reviews rather than advertisements because of personal experience and false advertising. Three out of four consumers actively ignore ads and sponsored posts. Customers will trust and act on online reviews since they come from real people who have worked with you and experienced your excellent service to provide firsthand reviews.
Reviews have become trusted recommendations that happen between neighbors. Many consumers admit they have visited brick and mortar businesses and ecommerce sites directly after reading positive reviews.
According to the Spiegel Research Center, positive customer reviews can increase conversions by 270 percent.
4. Reviews can significantly improve your search ranking.
Google loves to read reviews, using it to assess relevance and user sentiment. It also trusts the user-generated content that reviews represent.
Reviews now account for 15.44% of search ranking criteria.
If you consistently respond to reviews, Google also measures this engagement and is more likely to rank you higher than a business with fewer reviews and responses.
According to Google, businesses should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Reviews and your responses also provide frequent opportunities for adding search keywords, including your business name, service offerings, and location.
5. Reviews are a compelling and cost-effective method for local businesses to increase customer traffic and revenue.
If you want to win the local search game, polish your review request plan.
Having hundreds of reviews will not only influence consumer purchase decisions; it makes it possible for local businesses to rank higher than large businesses in search without spending on ads.
According to a recent study by Neil Patel, small local businesses can outrank large national chains in local search. According to Patel, any small business can set up their Google My Business, curate citations, build personal customer connections that lead to favorable local reviews, and personally address feedback in Google listings.
A respectful 51% of consumers will select a local business if it has positive reviews. In fact, reviews are now more important in search ranking than proximity.
6. Reviews must be abundant, detailed, and fresh.
Consumers typically read ten reviews before trusting a business, and 20% read more than 10. Marketers want to ensure that the 10 visible Google reviews reflect the type of business experience they are trying to portray and should respond to these reviews in order to maximize the chance of impressing potential customers.
Consumers respond to reviews that appear legitimate and “real” and many look for detailed, longer reviews that tell a believable story they can personally relate to.
It’s ideal to have a constant flow of reviews coming in because consumers also believe that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant and really only pay attention to reviews written in the last month. This data shows that a cohesive and active plan to consistently and regularly ask your customers for fresh, new, and detailed reviews is essential to your marketing strategy.
Top Tips For Asking For Google Reviews (And What To Avoid)
By now you have likely realized actively managing your business reputation and increasing your Google reviews is essential to a good marketing plan. But what is the next step?
Ask for Positive Reviews and Recommendations
While we may feel uncomfortable asking your customers for reviews, according to BrightLocal, 76% of customers respond positively to direct requests for a review and will go on to write one for a business they love and support.
There’s no need to worry about negative reviews - Alan Muther, an SEO expert at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, shares that the most popular review scores customers give are five and almost everyone chooses to leave a 5-star review over a 4 star.
One note, although you can and should ask for a review, you should limit your direct requests and follow-ups to no more than two or three requests.
I mean...we can lead a horse to water, BUT…
Create an Action and Execution Plan for Getting More Reviews
Your plan can include who you will ask, how you’ll ask, how often, and which methods you’ll use to ask for reviews. It should also have information on how you will use reviews in your other marketing, including your website.
Get Your Timing Right
The key to asking for a review is in the timing. You must use a degree of finesse in your approach and ask at times when your customers are naturally most likely to be happy and satisfied with your products and service. While the timing will depend on your business and service delivery, you should generally wait a day or two after a purchase has been completed.
Alternatively, pick a milestone event like their 10th purchase, a customer follow-up appointment, or after you have successfully responded and resolved a customer issue.
Make Sure Your Customer Experience Game Is on Point
Are your customers consistently happy with your goods and services?
Are there unresolved complaints on your online reviews?
If so, it’s time to clean up your processes to provide customers with the best possible experience every time.
Research shows that 30% of people who have had a poor experience with you will spontaneously leave a negative review.
The good news?
Negative reviews are powerful feedback that gives you a chance to improve your processes and show potential customers how you respond to and resolve issues. Transparency is also key to developing trust and authenticity - 70% of consumers expect to see negative reviews about your business so leave them visible and respond to them.
Get Your Employees on Board
Your employees should be your “A-team” in your Google review plan. Train them on how to ask for reviews, remind them to say thank you, and make sure they understand how valuable reviews are for your long-term business success and what their role is in getting great reviews from happy, satisfied customers.
Respond To Every Review
ALWAYS thank your customers for sharing their experience with your business, even if the review is negative. This shows your customers (and Google) that you care; it increases your measurable engagement and allows you to add keyword content to your Google listing naturally.
If the review is negative, your response adds to the authenticity and transparency of your customer service that consumers will respond to.
You must respond positively and professionally, making it clear you have heard and acknowledged the customer’s problem or concern and that you are committed to resolving the issue. Offer valuable ways to fix the problem and invite the customer to reach out offline.
Make It Easy For Customers to Write a Review
Give your customers your Google Review short link and include a link with instructions for how they can post a review. Give them an example of what you are looking for, and give them an idea of the most helpful format.
Your request should reference a product, service, or project they have recently completed. Asking questions can lead to a detailed story of their experience that will add significant value for other customers looking for your products and services.
You could also reference a comment they may have given in a meeting or a testimonial they provided for your business as a way to make the review process easier.
Write up what they said previously and ask them if they’d mind simply copy/pasting it into a Google review.
Don’t Force It
Asking for a review should be natural and should never be pushy; it should ALWAYS be made as a polite, heartfelt, and respectful request. It’s also good to make it clear that all feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
Don’t Incentivize Customers to Leave a Review and NEVER Buy Reviews
You cannot pay customers for reviews or offer gifts for writing a review, especially for positive reviews. This is a direct violation of Google’s terms of service and often leads to poor-quality reviews.
Also, do not discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers. This is known as review-gating, and Google also specifically prohibits it, and it just isn’t authentic and not a trust-building tactic.
7 Ways To Ask Your Customers For A Google Review
1. Ask at the time of service.
If your customer has expressed delight with your service or product, this is a natural time to ask them to share their experience with others by reviewing your business. Make it easy for them by posting your review short link and a dynamic QR code to your Google Business Profile review link.
Be sure to train your staff not only to ask for a review but how to ask for it. You cannot incentivize customers to review your business, but you can give your employees a bonus for asking for reviews!
2. Put a review request card in customer’s shopping bags.
Design and print cards or stickers to place in customers’ bags that request a review. You could also send similar cards as postcards to your customers. Using something like this can increase your reviews by 25%!
3. Include a regular request in your newsletters.
The request can be a footnote in your newsletter or other regular email correspondence. A low-key "Got feedback? We'd love to learn more about it! Leave us a review at (link)" This gives readers an easy way to share their story, and a friendly, non-pushy request for them to do so.
Highlighting a customer and their review in each email with the same review request as above will increase the chances that your readers will respond by posting their own review!
4. Create an automated sequence with a templated email that is triggered by specific events.
This email should always be personalized and should not be a mass email to your entire list. If your system supports it, include the last item your customer bought.
The automated email should be sent to customers 2 or 3 days after their first purchase or at another appropriate and measurable time frame. Use a clear, direct subject line like: “We love learning from your shopping experience,” and add a personalized email message that thanks your customer for their business, asks about their experience, and requests that they share their story at [Link to Your Google Business Profile].
5. Send a personal email to your clients after a project has been completed.
This is an excellent approach for businesses with higher-end services and products and can be made by the business owner or a customer service representative, or a project manager. If possible, consider sending it as a personal, handwritten note.
Remember to add the short URL!
6. Try a text messaging app to ask for reviews.
Consumers are increasingly likely to respond to text more readily than email. Use this tool and ask for a review in a quick follow-up! Studies have shown that SMS requests are a highly effective way to get reviews, especially for retail and hospitality businesses.
Keep the request simple, light, and direct, like this example: “Hey , thank you for visiting us today! Could you review your experience with us today at [LINK] to help serve you better? Thanks!”
7. Consider using a reputation management service or app.
If you’re strapped for time, do not let go of the opportunity to gain more business through added reviews. There are numerous apps and tools that will manage your review process smoothly and efficiently.
You can also simplify and automate your in-house process by using email automation, a text messaging service, and Google Alerts to keep you informed of new reviews that you should respond to.
Putting resources into increasing your Google reviews will pay big dividends in your search results and new customer acquisition.
Need support putting your review plan into practice? Contact our team of experts at Neon Goldfish today!