The online world is somewhat of a hectic place. Unlike regular companies, where you have to register with a designated governmental organization, just about anyone can create a website or social media profile. What’s worse, many activities aren’t properly regulated so you never know what to expect from an online vendor.
For example, only a few years ago, we had a major influx of “Canadian pharmacies,” companies that sold drugs on the global market without adhering to any specific laws. After investing some money in optimization, these businesses could seek out potential customers and offer them unregulated products.
Even today, we have lots of examples of companies that work within the legal gray area, making money off of unsuspected, gullible clients. This is why Google reviews and other types of customer feedback have become a major talking point in the online space. They can help prospective customers figure out who’s legit and which brands to stay away from.
Why are Google reviews important?
Google reviews, but also other forms of online reviews, are vital when making a purchasing decision. Whether you’re looking to buy online or visit a company’s brick-and-mortar store, these scores show you how a business compares to its peers. Google reviews can also detail some other things about a company that you couldn’t have read anywhere else.
These reviews have a similar impact on companies as they do on customers by separating the best-performing organizations and penalizing those that do a poor job. Here are a few ways how getting lots of positive feedback can improve your business.
The social proof is the main reason why you should always try to get more reviews. This type of feedback is so powerful that it almost equals word-of-mouth. To be exact, 84% of users trust web reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.
Among others, brands that have lots of positive reviews find it easier to build customer relationships and loyalty. Almost 98% of people read reviews before making a decision, making it a focal point for any local marketer and business owner. While the review isn’t the only thing to consider, it can definitely skewer things in your favor.
The more positive reviews you get, the better your local optimization. For the most part, local rankings work by assessing the number and quality of Google reviews, but also a few other factors. So, by simply getting more Google reviews and higher star ratings, you can appear at the top of the search engine for relevant keywords.
Given that consumers trust online reviews, they’re more likely to purchase from brands that have positive scores (above 4.5). For example, the difference between a 3.5 Google score and a 5-star Google score can net you 13,000 more leads on average, depending on business and location. A similar can be said for Yelp, where a one-star difference can lead to 5% to 9% higher conversions.
The best thing yet is that it doesn’t cost you anything to ask for Google reviews. Unlike some other promotional activities, you can boost your online reputation by simply being pleasant to people visiting your store. Even if you don’t have the best product on the market, you can still make quite an impact by having proactive review policies.
Data suggests that 76% of customers leave reviews after being asked. As long as you can ensure that you have happy customers (as unhappy will leave a negative review), you can increase your reputation, conversion, and local SEO.
How to create a Google My Business account?
Creating a Google business account is the prerequisite for acquiring any Google review. Luckily, creating this account is rather straightforward, and you can do it in just a few minutes:
- Go to Google Sign In and click the “Create Account” button
- The drop-down menu offers two options, out of which you have to click “For work or my business”
- Fill in the basic information such as your company name, age, gender, and a few other things
After creating an account, it’s time to set up a profile.
How to create a Google Profile?
Now, it’s time to create a Google business page by providing the search engine with some basic data. Keep in mind there’s a chance that Google has already made your business listing, especially if you were in the business for a while and left company data in other directories.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating a business profile:
- Go to www.google.com/business
- Sign in with the previously made account
- Type in your business name
- Choose between three business types: “Online retail,” “Local store” or “Service business”
- Add business category
- Add physical address
- Add phone number and website address
- Verify the account
- After verifying the account, you can add other data such as services offered, work hours, text on messaging, business description, and photos
After going through all these steps, you can start sending review requests to your previous clients and boosting your Google search rankings.
When and who to ask for a Google review?
Asking for a review with impunity can easily come back to bite you. Instead, you should previously make an assessment of whether clients are more likely to leave positive or negative reviews. You also need to approach the person at the right time. Otherwise, they might be reluctant to help you or might even leave negative feedback.
So, here are a few things to keep in mind before you ask for Google reviews:
- Focus on clients who have been praising your products and stay away from those who had a negative experience
- If you ask a person whether they’re satisfied with the service and they say yes, that doesn’t mean they’ll leave a positive review. Many people give a positive confirmation in such situations to avoid conflict. So, you should prioritize clients who praised you of their own volition
- You should ask every repeat customer for feedback. They’re obviously into your products and services. The same goes for partners and other stakeholders you have relationships with
- If a person asks too many questions during a visit to your local business, this is a clear sign they’re a tough customer. As such, these guys usually are more likely to leave negative reviews
- Give customers some time to explore the product before they can form an opinion. This is crucial for complex products where clients often feel frustrated at first before exploring all features
- A good time to ask for a review is during weekends when most people are relaxed. Avoid periods when a person is likely to do something else (for example, during a big game)
- Emphasize that you just need a quick Google review without anything descriptive. This will increase the likelihood that past clients will react favorably when you ask for reviews
- Another good trick is to incentivize reviews. If necessary, offer free trials, products, services, and other goodies
With these tricks, you’ll get the most value when you request reviews from loyal customers.
5 Methods for asking for a review
There are lots of ways to ask for a Google review, and each one of them will be suitable for a specific situation or a client:
- Phone call
- Text message
No matter the approach, you should always leave a Google review link to avoid any mistakes (especially important for older folks). It’s also good to have a solid content marketing team for writing emails and other messages. Here’s a breakdown of each method and how to maximize its effectiveness:
The best way to ask for Google reviews is in person. As it’s direct communication, most people will feel obliged to respond positively, and if they give you their word, they’re more likely to stick to it. Here’s how to best utilize the method:
Ask after a praise
As mentioned, the best way to tell if a person will give you a positive Google review is based on their praise. Capitalize on that positive sentiment by making review requests on the spot. But as previously mentioned, only do so if the compliment comes unprovoked and if the person looks as if in a good mood.
Probe a client with questions
Asking a person whether they liked the product often leads to false positives. However, there are still a few ways you can figure out their disposition through a set of roundabout questions. For example, you can ask them about the entire product or service group. Many people will then go on a rant that might give you valuable insights as to how they perceive your product.
You can also ask them about their previous experiences and whether they previously bought from your store (if you don’t remember them). If they’re regulars, this is a good indication they’re satisfied with your offer. During this chit-chat, they might also reveal a thing or two about features and whether they’re helpful.
Fabricate a positive experience
Creating a positive sensation before making a Google review request is a brilliant tactic. The strategy works great for people who are undecided or swinging in your favor. In these cases, you can get a positive online review just by being helpful and making their day. Clients will be elated by that positive sensation and will likely feel good when they come home, resulting in positive reviews.
2. Phone call
Another common strategy for getting more Google reviews is by using phone calls. This one is especially great for customers that you have a working relationship with or have previously talked to via phone. As you’ve already made a few similar calls, the request won’t feel forced.
Ideally, you should create an excuse for calling that person. For example, you can give discounts or promote new products and services. Similar to when you collect reviews in person, you should only ask the client if they’re in a good mood. While you can generate some positive traction with your attitude and charisma, keep in mind that the sensation doesn’t translate as well via phone as it does in person.
3. Text message
Local businesses can also do a great job by using text messages. Given that everyone’s online nowadays, you would likely achieve better success if you send the text to Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram, or a similar service. Of course, you might also send by phone, in the form of SMS, although this one might not be ideal for everyone.
Asking for a Google review via text messages is perfect for younger generations but also people who might seem introverted. In fact, introverts who previously praised your product are ideal targets – if they went out of their way to praise your offering, they’re probably satisfied with the purchase.
Similar to any other review collection process, make sure that your message is personal enough. Just using the person’s name will do the trick, but it also won’t be bad to mention the specific item they bought. It’s also much better to ask for Google reviews quickly after the purchase when the positive sensation is still strong.
Emails share numerous similarities to phone calls, although they’re more structured and professional. As such, this method is much better for companies that are working with B2B clients. These are a few important things to note when actively collecting reviews via email:
Avoid email scraping
An important tidbit is that you should never use an unsolicited email address when you ask for a review. Most people get angry when their personal information is collected via cookies and newsletters. In fact, even if they left the info of their own volition, there’s a good chance they might not remember your brand (there are simply too many marketing messages circulating).
Because of that, it’s a good strategy to mention details of their visit, the product they bought, and, if you talked a bit, what was mentioned during that conversation. This will show that you really paid attention during the visit, thus setting yourself up for success.
Use company-wide emails
There’s also a chance to send emails in bulk, with minimal personalization, although this approach is much riskier. As each customer is a world of its own, you never know how they might react to this strategy.
For example, you can inform them about a company promotion or new product. It can be a part of your usual newsletter routine targeting the most loyal customers. At the bottom of the email, you can add a Google review link and ask them politely for feedback. The presumption here is that only happy customers will react to this one, while others will just ignore the request.
This method is especially good for companies that have good customer relationships and customer service. However, the method might not be ideal for new companies as you need to start off with as many positive online reviews as possible at the start of the campaign.
Besides the previous-mentioned strategies, there are lots of other ways to collect feedback from old and new customers. All of these tactics are meant to be used soon after the purchase.
“Thank You” cards
The best, least intrusive method of collecting Google reviews is by adding “Thank You” notes within the product packaging. Not only do these improve customer satisfaction and might work well for long-run retention, but they also increase that emotional high that most people feel after a purchase.
Aside from thanking the customer, you should also ask for a review and leave a Google review link for them to use. These cards can be easily made with a graphic design suite, and you can repurpose them in the future.
Post-purchase emails serve a similar purpose as the cards, although they come in a digital form. As such, they’re much better for online purchases and when there’s no physical packaging (service sales). After going through the usual courtesies, you can leave a Google review link at the bottom.
Besides gathering more reviews, these emails might also help cross-sell and upsell the person. You can send them a brochure and other promotional material they can use when planning the new interaction with the business.
Create a website pop-up
Another good trick is using website pages and pop-ups to boost your feedback acquisition. Unfortunately, given that the person will receive the message instantly after the purchase, there’s a chance they won’t convert that well. As the buyer doesn’t fully understand the product and its features, they might not recommend it straight away.
Because of that, it’s vital that the pop-up is as simple as possible. Just creating a star scale will likely be good enough, as you don’t want to bother the client too much.
After reading this article, you should know how to ask for a Google review. The process might be a bit tedious, and you’ll likely face a fair share of challenges along the way, but this shouldn’t discourage you. Keep in mind that even the best companies get negative Google reviews from time to time, and as long as you trust your offer and service, you should make review requests from willing clients.