Reviews Hold The Keys to Customers Hearts
We no longer live in an age where we buy the same products or go to the same places just because mom and dad did, and we don't often choose services or products out of the blue unless they come recommended by someone else. But who recommends them to us? Nowadays-machines and strangers. While it sounds odd when you put it that way, it's really true, isn't it?
Google will find an answer to your query more quickly than if you sent a text to a friend. And if you're shopping for a product on Amazon, your faith in the product is either affirmed or lost based on the opinions of hundreds of strangers who've ordered it before you.
Take these two powerful tools (an online search engine and consumer reviews) and combine them? You get Google reviews. One of the most powerful and democratic institutions on the internet.
With around 90% of consumers saying they read reviews before making a purchase, it's no secret that businesses should take heed of Google's review platform, as those who do end up near the top end of local rankings, and the ones who don't"¦well, at best, they're missing out on a powerful tool; at worst, negative reviews could be affecting their business and they don't even know it.
But what if you do have a great product or service and nobody knows simply because"¦nobody knows? You want to get the word out there and you want customer advocacy that will help propel you towards more sales. So how do you gain Google reviews? Here are three ways you can start getting them today:
Send an Email Blast to Your List
Odds are if you've been running a business for any amount of time, you have your dedicated customers, and you have a way of getting in touch with them. You can do this by phoning them up, or posting a call to action on social media, but the best way is an email blast.
If you have contact information for a significant number of your customers, shoot out an email simply asking for an honest review of your business. You may be surprised how many will take the time to simply give you a rating and leave a comment. However (and this is important!) you have to make it easy for them-don't ever take your customers attention span and goodwill for granted! Provide them with a link where they can start leaving their Google review in just a couple of clicks.
Offer Your Services Free In Exchange For Review
If you're just getting your business off the ground, maybe you don't have an email list to rely on. In this case, try reaching out to your network; people you know who could benefit from your product or service and offer it to them free of charge in exchange for a review.
Logging into Google and dropping a rating and a comment is a small ask for most people if you're offering something of value. Many will see this miniscule time commitment in exchange for something free as a no-brainer. Plus, you get a chance to hear some feedback first-hand on your product or service.
Give Your Customers a Gift
Once you've got yourself established, an easy way to get customers to leave you a review is to offer an incentive. This is usually offered to your customers after they've made a purchase or experienced your services for the first time.
You can do some research on your demographic to see what sort of incentive might appeal to them most, or offer them some options, but a gift card is often a great choice. Some examples might be $15 to Starbucks or $25 to Amazon.
The key with these incentives is making them large enough that you can be sure your customers will put in the extra effort to leave you a review, but not too large that you risk being hugely out of pocket (especially when you could end up with a 2 star review from a disappointed customer) or look like you're trying to bribe your customer. You are offering them something as a way to honour their time, not incentivizing them for their positive feedback.
Disclaimer: An incentive could be interpreted as consideration for customers to leave only positive reviews, which is not what you want. Most online review platforms frown on incentive programs, though the consequences may vary from platform to platform and you should do your own research.
How Do I Get Bad Reviews Removed From Google?
One problem with asking customers for reviews is you never quite know what they're going to say about you. So what happens when they don't say something nice?
Fortunately for democratic opinion (but unfortunately for you) there are no ways to get rid of bad reviews on Google. However, you do have the option to respond to negative reviews and try to make the situation right with your customer. This is the best and really the only way to minimize a bad review: fix your customer's issue, overdeliver on your promise, and encourage them to change their review if they feel their experience was improved by your efforts.
If you received an erroneous review from a fake customer or one that contains falsified information, you can take this up with Google, but you may still have a hard time getting them to remove it.
Can I Link To A Google Review?
Yes! And it's easy. All you need to do is click on the user name that left your review (on your Google Business page), and click share to copy the link.
There are a variety of ways to glean reviews for your business, but Google reviews offers the highest visibility as it is where consumers search for your business. When your business pops up in the search results with a trainload of positive reviews, that social proof is going to give your business credibility with those looking for your product or service. Try some of the above methods out, and let us know how it goes in the comments!