Getting Google reviews from your customers is extremely important and beneficial for your business, especially in today’s digital marketing arena. In a recent survey by the Podium, researchers found that 93% of consumers use reviews to impact their purchase decision.
“Any business owner knows that your most authentic and impactful advocate is a happy customer, and technology has made every customer’s voice extremely powerful,” Eric Rea, CEO of Podium, said. “Our data shows just how much consumers trust each other, and therefore how much these advocates can drive purchase decisions and grow brand recognition through online reviews.”
Let’s dive into the impact and benefits that customer reviews will have on small businesses.
USER-GENERATED CONTENT AS MARKETING TOOLS
Reviews are powerful testimonies that can’t be underestimated in their influence on other customers and their decision to purchase. A company can market themselves and sing their own praises all day, and some people may believe them. But if an unbiased third party were to sing the same praises, potential customers would be more inclined to trust your company and product. In a study by Bright Local, researchers found that 91% of customers regularly or occasionally read reviews in order to determine whether a business is good or bad.
Some companies might not want customers to leave reviews because they have the fear of getting a bad review. Reading and understanding reviews, good and bad, are great ways to develop your social listening. Receiving these kinds of reviews allows you to respond to negative feedback and demonstrate that you care about your clients. In turn, you can adjust your products, services and customer care based on the experiences of your audience. Why ask for feedback when you’re unwilling to act on it?
THE SIGNIFICANCE ON LOCAL SEO
ANALYZE CUSTOMER PERCEPTION OF YOUR COMPANY
Google’s principal goal is to deliver the most relevant and beneficial result to users. In this pursuit, they not only want to know what your business does, but how it’s perceived. Reviews help Google determine this by the quantity of reviews and your average customer rating. Google rewards content, so adding user-generated content to your site or your Google My Business page will help in your search results page rankings.
Social proof drives traffic in the direction of the business with more reviews and a higher rating, earning the trust of customers along the way. When a user scrolls through the search results for a certain product or service on Google, business listings that include customer reviews have greater credibility and click-through rate.
INCREASE VISIBILITY ON SEARCH ENGINES
Customers will review your business whether you ask them to or not. Sometimes it’s not even on your website, Facebook page or Google My Business listing. Check aggregate websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp to see the full scope of what customers are saying about your business. The best way to maximize the effect of your reviews and maintain control over them is to prompt your customers in places where it helps your SEO or visibility.
HOW DO I GET CUSTOMER REVIEWS?
Since we’ve established the importance of customer reviews, let’s talk about how to get customer reviews. One warning before we deep dive into the practical tactics: never pay for reviews, including offering products or services as incentives. This goes against Google’s Terms of Service and will harm your rankings on the search engine.
Now that you know how to stay above board, try these five approaches to boost your review numbers.
ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS
According to the Bright Local study, 71% of customers left a review for a business when they were asked. If you’re concerned about pressuring a customer into writing a review, let this stat encourage you. The worst that can happen when you ask is that they say no!
USE THE RIGHT REVIEW WEBSITES
We’ve been talking a lot about the affect Google reviews, but customers often turn to websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor for recommendations as well. Here are some review website guidelines for some of the most critical review platforms:
HAVE GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
Happy customers will always have good things to say about your business. The way your employees and customer service representatives interact with clients sets the tone for the rest of their experience. When you treat every customer like a VIP, they’ll leave satisfied with their purchase decision and you’ll stay top-of-mind when it comes time to make another purchase.
RESPOND TO EXISTING REVIEWS
Like we mentioned above, negative feedback gives your company a chance to understand and analyze how you are perceived to your audience. However, letting those negative reviews go without response is the worst thing you can do for your business’ social proof. Learn how you can respond to negative Google reviews in a way that reviewers and future customers satisfied with. You may not be able to appease every upset customer, and that’s okay. It’s best to show that feedback is important to you and that your customers have a say in how your business is run.
INCLUDE A CALL-TO-ACTION ON YOUR WEBSITE
Customers and digital users who are already interacting with your business are a perfect target group to ask about sharing their experience. Insert a call-to-action button in a prominent location on the homepage (or other popular landing page), and encourage people to leave a review right away.