In our post from a couple of weeks ago we took a look at how to take advantage of your Google My Business profile. Following on from that we’re now taking a look at how to make the best use of the review section of your profile.
Why use Google My Business to collect reviews?
With so many different ways of collecting reviews, from using dedicated platforms like Trustpilot and Feefo, to simply asking your customers for feedback there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it.
For some sectors, such as finance or medical, having Trustpilot reviews can seem much more trustworthy than just having testimonials on your website. For a small local business that mainly interacts with customers on Facebook, that might be the best place for reviews. However, all businesses can benefit from reviews on their Google My Business profile as a way of attracting new business through Google Search and Google Maps.
The advantage of using Google My Business as a way of collecting reviews is that they are displayed directly on the search results when people search for your business. This means before people even visit your website they have an idea of what previous customers think of your business. If your competitors all have high-quality, positive reviews and you don’t, it could convince potential customers that your competitors are better suited to solve their problems.
When using a platform such as Trustpilot these reviews are generally hidden unless people search for your business on their website or you embed their review widget onto your website. At this point, they may have gone with a competitor with Google My Business reviews. If you want to show reviews on your site, which we definitely recommend, there are a couple of ways to do this. You can either copy and paste these from your Google My Business profile or if you have a WordPress website, there are a range of plugins that can do this for you.
Another benefit of using Google My Business to collect your reviews is that there is a local SEO benefit to doing this. Businesses with lots of positive reviews will rank higher than a similar business in the same area with no reviews. Another benefit of having reviews is that when people search using keywords, rather than business names or categories, on Google Maps, Google will use the keywords from the reviews you’ve received. For example, a search for “Best coffee” shows a list of coffee shops along with a snippet from a review someone has left talking about the coffee:
For a small, local business this can increase the visibility of your business in the local area and drive more business.
Tips on collecting reviews on Google My Business
If you’ve decided that Google My Business is the platform you want to use for collecting reviews, or you have dedicated customers that are happy to leave reviews in multiple places, here are some of our top tips on how to make the most of this feature.
Give some guidance
Asking your customers to leave a review is a great first step but unless you give them some guidance or ideas on what to include chances are they’ll just leave you a star based review. Ideally, you want them to expand and add those details that really help give an impression of your business. This isn’t about only asking for positive things in their review or influencing what they say but rather giving them ideas of what they can include. For example, some things you can ask your customer to leave in their review are:
- What service did we provide for you?
- What exceeded your expectations?
- What can we improve on?
- If you provide services at a customer’s address, such as a plumber or window cleaner, ask them to add the town/village/neighbourhood the service was provided at.
This can then prompt your customers to leave more detailed feedback which inspires confidence in your business and improves your visibility for local searches for your services.
Create a template or automation to ask for reviews
To make your life easier and reduce the time spent on asking for reviews we recommend creating a template you can quickly send to customers. This way you can quickly add their name and email it across to them. If you have an eCommerce element to your business you can create an automation that automatically sends an email asking for a review a couple of days after the product arrives.
One positive to come from Covid is that everyone is aware of QR codes and is far more comfortable with them as a way of going to a website or ordering from a local cafe. If your business isn’t set up to send customers emails or you’d rather not do that you can create a business card with some guidance on what to mention and a QR code which takes them to leave a review.
Make it easy
With people’s lives being busier than ever, people can quickly decide that leaving a review is too much effort or not worth their time. This can usually be seen in the type of reviews you get as it’s usually people that have had an exceptional time and given a glowing review or people that are unhappy and leave a negative review, but never anything in between.
To make life easy for your customers you can do the above things such as giving them guidance on what they can include and giving them nudges to leave a review via email.
Another way you can make things easier is to provide a direct link to your Google My Business review section. There are some clever tools out there like this one from Whitespark that let you create a short link, that when clicked, directly opens up the review box ready for someone to type away. This helps to remove any confusion if there are similar businesses near you and saves your customers a couple of clicks.
Reply to your reviews
When a customer leaves a review on your Google My Business profile you are able to reply to the review. This is always a good thing to do whether it’s a positive or negative review as it shows you value feedback and gives you the opportunity to thank the customer for their time. It also encourages others to leave a review as they can see that the business owner values and cares about their feedback and their business.
Start collecting feedback!
Now it’s time to put this into action and start gathering reviews on your Google My Business profile but don’t be discouraged if not everyone leaves a review. By making a small start such as asking 2 previous customers every day you’ll soon have an in-depth set of reviews encouraging new customers to visit.
If you need support with optimising your Google My Business profile then take a look at our previous post, or get in touch with our digital marketing team who can audit your profile and suggest changes to maximise your visibility.