Today, consumers trust Google local reviews, also known as Google Maps reviews or Google My Business reviews, almost more than any other source. According to statistics from Bright Local, businesses with high ratings on Google are 20x more likely to be found above search results than those with low ratings.
Moreover, 81% of users check business ratings before making their final decision on where to spend their money. When you see the impact that reviews have on consumers and their buying habits, it’s easy to understand why you should take them seriously.
This article covers everything you need to know about creating and maintaining your business's Google My Business listing so that you can make sure your customers can find you online and leave a review whenever they have a great experience.
Why are Google reviews so important?
Before we dive into the strategies that you can use to encourage more reviews, you first need to understand why they are important and how they can positively impact your business.
At the end of the day, reviews are what get you new customers, so it’s crucial to know how they work and how to get them. Google reviews are more important than ever because there’s been a shift away from traditional forms of advertising, like TV and radio, towards digital advertising. Consumers are now more likely to turn to the internet for product and service recommendations than ever before.
Google Reviews are a big credibility boost to your business and you don’t need to spend a dollar.
Google Reviews increase your online exposure and help with SEO, especially local SEO.
Google Reviews are a great way to gain testimonials for use in other marketing areas.
Google Reviews are a good way to better understand what you are doing right and/or wrong as a business.
Here are some stats to back this up:
98% of people at least ‘occasionally’ read online reviews for local businesses (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey)
28% of online consumers check business reviews more today than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: Software Advice, How Effective Are Companies at Responding to Online Reviews?)
82% of consumers will research products online before going in-store to make a purchase. (Source: Bazaarvoice, Why Ratings and Reviews Are Important for Your Business)
How to request a Google review
While some people take it upon themselves to leave a review, most of us need to be asked. This may seem a little pushy or intimidating, but it’s actually easier than it sounds and can be done with one simple request.
How you ask for a review really does matter, so let’s dive into the best practices for requesting reviews.
Start by identifying your top customers - those who spend the most money with you and make repeat purchases are the ones who you want to request reviews from. These customers are the most likely to leave a review because they already like your business and want to share their experience with others.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews - make sure to include the ability to leave a review on your website and on your receipts so that customers have an easy and accessible way to leave their review.
Check out some more ideas for encouraging customers to leave reviews here.
You need to respond to reviews
48% of consumers say that brands responding to reviews improves their odds of making a purchase. (Source: Bazaarvoice, Why Ratings and Reviews Are Important for Your Business)
80% of people expect reviews to be responded to within 2 weeks. (Source: Sitejabber, Why Are Reviews Important? Online Reviews Statistics to Know)
64% of consumers would prefer to buy from a company that is responsive to reviews over one that appears perfect. (Source: HubSpot, The Critical Role of Reviews in Internet Trust)
A personalized review response can bring back 51% of customers who’ve had a negative experience. (Source: Sitejabber, Why Are Reviews Important? Online Reviews Statistics to Know)
How to respond to reviews
If the feedback or review is positive, then express your gratitude to them for taking the time to write. Ensure you share the feedback with your team. If the feedback is left publically then use it on your website.
If it was given in private then ask for permission to use it publically. They may be more comfortable if you do not use their surname. If they are reluctant then don't pressure them. Be graceful.
You should also be sure to respond to negative reviews, whether you agree with them or not. Treat negative reviews or feedback as an opportunity to improve.
If a negative review is left publically such as on social media, try and obtain their details to resolve the issue in private - you do not want to get into a public debate. Instead that the customer for their feedback, express your regret that they are unhappy and ask them to direct message (DM) you with their details so you can contact them directly to discuss.
Google reviews are critical to the success of your business, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting as many reviews as possible.
To get reviews, you first need to ask your customers to leave them. Make sure to do this with care and genuine concern, and you’ll be able to get more reviews and ultimately drive more customers through the door.