Reviews are powerful because they help a business stand out in the Google Maps and search results. More than 90 per cent of people value reviews since the majority of them are likely to not trust advertising.
A business with lots of genuine and positive user reviews is seen as trustworthy by people and around 92 per cent of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a positive review.
Moreover, 87 per cent of people trust reviews as much as word of mouth. Hence, reviews have the power to influence customer decisions.
This article will discuss all the essential questions related to Google reviews to help you manage your business efficiently and confidently.
How valuable are Google reviews?
Google reviews are thought to be a major ranking factor for local SEO. They also help customers trust your business as people don’t engage in buying unless they trust a product.
Here are the top reasons why Google reviews are valuable for your business:
- They help you make an excellent first impression with your prospects.
- Bad reviews cost businesses loss of clients and revenue.
- Positive reviews help to improve your SEO score leading to higher organic rankings.
- You can identify the likes and dislikes of your customers.
- They help to gain brand trust.
- Better reviews result in more clicks to your website and convert more customers.
- You can spend less on advertising because you get more inbound leads organically.
How to encourage genuinely happy customers to provide a review
Reviews from happy customers open the door for future business opportunities. Here are some of the most acceptable ways to attract reviews from satisfied customers:
- Ask customers to leave a review and make it easier for them to write a quick review. For instance, you can send a direct link to your Google review page via email or message.
- Run a drip email marketing campaign to follow up with customers. Make sure every email is personalised for individual customers.
- Gamify the process of leaving reviews to encourage customers to take action.
- Resolve customer complaints as early as possible and then again ask the customer to leave a review.
- Create ‘leave us a review’ cards.
- Request your social media followers to leave reviews.
- Promote your review link in your email signature.
- Remain proactive in your approach to gather customer reviews.
- Reply to all reviews to ensure people know you have read and appreciate the review.
Should you offer incentives?
No, you should not offer incentives to customers to post reviews because running contests or sharing incentives to solicit reviews in bulk violate Google guidelines.
A law firm made this mistake by encouraging bulk customer reviews and offering incentives by running contests. Google penalised the firm as it was giving family zoo passes in return for a Google review.
Tom Godfrey from CHOICE says “It’s also worth remembering that if a company pays someone to write an inflated review, even if the person has actually used the goods or service, this may also be considered misleading. The same considerations apply to editing or deleting less favourable ratings.
Should you plant fake positive reviews?
You should never buy Google reviews or post fake Google reviews to make your business look trustworthy.
Google has clearly stated, “Do not post fake content, don’t post the same content multiple times, and don’t post content for the same place from multiple accounts.“
Although it might be tempting for you to do so, it will never help you in the long run. You will have the risk of getting penalised by Google, and if the person writing you review has not used your service then it’s likely the review will be spotted as inauthentic and actually damage your brand.
What should you do if you get a troll?
Trolls can irritate the business owners to an extent where they are compelled to delete their Google business listing.
No matter how annoying or potentially damaging their comments can be they still need to be replied to in a professional manner.
This is important as people looking at your reviews will generally read the negative reviews so quickly defusing the reviewer and then moving on to show how great you are is a good way to defend against this type of behaviour.
Generally the best way to respond to a troll is to engage with them as little as possible and if you feel the comment made violates Google’s policies, then you can report the review to Google.
How to handle poor reviews
Almost every business has to handle angry customers. You can’t escape that, but you can use your intelligence and patience to manage poor reviews smartly.
Here are some of the best ways to handle poor Google reviews:
- Respond to negative reviews promptly. Your prompt response, acceptance of mistake (if genuine), and offering an apology can limit the damage done.
- Be honest and always use a professional tone to answer the commenter.
- Never copy and paste responses from other reviews. Always add personalised comments and make your best effort to fix the issue.
- Continue encouraging your customers to leave reviews. New customer reviews will limit the visibility of the poor reviews and control the damage done.
- Don’t hesitate to offer compensation if needed. In such cases, take the matter offline, fix it and request the customer to share their experience.
What your customer says about your business is more valuable when compared to what you say about your business. Positive Google reviews help to generate more leads, boosts your SEO, and helps lower your advertising costs. Take the necessary steps to encourage people to leave reviews for your business and establish brand credibility.
This article was originally published on flyingsolo.com.au and has been republished with permission.