Building an online reputation is a common challenge for businesses. The biggest hurdle many face is establishing credibility online.
According to a 2023 survey by BrightLocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses before making a purchasing decision, highlighting the significant influence of online feedback.
Online reviews, particularly on platforms like Google, are testimonials of your business's service quality and reliability. For new customers, these reviews can be the deciding factor between them choosing your company over another.
Many business owners feel unsure about how to approach their customers or fear that seeking feedback might come across as pushy.
The key is seamlessly integrating the review process into the customer journey, making it easy and convenient for them to share their experiences.
What are Google Reviews?
Google Reviews are a feature of Google My Business and Google Maps that allows customers and users to write public evaluations and rate businesses based on their experiences.
These reviews, usually with a star rating out of five, provide feedback about businesses, including services, products, and overall customer experience.
Potential customers often check Google Reviews when deciding whether to engage with a business, making them crucial for establishing credibility and trust online.
For your business, these reviews offer insights into customer satisfaction and areas for improvement. They also play a significant role in local search engine optimization (SEO), influencing how your website ranks in local search results on Google.
Where do Google Reviews Appear?
Google Reviews primarily appear in a few key places when people search online.
1. Google Search Results: When someone searches for a business by name on Google, the business's Google My Business (GMB) listing will often show on the right-hand side of the search results (known as the Knowledge Panel). Within this panel, you'll see the business's aggregate star rating and a link to read its reviews.
Example: Try searching for "local restaurant near me" or a specific business name, and look for the Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side.
2. Google Maps: If you search for a business or a type of business on Google Maps, the results will display with their respective star ratings. Clicking on the business will provide more detailed information, including individual reviews.
Example: Open Google Maps and search for "coffee shops in [your city]" to see the listings with their ratings.
3. Google My Business Website: Some businesses use GMB to create a simple website. On these sites, there's often a section dedicated to showcasing the business's Google Reviews.
Example: If a business shares their GMB-generated website link with you, browse it to see if they've included a review section.
4. Local Pack in Google Search: When you search for local services, like "dentists in [city name]" or "bookstores near me," Google displays a "Local Pack" – a set of three local businesses relevant to the query. This pack shows the business name, location, and aggregate star rating.
Example: Type in "hair salons in [your city]" on Google and look for the set of three local business listings that appear at the top of the results.
Why do Google Reviews Matter for Your Business?
Consumers have many options at their fingertips. For example, when looking for a new restaurant to try, they can easily browse through multiple choices, from global franchises to quaint local eateries.
But how do they know which offers the best cuisine, ambient atmosphere, or the most value for their money? More often than not, they turn to online reviews to guide their decisions. The voice of the customer has become more influential.
The following key advantages of Google reviews:
- Builds Trust and Credibility: New customers often look to reviews to determine if a business is trustworthy and reliable. 78% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from a friend or a family member.
- Influences Purchasing Decisions: According to Statista, approximately 70% of online consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Positive feedback can tip the balance in favor of your business over competitors.
- Enhances Local SEO: Google Reviews play a role in search engine optimization. A business with numerous quality reviews will likely rank higher in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
- Provides Valuable Feedback: Reviews serve as a direct line of customer communication. They offer insights into what's working well and where improvements might be needed, aiding business development.
- Encourages Engagement: Responding to positive and negative reviews shows your commitment to customer satisfaction. This active engagement fosters loyalty and encourages repeat business.
Google Reviews are powerful tools that drive traffic, build trust, and, ultimately, boost sales.
Getting Google Reviews Is Not as Hard as You Think!
Chasing up Google reviews from customers used to be tiresome and often unrewarding.
Numerous steps were involved: reaching out to customers, following up, and hoping they'd take the time to write a review.
However, this process has been streamlined with technological advancements, especially the introduction of AI website builders like Durable.
Durable makes it easy to automate the collection of these reviews. For example, with Durable, you only need to navigate to the website editor. Go to the section where you want to add the Google reviews and click “Add Section.”
Then, search or browse to locate the “Google reviews” option. Select it and done.
You can then customize the shape and the general look and feel of the review display.
Modify colors, text sizes, and more to make the review section your own. You can also adjust functionalities like automatic review fetching and section titles.
With our platform, the emphasis shifts from manually chasing reviews to effortlessly curating and showcasing them, enhancing your online brand image.
Note: You have now set up the reviews on your website, which is a fantastic start. This seamless integration makes your site ready to showcase valuable customer feedback.
However, a platform set up to display reviews is just one piece of the puzzle. The next critical step is gathering those reviews.
So, how do you encourage your customers to share their experiences and ensure a consistent flow of Google reviews on your site? Let's delve into the nitty-gritty of acquiring Google Reviews.
How to Get Google Reviews
There are various effective ways to encourage your clientele to take that extra step and leave a review. These steps will help you gather a substantial number of reviews so that potential customers can have a clearer, more trustworthy picture of what your business offers.
- Directly Ask Customers
- Use Email Campaigns
- Share on Social Media
- Add a Review Link on Your Website
- Leverage Vendor and Partner Relationships for Reviews
- Automate with Durable Platform
- Monitor and Respond
- Engage in Review-Boosting Activities
1. Directly Ask Your Customers for Reviews
This is the most straightforward method to get Google Reviews. Simply ask your customers.
While this sounds basic, many business owners often overlook it. People are generally more willing to leave a review if they've had a positive experience and know their feedback is valued.
Customers often want to share their experiences but might only think about it if prompted. When you ask directly, it shows that you care about their opinion and always strive to improve.
How to Do It
- In-Person Request: If your business involves face-to-face interactions, make it a habit to ask customers for feedback at the end of their visit or purchase.
- Email Request: Send a follow-up email after a successful transaction or service completion. Keep it short and sincere, emphasizing how much you value their feedback. Include a direct link to where they can leave a review.
- Invoice Note: If you send invoices or receipts, consider adding a note at the bottom encouraging reviews. Mention how quick and easy it is to share their experience.
Remember to always ask for reviews in a polite and non-pushy manner. Ensure the customer knows that it's optional.
Timing is also crucial. Ask for reviews when the experience is fresh in their minds, ideally within a day or two of the interaction.
Lastly, make the process simple. The easier it is for your customers to leave a review, the more likely they will do it.
2. Use Email Campaigns
Email remains one of the most effective channels for direct customer communication. It allows you to connect personally, providing a platform to share important messages and prompts.
Email campaigns are a potent tool for gathering Google Reviews.
You integrate review requests into your email strategy. You can target a broader audience and remind those who might've forgotten to share their experience.
How to Do It
- Automate the Process: Set up automated emails that go out after a purchase or service has been provided. Ensure there's a reasonable delay, giving the customer time to experience the product or service.
- Personalize the Message: Address the recipient by name and mention the product or service they availed. Personal touches make emails feel less generic and increase the likelihood of engagement.
- Provide Clear Instructions: Make the process of leaving a review as straightforward as possible. Include step-by-step instructions, if necessary, and always embed a direct link to your Google Review page.
- Design Matters: Make your email visually appealing with a clear call-to-action (CTA). Use graphics or buttons that stand out, guiding the recipient towards the review process.
- Feedback Loop: Instead of directly asking for a review, start by asking for feedback on the product or service. If the feedback is positive, guide them towards leaving a Google Review. If it's negative, provide a way to address their concerns directly.
One rule is to avoid spamming. Bombarding customers with too many emails in a short span is counterproductive.
3. Share on Social Media
People spend significant time on social media, browsing, engaging, and interacting with content.
As of 2022, the daily average social media use was 151 minutes per day, up from 147 minutes in the previous year.
The familiarity and comfort of these platforms make them prime locations for nudging customers towards leaving you reviews.
When using social media, make it as easy as possible by providing a direct link to your Google Review page in the post or your bio/profile.
The best way is to use eye-catching graphics, photos, or even short videos to accompany your posts. Visual content often receives higher engagement than text-only posts.
But always remember the golden rule: ensure consistency in posting but avoid being too repetitive or pushy about reviews.
4. Add a Review Link on Your Website
Many customers will visit your official website to gather information, make purchases, or get in touch.
Having a review prompt on your site capitalizes on this traffic, capturing feedback from visitors directly interacting with your products or services.
How to Do It
- Prominent Placement: Position a "Leave a Review" button or link in an easily noticeable spot, such as the header, footer, or a dedicated Testimonials page.
- Use Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): CTAs like "Share Your Experience" or "Tell Us How We Did" are more inviting and actionable than a plain "Review Us" prompt.
- Embed Google Reviews: If possible, embed some of your existing Google Reviews directly on your site. This provides social proof and demonstrates the value you place on customer feedback.
- Integrate with Post-Purchase Pages: After a customer completes a purchase, redirect them to a “Thank You” page with a gentle nudge to leave a review.
- Mobile Optimization: Ensure that the review link or button is easily accessible and functional on mobile devices, given the increasing prevalence of mobile browsing.
Keep the design clean. The review link/button should be noticeable but not intrusive or disrupt the overall user experience.
5. Leverage Vendor and Partner Relationships for Reviews
Most businesses primarily focus on customer reviews, but there's another valuable segment that business owners overlook: your vendors and business partners.
These individuals and organizations have interacted with your brand and can provide valuable insights into your business operations, professionalism, and reliability.
The vendors and partners have firsthand experience with how your business operates behind the scenes. Their reviews provide a unique perspective that complements customer reviews and offers a more comprehensive view of your business.
How to Do It
- Specific Invitations: Instead of a general request, ask for feedback on particular projects or collaborations you've had with them.
- Mutual Benefits: Consider a reciprocal review process. If you and your partner or vendor have had a positive working experience, both parties can leave reviews for each other.
- Feedback Utilization: Showcase their reviews on specific sections of your website, such as the "B2B Partnerships" or "Collaborations" page, to highlight the quality of your business relationships.
While it's beneficial to have reviews from vendors and partners, ensure you still prioritize and value customer feedback. A balanced mix of both provides a well-rounded reputation.
6. Automate with Durable’s Platform
First, our website editor has the "Add Section" feature that lets you add the Google Reviews component. This way, you can display reviews on your website.
Second, Durable's standout feature is the automated review request. After every invoice is settled (provided it's paid via credit card or GooglePay), Durable will prompt your customers to rate their experience.
This feedback is then automatically integrated into your CRM under the "Feedback" section, allowing you to gather and analyze customer sentiments seamlessly.
Lastly, we offer a user-friendly backend interface that simplifies the review-gathering process.
Our platform automates requests and lets you choose where you'd like to gather reviews.
Configuring Review Settings on Durable
In the backend, navigate to the “Reviews” section under “Marketing”.
Here, you'll find options to configure your preferred platforms:
- Facebook: Ideal if you want to enhance paid social media advertising efforts and engage with your community. By toggling on Facebook, Durable will focus on getting reviews from Facebook.
- Google: If your priority is to boost your website's organic search performance, Google should be your go-to. Activating the toggle for Google will channel your review-gathering efforts here.
With Durable, it's about strategic alignment with your broader marketing goals. Choosing the right platform for reviews puts your business in the best position to thrive online.
7. Monitor and Respond
Communication is two-way. Just collecting reviews isn’t enough. You should monitor them and engage by responding. This demonstrates to current and potential customers that your business values feedback and is committed to improving.
Responding to reviews, positive or negative, fosters trust.
How to Do It
- Set Up Notifications: Ensure you have notifications to alert you of new reviews. This will allow for prompt responses.
- Thank Grateful Customers: For positive reviews, thank the customer for leaving feedback and expressing your appreciation for their support.
- Address Criticisms Constructively: If a review is less than positive, approach it open-mindedly. Apologize for any inconvenience caused, address the specific issues raised, and, if appropriate, provide a means of resolution.
- Invite Further Feedback: Encourage reviewers to provide more details if they haven’t, especially if they had a less-than-satisfactory experience. This gives you a clearer picture of areas to improve.
- Stay Professional: Always maintain a courteous and professional tone in responses. Avoid getting defensive or confrontational, even if the review seems unfair or unfounded.
Make sure you maintain authenticity. Avoid using canned responses. Personalize your replies to demonstrate genuine engagement.
An example of a not-so-good feedback and how to handle it:
Review from Customer
"I was really excited to try out this restaurant after hearing so much about it, but my experience was underwhelming. The food took too long to arrive, and when it did, my pasta was cold."
"Hello [Customer Name],
First and foremost, we sincerely apologize for the experience you had dining with us. We strive to provide top-notch service to all our patrons, and we clearly missed the mark during your visit. We've taken note of the issues you raised regarding the food temperature and wait time. Rest assured, we will address these concerns with our team to ensure it doesn't happen again. We'd love another opportunity to serve you better. Please contact our manager at [email/contact] so we can make amends. Thank you for your feedback, and we hope to see you again."
By addressing the specific concerns and offering a means of resolution, you show your commitment to customer satisfaction and service quality.
8. Engage in Review-Boosting Activities
Actively promoting the importance of customer feedback makes it top-of-mind for customers.
When they see that feedback is integral to your business, they are more likely to take the time to contribute.
- Leverage User-Generated Content: Encourage customers to share their experiences on social media using a specific hashtag related to your brand. Spotlight these posts on your platforms, which can serve as indirect reviews.
- Feedback Surveys: Occasionally, send out feedback surveys to your customers. These surveys can have a section prompting users to leave a Google review, making it convenient for them.
- Educational Content: Create blog posts or videos discussing the importance of reviews or a tutorial video on how to leave Google reviews. Explain how feedback helps businesses grow and adapt to meet customer needs better.
When hosting feedback events or sending out surveys, be clear about how you plan to use the feedback. Transparency fosters trust.
Getting Google Reviews Has Never Been Easier!
The value of Google reviews is undeniable. They build trust, increase visibility, and provide invaluable insights to enhance your services or products.
While traditional methods of obtaining reviews require significant effort, the process has become streamlined with the evolution of technology and platforms like Durable.
Yet, having a strong online presence is not just about reviews. It begins with a solid foundation — your website and how easy it is to integrate reviews into this website.
With Durable, you can build a free website in 30 seconds, automate Google review requests, and display them on your website in just a few more steps.