When you’re looking for any business near you, you probably start in Google.
Today, when you Google x business “near me” or in a certain city, you’ll first see a number of ads, followed by Google Maps listings, then – further down the page – you’ll see organic search results. Or in the case of this screenshot I took, Maps dominates the entire first fold (I had to zoom out a bit to get a fuller view).
One of your top ranking factors in Maps when determining your Google Business Profile (GBP) ranking is your star rating and number of reviews. If your competitors in your area are also open, and at a similar distance from the user’s current location, reviews are one of the next factors Google considers.
But even more than Google, people rely on reviews.
Why Reviews Matter
Google rankings aside, your customers care about reviews.
According to dailyblogging.org, 97% of customers say that reviews influence their buying decisions.
That is impactful!
In fact, according to this Inc.com article, 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as the word of a friend.
So, for the sake of your potential customers and the Google algorithm, you need to have a strategy in place for collecting and responding to Google Business Profile reviews in 2022.
How to Get More Google Business Reviews in 2022
What’s the best way to get more reviews? Just ask.
68% of consumers leave local businesses a review when asked, according to impactplus.com.
Ask Visitors to Leave a Review
Depending on your business type, not all visitors are customers.
If you run a dealership or store, many visitors will just be there to browse. They may still have valuable insight for future visitors about your facility, staff, and products. Make it part of your sales and customer representative’s best practices to ask visitors to leave you a Google Business review before their departure.
Plus, if they have a positive experience and are willing to take action on leaving you a review, there is a higher chance that they’ll come back and become a customer themselves.
Make sure your sales reps give instructions with their request for a review. Here’s an example of what they can say.
“Thanks for visiting our shop. Could you take 5 minutes when you get home to find us on Google Maps and leave us a review to share your experience with us today?”
You’d be surprised by how many people will agree to do so. Not all of them will follow through, but many people will want to keep their word by writing you that review.
Ask Customers to Leave a Review
Always ask your customers for an honest review. (The honest part is important, but we’ll get to that later.)
Ask them after the sale closes, then follow up with an email.
Email is a great way to make it easy for customers to review their experience with you as well as your products/services because you can give them a direct link to leave a review on your Google Business Profile.
Here’s an email template you and your staff can tweak and use with customers. If it’s not something you’ve already added to your workflow, you may want to consider reaching out to previous customers from the past 6 months – 1 year to get a jump start on increasing your rating. You can leverage this follow-up to check in on the customer and upsell or get them to book another time/project with you.
“Hi [Name] It was a pleasure doing business with you, I hope you’ve been enjoying the [result] of your [product/service]. Could you take 5 minutes to provide an honest review for us on Google? [Review Link] I’d greatly appreciate hearing your feedback and it helps us reach more people in Google. Looking forward to seeing [doing business with, the next project with, etc.] you soon. Thank you for your time,”,
Whether you use this template or not, you want to follow a few ground rules:
- Remind them of the product/service you provided
- Ask for a small and specific amount of time (like 2 minutes or 5 minutes)
- Make it easy for them to fulfill your request, like providing a link and bolding it
- Thank them for the business/time
Respond to All Your Reviews (Even the Bad Ones)
With so many consumers relying on reviews to make purchasing decisions, it’s important to manage and maintain your GBP reviews.
According to impactplus.com, 30% of consumers say they’ve judged a business based on its responses to reviews.
And even more than that, when consumers got a response from a company after leaving a negative review,34% deleted their negative review and 33% turned around and gave a positive review, according to dailyblogging.com.
Responding to reviews is easy. There are four simple steps:
- Go to Google Maps or use Google Search
- In the top right, select the Account Circle of Your Business Profile
- Select Reviews
- Next to the review you’d like to reply to, select Reply
If you’re unable to follow these steps, it’s likely you haven’t verified your business. Here’s the Google support article on review management if you need further guidance: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474050
Need a little help on how to respond to positive and negative reviews? Here are some examples you can use as a guide.
Make sure your responses are always relevant to the review you’re responding to. Show that you’ve read it thoroughly and appreciate their feedback.
Positive Review Response Example:
“Thank you for taking the time to write this and mentioning [positive mention from review]! Next time you come in...”
Next, give them a call to action that relates to some of the things they like about your business. For instance, if you’re a restaurant and they loved the lobster, you could say, “Next time you come in, we recommend you try our new lobster bisque, it’s delicious.” Or, if you’re an auto dealer, you could say something like, “When you’re ready for a tune-up, we’d love to take care of that for you and hear about the adventures you’ve taken your new Jeep on.”
Personalization really is key here.
Negative Review Response Example:
“Thank you for sharing your feedback, I’m sad to hear about this experience. If you’re willing to share more about this, can you please reach out to [customer support email address] with more details so we can discuss further?”
Keep it simple and to the point, and offer to take it offline so they can feel heard. This will also give you the opportunity to take legitimate criticisms and make necessary changes based on a more complete picture.
Google Business Profile Review Policies
No matter if you’re requesting Google reviews or managing them, make sure you’re following Google’s policies.
Google has policies around Prohibited and Restricted Content that includes typical restrictions around illegal, explicit, and threatening content, but it also covers things like:
- Spam and fake content created to manipulate a place’s ratings
- Off-topic content that goes outside of feedback related to a visitor’s experience or questions about experiences
- Cuss words or other potentially offensive language
- Impersonation attributing content to another individual, company, or organization
- Conflict of Interest such as leaving negative reviews and ratings on your competitor’s listings
Some other important review specific policies are around what type of content can be posted, but also how you’re allowed to solicit reviews from visitors and customers:
- Don’t use reviews for advertising purposes
- Don’t include promotional or commercial content
- Don’t offer or accept money in exchange for reviews
- Don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk
- Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers
This last bullet point is called “review gating,” and, while gating can be tempting for some business owners, even if it wasn’t against Google’s policies, it still wouldn’t be a good idea.
A study from Uberall found that conversions actually suffered for businesses with 5-star ratings compared with those that had lower but still positive review scores.
So, if your rating is around the 4.6-4.9 range but not 5 stars, you’re probably actually better off!
Want to talk all about optimizing your Google Business Profile? Book a time with me https://calendly.com/leadrevenuebs/lead-revenue-demo