As your community opens back up, many people are excited to support local businesses. You may anticipate more foot traffic or local business online or offline. To prepare for this, are you building up new reviews on your Google My Business listing? Are you comfortable managing positive and negative reviews?
Why Do Google Reviews Matter?
How important are Google reviews to a business? First off, many people’s first impression of your business will come from your Google My Business listing. The listing includes Google reviews submitted about your company. Customers use reviews with help to decisions. How often do you find business reviews helpful before spending money or going to a store? Reviews build trust with you and your audience. As you establish a repertoire of credibility, you can increase foot traffic to your location, calls, and website visits from your local listing.
Reviews don’t only influence consumer decisions; they impact search engine decisions as well. Google refers to your reviews as a way to measure the quality of your business and rank you in search. Favorable reviews and a high quantity of such will improve your local listing, so you get more exposure.
To review your Google My Business listing quality, run our FREE Local Search Audit at CanGoogleFindMe.com to assess the current health of your website. The report will help you figure out if your prospective clients can find you when searching for products and services on Google.
How to Build Google My Business Reviews
To build Google reviews, you need to ask. Seems simple right? Reviewers must feel compelled to leave a review based on their experience with your business, not based on any incentive or payment you promise them. Google My Business discourages inventive-based review baiting. Though this is common practice for brands building website reviews, it is wiser to ask for the review at the end of the service or purchase if you are working to improve your local listing.
Make it a habit to ask for feedback after the customer experiences your service or product. You can plan to ask during checkout, with flyers or postcards in a shipment, or a short time after their purchase. You may create a short URL for your Google listing so people can easily click and leave reviews. The short URL can also be used in “Thank you for Your Purchase” flyers and postcards, directing customers to leave reviews.
Email marketing can help you when asking shortly after purchase. With each purchase in-store or online, you gather customer information like their email. In a timely matter, be sure to send an email requesting their feedback. Not sure how to get started with your first email campaign? Don’t worry; we’ll take you step-by-step through how to create and send your first email campaign with Constant Contact in our upcoming webinar, Create Your First Email Campaign in 15 Minutes or Less – Live Demo.
How to Monitor Reviews on Google
As you gather new reviews, you need to be prepared to monitor them. Responding to reviews shows you are listening to your customers and supports a good brand reputation. New Google My Business updates make responding to reviews convenient.
Some businesses are afraid to ask for reviews in fear of negative reviews. It is important to look at these types of reviews in a positive light. Criticism allows you to improve your business. Honestly, you’d rather know about the problem than the customer going around telling people about their bad experience without your knowledge. You may wonder though, how do I deal with negative Google reviews? Respond promptly to negative reviews by acknowledging their concerns and encouraging them to take steps to address the matter offline. After turning their negative experience around, you can ask them if they would be willing to remove the negative review.
What about fake reviews? Google just released its review take-down request tool to help you remove wrong or fake reviews. With this tool, businesses can flag reviews for removal and track the progress of their reported reviews. Respond to fake reviews by questioning the credibility of the review. To see examples of how to word responses to bad and fake reviews, watch our Marketing Minute Live Session of the Week.
To sum it up, when monitoring reviews, you must respond to the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Google Only is Not Enough
Though focusing on your Google My Business listing is an excellent start to improving local business, do not stop there. No matter where a customer or a search engine looks, they need always to see the most up-to-date, accurate, and consistent information regarding your business. It would help if you asked that reviews be left on multiple platforms.
For example, in the review request email, give an option to write a review on Google or Facebook, or another platform. This can help to balance your reviews and rating profile, plus make your business’s reputation that much more believable to searchers.
Lastly, increasing your local citations in online directories can increase your online visibility and boost your organic and local pack rankings. It is time to go beyond Google to increase business growth. To assess how your overall Local SEO is performing, run our FREE Local Search Audit. Your report will include Search Rankings, Local Listings, Reviews, On-Site SEO & Social Media.