How businesses conduct themselves online is more important than ever before. All eyes are on your online presence and your activity, quite literally, and managing your online reputation is nearly a full-time job. Google reviews can be highly beneficial to your business and can help you build a stellar brand reputation that continues to draw customers over time.
But Google reviews confuse many local business owners, and managing an online reputation when you’re also trying to run a business can be hard. Here’s what to know about building a 5-star brand reputation with the benefits of Google reviews and how our all-in-one marketing platform can help.
Why Are Google Reviews So Valuable?
According to market researcher Review42, there are 70,000 searches on Google per second. This roughly equates to almost 230 million searches every hour and a staggering 5.4 billion searches in a day. More than 90% of people choose to use Google to search for products, services, reviews, news, and other information. This means that just 10% of people use other search engines like Yahoo or Bing.
This dominance in the search engine market makes it clear that having visibility on Google as a small business is critical. User reviews of your business are one of the most significant parts of that visibility, with Google making them front and center for every business with a profile.
Inc.com reports that 91% of people looking for products, services, or other information online read reviews before clicking to the next page or making a purchase decision. 84% of these people trust an online review from another user of a product or service more than they would trust the recommendation of a friend or family member.
Simply put, online reviews – and those on Google, specifically – have huge weight when it comes to the decisions that consumers within your target market will be making. If you don’t have a Google Business Profile established prospective new customers can learn about your business and current customers can help support your credibility, now is the time to start one.
Top Benefits Of Google Reviews
Generate Brand Awareness
People are more likely to recognize and remember your company if they see your brand name or logo frequently. Increasing the recognition and awareness of your brand can help your business stay in the minds of your target audience, even before your competitors.
Google reviews are also an economical way to advertise and market your company, particularly If you don’t have a large marketing budget for digital advertising campaigns. With grassroots efforts to encourage customers to submit reviews, you can gain significant attention online.
Establish Trust In Your Target Market
One of the most important benefits of Google reviews is their capacity to increase brand credibility. Google reviews provide potential customers with social proof that your organization is reputable by staying transparent and upfront with customers.
Responding to Google reviews communicates to customers that you strive to be open and honest. With today’s current privacy concerns, consumers are more aware of brand transparency than ever. Respond to both good and bad reviews to demonstrate to users that you are willing to go the extra mile for all customers, no matter what they have to say.
Gain Insight About Your Ideal Customers
The positive and negative feedback you receive from customers via your Google reviews is an opportunity for you to listen to your target market and make any changes necessary to better meet their needs.
You’ll learn which products or services are the most popular, the most common customer complaints, and what questions people ask the most. By taking into account this feedback when making important decisions about your company’s offerings, you can show customers that you’re listening to what they say and using their recommendations to provide them with better service.
Drive Website Traffic
Potential buyers may be enticed to visit your website after perusing your Google ratings. This is highly beneficial for you in a number of ways. This informs Google that you’re a valuable, reliable resource, which will in turn boost your SEO scores even more. Increasing the quantity of Google reviews on your page will also help enhance your click-through rate, which has the potential to drive valuable leads into actionable engagement with your brand.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of every online marketing plan. More people than ever before use Google and other search engines to get the information they seek. By optimizing your digital footprint to rank better on search engines, you can reach customers in your target market faster and more easily.
A better Google ranking indicates to customers that you are a reputable business, and also position you ahead of your competitors, increasing the chances that users in your target market will visit your website first. The more positive Google reviews you have, the better your chances are to rank higher on search engine results pages for keywords that are most valuable to your business.
How Can My Business Get More Google Reviews?
There are many different ways to get more Google reviews. Get creative and think of ways that are more likely to resonate with your target market. Here are some practical tips:
Ask for a review.
Requesting reviews is a straightforward approach that many customers appreciate. For example, if you’re on a call with a satisfied client, ask them to leave a Google review. Be sure to give them information on where to go and how to submit a review.
Add a link to your website.
Another simple strategy to increase your Google ratings is to include a link on your website to your Google Business profile, or better yet, a custom Google review link. You can copy and paste a code snippet from Google on your website where you want the custom review box to appear. Then, whenever anyone clicks on that link, they will be able to leave a Google review right in the widget, without ever leaving your site. This will increase your review count just because it makes things easy for your target audience.
Work in the request to your email campaigns.
Send follow-up emails to your customers. When you complete a job or sales transaction successfully with a client, send them a follow up email asking about their experience and to submit a Google review. Make sure that your email is personal and thank your customer for selecting your business to meet their needs. Let them know that you value their feedback, whether positive or negative, and would like for them to give you a review. Provide a direct link where users can leave a review and remain neutral — you can’t encourage positive reviews.
How Do I Build a 5-Star Reputation on Google Business?
Encouraging users to leave Google reviews will inevitably end up in your business receiving some not-so-great feedback. This is part of the process and how you handle negative reviews also plays an important role in how your target audience sees you online and how they perceive your brand and its interactions in society.
Addressing Bad Google Reviews
When replying to customers online, take into consideration that your replies are publicly visible and may be seen by anyone. You should keep your comment brief and respectful whether or not you agree with the reviewer, and avoid being accusatory or salesy. Negative feedback may be painful, even though it’s a rite of passage for all businesses online. Even though nobody likes a bad review, almost every business will get one. Here are some suggestions for responding to bad reviews:
- Respond as soon as possible. Consumers will value a timely answer. If negative feedback is left unaddressed, this will look bad to new customers visiting your profile.
- Maintain a polite and respectful demeanor. Don’t react harshly and try not to take the review too personally.
- Learn about your customer’s experience. There are two sides to every story. If a customer has taken the time to raise an issue with a service or product you offer, look into what went wrong. See what needs to be fixed, and let people know what actions your company will be taking or have already taken to correct the problem.
- Express apologies when it’s appropriate to do so. It’s not necessary to accept blame for things that weren’t your company’s fault. Demonstrate empathy and offer explanations, not excuses.
- Attempt to talk about it. If this review is the first time you’ve heard about a problem, encourage the client to contact you to learn more about the problem and how it may be resolved.
- Demonstrate your authenticity and sincerity. Sign off using your own name or initials to show you’re taking the topic seriously and that someone really is listening.
Create Your Best-In-Class Brand Reputation With Surefire Local
Surefire Local offers the top-rated local online marketing software with a comprehensive suite of features designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of businesses in different niches. Reach out to us today to learn more about how you can build a 5-star reputation using Google reviews and how we can help you maintain a formidable, authoritative online presence in your niche.