Having Google reviews could be the difference between winning a customer and losing out to a competitor.
Google is often the first point of contact between you and your customer. Whether they are searching for a local business who can deliver solutions, looking up answers to questions they have, searching for your phone number or just looking to see what you do, the first thing many people do is put words into Google to help them find what they want to know.
And if they want to know how well your business compares to another similar business, they use Google to find out about people’s experiences of dealing with you. In short, they look for online reviews.
We all use Online Reviews
A 2014 study found that 88% of consumers now trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. For businesses, this is a valuable statistic. Whether you are selling to the person on the street, or to a corporate multinational, the buyer is a human being and another human being’s views matter and make a difference to what they buy and who they buy from.
This can be a huge benefit to business. Online reviews bring an element of social proof of who you are and what you offer your customers. They help increase the degree of trust that’s felt for an unfamiliar business. And can be the tipping point between using or not using your service. If a business has only a handful of reviews, or none, and a competitor has lots of reviews, it’s human nature for the searcher to try the business with reviews first. After all, we all like local, personal recommendation.
Google Reviews can make the difference between winning a customer
Google’s review feature allows users to write reviews directly on your Google My Business page. The way Google has set up its results pages, customer reviews are among the first things people see when they search for your business category on Google or Google Maps. Immediately, the searcher can see user ratings and number of reviews prominently displayed in both the search results and the accompanying map. If a searcher chooses to click on the place pin of a business, they can see a summary of the latest reviews shown alongside all the essential information, such as the business’s location, hours of operation, and phone number.
As Google reviews are obviously favoured by the search engine and show up upon every relevant result, if your business wants to have a good presence on Google, the best place to start is by getting more Google reviews.
Make It Easy to Leave Reviews
Google are usually excellent at understanding the user experience. But we should be honest and say, leaving a Google review isn’t as easy as it should be. There are hoops your customer must jump through before they can write that glowing review, such as having or creating a Google account. If your customer hasn’t got lots of spare time, isn’t very tech-savvy, or doesn’t feel particularly compelled to provide feedback, they aren’t likely to do it without a little prompting.
But, thankfully, there are several ways to encourage customers to leave reviews, and make it easier for them to do so.
Encourage customers on your website to leave a review, or create a simple, easy-to-follow instruction on how to leave a review, and you can help them in the process. Another idea is to create a simple PDF download on how to do it, and email it to every customer on completion of a sale.
Incentives also work well. Provide a prize, voucher or a positive benefit to every customer who provides a review, such as free entry into a competition draw.
Another simpler option is just to ask very nicely – something we are doing now – it can have a surprising effect, especially if you’ve done a good job and your customers are pleased with the service you’ve offered.
Most of all, though, it’s good to not that you don’t need to have many reviews to have a significant impact on your Google search results, and to show you in an advantageous light against competitors. While it may not be easy, it’s definitely worth doing.
For more information about adding Google reviews, claiming your Google My Business Page, or other ways of marketing your business online, talk to us at Search & More. We are always more than happy to help.