By Drew Johnson
Reviews make the online world of business go ‘round, and there is no ignoring the impact they can have on your Google My Business listing. A well-tended GMB listing with lots of fresh positive reviews ranks higher, sells better, and informs more potential customers of your brand than one that has been filled out and then ignored.
When it comes to Google My Business, you don’t want to “set it and forget it.” Being proactive about maintaining your GMB listing means that you have to be proactive about asking for reviews. Here are some tips that will help you to add more reviews to your Google My Business listing.
The easiest way to ask for reviews is by email. Unfortunately, it is also the least effective. Think about your own inbox (or inboxes!), and think about how many emails you delete without even reading them. If you got an email from your plumber after the job was done, would you even bother to open it? Unlikely.
However, asking for reviews via email does have its advantages. For example, you can add links to more than one review site in your email request, which makes it easier for your customers to go there and help you out with a good review. An email also gives you a way to address any concerns they might have about the way the job was handled before going public with a bad review.
This strategy can be easily implemented by having the person on the job ask your customers for their email address with the understanding that leaving a good review positively affects your business. This is a sort of hybrid approach between asking in person and emailing them, but it is slightly more effective than email alone. Still, emails are ineffective simply because they are impersonal and can be easily filtered out by your client’s server. It helps, however, to have a standard email request on hand to send when it is your only option.
Ask in person
Asking your customers for reviews in person is, by far, the most direct and effective way to add reviews to your GMB listing. More than any email or phone call, people will respond to another human being asking them face-to-face to help them out by leaving a positive review. The best person to do this is the employee that has rendered the service to them — hopefully someone with whom they’ve built a personal (if limited) relationship.
Be aware, however, that some people will be uncomfortable leaving a review for the person who is standing next to them. If that is the case, have your employee ask for their email or phone number and reach out to contact them later with some options.
Asking someone for a review over the phone also can be hit or miss. Some people prefer to speak to a human being, so in this instance, it can be far more effective than email or texting. The purpose of a follow-up call is twofold. First, it demonstrates to your customers that their input matters to you and your business; second, it also allows you to address any problems they might have had and refine your process accordingly.
If the person on the other end of the call has had a positive experience, you should suggest that they leave you a review online. Make certain that this is as easy as possible for them and that you are registered consistently and accurately with several review sites. This allows your happy customer to choose the format they are most comfortable with to leave a review. Obviously, if you are trying to improve your Google My Business listing, suggest that first and be prepared to walk them through the process if necessary.
It’s important to note that people who understand that good reviews will directly impact your business’s standing online are more likely to leave one.
Texting may seem like a millennial thing, but it can be another tool in your growing toolbox that enables you to reach out to your customers. Let’s face it, some people don’t like to talk on the phone. Texting is a great way to reach people and allow them to respond in their own time. In this way, it’s a sort of hybrid approach between email and calling.
When texting, always keep it short and sweet. You should definitely mention the name of your business and your reason for texting. You might also add a link to your website or to your GMB profile so that they can easily click on it and go directly there on their phones. The more simplified this process, the better. Always be sure to get consent before texting a customer, as you never know whether they will be charged for a text or not.
Apps are a great way to connect with your customers. Review management apps can serve as the missing link between you and your customers, enabling you to easily track and manage information from your phone. Apps can also store and distribute important information as well as enable you to easily input the phone number or email address of a happy customer. Some apps will even let you manage your reviews at the same time.
Whether you are asking for reviews in person or online, apps can streamline the process and make it much easier for both your employees and their clients alike.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to add more reviews to your Google My Business listing, but the most important is to have a sound strategy in place. Whichever method suits your business, be sure that your employees are all on the same page. It helps to have a uniform strategy in place so that all employees know their roles in getting more reviews. Employee training is key, and incentives for those who are successful in getting the most positive reviews can be very effective as well. Good luck!
Drew Johnson is the co-founder and VP of Marketing of 33 Mile Radius, a lead generation company focused on home services. He has helped local businesses get found online since 2007. For more information, visit 33mileradius.com.