It’s tough to overestimate the significance of online reviews. Google reviews, in particular, help to establish your brand’s trustworthiness, and engender the goodwill of consumers. They provide greater confidence to those who are on the fence about making a purchase. They also help increase your brand’s online visibility, and can even help you rank in local search results.
Given the importance of online reviews, business owners would be wise to actively and intentionally seek feedback from their customers. The question is how. There are several practical steps we can recommend for businesses looking to increase the number and the quality of their Google reviews.
The enCOMPASS Approach
We’ll start by noting that reviews are a big part of our overall strategy here at enCOMPASS, and we have a robust set of tools that can help us generate reviews on behalf of our clients.
Specifically, we recommend and use third-party technologies as our review management partners. Different platforms have a lot of unique tools for generating reviews. For example, we can take existing client lists and upload them into a review generation platform which will send out emails in batches, asking for reviews. (The batch approach helps avoid getting too many reviews in a day, which Google frowns upon and also looks suspicious to the online searcher.)
We can set up a system in which any brick and mortar business that has customers sign in (think med spas, medical facilities, etc.) is able to have an email or text go out within a certain time of the customer’s visit. This automated approach increases reviews tremendously, without creating a lot of extra work for the business owner or staff.
These are just a couple of ways in which these third-party systems helps enCOMPASS clients boost their online reviews.
Additional Tips for Generating Google Reviews
Also consider these tips and strategies for increasing your business’ online reviews:
- Make sure you have a Google My Business platform. First and foremost, if you want customers to leave Google reviews, you’ll need to be set up with GMB. This platform is free, and it serves your local search strategy in myriad ways, so definitely do this if you haven’t already.
- Create a short Google reviews link. Once you have your GMB profile set up, create a short URL to your Google reviews page. This is something you can post to social media channels or even include in email footers, inviting your customers to provide feedback about their experience.
- Ask your most loyal customers. Generally, customers don’t leave reviews unless they are prompted to do so… unless, of course, they have a really bad experience and need a chance to sound off. As such, you’ll need to be pre-emptive, asking your best, most loyal customers directly for their feedback. If you have customers who you know well and you believe are satisfied with your brand, reach out to them personally. Provide just a short note explaining to them how much their feedback would mean to you. Be sure you include the short URL on your reviews page.
- Follow up with buyers. If you sell products or book appointments online, make sure you get an email address from each customer. Within a day or two of their purchase, follow up with an email asking for their feedback. (Again, don’t forget to provide them with the URL.) This is an area where a third party platform can help you automate the process, but if you’re just getting started with your online review strategy, sending emails manually is fine.
- Reply to your reviews. Over time, you’re bound to get some reviews that are really positive, and perhaps a few that are more negative. It’s always worthwhile to take just a few minutes to respond to reviews, thanking people for positive comments and trying to make things right with customers who were dissatisfied. Responding to reviews helps your business seem more trustworthy, and it reassures customers that you’re actually willing to listen and to take their experience seriously.
- Use your positive reviews as marketing assets. As you start accumulating five-star reviews, look for ways to show them off! Create graphics to use in your social media campaigns, highlighting positive feedback. Build a testimonials page on your website. Look for other opportunities to accentuate your Google star rating.
- Repeat this process with other sites that offer reviews. Think Facebook, Yelp, industry specific sites like dealerrater.com or healthgrades.com, etc.
Be Intentional About Online Reviews
Reviews are precious, and they can be really helpful to you in setting your business apart. As such, you don’t want to leave your reviews to chance. Instead, develop a strategy to actively court feedback, and to use your online reviews as the assets they are.
If you’d like to learn more about strategies and systems that can automate your review generation, reach out to the enCOMPASS team. We’re here to chat whenever you’re ready.
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