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Google My Business Listings 101: How to Get Great User Reviews

google_reviews
Are you managing your own local business? A hair salon, roofing or draining service, dental clinic or maybe an auto repair shop? If the answer is “yes,” then  read on. The following information might just well determine the future of your business.

Here’s one of the most important pieces of advice you’ll ever hear: If you’re not online, you don’t exist.

If customers can’t find your business online, it will suffer a slow death, while your competition is moving up to take your place. However, if you’re not #1 on Google yet, it’s not too late for you.

How to Leverage Mobile Technology to Crush Your Competition

Did you know that more than 50% of Google queries are actually mobile searches? Google has long anticipated this trend and responded by creating local listings.

Search Results for Local Businesses

For example, when people are looking for a repair shop, Google will show them the nearest shop in their area. Mobile search queries usually look like this: “bicycle repair near me” or “bicycle repair downtown LA.”

What does this mean for you?

If you have a Google business page, then anyone with a smartphone can find about you in less than two seconds – that’s the average time to type in a short search query.

That’s not all. With just one extra click, people can get Google Maps directions to your physical location, or just give you a call.

Imagine your car just broke down. All you have to do is go online, type in “auto repairs near me,” browse the top results, pick the highest-rated repair shop, give them a call and get someone to come help you out.

This whole process will take you about a minute. This is how people interact and find about local businesses.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Word of Mouth

Back to our broken-down car. Out of the dozen or so repair shops near you, only two to three are listed online. The bulk of customers is likely to be split among those three companies. Let’s face it, if you’re in a rush and never used this kind of service in the area – you’ll just go online.

You don’t have the time to call your mom, dad or friends. Chances are, they won’t even be able to help you in this particular scenario. In fact, most people trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations.

There Are Two Reasons Why You Need User Reviews for Your Google Listing

  1. User reviews are an important ranking factor in the Google Maps search results for local businesses. All locally-oriented businesses need to keep the process of acquiring user reviews in mind. This is how the Google algorithm works: more (good) reviews equals a higher ranking.
  2. If your offer top-notch service, you can only benefit from client testimonials. Customer experience is an important factor in any buying decision, leading to high conversion rates. Happy customers will rate you highly, which in turn encourages other people to purchase from you. No rocket science here.

Below, you’ll find some strategies and tips for getting quality user reviews.

Learn How to Get Partner Testimonials

Having partner companies or colleagues write a review for your service is one of the easiest ways to get more exposure. Here are a few things to consider, if you decide to ask somebody you personally know to leave you a review. (including colleagues, employees and partners):
  1. Reviewers should use their personal e-mail address, rather than their work e-mail.
  2. DO NOT use fake reviews. Most users can easily spot these.
  3. Ask for reviews from partners and other businesses (if you review them first, they may return the favor).
  4. Always use a direct link to the review form and offer clear instructions on how to leave a review (some may have never done this before).
  5. Don’t write a review for the sake of writing one. Always offer quality feedback and avoid promotion or straight-up advertising your own company.
  6. Include the brand name and location – you don’t want the review to feel too generic. You want people to get a good feel for the business and remember the name.
  7. Be specific and include details that have left you with a lasting impression: “Joe, the mechanic offered to drive me home, instead of waiting 5 hours at the repair shop.”

Here’s an example of a nicely done review:

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A Few Ways to Get Customer Reviews That Actually Work

Customer reviews are harder to attract. You’ll also need to be careful to get as many positive customer reviews as possible – negative reviews are unlikely to bring in new business! Here are a few strategies to try:

  1. Set up an e-mail campaign to target people who recently used your services.
  2. Engage with people on social media and ask for reviews (past customers may also be willing to contribute).
  3. If you have repeat customers, set up separate an e-mail campaign for them. For example, if someone has just made their third purchase from you, send them a thank-you email and politely ask for a review.
  4. If you’re a B2B service provider and your budget allows, send a gift to loyal users and a note asking them to write a testimonial for you if they’re happy with your services.

How do you get your customers to write user reviews? Share your experiences below or ask us for more advice on how to generate reviews.

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Nikolay Linkov

Project Manager
Nikolay Linkov is a marketer and an editor with experience in managing content campaigns and video production. Currently he is exploring the areas of SEO, SEM, PPC campaigns, display advertising and social media marketing.

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