Online reviews are written by consumers who have purchased a product or experienced a service. They are posted online across a range of platforms and are seen as an electronic version of word-of-mouth endorsement. They enable people to easily obtain the views and experience of consumers already familiar with the product or service and are highly valued by the majority of purchasers.
Potential customers are more likely to purchase from a website that has customer reviews as it gives them trust and confidence in their buying decision. Because they are given more information and insights about the product by real people, rather than just the sales pitch, they feel less risk and are more likely to convert to a buyer.
Why Reviews are Important
Reviews are critical for businesses as they can increase sales, improve customer service and are excellent marketing tools. The vast majority of shoppers read reviews, so it is important they become a key part of your business.
Online reviews are the largest source of social proof, that is, they influence the behavior of the people reading the reviews. If happy customers are saying a particular product or service is worth having, then it must be. Reviews help your business look credible and high product ratings will improve your traffic converting to sales.
Most shoppers use Google when they are browsing products and services and this search engine values unique content, so customer reviews are an advantage when it comes to the content on your site. The regular new content that reviews provide will boost your search engine optimization and have you ranking higher in Google searches.
Google reviews help you stand out in a competitive online world. Customer reviews show next to your business profile in Google Search and Google Maps so your star rating is clearly and immediately visible.
Google Business Listings
With a Google Business profile, you are able to manage how your business shows up in searches. Setting up a Google Business listing is free and straightforward. Here are the broad steps needed to get setup:
Add Your Business Details: Enter your business name and select an appropriate business category.
Enter Your Business Location: There will be a choice for you to select whether or not you have a physical location that customers can visit, or if you have a service area, which you can define.
Create Profile and Fill in Contact Details: Populate your details and fill in your contact information such as your business phone number, email address and website address.
Verify Your Business: Enter a mailing address to verify your business. The verification occurs through postcards that are sent to you by mail, or there may be video, email or phone-based verification options.
Once you’re verified, add your essential information, share photos and your company’s logo and provide any other information that shows who you are and what you offer. You have the ability to create posts, offers, events and communicate directly with your customers.
Reviews can be responded to and this improves your rapport with new and returning customers. You even have access to key insights such as customer interactions, bookings and reviews.
Ensure you have a fully completed profile to offer the highest quality information to your customers. Google prioritizes businesses that have pages that are updated often so maintain your listing to maximise your SEO and rankings.
Another reputable review site is Trustpilot, a review platform that is easily accessible to everyone and helps to improve your customer trust. Word of Mouth is an Australian based business that operates entirely on user-generated content.
Get More Google Reviews
There are many ways to increase the number of reviews written about your business. Encourage customers to spread the word with these practices:
Verify Your Business Profile
Having a verified business ensures you will show up on Search, Maps and other Google services and this is the only way you can respond to your reviews.
Remind your customers to leave a review for your business by sharing a link on your receipt, in your confirmation emails, on social media, via a pop-up or following a chat interaction. Giving them a Google review link shortcut makes it quick and easy, making the customer more likely to complete a review for you.
Asking for a review immediately after a purchase will increase your chances of getting one and don’t be afraid to follow up with subsequent requests. However, be a bit savvy and don’t go chasing a review if you are unsure the customer had a good experience. Four and five star reviews will always be the most beneficial for your future sales.
Create a Reviews Page on Your Website
A reviews web page on your website that is accessible from your main navigation menu is favorable for many customers. Include your existing reviews and a call to action to write a new review. Ideally you want them to be in text form to contribute towards your SEO strategy.
Value Positive & Negative Reviews
Seeing both positive and negative reviews build trust with customers as it shows you have nothing to hide. Thanking your customers for their reviews shows gratitude and creates a foundation for building a customer relationship.
Reply to Reviews
Your business values will be apparent when you read and reply to reviews, by letting people know you listen to feedback, and it is worth the time to write a review. An automated thank you email or pop up makes it easy to facilitate acknowledgement.
Showing care, helpful advice and a possible solution when responding to negative reviews is essential for managing your business’ overall and online reputation. Even though it may be tempting, never ignore a negative review.
Let Customers Know Reviews Are Quick & Easy
If customers aren’t used to leaving reviews, they may not know how simple the process is. Communicate that to them and suggest options such as just leaving a star rating without having to write anything or tell them it only needs to be a sentence or two.
Request Reviews on Social Media
Promote reviews via social media and point out that if your followers appreciate the assistance reading product reviews provides, they may like to leave one to help others. Keep in mind that platforms such as Facebook have their own review system.
Reviews from Partners & Vendors
Although they are not customers, your vendors and business partners can provide valuable information about your interactions. Of course, you can write one for their business first, to get the ball rolling.
Be aware that offering an incentive for a completed review goes against Google’s policy so always refrain from doing this. Your Google Business profile could be suspended or removed.
You can never have too many reviews because the more you have, the greater your chances at a high search ranking. For some expert advice to get more Google reviews, our Web Force 5 has a team skilled in digital marketing. Speak to a specialist consultant for a free no obligation chat.