Everyone knows that word-of-mouth advertising is the best. Once more people hear about your business, everything will be easy. Isn’t this what we’ve all heard? So why are only 33% of companies working on getting online reviews?
Why Are Reviews Important?
According to Yext, your website may only account for a third of your online visibility. You can check if there is some validity to this when you skim through the search results for your business. What percentage of these belong to you? How does your website rank against these other listings? Online review websites make up much of this third-party information about your company. They are a simple way to grow your audience and increase your visibility.
People trust other people more than companies. It is what makes word-of-mouth advertising so powerful. It used to be that one would seek advice from friends, family and trusted contacts. 89% of the population consider an online review from a complete stranger valuable. What matters to your customer should matter to you. Innovative businesses use their customers’ words to substantiate their own.
Don’t call attention to yourself; let others do that for you. – Proverbs 27:2
How to Use Google Reviews
Using Google reviews is a great way to make sales and keep customers. In most cases, it only costs a few minutes of your time. Here is how you can get started today.
Listen to Your Customer
People are talking about you already. They may even be leaving you online reviews. Find out by searching for your business and products online. If you find a platform where people are already talking about you, jump on board! Claim your listing on that site. Make a profile. Do whatever you have to do to take part in that conversation. Next, find out where people are talking about your competitors. Get into these sites and listen to reviews of the competition and your own. Finally, you will want to do the third search for synergistic or related businesses. It may uncover industry-specific review sites. Learn all you can from these sites. This information can help you better run and market your business.
How to Ask for Customer Reviews
If you haven’t already, claim your Google Business Profile. It allows you to ask for reviews (not all do). Google makes it easy to share a link to your review page. Place it in your email signature, on newsletters and on social media. Asking for a review can be part of your customer service procedure.
Responding to Google Reviews
What happens when people are saying negative things about your product or service? The first thing is to notice. Frequently visit review sites that provide customer opinions on your business, products and services. Reviews will address genuine concerns; some will sing your praise, and others may be spiteful, spammy, or irrelevant. Report spam comments. Reply to negative and positive reviews, thanking the reviewer for their feedback and offering assistance to those with a negative experience. When possible, redirect negative reviewers to email or call to address their issues. There can be an absolute gold mine in the negative and positive comments. Be part of the 33% reaping their rewards.
Further Reading: How to Handle Negative Criticism
Avoid Google Penalties
Behaving well on the review website goes beyond etiquette. Each platform has its own rules and guidelines. Don’t be ignorant of federal laws, either. Here are a few things you should avoid doing:
- Getting staff to leave positive reviews about your business
- Asking staff to review the competition negatively
- Creating fake accounts to leave reviews
- Paying for reviews
- Enticing customers to leave a review with contests or promotions
- Editing customers reviews without their permission
- Deleting customer reviews (negative or otherwise)
Earn Positive Reviews Through a Good Reputation
Online review sites will help you get exposure online. You can earn people’s respect by interacting with others on these platforms. These are wonderful if you have good products and services. It works for imperfect brands that are transparent and striving to improve. Each company earns their reviews. Good reviews come from over-delivering on clearly set expectations. After that, give the satisfied customers a place to leave a review. Their four and five-star reviews could encourage an 18% increase in sales. Embrace online reviews and see the benefits pour in!