Your Google reviews are the first thing customers look at when searching on Google. They have the ability to make or break your online presence so today we are going to teach you how to get more 5 star reviews.
What’s In This Episode?
- 3 Metrics That Matter (2:25)
- Leverage Your Website (5:40)
- Set Reminders (7:05)
- Email Follow-Ups (7:37)
- Be CLEAR (9:00)
- JUST ASK (10:05)
- Deal With Negative Reviews (11:35)
- Actionable Tips (14:53)
Episode #010 – How To Get More 5 Star Google Reviews
Josh: Your Google Reviews are the first thing customers look at when they search on Google. They have the ability to make or break your online presence. So, today we’re going to teach you how to get more five-star reviews.
Welcome to Creative Juices, the show where we help you feel personally confident about your online presence. I’m your host Josh and today I am joined, once again by Em.
Em: Hello, hello!
Josh: Well last week, we spoke a little bit about five SEO hacks.
Em: We did!
Josh: And we mentioned local SEO and Google My Business and so today we are talking about one of the more important Google My Business aspects of your local SEO, and that is Google Reviews. They are massively important for your online visibility and your SEO! In fact, Google reviews are one of the first things people see. Right?
Em: Yeah! That’s exactly right! So when people do a local search on Google, that Map Pack is the thing that displays at the top of search results and what they can see there is your business name, and then your star rating, directly under that. So it’s super visible.
Josh: And it tells you the stars, it tells you how many reviews you have, and it’s so important! In fact, just a few statistics, from a few studies, a study by Cornell showed that hotels that increased their review scores by just one point as in from three point three stars to four point three stars were able to increase their prices by eleven point two percent and still maintain the same occupancy and market share. Another one is a study by Bright Local found that review star ratings directly impact click-through rates from Google search results. Specifically local businesses with a five star rating got 28% more clicks from the Google Local Pack results than businesses without ratings, and thirty nine percent more clicks than businesses with a one-star rating. The study also found that businesses with one to three stars earned fewer clicks than businesses with no star ratings at all.
Em: That’s huge!
Josh: Crazy, and so just off those statistics we know that Google Reviews are majorly important. So, let’s talk about them. What are we looking for?
Em: Well, really there’s three main things that matter when you’re getting reviews on your Google My Business account. And the first one, of course we’ve talked about, is the quality of reviews. That is how many stars you have or what your star rating is. Like we just saw that having a little bit higher star rating can incredibly impact your business in a good way. So making sure you get really quality reviews is super important. The second thing is quantity. So, you actually want to get lots of reviews too. Now normally we say that it’s quality over quantity but in this case they’re both really important. So maybe if you don’t yet have many reviews on your Google My Business, aim to get some more on there. So aim for maybe a dozen or so to start with, but really, the more reviews you have and the more quality reviews you have, the better it is for your business.
Josh: Yeah! They go hand-in-hand!
Em: Right, exactly!
Josh: It’s better to have one five-star review than 20 one-star reviews, so quality and quantity. And the third one?
Em: And the third one is recency. So you really want a handful of reviews in there that have been recently reviewing your business and that shows that these reviews are current and people can see what your business is like in real time almost.
Josh: Yeah, so the bottom line is you need high stars, high quantity, with a few relatively new reviews.
Josh: So when we’re talking about stars, how many stars should we have? Are we thinking about maybe four, four and a half, five?
Em: Well the higher the better right? But generally, at least four if you can get that. Four point five, or five is obviously better, but in terms of things, maybe you just want to aim for higher reviews or higher quality reviews than your competitors, because that’s what’s going to make you stand out against the people that you’re listed with, in that Map Pack.
Josh: Definitely! If I’m looking at where to eat, at restaurants, there may be three Italian restaurants. I’m going to choose the one that ranks the most. It doesn’t matter if it’s four-star.
Em: Yeah! Exactly!
Josh: If that’s four-star and the other two are a three-star, I’m going to the four-star.
Em: Yeah. So people are making super quick decisions when they see this Map Pack, so having higher quality reviews is really something that hugely impacts their choices.
Josh: Definitely! In fact, forty nine percent of consumers report needing at least four star reviews before they choose a business.
Em: Yeah, I think that’s me actually.
Josh: Definitely! I agree. And so how do you get more five-star reviews? That’s what we’re talking about. And the simple answer is, you need to ask every customer for a review!
Em: That’s right, so people don’t know unless you ask them. They don’t know that they necessarily want you to review them.
Josh: Yeah! Let’s say that again. Ask every customer for a review. I’ll say it slowly, ask every customer…. you get it! So what are some super practical tips?
Em: Well, for starters you could put some reviews on your website. You can actually embed your Google Reviews on your website and that not only builds trust with people who are viewing your site, and they can see the reviews there, but you can also ask them on your site if they can review you by embedding a link, or a button that sends them straight over to your Google Reviews. So that’s a really simple way you can do that.
Josh: Definitely, and the other thing about embedding your reviews is it brings authority because people want to know that you actually do what you say you do.
Josh: So reviews bring the authority and the trust based on, well yeah, this guy has experienced his service and he actually does do it well.
Josh: The other thing you can do is that you can add a Google icon next to your social links that link to the review section of your Google My Business. So, just like on your website it has Facebook, Instagram or any of your socials, just put a Google icon next to it and then link it to your Google My Business.
Em: Super easy!
Josh: And there is a link that you can also get in Google My Business.
Em: Yes. There’s a little short link there in your dashboard on Google My Business and you can basically copy and paste that, or send that to people and that will send them straight to a place where they can review your business.
Josh: So our next tip is a super easy one. Just set in your calendar a reminder to say what the client’s birthday is or whether it’s a client anniversary or an anniversary of purchase, just set a reminder that’s in relation to the client. So when it pops up, it triggers you to send them an email or to make contact with them to ask for a review. And so, that’s a super simple trigger that will remind you.
But I did mention email and that’s our third tip, right?
Em: Yes, so I’m sure most businesses out there would have an email database of your customers or you collect an email address in some way. So, this is a super, super easy way that you can automate getting reviews by sending a follow-up email to your customers once they’ve had a service done by you, and just asking them like we said, ask them to give you a review. You can easily put that link straight to your review section in that email and make it easy for your customers to review you.
Josh: Definitely! And we would recommend sending out that email within 24 hours of a purchase or an appointment. Just strike while the iron is hot. If you have automation set up, which we would recommend having automated emails, if you have them set up you would have a follow-up email maybe just make a section in that follow-up email for ‘Hey leave me a review’.
Em: Yeah exactly! It’s fresh in their minds. It’ll be easy enough to do and that’s a great way to get more reviews.
Josh: Yeah definitely! You can also add it into your email signature. And then, the other thing is if you already have a big base of repeat clients and you’re going, well I can’t implement it now because I already have so many clients, just find your best clients, your repeat clients, into a bulk email and be clear on what you would like them to say, and that is our fourth tip. Be clear! And this part is a little bit manual, but you want to be specific. You want to be personal in your copy to guide the client in what to say. For example if I was to send Em an email ‘you’ve purchased a pair of shoes from my online store and I want you to leave a review’. So within the 24 hours afterwards I would email you and I would say ‘Hey Em blah blah blah thank you for purchasing my shoes. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a review for me about your experience of the shoes that you just purchased’.
Em: Exactly! And that’s going to help the customer expand on their experience rather than just saying great shoes or something really basic. But getting quality reviews, part of that is getting specific things about those shoes. Maybe they’re super comfy or maybe they’re great for the gym or great for running. Getting specific reviews like that is really going to help your business too.
Josh: Great! So the next one?
Em: The next one is again, to just ask. So word of mouth is still such an effective communication platform. So if you can ask your customers at the end of a service, or while they’re still standing in your store, or your office if they would mind giving you a review, that’s a great way to get lots of reviews, and that way the customer might say ‘yes I’ll go home and do it now’ and the worst they can say is ‘ah no, I don’t want to do that’ and that’s fine. But if they’ve said, if they’ve told you that they’re going to give a review, then they’re more likely to follow through with that as well.
Josh: Definitely, and so make it a habit! You can also maybe make it a competition within your business. Within your business’s team, just say ‘hey, whatever consultant gets the most Google Reviews in a month, we will give you a bottle of wine or something like that.
Josh: Just a note on that though, you cannot do competitions for clients to give you reviews. That’s against the rules.
Em: That’s a no no!
Josh: That’s a no no! And the other thing is when you ask for a review, you don’t have to explain why. You don’t have to say all part of our marketing strategy is, or part of our SEO strategy… just say ‘hey I was wondering if you could leave a review for me. I’d really appreciate it.’
Em: Exactly! It’s a really simple thing to do.
Josh: Now maybe you’re listening to this and you’re thinking well what if they give me a negative review? Josh and Em you’re saying you should get everyone to review but I don’t want to get everyone. Here’s the thing. If they’re going to leave you a negative review, don’t ask them!
Josh: Plus the thing is, if you know that they’re going to give you a bad review, then maybe you or your service is the problem!
Em: Yeah! That’s a super big heads up that maybe you might have something you need to change.
Josh: But no matter what, there are going to be negative reviews. So what do we do?
Em: Well the best thing that you can do if you get a negative review is to just respond to it. So the stats say that, I think it’s about seven out of ten times you can mediate a negative review by just responding to it. And that shows everyone else who might be looking at your profile and reading that negative review that you actually do care and that you are addressing what they said, or that you care enough to respond and just give them an answer. Maybe it’s an apology, maybe you’re saying we’re going to look into this. Maybe you’re going to offer them something. Whatever that is, just responding to it is a huge step forward in dealing with that negative review.
Josh: Definitely! And also, make sure that you respond to all your good reviews as well.
Em: Yes! Good and bad, they all need responding to.
Josh: Every review! Another one you mentioned was that you may offer something in exchange for being inconvenienced or whatever happened. A great example of that is to make sure that you respond to that publicly, but then also touch base with them personally. So if it’s a Facebook review, you can DM them or if you have their email address, just email them because the review section is not, should not be your only form of communication. If there’s an issue, put it on the review section so everyone can see that you actually care, but then email that person directly!
Em: Exactly! It’s good customer service.
Josh: So then, what else do we do?
Em: Something else you can do, if they’ve misused a product or something like that and there’s a reason behind that negative review, you can just respond and let them know super nicely how to actually use it properly. And that can actually stop that happening in the future. And maybe that might trigger you to go okay maybe we need to put more information about this on our website too. So that’s something you can do to not only help that negative review, but help that misuse of a product or any future negative reviews that might happen for that same reason too. And then, something else you can do is to just stop negative reviews before they happen. So one way you can do this is by asking people, that face-to-face interaction at the end of their service, or at the end of their interaction with your business. How did we go? What do you think? Is there anything we could do better? And sometimes they might tell you, look this wasn’t too good or something like that and that’s not only great feedback for your business, but if you can stop someone from getting on after they’ve visited your business and giving a negative review then that’s a great thing too! It’s a great way to stop negative reviews happening.
Josh: Definitely! So, some super practical tips, number one, above everything is ask every customer for a review. And then our practical tips are you can show it on your website. Make sure you embed the Google reviews onto your website and link to the Google My Business account so that people can review you. Set reminders to remind you to email or follow up with someone to leave a review. Add it to your email sequence, that a follow-up after someone’s purchased. Send an email asking for a review. The next one is be clear on what you would like. So, guide the client with your copy. Guide them in what you want them to say in the review. The next one is simply just ask. Make it a habit to ask for a review. And then the last one is make sure that you deal with negative reviews by responding to every comment, offering a refund or an exchange, explaining the misuse of the product or just stopping them before they even happen.
And so those are our tips to get 5-star Google reviews. We do go into detail in this as well as all of the aspects of local SEO in our brand new SEO course for Local Business, which I will link in the show notes. Make sure you check it out because that is a deep dive into all things SEO from technical, to local, to copy, to Google My Business. The other thing is that we do have, we do offer a Google My Business audit. And so, we can audit your Google My Business and then we’ll give you strategies to move forward, and how you can best optimize and utilize Google My Business for your small business.
And that’s it for us today. Thank you Em!
Em: Thanks Josh!
Josh: And thank you for listening. On our next episode, Episode 11 we are going to be talking about an aspect of your website that needs to change, but most people don’t change it because they think it’s too hard. I’ll leave it there, as a bit of a secret and you can find out next time what that is.