Understanding how to ask for a review on Google and doing it, is not an easy feat. But for those businesses who can do it, they’ll stand out from the rest on the Google search result pages.
It’s easy enough for me to tell my clients to acquire as many positive Google My Business reviews as possible. However being a business owner myself, I can fully emphasise that it’s an easier said than done task.
Google is the review site of choice. 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business, more than any other review site. – ReviewTrackers
As I want to lead by example, I make a pointed effort to gain positive and genuine reviews on the Grand Cru Digital Google My Business listing. I’m very excited to have 32 amazing reviews from my wonderful clients!
And the best bit? I haven’t cheated or gone against Google’s guidelines to get them.
Business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews. Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. – Google
This means no giveaways to incentivise customers to leave reviews. Plus you or employees cannot review your business nor are you allowed to review competitors to manipulate ratings. Check out the Google Maps Prohibited and Restricted Content guidelines for more info.
So it sounds like there’s a lot of red tape when it comes to gaining reviews right?
Well let’s dive into how to ask for a review on Google the right way. If your business is not listed yet, this guide will help you get on Google My Business today.
Ask and you shall receive
Google is a big advocate of business owners asking directly for reviews. It doesn’t hurt to ask someone in person, via email or on the phone for a review. Especially if you know they have had a good experience with your brand.
Pro tip: If you are going to email, Facebook message or in some way write to ask someone for a review, make it personal. Don’t simply send a bulk message out. This has happened to me before and I immediately turned the other way (also because I didn’t have a good experience with the business – putting lipstick on a pig won’t work right).
I know sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do. I mean, after all, you are asking someone to take 5-10 minutes out of their day for your benefit. However, I find that a lot of people are more than happy to sing your praises if they love what you do.
So just remember…
If you have a genuinely awesome product/service, then it’s going to be a heck of a lot easier to gain more reviews and good chatter about your business online.
Example ‘please leave me a Google review’ template #1:
I find I get the best response when I ask just after a client has given me some good feedback. I typically respond with something like:
Thank you so much for the kind words Bob. It would really mean a lot to me and my business if you could take 5 minutes to post your feedback on our Google listing.
Make sure when you do something like the above, you include the direct link to where someone can leave the review. I typically use bitly so that I can then track clicks on the links.
Example ‘please leave me a Google review’ template #2:
When asking for a review for a product based business, make sure you leave enough time for the customer to actually receive their product and then use it. You can then email them with something along the lines of:
Hi Sandy, Casey here from GCD. I really hope you are loving your new product. If you are, it would mean so much to our small business if you could take 5 minutes out of your day to please leave us a review on Google.
Example ‘please leave me a Google review’ template #3:
Positive reviews from awesome customers like you really help our business thrive. Could you please take 60 seconds to go to Google and share your happy experiences? We will be forever grateful. Thank you in advance for helping us out and giving us a reason to do a little happy dance today.
Don’t forget when asking for reviews, it’s so important your personalise your request. The more you can personalise your email, the higher chance you have of getting a review. The signs of a bulk email are pretty obvious to everyone these days, so if your customer/client doesn’t feel like you’re talking directly to them, then you can probably kiss that 5-star review away.
Reminders never hurt
We are all busy people, which means sometimes things can be forgotten. Therefore don’t be shy about reminding people to leave a review.
I wouldn’t suggest to email your customers every Friday until they leave a review, but I would suggest to ‘gently’ remind them.
By this I mean, why don’t you share other reviews about your business on your website, social media channels or through your email newsletters. This may help spark a reminder to your other customers/clients. Especially if they see how much a review means to you and your business.
Be grateful for reviews
Regularly through my personal channels, I tell my families and friends to leave reviews for businesses when they have a good experience. I do this because it can mean so much to a business owner.
Being a fairly new business owner and I can’t even explain how amazing the feeling is when I get a notification to say I have a new review. I literally do a little happy dance in my office. To read feedback on what I put my heart and soul into every day is helping people is amazing 🙂
On the note of being grateful. If you can, try and respond to the review right there in the moment. The passion and gratefulness, that will no doubt flow out of your fingertips, will really help you to write an expressive thank you message.
Reply to all reviews. It shows your customers that you value what people are saying about your business and helps to build trust.
Understand how leaving a Google review works
To understand what’s involved in the process of leaving a Google My Business review, leave one yourself! But not on your own listing 😉
Think about a business you have dealt with and had a great experience with. Now search for their business on Google (typically typing in the company name should bring it up on the righthand side of the page) and go through the process of leaving a review.
This will help you understand what exactly you are asking of your customers when you ask them to leave you a Google My Business review.
If you don’t have a Google account, you will need to sign up for one. However this doesn’t mean you need to sign up for a Gmail address, you can use a pre-exisiting email address to sign up.
Get creative when asking for reviews
Try to think outside-the-box and look for creative ways to entice Google My Business reviews which fit your brand’s personality. Here are a few I have brainstormed to get the ball rolling:
- Unobtrusive signs/stickers around your stores or on/inside company vehicles
- Adding your Google My Business review link to your email signature
- Mention on any promotional and or marketing materials (business cards, brochures, etc)
- Having an iPad or device handy at your location for people to log in and leave a review right there on the spot
- Incentivise employees to ask for reviews from customers/clients
It isn’t easy to build up a bank of good reviews online. But just think, if it’s hard for you, it’s also hard for your competitors.
When you have a free platform like Google My Business at your disposal, it makes sense to use it to its full advantage.
Plus don’t forget, alongside acquiring reviews, there are a number of other actions you can take on your Google My Business listing to get the most out of it.
If you need help with getting your business on Google and/or getting the most out of this free Google tool, give me a buzz.