Let’s do an exercise (humor us, it might even be fun!). Google “photographers near me.” It’s okay, we’ll wait…⏲️…
How many results did you get? Personally, we stopped counting at 50. Overwhelmed yet? With the access to services we have in today’s tech driven world, just how in the world are your customers supposed to find you? What makes you stand out in the crowd?
Short answer: Google Reviews.
Google reviews can be a valuable asset for small businesses. Not only do they help improve a business's online reputation, but they can also increase the visibility of a business on Google search and maps. Can it really be that simple? Hint: it certainly can be! Read on to find how you, as a small business, can benefit from receiving Google reviews from happy customers:
Improved online reputation
In today’s world, your customers have their pick of a plethora of businesses they could use. It’s as easy as…..well, as easy as a quick Google Search. Your reputation matters! Google Reviews can help your business build trust with potential customers. Reviews provide social proof of your business's quality and customer satisfaction. Reviews can also help your business stand out from competitors and attract new customers. We can’t remember the last time we bought a new product without searching the reviews with a fine-toothed comb. We promise, your customers are doing it too.
Increased visibility on Google Search and Google Maps
Think about the last time you Googled a business for your own needs. I’ll bet page after page of potential nearby businesses popped up. It can be a little overwhelming, and often potential customers click on the first three businesses they see. Google reviews can help your business rank higher in search results and on Google maps, making it more likely that potential customers will find and visit your business.
Opportunities for improvement
Okay, you’ve got a great business going; now how do you keep making it better? Spoiler alert: Google reviews can help! Google reviews can provide valuable feedback for small businesses, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes to better serve their customers. Because who doesn’t want to serve their customers better, am I right?
GREAT! SO…NOW WHAT?
Okay, okay, we hear you: “this is all great, but asking for reviews can be…intimidating,” right? No one wants to ask to be liked. It’s so……awkward . But it’s a necessary awkward if you want your business to be the best it can be. So, to begin consistently asking for Google Reviews, small businesses can follow these simple steps:
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews
Seems so obvious, but so many businesses lose out on great reviews because they skip this super easy step.
Link up with customers
Provide a link to the business's Google Review page on the business's website, social media accounts, and receipts. You don’t want your customers flailing trying to figure out how to leave you a great review. And many, frankly, won’t leave a review if there are too many steps to do so. So help your customers while helping yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a mutually beneficial transaction!
Encourage customers to leave reviews
This is where it can feel a little awkward.
Feel the awkwardness…
Embrace the awkwardness…
Become one with the awkwardness… and then make that ask! You might be surprised to find that many of your customers simply didn’t think of leaving a review and genuinely want to praise your business or your product. A simple, “Hey, if you liked our service, leave a review on our website,” can go such a long way to boost your business. Consider offering incentives, such as discounts or loyalty points, to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Respond to reviews
We cannot emphasize this enough! Thank customers for their positive reviews and address any negative feedback in a professional and timely manner. This shows customers that your business values their feedback and is committed to providing a high-quality experience.
Regularly ask for reviews
Take a note from the corporate businesses and set a reminder to ask for reviews on a regular basis, such as after a customer makes a purchase or completes a service. Ever notice when you make a purchase from a big box store or online store, you get an email asking for a review within 48 hours? It works for them, and it can work for you too!
By consistently asking for and responding to Google Reviews, small businesses can improve their online reputation, increase their visibility on Google Search and Google Maps, and identify opportunities for improvement. This can ultimately lead to increased customer loyalty and business growth, giving you the thriving, ever-adapting-in-this-fast-paced-world edge you need to be the best in your market.