You can’t underestimate the power of those shiny gold stars!
Think about the last time you made a purchase — big or small. Did you happen to look for reviews on Google before buying? Most of your customers will. In fact, nearly 95 percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, and 97 percent of shoppers say that reviews on Google and other sites influence their buying decisions.
Why do reviews on Google matter?
In a recent article on Think with Google, Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas, Lisa Gevelber, goes into detail about consumers making quick decisions and acting on those decisions faster than ever before. The focus of the article is the concept of micro-moments, a term coined by Gevelber and the leadership of Google that represents the moment a consumer needs to know something, go somewhere, do something, or buy something.
Micro-moments occur throughout the day for everyone:
- If you’re hungry and traveling, you look for a local restaurant
- If your car breaks down on the way to the restaurant, you look for a mechanic
- If you get home and find a pool of water in your kitchen, you look for a plumber
- If you slip in the puddle and hurt your back, you look for a chiropractor and so on
In essence, consumers are reacting in real-time to micro-moments where they find, go, do, or buy as the need arises. When making these quick decisions, consumers use indicators like reviews on Google to determine where they spend their money. Today, we’re going to look at how you can win new business in today’s micro-moment world by growing positive reviews on Google with the help of email marketing.
Reviews on Google drive buying decisions
Years ago, I was giving my daughter Olivia a bath when I heard my wife yelling from downstairs, “Bryan, the kitchen is flooded!” It turns out the bathtub was causing a downpour through the kitchen ceiling, and I instantly found myself in a micro-moment. I needed a plumber to fix this leak, so we could continue to use the bathtub without a rainforest effect in our kitchen. With that, I picked up my phone and used Google’s voice search to find a “plumber near me.” The first result in the local pack was a plumber in my town with several five-star reviews on Google, so I called right away.
The plumber came over within the hour, assessed the problem, did a quick fix, and told me he’d be back the next day with the proper parts. True to his word, he came the next day, fixed the leak, and handed me the invoice. He was prompt and professional, just like his reviews on Google had described him, and I was more than happy to pay the bill. As a result, he became our go-to plumber for any issues, and I referred him to our family and friends in the area.
74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
Nowadays, more and more consumers are relying on data points like reviews on Google to make their buying decisions. In fact, 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more, and nearly nine out of ten people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. With stats like these, there is no denying that your business needs to have a digital presence with positive Google reviews. Let’s look at how to grow your reviews on Google.
How to grow your reviews on Google
There are three methods to grow your reviews on Google:
Method 1: The verbal ask
Just recently, I went for my routine cleaning at the dentist. Right when I entered the waiting room, I was greeted with a placard requesting a review on Google. When I sat down with my friendly dental hygienist, there was another placard with a simple request, “If you enjoyed your experience, please leave me a review on Google.” And, as expected, after she gave me a clean bill of dental health and my little goodie bag, she said, “All of the dental hygienists are having a competition to see how many reviews on Google we can collect. If you don’t mind, can you leave a review and mention my name?”
I was blown away by the dental practice’s dedication to increasing their review volume, but they never provided a link or any way for me to easily leave a review on Google. Instead, they were depending on patients like me to take the time to search for the business, find the right Google Business Profile and leave a review.
Although they had good intentions, the front desk staff confirmed that there was barely any follow-through from delighted patients. In essence, verbally asking for a Google review was not effective.
Method 2: The direct link to Google Reviews
Over the years, Google has realized that it needs to make it easy for small business owners to solicit new reviews. In the past, you’d need to go through multiple steps to find your Place ID (a special tag that identifies your business profile in Google’s local SEO database) and then insert it into a long, complex URL. The result was something that looked like this:
Now, assuming you’ve created a Google Business Profile, you may have noticed the ability to share a direct link to your local SEO listing on Google Search and Maps. Thankfully, the link to Google reviews is easier to find and friendlier to the eye.
Although a direct link is helpful, it doesn’t provide small businesses like yours with the ability to manage and promote your reviews on Google as well. That’s where a review engine comes into play.
Method 3: The review engine
The easiest and most convenient way to grow your reviews on Google (and reviews on many other sites like Facebook, Yelp, etc.) is by using a review engine service. One service to consider is MyReviewDashboard, which is offered by BJC Digital Marketing. These kinds of review engine services provide a slew of benefits, including the ability to:
- Proactively solicit reviews on Google, Yext, Facebook, Zillow, and more
- Get alerts when new reviews come in
- Collect negative customer feedback proactively before a negative review is posted
- Resolve issues with unhappy customers
- Promote positive reviews on Google via social media, email marketing, and on your website
A service like MyReviewDashboard sets you up with a custom domain name to make it easy to solicit reviews from your happy customers. That custom domain can be shared on social media posts, business cards, invoices, receipts, and more.
Remember that story from my dentist’s office? Had they used a review engine like MyReviewDashboard, they could have created QR codes and added them to each of the placards around the office to make it easy for patients to leave a review on Google.
Best of all, you can use that same custom domain in your email marketing campaigns to grow your reviews on Google.
How to grow positive reviews on Google with email marketing
I once worked with a realtor who knew that they needed more reviews to stand out from their competition. After each closing, they planned to send a personal email to their clients asking for a new review on Google. Their intentions were great, but they lacked the time and resources to follow through on their plan. As a result, they were only able to collect 3 new reviews in 6 months.
When we started working together, our team at BJC Digital Marketing realized that they had a substantial contact list of delighted buyers and sellers that could provide a large volume of new positive reviews. To maximize their limited time, we suggested that they use Constant Contact email marketing to reach out and request new reviews.
Let’s assume that you have an email list of 100 happy customers and you were using a review engine service like MyReviewDashboard. You could spend hours sending each customer an individual email with your new custom domain name (e.g. www.reviewcompanyXYZ.com), or you could leverage the power of Constant Contact’s digital marketing platform.
Constant Contact would allow you to custom brand your email campaign, personalize each email with a custom greeting, and streamline the content to save you time.
Be sure to segment your list
If you’ve ever looked at a business’s reviews and noticed they were all written around the same date, it might make you a bit suspicious. The same holds true for your customers, which is why you never want to ask your entire email list for reviews at once.
Instead, leverage the power of email list segmentation to break your list into smaller groups of contacts of 10 to 20 customers. You can organize your contacts by the products or services they buy, their last purchase date, or their frequency of purchases. You might also create a segment of happy brand evangelists who already interact with your social media because you know they’ll be more likely to leave a review for you. Once you have your segments defined, you can use the copy below in your review request email campaign:
Hi [First Name],
I want to thank you for doing business with [Company Name]. I’m reaching out personally because I want to ask about your experience with our team.
Were we amazing? Just OK? Terrible? In any case, I’d like to know.
We always strive to be better, and your feedback will help us accomplish that. If you’re willing, it will only take a minute of your time.
[Review Link in Button Form]
Tying it all together
At the end of the day, consumers are making split-second decisions when they find themselves in a micro-moment. By combining a review engine service like MyReviewDashboard with a powerful email marketing service like Constant Contact, you can solicit, collect, and promote positive reviews on Google to win their business.