Word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the best marketing methods. The biggest difference today is that word spreads faster through customer reviews, and the most popular review site in the world is Google—especially for local businesses. The more reviews you have—and the more positive they are—the higher you’ll rank in Google. Of course, getting reviews isn’t always easy, so follow along for the best ways to get Google reviews that actually work.
Keep in mind that before you can start getting reviews on Google, you’ll first need to set up a Google My Business account if you haven’t done so already.
Let’s look at the best tips for increasing your number of positive reviews in Google:
1. Ask (Almost) Everyone You Know
As tempting as it is to offer a discount for reviews or to purchase reviews as a shortcut, you should resist. Those methods go against Google’s policy, and you could incur a fine. You also can’t have employees leave reviews for your business.
The best people to ask for reviews are your customers. Friends and family can also get you those Google reviews. However, honesty is the best policy, so be sure you only ask for reviews from those who have made a purchase from you.
2. Add Your Google Review Link to a Business Card
One of the easiest ways to make sure your customers know they can leave you a review is with a business card. You can post the direct link, but it’s better branding to create a separate page for reviews on your own website—and it’ll be easier for customers to type in the address.
Slip the business card into each bag with purchases. Or leave business cards at a front desk where guests can grab one on their way out. Vistaprint is an affordable print shop where you can design your own business card.
3. Try a QR Code
If you are worried that customers won’t take the time to type in a website address and leave you reviews in Google, consider adding a QR code. A QR code is similar to a barcode on products. All a customer needs to do is scan the code with a smartphone, and the web address you’ve added to the QR code will open in a browser window. The easier you make it for your customers, the more likely they are to leave your business a Google review.
4. Ask for a Review on Receipts
There’s a lot you can do with a receipt to encourage loyalty from visitors. Restaurants and retailers commonly add coupons for a percentage off your next purchase. You could also add a review request at the bottom of your receipts to get more reviews in Google. Be sure to use a short URL or QR code, so it will be easier for customers.
5. Send an Email Campaign for Google Reviews
One of the best times to prompt a customer for a review is after they’ve made a purchase. You can schedule an email campaign to send out a reminder for a review based on the customer data you have.
If a client hasn’t visited in a while, it’s a good reminder that they used to be a patron. Or if you’ve shipped an item, you know when they’ll receive it, and you can time the email so it arrives a day or so after they got their purchase. If you’re still sending emails manually, you might want to consider an easy-to-use email marketing program with free plans like Constant Contact to automate your campaigns (no credit card required).
6. Post Your Review Link to Social
Social media is a fantastic way to interact with your customers. Whether you’re using social organic (aka free) or using paid social ads (e.g., Facebook Ads), using social media posts to ask for feedback is another great way to get reviews in Google. Create a shorter link using a URL shortener like Bitly, as your message will stand out more than a long link.
7. Respond to Google Reviews
You’re not likely to get glowing reviews from every single customer, but that’s OK. You have an opportunity to control the narrative when you respond to reviews. BrightLocal’s survey revealed that 87% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Good, bad, or otherwise, if a customer knows the full story, it can help drive their decision.
It’s important to respond to positive and negative reviews alike. At the very least, you can show that there’s a person behind the business and logo, which can help build trust. You may even get the opportunity to make it up to a customer who’s upset with their experience. Plus, in the ReviewTrackers survey, 45% of customers said it makes a difference when businesses respond to negative reviews.
8. Use a Pop-up on Your Site
If you want to cover your bases with all the opportunities to get reviews in Google, consider adding pop-ups to ask for a review after a customer makes a purchase from your online store. If a customer was inspired to purchase an item or service from you, they might already have an opinion on their experience, and it’s a great time to say thanks and ask for feedback.
9. Embed Google Reviews on Your Site
You may have seen businesses crop images of their Google reviews and put them on their site. This does share with customers the kind words others share about your business, but you’re missing out on a benefit of embedding Google reviews on your site.
When you embed the reviews, the text is present (not just an image), allowing Google to crawl your reviews page on your site. It can benefit your search engine optimization (SEO) if you set this up correctly. Also, if someone finds your review page on your site, they’re more likely to read the reviews there, which increases time spent on the page and contributes to your SEO.
10. Add a Review Button on Your Site
Most consumers expect a business to have a website. So, one of the best places to ask for a Google review is your website. Simply sign in to Google My Business, and click on the button to share your review link. Copy the link, and then add a button to your site.
To drive more traffic to your site, consider search engine marketing (SEM). While SEO is important for ranking in Google, you’ll make considerable headway if you follow some of the best tips for search engine marketing.
11. Replace Tips With Reviews
Most restaurants pay servers a low wage, as allowed by state and federal laws. Wait staff make more money through earned tips. It’s customary to leave a tip for salon, spa, and hotel staff too. Some businesses are doing away with the gratuity custom and instead are paying a living wage to their workers.
Consider spreading the word that staff members no longer accept tips, but a review would be helpful. It’s a great way to get reviews in Google, and your new way of doing business may spread through the reviews, also.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What factors impact how your business ranks in local search results?
One of the most important factors in local rankings on Google is claiming your Google My Business account. You can also search for local keywords to use in your website’s content to help with SEO. Get reviews in Google—the more you have, and the more positive they are, the higher your business will rank. Look for more ways for small businesses to rank on Google.
What’s the best way to build a website that ranks in search?
To ensure customers can find you online, you must create a website that ranks in search engine results. If you have an SEO specialist on staff, you can trust their methods. Most small businesses build their own websites, though. So, the best way to make sure your SEO game is strong is to use one of the best website builders for SEO.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management involves controlling the narrative of a company’s reputation on the internet. Social media managers typically monitor mentions of a business on social platforms, respond to reviews and posts, and you may even have a public relations agent release a statement. Make your life less complicated and use a leading online reputation management software, such as Podium. It will help you manage customer reviews as well as your profiles online in one centralized place.
Small businesses can benefit greatly from Google reviews. Those reviews not only inspire repeat and new business, they also improve SEO and search engine results. More reviews (and more positive reviews) will, in time, drive your business to the top. If you need any extra help implementing the tips above, such as creating pop-ups or graphics for your review request, try Fiverr—you can get these types of services done by a pro for as little as $5.