10 Tips To Grow Your Business Through Google Reviews

One of my clients, Raine & Horne Green Square, recently scored their 200th Google Review at an average of five-stars. I wrote the below article for other businesses in the Raine & Horne network, where I share my best tips to boost your online reputation by increasing your Google Reviews.

We have all had the experience of reading online reviews before making a purchase decision and when it comes to your business, it’s naive to think that your online presence isn’t helping or hindering your ability to find new clients and convert them.

For those out there who are still sceptical, consider some of these stats:

  • Over 60% of home buyers choose a real estate agency based on online reviews (National Association of Realtors, 2017)
  • More than half of consumers won’t use a business if it has less than a 4-star rating (Brightlocal, 2018)
  • 78% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Brightlocal, 2018)

And recent changes to Google’s search results have only heightened your need to focus on this area of your business. Do a quick Google search for ‘YOUR TYPE OF BUSINESS and YOUR SUBURB NAME’ and take a look at the results.

Google Maps results (i.e. Google Reviews) are now appearing just below the ads (which most people skip) and above the search results. Most people doing their homework on a potential business like yours to work with don’t even make it past this section. They scan the Google Maps and Google Reviews results and prepare a shortlist of businesses to investigate further.

Businesses with high star ratings make the cut. Businesses with low star ratings get overlooked. And if you’re not even featuring on the list, what chance do you think you have of getting a call or email?

At Raine & Horne Green Square, we have recently enjoyed two significant milestones; we just had our 3rd birthday and also passed 200 Google Reviews at an average of a five-star rating. Truth be told, we only started asking for them at the start of 2017, meaning we have consistently received an average of three Google Reviews every two weeks.

And they have made a huge difference to the business. In fact, they are the number one source of new leads in our business.

We have tested and measured what does and doesn’t work and made a few mistakes along the way.

Below I have distilled these lessons and share my best ten tips for helping you generate more Google Reviews and grow your online presence and business as a result.

1. FIRST AND FOREMOST, YOU HAVE TO BE ‘REVIEWABLE’

Asking for reviews is easy when you’ve done a great job – consistently doing a great job is the hard part! There is no secret formula to getting someone to write a positive review against their will. You need to exceed expectations, do a great job and when you’ve built up some goodwill, people will be happy to thank you. There is no shortcut around this and if you’re not putting smiles on your clients’ faces, you need to focus on this first.

2. YOU’LL PROBABLY HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

It isn’t easy or natural to ask for online reviews. Like most things worthwhile in life, you have to leave your comfort zone. Once you’ve asked for your first five or ten reviews, I promise it will get easier. You’ve just got to get the first few out of the way.

3. GET YOUR WHOLE TEAM INVOLVED

Empower everyone across your business to ask for reviews; anyone who is client facing is able to ask for a review. Share the load across your team and increase your opportunities at the same time.

4. WRITE A SCRIPT FOR YOUR TEAM

If your team needs to write a custom message every time they ask for a review, chances are they’ll put it in the ‘too-hard basket’. Make it easy for everyone to ask for reviews by preparing a piece of text for your team to use, including a URL to your Google page and specific instructions on how to leave a review.

5. TRY SMS, NOT JUST EMAIL

We’re all now glued to our phones, so try meeting people where they’re at. We’ve recently found that SMS Google Review requests are more effective than emails. Everyone’s client base is different but test and measure your approach to increase your success rate.

6. DON’T JUST STOP AT CLIENTS

Most people only think to ask clients for reviews, but there are so many other people associated with your business who you’re adding value to and who can sing your praises. Open your mind to who you’ve created a positive experience for, and therefore can leave you a review.

7. RUN A TEAM-WIDE COMPETITION

People love incentives and we have found a flurry of Google Reviews come in when we incentivise our team to ask for them. Consider a competition during a specific period of time, with a gift card for the team member who gets the most reviews.

8. SET HIGHER STANDARDS FOR YOUR TEAM

We now have a strong culture of asking for reviews at Green Square. This has required a combination of building Google reviews into our team member KPIs, discussing them frequently around the office and in meetings, as well as the leaders of the business being consistent in focussing on this strategy. This isn’t about a ‘sprint’, it’s about a small but important change to your business as usual.

9. BUILD REVIEWS INTO YOUR PROCESSES

By building Google Review requests into various client checklists across our business, it has made it very simple for people to remember to ask for them. Make the right behaviours the rule, not the exception.

10. REPLY TO EVERY SINGLE ONE

We wish we’d known this earlier, but replying to Google reviews has a huge impact on your Google search rankings. Say thanks for positive reviews (people do appreciate it) but even if the review is negative, you score major points for being transparent enough to own your performance and reply publically.

THE WRAP

I speak to many great businesses whose awesomeness is simply not being reflected online.

If asking for reviews all sounds too ‘self-serving’ to you and you’re great at what you do (which I assume you are), consider whether you’re doing potential clients a disservice by not showcasing this online, allowing them to work with inferior competitor businesses instead.

Don’t be the ‘best-kept secret’ in your local area. Using Google reviews to open up your client experience to potential clients is not only a great way to grow your business, but it’s a necessity in our modern world. When someone is looking for help, make sure you’re easy to find and trust.

Are you letting a lack of focus on online reviews hold back the growth of your business?

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