Building an online business is tough.
It takes effort. There’s so much to manage on your way to success– and a paramount part of that includes your “branding.”
You need to manage how your brand comes off to consumers; you need to signal yourself as a trusted business.
And there’s no better way to accomplish that than through reviews!
Your other options are social media and PR marketing.
While both are long-term strategies, they’re resource-intensive.
For example, social media branding takes a ton of time and effort. You’ll need a schedule to release frequent content.
As for PR marketing, you need a sizeable budget (and a lengthy strategy) to make it a success. Plus, you need specialists with an SEO background.
So you need a starting point, an affordable (and quick) way to create a brand is through Google!
Another Reason – Extra Traffic.
You want your business to appear in search engines. The first thing you want searchers to see is a “good reputation.”
With excellent reviews, you immediately signal quality– you can increase the chances of your viewers converting to followers!
Over time, this creates a snowball effect. Reviews will start to pile up as you acquire even better ratings!
In a way, 5-Star reviews are how you attract conversions, it’s just as important as your SEO efforts!
Without Further Ado.
Let’s delve into the guide. We’ll show you 7-Steps to growing your Google reviews.
Follow them, and reap the rewards of excellent branding!
#1 – Find the Correct Platforms.
Fun fact – Google will show reviews from platforms other than its own.
That is, Google’s search engines show reviews from store sites. They also show reviews from social media websites.
More importantly, they show reviews for map searches, so you can optimize reviews by location!
These are all advantages because now, you don’t have to hyper-focus on a single website.
You can target multiples– getting reviews for each. And this gives you more online ratings to work from!
Plus, you’re likely to find more “reviewers” on famous platforms. This reduces your need to reach out to more people!
Sifting Through Each Platform.
Now, picking a platform doesn’t mean you should spread yourself thin.
You want to focus on 4-5 at most. After all, being a platform means you’re likely selling your products there.
And you have to manage your profiles on these platforms. You’ll also need to track comments, cart systems, etc.
This can be too much if you’re using tons of review sites – so be sure to limit yourself to the best!
Which Platforms Should I Try?
Besides Google, we recommend major social networks.
Google Reviews and Facebook Reviews are safe starting bets. Their reviews appear instantly on search engines, so there’s little waiting time.
Beyond those, we recommend seeking “niche-relevant” and “local review sites.”
An example of niche-relevant, look at a website like TripAdvisor – which is a site specifically for traveling.
If your business falls in that industry, then being registered there helps!
#2 – Make it Easy to Post Reviews.
Reviews are a cumulative branding tactic.
First, you need to get buying customers. From there, you need to encourage them to leave reviews on your service.
So it’s a process that requires hustling. Initially, you’ll need the effort to attract and create a sizeable review pool!
For that reason, you need to streamline the review process as much as possible.
Make it easier for customers to post reviews.
Post links that take them straight to popular review platforms, and provide a quick breakdown on what’s necessary to rate your service.
One great way to make it as easy as possible for the client or customer to get to your review link is to use a URL shortener like Bitly or Tiny URL
Beyond that, the process is easy. You just need to know the proper placement for each link (or the different ways to market the links).
Speaking of that…
#3 – Invite People to Review.
So where do you place your Google Review links? We’ll answer that below!
(A) Sales Pages.
If you have a website with a shop set up, place the review at the bottom of the page.
Make it a footer staple. If possible, place the link review after the checkout – thus encouraging a true buyer review!
(B) Blog Section.
You don’t have to place a link in every article. Simply select the most important articles, and place the links there!
(C) Email Follow Ups.
Got a newsletter for your service? If so, you’re probably emailing customers on a regular basis.
Take that as an opportunity to send out your review links. And do so especially with “thank you” emails after a purchase!
A Few Tips.
Don’t be pushy. When sending out an email that invites a review, make sure that you don’t ask too much!
In fact, this should be a general guideline for customer interactions. Try not to ask excessively on landing pages or blogs too.
As a rule, an appreciative customer will leave a good review by themselves– you won’t have to nudge them for a review.
They might even leave reviews with every purchase they make!
And you can lose all that with excess pushiness that might impact your service negatively. You might provoke negative reviews by customers that despise too much marketing!
#4 – Analyse Analytics Data.
So now you’ve got your website choices down. You’ve also positioned your links, and are getting reviews on different sites.
It’s time to sift and select the review sites that get you clicks.
Google Analytics is perfect for this job. It shows you what’s worth focusing on, and what you should set aside!
Apply Only for Less Popular Review Sites.
Consider Facebook Reviews and Google Reviews as absolute staples to work on.
As for the rest, subject them to Google Analytics.
Check to see which websites work best, and work on sending traffic there!
#5 – Leave Responses.
Reviews are an excellent chance to show off your customer service skills.
You can show that your business consistently engages with its clients. It makes you more caring in the eyes of people reading your reviews!
What Response Should I Leave?
Leave a thank you response, keep it informative too!
However, you should avoid being promotional in comments. After all, you don’t want to be perceived as an opportunist!
Don’t Forget Negative Reviews.
You need to manage the bad feedback too.
You can’t risk being ignorant of dissatisfied clients. After all, readers will fixate more on negative feedback than positive.
If you see a bad review, communicate with the client. Offer them a fix, in addition to compensation!
Also, make sure that your response is fast. You don’t want to appear negligent, so you need a way to track your bad reviews.
For that, we recommend Google Alert. This tool notifies you when a new review pops in, thus keeping you on track!
And speaking of negative reviews…
#6 – Collect Feedback.
Beyond amassing reviews, you want your rating to be as high as possible.
You shouldn’t settle for anything less than 4.5/5 (or a 90% rating). Achieving that mark is a sign of excellence that puts you ahead of the competition.
And this leads us to a problem…
A single negative review can drop your ratings by a lot – especially if that negative review is a flat 0/5.
So you need to pay extra attention to dissatisfied customers, and you need to fix the problems they mention at their core.
Are your negative reviews caused by a product defect? Or are they due to unfulfilled promises?
Maybe bad customer service is the issue? Maybe your customers didn’t like the way they were treated for inquiries?
Whatever the issue may be, take note of the problems. Try to fix them, thus preventing the possibility of amassing more negative reviews!
And after you fix the problem, don’t forget to kindly ask your negative critics (privately) to modify the reviews.
#7 – Don’t Offer Incentives.
You can always opt to pay for a review, but that’s not recommended.
You can get fined for fake reviews, and you can suffer penalties when you offer gifts for reviews.
So we recommend leaving out that option.
Instead, follow the safe route, and don’t put your business at risk.
You need to grow your reviews in an organic way. You’ll need to ask actual buyers for reviews, and in a convincing manner!
How to Convince.
We mentioned in point #3 that you need to invite people to leave reviews. But you can’t do so using rewards.
Instead, we recommend listing the benefits of leaving a review– discuss how it reflects well on your business.
Mention how your business can grow (throw in a little mission statement).
Also, discuss how reviews are a chance for you to evaluate mistakes and upgrade your business.
And finally, emphasize that you will always listen to your customers’ opinions!
Time to Get Started.
Building reviews are a vital part of your online reputation. Even though it’s a long process, you can’t ignore it.
There’s nothing more to wait for. Setup your review profiles now, and get started!