Did you know that 90% of consumers research online and rely on review sites before making a purchase? Google reviews make it or break it for your business.
We live in a world where everybody Googles everything, and ratings can make or break your business. Just a half star increase in your rating is equivalent to a 9% increase in revenue per Harvard Business Review.
Comparing your business to a book on Amazon:
- 5-Star or four-and-a-half star books sell well
- 4-Star books sell occasionally
- 3.5-Star or below books rarely sell one copy
If your business was a restaurant, Berkley economists found that a half star improvement makes it 30-49% more likely that a restaurant will sell out during peak hours.
Let’s compare the data above to a home seller looking for a lawyer or real estate agent.
Starting at the top of the sales funnel – you send out emails, advertise on Facebook, sponsor local events, hand out a card at Starbucks, or a potential client got your name from a friend of a friend. What’s the next step? It is highly likely they will search your name on Google. What happens next is up to you.
For those in the real estate industry – Google, Redfin and sometimes Yelp are the keys to your future. Let’s start with Google.
Creating a Google My Business (GMB) listing is the first and most important step to local search success. GMB offers the strongest brand impact for businesses or individuals seeking exposure locally. In fact, approximately 90% of organic searches come from Google and it complements a brand’s existing website, shows in search results and maps, and communicates with third-party platforms using Google Maps API.
You need to either create a listing or ensure you have a Google business page setup. If your business is established (usually founded several years ago), it’s likely Google already has a GMB listing and you just need to claim it.
Ensure your listing clearly includes what your business does, where it is, and how consumers can quickly and efficiently acquire the goods and/or services you offer.
Similar to traditional SEO for websites, Google uses bots to serve search results. It is important to include keywords like “Chicago Real Estate Attorney,” “Orland Park Real Estate attorney,” “5013C Attorney,” etc. to your business listing is key – especially since your direct business website will be listed within your GMB page.
Use these in the business description and each time you post a Local Post to your audience.
Posting photos to your GMB is extremely important – in fact, businesses that have photos receive 35% more click-throughs to their website than those without photos and 42% more requests for directions from Google Maps.
GETTING REVIEWS & INTERACTING
There are several ways to effectively ask your clients to give you reviews. You can politely ask by weaving it into your closing. Adding links in your email signature to sites you wish to have reviews on is effective and professional. You can ask in all correspondence and on social media by sharing a link set up in GMB.
When you receive reviews, interact and respond within a timely manner. By responding quickly and skillfully, it shows your customers and those potential customers who are researching you online before making that initial interaction that your business values client feedback. Positive reviews and responses are going to have a positive effect on potential customers when researching your business. Reviews and responses also increase your business’s visibility in search results.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS MESSAGING
Turn on the message app in GMB – it may be painful to answer sometimes, but this is a great way to capture leads. By engaging in messaging this gives you the power to talk to your audience in real time. These conversations are what can help your business stand out because it shows you are a real person rather than a bot or a corporate conglomerate company, that personal touch goes a long way.
Don’t let the fact of being ‘live’ scare you away from messaging through your GMB. There are settings that allow an automated response so if you don’t want to be monitoring your messaging 24/7 this initial response will give your customers the response they want while you can get back to them with their exact answer the next day or during business hours.
GMB gives you the opportunity to publish offers, events, services and your product line to your listing and maps. This lets you engage with your searching audience in almost real-time. These local posts give you the power to engage with your customers in real time.
Importantly, local posts allow you to broadcast your specials or any time sensitive announcements that can benefit you and your customers such as a flash sale.
ANALYZE YOUR REVIEWS
Monitor your progress through “Insights” – analytics provided by GMB. The analyzing feature lets you know how customers found you, where they found you, who asked for directions and who called.
This will give you valuable information on how to craft your local posts, where your customers are searching and how, which will help you with any digital marketing needs. Tracking how your business is reaching customers and potential customers is important because by analyzing this data it will give you the tools you need to maximize your reach by the data.
Also, by analyzing your company’s data, this gives you the ability to see if your links are working. If you notice your phone number has been clicked on a high number of times but don’t feel like your phone is actually ringing as much as it says, you can click it yourself to see where it’s taking you. This gives you the ability to triple check to make sure what you input is accurate and working effectively.
We know customer reviews are important for your business’s reputation and your businesses visibility. You have the power to maximize your business profile at your fingertips. Promote your business, don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and have that real time engagement with your customers. They hold the power to increase your company’s awareness and increase your business.
Google reviews make it or break it for your business online, take control to maximize your businesses potential.
For more social media and brand communication tips follow my blog series.