How can you use Google Reviews, even negative ones, to take your online marketing to the next level? Regardless of how good your product or service is, in today’s world, your online marketing strategy can make or break your business. And online and Google Reviews play such an important role.
This Blog discusses:
- Why reviews matter
- The importance of responding to reviews, and
- How to respond to Google Reviews – The good and the bad
Why Are Reviews So Important To Your Online Marketing?
“Negative reviews drive away customers.
94 percent say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.”
So, you think your website has it all? Even if you have…
- A spectacular website,
- A good search engine rank; and
- Prolific content creation
… if your business has more negative online reviews than positive, your trustworthiness and credibility come into question.
With over 60% of surveyed consumers saying they would check a business’ reviews on Google before even visiting that business, if you’re going to focus on building and maintaining great reviews on any one platform, Google is the priority.
The Connection Between Reviews + Google Rank
Even before consumers get to making purchase decisions based on your online reviews, Google is taking your positive ratings into account in calculating where your business will show up in their search results. This means that the more positive reviews your customers leave for your business on Google, the more potential customers will see your business’ website, and your Google Map listing, on Page 1, Position 1.
Positive online reviews mean more potential customers will feel safe enough to continue the process and become paying customers. Actively encouraging new reviews and responding to them well is something that needs to be part of your business’ online marketing and “SALES” strategy. While Google Reviews can provide outstanding results – Positively or Negatively – it’s your Sales processes and strategies that are driving those reviews.
Encourage Reviews! Don’t be Shy
Firstly, you need reviews to have something to respond to. Encouraging your happy customers to leave reviews not only attracts more great reviews, it also helps dilute the negative impact if bad reviews are ever left.
Respond to ALL Reviews | An Integral Part of Online Marketing + Sales Strategy
Here’s the kicker that most businesses ignore – You (or an authorised representative of your business) need to be responding to your online reviews. All of them. Whether the feedback is negative or positive. This needs to be a consistent part of your online sales process which directly influences your online marketing strategy – so, all reviews need to be personally and professionally responded to.
How To Respond to Online Reviews
So you’ve offered a product or service that has inspired your customer to write a review of some kind. Hopefully it’s a positive review. And, even if it’s not, every review gives you the chance to learn how to improve for next time, plus build better customer relationships and a more human web presence. Sometimes the biggest critic can become a lifelong supporter with the right response to their feedback.
Note | the following tips refer to the content of your public responses to Google reviews. For the steps on how to physically respond to Google reviews, we suggest visiting Google’s My Business page for further assistance.
How To Respond To Positive Google Reviews
Thank them for their review
Genuinely, and from the heart. Remember that this person specifically took time out of their busy life to publicly support your business. This is online marketing gold, and therefore really needs to be incorporated into your sales processes to ensure each review is acknowledged and appreciated.
If you suffer from ‘busy’ life syndrome, outsource this task to someone who knows what they are doing. Recognising the importance of providing exceptional customer service, and sincerely thanking your clients for their public acknowledgement of what you have done is just good business. It’s also a great strategy to promote Business-2-Business customers if you have them.
Tell a story
Feel free to include a small piece of background information here that offers more about the story of your business, particularly any specific elements the reviewer has praised.
For example, if you own a coffee shop and a reviewer has specifically said they enjoyed the apple cake, you might want to let them know that it’s your grandmother’s recipe made with locally grown apples. Keep it friendly, informative, and succinct. Others reading the original review and your response will feel like they know you and your business more personally.
BONUS TIP // Share How it’s Helped
Let your customer know how their feedback has helped your business. For example, if their review has been published to your website or social media, let them know. A quick personal text or email is all it takes.
Another example is If a specific team member was mentioned in a review, let your customers know that their praise has been passed on.
How To Respond To Negative Google Reviews
Even the best business is at risk of negative reviews being published online. More often than not, the most common cause of you ever receiving a negative Google review is a case of Expectation vs Reality. This is when what you have delivered doesn’t match what your customer believes you said you’d deliver. Clear communication of what’s included and what can be expected will help mitigate bag reviews, and sometimes…
- Things just go wrong either with your product or service delivery
- Your customer is having a bad day or something you or your team have said, done or delivered was the final straw or,
- A customer genuinely sees a gap in your offering that you hadn’t noticed before. They just decide to tell you about it – publicly.
Whatever the cause, negative reviews aren’t to be feared, so much as they are to be intelligently managed.
Thank this person for their feedback
Yes, thank them for their time to provide their feedback, all while acknowledging and apologising for your part in their negative experience.
Even if there are no 5-stars, this person’s time and feedback is still valuable. Few online reviewers are going out of their way to attack your business – most of them just want their grievances heard, their problem solved, and to save future customers from the same problems. This is all very valuable for your business, and it deserves thanks.
Where appropriate, offer a fix
Depending on the situation, offer a complimentary repair/replacement, a telephone consultation to resolve the issue, or an additional service next time they use your business. This actually builds the relationship, shows that you are genuinely invested in your customers’ satisfaction, and shows other readers that you are willing to acknowledge and make good on any mistakes.
When things went pear shaped for online store Showpo recently, here’s how their founder Jane Lu responded. (Refer to the LinkedIn post video mid article).
Don’t take it OR make it personal
Publicly responding to online reviews is not the time to have a fragile ego. See every review (no matter how unflattering) as an opportunity to build customer relations. Even the most disgruntled of reviewers, by leaving a public review, is giving you an opportunity to prove you want to offer the best service for your customers.
Remember that what others say defines them. What you say and do defines you.
Whatever you do, don’t resort to disparaging remarks about your customer’s character. And, if the review happens to include any personal insults, generally ignore them and focus on the issues that are within your power to rectify. See every review as a chance to improve your business.
More Tips on How To Respond To Google Reviews
For more on the intricacies of responding to online reviews, including some examples from both the gold star and the cringeworthy ends of the spectrum, we recommend having a look at this article – The Painless Guide On How To Respond To Google Reviews.
Also, here’s even more tips on this essential aspect of online marketing from Google themselves.
If potential customers love reviews and Google loves reviews, you should too!
Encouraging positive reviews and responding to every review regularly, as part of your weekly / fortnightly marketing activities, makes for a powerful, next-level online marketing strategy.