3 Facts and 1 Clever Workflow to Get More Google Reviews
If you have a storefront or make any in-person contact with customers, and haven’t taken advantage of the tools Google provides, you are missing out on so many opportunities to be found by potential customers.
First, let’s get some basics out of the way.
The Difference Between Google Business Profile and Google My Business
There are two ways your business can be listed on Google.
Method 1 - Listed by anyone
Anyone can go on Google Maps and list a business by dropping a pin. As you can see in the image below, any user can “add a missing place”.
This feature has stayed the same even though Google has gone through a rebranding process.
Method 2 - Listed by the business owner
This is the preferred method, notice how right below you can “add your business”.
Worry not, if someone has added your business to Google, you can claim your business by going through a simple verification process.
What we just described in methods 1 and 2 is what we call a Google Business Profile. In either case, business owners should always have control over their business and what customers see on Google, and this is done through a Google My Business (GMP) account. If your business is created through the second method, then Google automatically guides you to create a Google My Business account.
💡Verify your Google Business Profile with Ikeono
Your business phone number can be text-enabled with Ikeono to make this verification process easier.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty! Going forward we are going to assume that you have your Google My Business account set up.
Why Is Google My Business So Important?
The short answer is that Google dominates 83% of searches on the internet, so you better make sure they can find you.
The long answer is that even if a customer can find you, their path to you is not always so simple.
The only customers that search for your exact business name are the ones already familiar with you.
Potential customers are likely searching for products or services you offer or even a general term like “bike store near me”.
One of the great things about GMP is that Google search and maps prioritize local businesses.
This means that you stand a better chance to be found locally and build a solid reputation in your community.
Understanding search engine optimization, creating social proof, and having a strategy are the most important things you need to understand to be successfully found by your customers.
#1 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This topic might sound intimidating but it boils down to a simple concept:
Completing your Google Business Profile should be your main priority when you are getting started as it maximizes your chances of answering your customer’s questions.
Start with your basic information, a compelling description of your business filled with keywords, and fill out everything else Google makes available (product names, brands, delivery/pick-up options, parking availability, and more).
If it’s there, it means that Google will use this piece of information to compare your business with all others before showing a result to a searcher.
Here are some numbers straight from the source that you should be keeping in mind:
Lucky for you, since you have a storefront or do some type of in-person interaction for your business, you can take advantage of local SEO.
What is local SEO?
Think of the last time you visited a new city, how did you go about finding what you needed? Maybe you were looking for a coffee shop with pastries, or you needed to find a local bike shop to service your bike. Or maybe you were hoping to find a specific product.
You most likely opened your phone and either used Google Maps or Google search to find what you are looking for.
Google will always rank local businesses first. This plays to your advantage because the competition is less overwhelming locally versus trying to compete against all of the businesses listed on the internet.
How can you improve your local ranking?
Nap stands for Number, Address, and Phone number, these three pieces of information are considered to be some of the most important to improve overall ranking.
You should have NAP consistency across all channels, which includes your Google Business Profile, your website, and social media channels.
In addition to NAP consistency, Google’s algorithm focuses on three main factors to determine a business's local ranking: relevance, distance, and prominence.
Google can recommend a store that is further from the searcher simply based on the way their search matches the information you have made available.
This is why completing your Google My Business profile and filling out as many fields as possible is important. The more information you make available, the more likely you are to match with a potential customer.
Keep reading to find out how Ikeono can help with this 👀.
This is where NAP becomes important. If a searcher doesn’t get specific with the location, Google always prioritizes local businesses that best match what the user is looking for and are the closest.
This is a little trickier because it boils down to a combination of what Google knows about your store and its overall “popularity”. Here’s what affects your prominence:
#2 Social Proof
So far it has felt like the onus is entirely on the business owner, right?
Well, that’s not the case. While there is quite a bit that business owners can do to make sure their business is optimized for Google and can be easily found, their customers can help tremendously.
Social proof is any type of endorsement from customers, and because it comes directly from someone that has experienced your products or services, it holds more weight with future customers.
It’s no surprise that 88% of customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations and incorporate them into their purchase decisions.
Google review count and score are considered so important for Google that your spot cannot even be bought.
Automating a workflow to help you get more positive reviews from your customers will generate the social proof potential customers are looking for before choosing your business.
Having a Google My Business account strategy allows you to make it easier for customers to find you and get closer to landing in the sought-after top 3 search results.
Pay attention to questions
Focus on answering questions your customers post on your Google Business Profile, this is essentially Google’s FAQ (frequently asked questions) section for your business. If you don’t get around to answering, loyal customers will do it for you. This shows a sense of community.
Don’t forget to flag inappropriate questions, like common ones, and keep a friendly tone.
Pay attention to keywords
Focus on including keywords you want your business to appear for when a potential customer performs a search.
You should be including brands, popular products, services, and anything else that makes your business unique, maybe you have a coffee shop in the store or you allow dogs inside.
Should you cram everything in your store description? No, here are some ideas:
★ Google posts are similar to social media posts, but you don’t need to post as often. Google recommends posting about events, updates, and news.
★ Add your own questions and answers, this is a common practice for businesses to subtly share their services.
★ Our favorite: ask customers to put keywords in their reviews, don’t worry there’s a way to do this organically with Ikeono.
Pay attention to reviews
Focus on every customer review, it’s essential to answer both positive and negative reviews, it shows that your business cares and builds trust for future customers.
💡 How to create and share your custom review link
- Open your Business profile
- Click Customers > Reviews > Get more reviews
- Add the link to your Ikeono account under Settings > Locations
However, answering reviews is the easy part, you need to make it easy for customers to want to write a review in the first place and that’s where Ikeono comes in.
Ikeono’s Clever Google Reviews Workflow
Step 1 - Always follow up
Following up with your customers post-purchase is one of the best ways to get them to come back in-store and for them to keep your business top of mind.
There are two ways you can go about this with Ikeono:
Automate an outreach campaign via text message to check in with customers after each purchase. The benefit of this approach is that it comes across as more organic.
Campaigns benefit businesses that have a close relationship with customers.
Ask for your grade
On the other hand, businesses that want to have a consistent pulse check might want to provide an even quicker way to get feedback.
A net promoter score (NPS) allows your customers to evaluate your business on a scale of 1-10.
It’s one of the quickest ways to get engagement from your customers because all they need to do is reply with a number.
With the NPS approach, you get a more analytical outcome from the feedback your customers provide.
Step 2 - Take action
Depending on the impression your business left on the customer, you have two options.
Take a moment to repair the relationship if the customer was unhappy, or take your shot and organically ask for a review.
Business text messaging makes the interaction much easier for the customer, it feels more personable and they can answer you back when it’s most convenient for them.
Check out this article to find out why we recommend building relationships with your customers via text message is better than always turning to email as your main mode of communication.
This is your opportunity to get specific and ask them to comment on the product they just purchased or the quality of service they received, their answers can be filled with keywords for your Google Business Profile.
Step 3 - Let the reviews flow
This workflow is clever and extremely effective because it allows you to privately repair relationships with unsatisfied customers before they take it to a public forum.
It also allows you to provide tangible feedback for your employees and better yet, improve your training program.
Dash Bicycle Shop
Dash Bicycle Shop has been around for a long time, their first Google review dates back over 13 years ago (2009)! They have been loyal Ikeono customers and have been able to increase their reviews to 557 5-star reviews.
Their service and expertise are without a doubt 5-star worthy, but during their first 10 years of business, they were able to amass only 47 reviews. In the last 3 years that they have been using Ikeono, they were able to increase that number by more than 10-fold.
As we mentioned before, Google reviews and Google review count are one of the most important factors for local SEO.
Dash Bicycle Shop is an Ikeono client with over 556 reviews, 4.9 stars, and the #1 result for “Rhode Island bike stores”.
Specialized Santa Monica
The Specialized Santa Monica location has been benefiting from Ikeono’s features as well by amplifying the voices of happy customers. In just under 2 short years, they were able to increase their 3.2-star rating to 4.4-star.