An Easy Way to Get More Google Reviews
The answer to “how do I get more Google reviews” is simple. You ask.
Okay, sure, there’s a little more to it than that. Not to worry, I have a proven review system that I’m about to share with you. I’ll also share how I took one of my clients from a 3.6 to a 4.1 on Google by sending one email.
Think about yourself as a shopper. If you see a business with a Google Star rating in the 3s, it gives a particular impression about that business that may or may not be accurate. Meanwhile, a star rating of 4 or higher has a whole different vibe. The brand sentiment difference between the 3s and a 4 is HUGE. Here’s how we got our client from a 3.6 to a 4.1 with ONE email:
Last week I wrote about my client “Acme Services.” They’re in an industry where no one gets good reviews.
When we started working with them, they had a 3.6-star rating, which was quite a bit better than many of their competitors. However, it certainly wasn’t indicative of the customer service they’re providing, so we set out to change it.
The way to fix a low star rating is simple. You flood the account with good reviews without breaking any Google Terms of Service.
Follow the Rules
There are a lot of no-nos when soliciting reviews. You can’t appeal to happy customers to leave a review while discouraging or preventing unhappy customers from leaving reviews. That’s called “review gating,” and it’s against the terms of service. You can’t pay people for their review. You can’t write or solicit fake reviews. This one is actually illegal in Canada under Section 32 of the Competition Act and is punishable by a $200K fine and/or a year in prison. Yikes.
Acme had never solicited reviews at all. I knew that meant there was an untapped source of positive testimonials out there, and I could get that star rating up a couple of decimal points by simple asking these clients for reviews.
First, An Engaged Mailing List
First, we started an email marketing program for Acme to learn more about the audience and get the people on their mailing list in the habit of looking forward to valuable information and free resources that came in their emails.
We do this for every client and pride ourselves on having open rates at least 10-15% higher than your industry average. Someday I’ll write a blog on how we do it because we have a great system.
Acme Services has the most engaged list I’ve ever seen. List engagement is essential for our review request to be successful. The more people read and click on your emails, the more engaged your list is. That means it’s easier to get your message to your buyer.
The average open rate for marketing emails in Acme’s industry is about 38%. That’s already relatively high compared to other sectors, but Acme blew the industry average out of the water. Here’s a look at how a recent email did for them:
I meannnnnnn… that is an engaged list. The number of people who clicked on their emails is sky-high too.
One Email Changed Everything
Once the audience was in a good groove, opening and clicking on Acme’s emails regularly, we were ready to ask them for a favour. Many small businesses make the mistake of only sending marketing emails when they have something to promote, like a new offer or discount. That will not be as successful as cultivating a connection before asking for anything in return.
Our relationship with our audience is, after all, a “real” relationship. If we only contacted our loved ones to ask for something, we would undoubtedly annoy them. Your buyers are no different.
Once we were confident Acme had made a quality connection with its mailing list, we sent one email with one request: please leave us a review.
We didn’t stop there, though. We shared with the audience that leaving a review is one of the most powerful ways of supporting small, local business. We didn’t tell them to leave a 5-star review; we just reminded them that leaving feedback on Google helps small businesses compete with the big guys.
And that was it! From 3.6 to 4.1 in one email.
As much fun as it would be if the world showered compliments on us unbidden, that’s not reality. We need to make it as easy as humanly possible for people to review us. We spell out exactly what instructions they need for Google, LinkedIn and Facebook reviews in our Review Guide, which you can download here.