If you were watching our newsletter last month, we covered some basic (and free) ways to get more likes for your Facebook page. Well, this month, we’re going to give you some equally inexpensive (free!) ways to nudge up the number of reviews you have in Google Places. (For those who don’t know what that is, it’s the screen that often pops up when people are trying to find a new shop to go to for service. If your shop is in there, and it has nice reviews from customers, you have a better chance of winning that business than shops with no reviews, few reviews or lots of bad ones.) Each review you can get into Google has value, so while it would be nice to get tons and tons each day, getting even one or two a week is great, especially if you can do it for free. They’ll add up!
So, enough set up. Here are five easy ways to get more reviews:
1. Ask for Them
Okay, anyone paying attention from last month’s newsletter may notice this is the same first step as last month’s Facebook strategy. Well, it is, and the reason it’s on this list too is because it works. Think about it, you have them standing right there in your shop, right now (well, “right now” as in when you are billing them out at the counter, or while you are chatting with them in your waiting room, etc.). So ask them. Just say, “Hey, Mrs. Smith, you know that the Internet is very important for businesses these days. Would you review our shop on Google when you get home? Reviews help our business significantly.” Some customers will do it. People are nice, and some will want to help out.
2. Know How to Find Your Places Page
This one kind of relates to the last one. Think about that scenario above, and then add this to the mix: What happens if Mrs. Smith says, “Sure, I’ll be happy to. How do I do it?” Do YOU know? This gets down to you spending some time and making sure you know how to find your shop’s Google Places page.
Finding a business can seem tricky sometimes, depending on shop name and location, because it doesn’t always pop up on the front page. If you’re not sure, you can find it by selecting MAPS from the options at the top of your Google search page, then typing in the name and phone number of your shop. You can also use the address, city and state, but phone numbers seem easiest. You can also look on the right side of the screen and choose “Places” and do the same thing—you may have to select “More” to bring that option up. Either should get your Places page to show. Spend some time and make sure you can find it; that way you can direct your customers right to it too. Make sure everyone working your counter knows how, too.
In fact, if you are really proactive, you can help your customers place a review right then and there. If you have a laptop, let them use it. Heck, you could even let them come around behind the counter if you are so inclined. If you’ve got a really good customer standing there who is going to say something like, “I came here for the first time back in 1989, and have been coming ever since,” then you definitely might want to make that easy for him to say.
3. Contact Your Best Customers Directly
You know who your best customers are. I guarantee that right now you can name off at least five people who would drop what they are doing and go onto Google and write a review for you on the spot. Your super customers. Can you name them? Yeah, of course you can. So look them up in that computer of yours and call them. Send them an email. Write a letter. Whatever you’re comfortable with. Just do it. (I’ll bet there are a lot more than five.)
4. Give Them a Sign
Yep, just a sign (and yes, this was on the list for Facebook too). Whether it’s on the counter, in the lobby, or on the card you leave on the dash or hang from the mirror when the service is complete, a sign can pay real dividends when it comes to gathering Google reviews. If you’re not sure what to say, go with something basic like: “Google reviews are valuable to our business. If you are satisfied with your service, please consider leaving a review on Google about XYZ Auto Repair. If not, tell us, and we will make it right.” (Include the full shop name, because some people don’t remember that sort of thing.) Some might say this particular strategy is risky, because you might get a bad review, but hopefully you’re communicating with your customers and have a relationship that makes airing grievances comfortable for them. In the end, you have to believe that you will get way more good reviews than bad, so don’t let fear drive your strategy.
5. Let Them Know Your Satisfaction Survey Is Coming
If you are using our online marketing services, then part of the automated customer review gathering we do for you includes the email survey. As you know that part of that survey includes a prompt at the end that invites them to take the nice review they just gave you for your customer review site and put it into Google (or Yahoo) too. So, since you know this is coming, prepare them for it. “Keep an eye out for our satisfaction survey in your email, Mrs. Smith. And let us know how we did.” This little heads up can sometimes mean the difference between your email being put off until later and being opened right away, since they were expecting it. (If you don’t have Mrs. Smith’s email, ask her for it!!!) Learn more about that service HERE.
So there you have it, five easy and affordable ways to help build up your Google reviews. If you’ve got something you do at your business that’s cheap and easy too, we’d love to hear what it is.
Want more ideas to market your shop? Get new ideas every month with the Shop Marketing Manual.
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