In my last blog, I told you about how the most brilliant content for your website may be hiding in plain sight – right in your customer testimonials. Testimonials, also called reviews, are a proven way to build credibility for your business. You want to win more of your ideal customers, right? Then think about the reviews written by your current ideal customers as digital referrals. What one ideal customer says about your business, in their own words, will resonate with prospective ideal customers.
In my experience, the two best places for reviews are Google My Business and LinkedIn. In this post, I’ll show you how to set up your listing and start getting reviews on Google My Business.
But first, remember those huge Yellow Pages directories that were dumped on your doorstep year after year? Well, the internet has pretty much killed off The Yellow Pages. But you still need a reliable place to find addresses and phone numbers for local businesses, right? And because Google wants to make sure that you never go to Yelp or any another online directory, they created Google My Business (formerly called Google Local and before that called something else, which I don’t remember, but that’s neither here nor there).
Your Google My Business listing will appear whenever someone searches for your business in your local area. Mine even appears when I search for my own name.
Now, if your business is virtual and your customers are outside your area, you may be thinking that you don’t need a local listing. Au contraire ma chérie! You never know when a great customer is going to be referred to you and that person searches Google to check you out. It’s the smart thing to do to take advantage of every bit of visibility you can, especially when it’s free. And, as they say in New York, “It couldn’t hurt!”
Take advantage of every bit of visibility you can, especially when it’s free.
Your Google My Business listing will appear in many types of searches, not just when someone searches for your business by name. For example, we used Google My Business to increase visibility for my client Barbara Bonar, an attorney who specializes in sexual harassment cases. Here’s what appears when someone searches for the kind of help her firm provides. Her listing appears at the top because we very thoroughly completed her Google My Business listing.
Back to your listing. The first step is to check to see if Google has already set up a listing for your business. The best way is to simply Google your business name and include your city and state, like so:
If a Google My Business listing appears for your business you need to claim it. If nothing appears, then you need to create a listing. Google provides very easy instructions for doing both. (You’ll want to complete your listing as much as possible, adding your address, images, a link to your website, etc.).
You work from home and don’t want your home address plastered all over Google, right? Unfortunately, Google won’t allow a listing without a street address. But I found a workaround by opening an inexpensive post office box. In fact, if you work from home you should have a PO box to use on your website and other marketing materials. It’s safer that way. But I didn’t want my listing to display “PO Box” in the address because that doesn’t look like I have a real business, so I simply entered the street address of the post office and my box number. It looks like a typical address:
Go ahead and complete your listing as thoroughly as possible (you can go back and edit it anytime). Then come back to this blog to learn how to get reviews on Google My Business. Click here for the instructions.
How To Get Reviews on Google My Business
By now you have your listing set up and pretty much configured. Here’s how to start getting reviews on Google My Business.
As I mentioned before, if you serve customers in an office or store they can review your business right from their phone. For my client Dr. Tanenbaum, we created sheets of directions, which he keeps in his examining rooms. When a particularly happy patient is in the office he may ask him or her to review his services right there on the spot. And they do!
How Customers Can Write Reviews on Google My Business from their Phone
In order for your customers to write reviews on Google My Business from their phones, you need a special link called a Place ID. Now, it took me a while to figure this out, so I’m saving you oodles of time here! (You’re welcome! ☺) Don’t be discouraged when you see the six steps below. It’s not as complicated as it looks and once you’ve set it up, it’s done.
To get your Place ID:
- Go to the PlaceID Lookup Tool.
- Enter your business name in the “Enter a location” field at the top of the map. It should appear if you’ve set up your Google My Business listing already.
- Click your business name in the list that appears.
- Your Place ID will appear on the map, beneath your business name. It’s a long string of characters.
- Add the Place ID to this URL to create your link: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=placeid here
Using the example below, the URL with the Place ID added would be:
6. I recommend you shorten the URL to make it easier for your customers to enter it. I used www.bitly.com to create a short link and customized it for Dr. Tanenbaum. If you haven’t used Bitly, it’s super easy and free! Here’s a look at the sheet of directions I created for Dr. Tanenbaum above:
How Customers Can Write Reviews on Google My Business from their Computer
When your customer is not in front of you but instead on a computer at his or her own desk, just have them Google your company name with the city and state and click the “Write a review” link in your listing:
One more thing: It’s important to monitor your reviews on Google My Business. Any negative reviews need to be addressed the same as on other platforms. Sadly, some businesses have discovered negative reviews written by people they’ve never done business with. (I know, some people have way too much time on their hands, right?) Click here for Google’s policies on reviews and how to flag an inappropriate review.
Sometimes a review isn’t inappropriate, it’s just bad and it can’t be removed. Thankfully, if you have 11 reviews and they’re all great except one, most people do understand that you can’t please everyone. This article has some good tips on how to address this.
So there you have it! How to get reviews on Google My Business. I hope this blog was helpful to manage (and understand) your listing. Oh, I almost forgot to mention a very important thing! You can repurpose the reviews on Google My Business and publish them on your website. Because once they’re public, you can use them anywhere.
Now, let’s impress your ideal customers with great reviews on Google!
(In case you missed it, here’s a link to the blog about how my client Sharon Sherman discovered the most amazing content for her website hiding right in her customer reviews.)
I welcome your comments.