Google introduced the User Generated Review feature to Google Maps back in June 2007. It gives anyone the ability to review your business on Google Maps. With more and more people using Google Maps to find things locally, local businesses should be very aware of how much of an impact these reviews can have.
For some local businesses who get ‘searched and found’ via Google Maps, these reviews can really help (or really do some mega damage).
why you want positive reviews
Positive reviews are free advertising. You don’t have to pay anything to get them. With a little effort on your part, you can likely expedite the process, and have several real reviews from real customers, quickly and free of charge.
Positive reviews are extraordinarily powerful. Just last week, we tried a new Chinese food place, admittedly based solely on glowing reviews we saw on its Google Maps listing. The reviews sold us. Best of all, they sold us for free. The business didn’t have to pay for anything. Many marketers agree that positive reviews and testimonials are one of the most powerful forms of advertising.
Positive reviews build brand credibility. If you have a lot of reviews, you’ve built up brand credibility for an audience that may not know you yet. This could make local customers choose you over other businesses.
how to get positive reviews
Ask your customers to review you on Google Maps. It really is this simple. Say you’re a florist. Next time a customer legitimately compliments you, or your beautiful flower arrangements, ask them if they would be willing to reproduce their compliment on your Google Maps listing. Briefly explain that they could find your business on Google Maps and leave a brief comment, and that you would appreciate their feedback. You’d be surprised as to how many happy customers would be willing to take a few seconds out of their day to leave a glowing, legitimate review on your Google Maps listing.
Don’t try to cheat by writing fake user reviews. Customers aren’t stupid. Even if you try to make it look like someone else wrote the review, you’ll probably get caught. Plus, it’s just plain wrong to do. Get real, honest reviews from real customers.
what about bad reviews?
If your business has some bad reviews on its Google Maps listing, you may want to do some damage control. Try responding publicly so others can see your customer service in action. (And be sure to think about why your business is getting bad reviews in the first place, as correcting issues can prevent these blemishes from piling up.)