The Art of Asking for Google Reviews

Finding the Sweet Spot Between Shy and Spammy

Tash Coplestone-Crow

Artisan Fused Glass Gift Shop

Owner of Connemara Blue
Clifden. Co. Galway

Picture this:
You're at a local art fair, and there's this painting you can't take your eyes off of. It's a vibrant mix of colours that somehow captures the essence of both a sunset and a sunrise. You're mesmerised but hesitant to approach the artist.

Finally, you muster up the courage and ask if they'd consider a small discount since you're buying it as it reminds you of a trip to the Aran Islands when you visited Galway. To your surprise, not only do they agree, but they also throw in a small sketch as a bonus. You end up having a great conversation and memories shared.

That day, you learn two things: the power of simply asking and the joy it can bring to both parties involved.”

Let's dive in……

AI generative image of an impression of an acrylic painting of beautiful sunset over looking Galway bay and the Aran Islands
AI image generation – DALLE3

The Importance of Reviews

  1. Trust Factor: According to a BrightLocal study, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That's huge! Reviews act as social proof, reassuring potential customers that they're making a wise choice.
  2. SEO Benefits: Google loves reviews! They contribute to your local SEO, helping your business show up in local search results. More reviews can mean more visibility.
  3. Feedback Loop: Reviews aren't just for potential customers; they're for you too. Positive or negative, they provide valuable insights into what you're doing right and where you can improve.
  4. Conversion Rates: Spiegel Research Center found that displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%. Yep, you read that right. Reviews can significantly impact a customer's decision to click that “Buy Now” button.
  5. Word of Mouth 2.0: In the digital age, reviews are the new word-of-mouth marketing. A single glowing review can be shared and viewed by hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers.
  6. Competitive Edge: In a crowded marketplace, reviews can be the deciding factor. A study by the Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
  7. Long-Term Relationships: Reviews can help build long-term relationships with customers. When people take the time to leave a review, they're more likely to feel a connection to your business and become repeat customers.
  8. Transparency and Authenticity: In a world full of marketing gimmicks, reviews offer a slice of authenticity. They show that you're confident enough in your product or service to let people speak their minds openly.

By understanding the multi-faceted role that reviews play, you'll be more motivated to ask for them and use them to grow your business.

Unpacking the Data

Insights That Matter

Figures always put things in perspective. I cam across this Local Consumer Review Survey 2023 from BrightLocal (UK based) and here are some of the key findings:

  • 76% of consumers “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses.
  • 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022, up from 81% in 2021.
  • Google is the most trusted review platform across all industries.
  • 26% of consumers were asked to leave a business review in exchange for a discount in 2022, up from 15% in 2021.

This data shows that online reviews are crucial for local businesses. Google is the go-to platform for most consumers, making it essential for your SEO and online reputation management. Offering incentives like discounts can also boost the number of reviews you get. [Source: BrightLocal – UK based]

The Spiegel Research Center conducted an in-depth study on how online reviews influence sales. Here are some key takeaways that add more depth to our understanding:

  1. Conversion Rates and Reviews: The study found that the likelihood of purchasing a product with just five reviews is 270% greater than a product with no reviews. Interestingly, the benefit of additional reviews starts to diminish after the first five.
  2. Price Matters: For lower-priced products, displaying reviews increased the conversion rate by 190%. But for higher-priced products, the conversion rate skyrocketed to 380%.
  3. Optimal Ratings: The study also found that purchase likelihood peaks at ratings between 4.0 and 4.7. Ratings approaching 5.0 actually saw a decrease in purchase likelihood.
  4. Verified vs. Anonymous: Reviews from verified buyers were substantially more positive than those from anonymous sources. Verified buyers are more likely to give four- or five-star ratings.
  5. Strategies to Leverage Reviews: The study recommends displaying reviews and ratings on your product website, embracing negative reviews for credibility, and prioritizing generating reviews for higher-priced products.

This study clearly shows that online reviews are not just a “nice-to-have” but a “must-have” for businesses looking to convert browsers into buyers. [Source: Spiegel Research Center – US based]

How to Get Better at Asking

1. Timing is Everything

The best time to ask for a review is when the customer is at their happiest with your service. This could be right after a successful project, a resolved issue, or a delightful experience. The positive emotions will make them more inclined to leave a glowing review.

2. Be Direct but Personal

People love hearing their own names; it makes any interaction feel more personal and genuine. So when you're asking for a review, make sure to use the customer's name. It transforms a generic request into a one-on-one conversation. For example, instead of saying, “Would you mind leaving us a review?” try, “Hey [Name], we'd love to hear your thoughts. Would you mind leaving us a review?”

3. Explain the Why

People are more likely to take action when they understand the reason behind it. I love how Steven Bartlett explains why subscribing to his podcast is so important, you should do the same for your reviews. You could say something like, “Your feedback helps us improve and serve you better. Plus, it helps others make informed decisions.”

4. Keep Asking

Last but maybe the most important one. The only way to get better at asking is to keep doing it. Practice makes perfect.

By focusing on these four elements—timing, personalization, and explanation—you'll not only get better at asking for reviews but also increase the likelihood of actually getting them.

It's Okay if They Don't

Talk about the conversion rate. “On average, only 1 in 10 people might leave a review. And that's okay!” Normalise the idea that not everyone will follow through. I couldn't find what type of businesses that 1 in 10 applies too. Personally, I find it much higher with small businesses. Very rarely have I asked and someone didn't follow through. However I am guilty myself of forgetting to ask so let's make a promise to each other to get better and ask more often.

The Follow-Up Game: Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot

One major misstep I see small businesses make (including myself, I am a work in progress on this) — sometimes even more damaging than not asking for reviews—is the lack of follow-up. And I'm not just talking about reviews here. Setting reminders or creating a follow-up plan is essential. But remember, professionalism is key.

When it comes to follow-up, people often fall into one of two camps:

The Shy Ones: Those who fear rejection and, as a result, avoid follow-up altogether.
The Spammy Ones: Those who go overboard and don't know when to stop, risking their professionalism.

Finding a middle ground is crucial. You don't want to be so shy that you miss opportunities, but you also don't want to be so aggressive that you turn people off.

Here's my take on mastering the art of the follow-up while balancing these extremes.

Don't Spam: One follow-up is generally acceptable.
Wait a Bit: Give them at least a week.
Change the Medium: If you asked in an email first, try a text next time.

Tips to help your Narrative

Ever thought about leveraging AI to craft your review requests? You probably know, I am a huge ChatGPT can help you nail the tone, language, and structure, making your ask as compelling as possible. Stay tuned for my next blog where I'll dive deep into how AI can elevate your communication game.

That's a Wrap

Was that useful for you? I would love to hear your thoughts. If you've got your own tips or stories about asking for reviews, I'd love to hear them. Shoot me a DM on Instagram, LinkedIn or WhatsApp and let's keep this conversation going. Your insights could be the game-changer someone else needs.

ChatGTP Prompt

I create a simple prompt on a chat you can look at to see how you can use ChatGPT for something like this. Simply use my example and enter your own business details in a similar way in the chat box and see what happens. If you have any questions, just #AskEmer

Did you find this article helpful? I would really appreciate it if you shared it on social media to help others find it too.

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