Reviews are a powerful tool for converting traffic and building your reputation. A simple review on the world’s most popular search engine can make a big difference to your business. As an SEO ranking factor, reviews can make a great customer experience even more visible to searchers.
Those five-star reviews on your Google My Business profile can do wonders whenever you appear in a local search. Google reviews give you the opportunity to build credibility without spending a penny, helping to boost your online presence. Prove yourself to potential customers and convert a staggeringly high percentage of traffic with Google reviews. In this article, we talk about why Google reviews are so important and how to manage reviews properly in a timely manner.
Skip ahead to:
- Google Reviews: Why Are They So Important?
- 4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Google Reviews
- How to Manage Your Google Business Reviews
Google Reviews: Why Are They So Important?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly are Google reviews?
Google reviews are directly linked to your Google My Business (GMB) Page. Customers can search for your business on Google and find your GMB. From there, they can go to the reviews sections and leave a star rating for your service as well as a message about their experience. Potential customers can then go to your reviews and get a feel for your brand, service, and product offering based on what real people think who have made a purchase from you.
If you’re wondering if reviews are really that important, this statistic from Nielson shows how serious consumers are about reviews. With 89% of consumers making a purchase within a week of visiting a review site and 29% within a day. These numbers really emphasize the power that reviews can have in guiding purchase decisions.
Consumers are more likely to buy if a business has positive reviews. Sometimes negative reviews are hard to avoid despite trying to fix a situation or providing a solution. It’s how you handle and manage both positive and negative reviews that encourage potential members to join your gym or studio.
People read reviews to help them make a purchasing decision. They are seen as a trusted source which means they hold a great deal of value. Social proof is incredibly powerful. According to Capterra, online reviews are trusted more than peers’ opinions. That level of trust is difficult to create and nurture alone.
Google is the biggest search engine and Google Reviews are essential for converting traffic and building trust. As a business owner, it’s important that you have a complete Google My Business page with positive reviews that you monitor and manage actively.
4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Google Reviews
Continuously gaining positive Google reviews and actively responding is essential for your fitness business. If you’re at the top of the page in Google searches with a list of glowing reviews, it makes a difference. If you don’t have an active strategy in place, here are four reasons why your business needs Google reviews.
Transparency and honesty are becoming more and more important for consumers. Today, it’s common for potential members to research your business before committing to a purchase. Reviews are useful in finding out the quality of a business, how they deal with members, and what your services are like. Local businesses with consistent and positive Google reviews can gain a competitive edge over other businesses in the area.
Local SEO and Exposure
Google’s algorithms are complicated. But Google reviews do have an impact on Google’s local search. Generally, things like review quantity, velocity, and diversity all play a part in signaling Google to show your business in search. A good combination of these three things will help send you to the top of Google local searches and increase your online exposure.
Google Holds 92.18% of the Market Share
Put simply, Google dominates the search engine market. With search engines like Bing and Yahoo trailing behind, it’s been tough to compete against Google since its emergence in 1997. In 2019, Google was visited 62.19 billion times. The majority of searches are through Google. This means that you need to be present on Google with a complete GMB account and regular Google reviews to compete in the fitness market.
Convert More Customers
Finally, with the potential to convert a large amount of traffic and win over more customers, it’s a no-brainer. Once you have a process in place to manage your Google reviews, you can take advantage of a free and powerful marketing tool that has a big potential to convert even more customers.
The Google Ads Strategy with Kyle Sulerud Podcast has an interesting episode on why Google reviews are important when running Google ads. The episode talks about how Google reviews are important for Google ads and how you can have positive reviews from customers.
How to Manage Your Google Business Reviews
Google is the most popular search engine and one of the top review websites. If you have a physical business location or store with customer reviews on Google Maps, it’s important that your reviews represent your business in the best possible light. Here are some tips to help you manage your Google reviews.
1. Complete Your Google My Business Page
To start with, you need to complete your Google My Business account. It’s a free platform that you use to provide customers with up to date information like your opening hours, address, and more. There are multiple parts of GMB, but start with your core information and make sure it’s consistent across multiple online locations.
You can use your Google My Business listing to respond to reviews, engage with customers, answer any questions, and even directly message customers. Monitoring and responding to your Google reviews is an integral part of reputation management. Your GMB page will appear during local searches, so make sure everything is correct.
2. Monitor Google Reviews
It’s a good idea to monitor your online reputation and proactively keep an eye out for reviews, good and bad. Configure your alerts properly in your Google My Business reviews settings so that you get a notification every time someone leaves a review. This is especially important for spotting negative reviews and acting fast.
Make it a point to deal with negative and positive reviews quickly. Monitor new reviews by setting up notifications to help you stay on top of customer feedback. As Google is the most visited site on the internet, it pays to know what people are saying about you.
3. Reply to Positive Reviews
Responding to reviews helps to improve your local search SEO. So, whether it’s a good or bad review, it’s essential that you reply quickly. Users can leave public feedback about your business. Google prohibits feedback that is off-topic, too personal or includes bad language. This is to help keep reviews fair and on topic. To read and reply to reviews, you can use Google Maps or your Google My Business page.
When you reply to a review, the user will be notified. Remember that your review response will be public as well. The user then gets a chance to read your response and can edit their review if they like. When you respond to reviews, make sure to customize each one so that it doesn’t look like a copy and paste job. By no means do you need to write an essay for each reply, it just needs to be something that is relevant to the feedback. For example, if a member left a review on a specific class of yours, it’s a good idea to mention the class and that you’re glad they are a happy customer.
4. Respond to Negative Google Reviews
Unfortunately, negative reviews are part of the package when it comes to Google. It’s so important to reply to negative reviews quickly so that it doesn’t have a chance to blow up on the internet and really damage your reputation. When dealing with negative reviews, don’t hesitate to apologize. The right response can give context, resolve the situation, and remind customers that your real people who sometimes make mistakes.
Firstly, read the review and try to assess the situation. Don’t make a snap decision and reply with emotion. Think it through. Be polite and honest and attempt to resolve the situation. If you can, take the conversation to a private message so that you have the opportunity to speak to the user, apologize and rectify the problem. Showing customers that you care about their feedback and are ready to acknowledge their experience is a big deal.
5. Encourage Customer Reviews
An element of online reputation management is encouraging customer reviews. It’s a good idea to have a strategy in place that encourages your customers to leave reviews. It should be very easy for customers to leave a Google review. You can send them a link to leave a review after their first fitness class or a week after they make a purchase from your site.
Start the conversation about online reviews and actively encourage customers to write a review at the right point of the customer journey. You need to give your employees the chance to show new members a stellar experience and service before asking for a review. Always respond to reviews and thank members for their kind words.
6. Don’t Get Angry or Personal
It’s easy for your emotions to get the best of you when facing negative feedback. Sometimes a misunderstanding can result in a negative experience for a customer. If a customer is feeling angry, they may leave pretty harsh words about your business for the whole of Google to see. Whatever you do, don’t get personal or angry.
Be polite and be honest. One of the worst things you can do is reply with emotion. Take a step back, assess the situation and follow-up in a calm manner. To fully resolve the situation, take the conversation offline by supplying your contact details. Do what you can to find out what’s gone wrong and always be honest. If you get caught in a lie, this could just amplify the situation.
7. Create an Excellent Customer Journey
An excellent customer journey with great customer service will set the tone for several glowing Google reviews. This means having your website and process set up correctly that the journey from lead to a member is easy and quick. The journey your customer takes from a lead to a fully-fledged member will give you the opportunity to excel at multiple touchpoints. All of this works towards creating great reviews.
It should require little to no effort from customers to leave a review. If you have excellent customer service and have crafted the customer journey to perfection, don’t fall at the last hurdle. Members should be able to swipe or click a link to leave a review. Remove any obstacle that makes the process of leaving a review tough or too long.
8. Identify and Remove Fake Customer Reviews
Part of your review monitoring will consist of identifying and removing fake customer reviews. Hopefully, this won’t take up too much time. But you do want to make sure that the people leaving reviews are real and genuine. Google permits a business to remove fake reviews. Sadly, there are a lot of fake reviews about, particularly negative ones from fake accounts.
If you think you have spotted a fake review, there are steps you can take to remove it. First of all, if you have no customer by that name in your database, that’s a red flag. Other signs to look out for include strange usernames, impersonal avatars, and generic comments. If you think it’s fake, all you need to do is flag it as inappropriate to Google by clicking the flag symbol. Google will then review any flagged comments and remove them if it’s deemed fake.
Google reviews have the power to persuade and hold a lot of weight in purchasing decisions and converting traffic. By managing your reviews and responding quickly to both positive and negative comments, you can keep on top of your online reputation and increase sales.