In today’s digital age, online reviews have become an essential part of a business’s online reputation. One platform that businesses must pay attention to when it comes to reviews is Google My Business (GMB). Google My Business is a free tool that enables businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Maps and Google search. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of customer reviews for your Google My Business profile and how you can use them to improve your online reputation.
Why Are Customer Reviews Important for Your Google My Business Profile?
One of the primary benefits of customer reviews is increased visibility. When you have positive reviews on your GMB profile, it signals to Google that your business is trustworthy and credible. This, in turn, can improve your search engine rankings and make it easier for potential customers to find you online.
Social proof refers to the idea that people are more likely to trust the opinions and actions of others when making their own decisions. When a potential customer sees positive reviews on your GMB profile, it can serve as social proof that your business is reputable and trustworthy.
Improved Click-Through Rates
Positive reviews can also help improve your click-through rates (CTR). When your GMB profile displays star ratings, it can catch the eye of potential customers, leading them to click through to your profile and ultimately, your website.
Reviews also provide valuable customer insights that can help you better understand your target audience. You can learn about what customers like and dislike about your business, what products or services they prefer, and even areas where you may need to improve.
How to Encourage Customer Reviews on Your GMB Profile
- Make It Easy for Customers to Leave a Review
The first step in getting customer reviews is to make it easy for them to leave one. Include a link to your GMB profile on your website, in your email signature, and on social media platforms. You can also create a review request template to send to customers after they’ve made a purchase or used your services.
- Ask for Reviews
Another way to encourage customer reviews is to ask for them directly. Train your staff to request reviews at the end of a transaction or service appointment. You can also include a request for a review in your post-purchase follow-up email.
- Provide Incentives
While it’s against Google’s policies to offer incentives in exchange for reviews, you can still provide incentives for customers who leave a review without explicitly asking for one. For example, you can enter customers who leave a review into a raffle or offer them a discount on their next purchase.
- Respond to Reviews
It’s important to respond to both positive and negative reviews on your GMB profile. Responding to reviews shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to improving your business. It also gives you an opportunity to address any concerns or issues that customers may have raised in their review.
Tips for Responding to Customer Reviews on Your GMB Profile
- Be Prompt
Respond to customer reviews as soon as possible, ideally within 24-48 hours. This shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to providing excellent customer service.
- Personalize Your Response
Personalize your response by using the customer’s name and referencing specific details from their review. This shows that you’re paying attention to their feedback and are taking it seriously.
- Thank the Customer
Always thank the customer for taking the time to leave a review. Regardless of whether the review is positive or negative, it’s important to acknowledge the customer’s effort in leaving feedback.
Q1.What is a Google My Business (GMB) post?
Answer: A Google My Business post essentially allows businesses to advertise for free on their GMB profiles or publish updates associated with their brand, products, events or offers. They were first introduced in 2016 and were like digital business cards for local businesses. Now, these posts are completely integrated into the Google My Business platform and businesses can create various types of posts for greater online visibility or exposure. Also remember that when you create a post, your audience can see the first 100 characters initially. Once they click on it, the whole “box” appears, with a call to action or CTA. To direct the audience to your website, you can add an URL too.
Q2. Why should I post on Google My Business? What are the benefits?
Answer: Wondering why you should add your business to Google Maps and post? As mentioned earlier, Google My Business posts allow you to advertise your brand, products, events and offers for free, reach out to a wider audience and boost online visibility. So, here are the top benefits you should be aware of:
- It powers up your local SEO strategy and helps you rank higher on Google search results. This is because your potential customers get detailed information about your business and what you offer, and can trust you more.
- With GMB posts, you can improve brand awareness, and keep your customers updated about business hours, discounts, and any important news. You can make it easy for them to follow you, book an appointment, or shop for your products.
- Since GMB posts are accompanied by photos and videos, they are great for boosting customer experience and engagement. Customers will recall your brand better and can share your posts with others, thereby increasing your reach at no cost.
Q3. What are the types of posts I can create?
Answer: You can choose from 4 different types of posts – What’s New, Events, Offers, and Products. Find out about each in details:
- What’s New – Create this post when you wish to share general updates about your business, blog posts, any addition to the team, or customer testimonials. Even Google will offer you suggestions. This post can accommodate a maximum of 1500 characters, so that you can delve into details and engage the reader. Up to 10 images or videos can be added to it. Note that the maximum upload size for a video is 100MB. Image sizes should be ideally 1200 x 900 pixels, though the minimum requirement is 400 x 300 pixels. You can add a CTA button like “order online”, “book”, “buy”, “sign up” or “call now”.
- Events – These posts come in handy when you are hosting, supporting or attending an event that you want to promote. Your event title should be a maximum of 58 characters with spaces and you can use up to 1500 characters for the description. Remember to add date and time. The guidelines for videos, images and CTAs are the same as What’s New posts.
- Offers – You can create these posts to promote discounts, sales, coupons or other special offers. Note that exclusive promotions can add much boost to your GMB listing as they feature a yellow tag to grab eyeballs quickly. The offer title should be no longer than 58 characters (with spaces) and the description can be a maximum of 1500 characters. Rules for images and videos are same as above. You should mention the time frame and can also include the coupon code, link for redeeming offer, and terms and conditions, if you want.
Q4. How can I make Google My Business posts better?
Answer: Here are some great tips to make the most of your GMB posts:
- If you are launching a new product or just uploaded a new blog post or video, create a GMB post for it to gain maximum attention.
- Creating an Offer GMB post? Those that expire in 24 hours will get the most clicks as they will create a sense of urgency.
- Add images, videos (maximum 30 seconds long) and emojis whenever possible to enhance visual appeal. Vibrant colors will stand out more.
- Always add a powerful CTA to the post, so that your audience knows what action to take. It can be “learn more”, “buy”, “book an appointment”, “order online”, “call now”, “sign up” or something similar.
- You should publish your post or schedule it at a time when your target audience is most likely to see it. For this, you will need to research about their time zones, habits (both online and offline), device usage etc. For example, if you are a coffee shop planning to have a special menu on the weekend, try to post about it on Wednesday or Thursday, because that’s when people start planning.
- Wondering how often should you post on Google My Business? At least once every 7 days is the ideal frequency. However, some businesses choose to post once every day too, as this improves the chance of ranking higher.
Q5. How can I measure the success of my posts?
Answer: Monitoring as well as analyzing data can help you understand if your posts are working or if you need to tweak them. So, first, you can check your Google MY Business dashboard, navigate to the section for Posts and see how many views and clicks you are getting.
However, for more accuracy and detailed insights, you can add UTM tracking URLs on your Google MyBusiness listing. These URLs will connect to your website. So, in your Google Analytics account, you will get to see how many people are coming to your website and doing what. Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool will help you get started. Then, you can simply enter details like website URL, campaign source, medium, name and term, and also campaign content. The image below will give you a clear idea. Also note how the traffic from GMB posts is getting categorized under organic traffic.
Q6. Does a Google My Business post actually work?
Answer: From an SEO point of view, Google My Business listings as well as posts act as powerful ranking “signals” or the factors that make your business more attractive to Google’s search algorithm. So, it absolutely makes sense to boost your local SEO strategy with these posts. In other words, your target audience can find you more easily now.
Google can also extract content (make it SEO-friendly) from your GMB posts to create rich snippets, like the one shown below. This helps you to rank higher on the search results page.
And, as mentioned before, these posts improve CTR or click through rate, getting more traffic to your website and generating better leads or ones that are more likely to convert.