A few weeks ago, I mentioned that making a concerted effort to collect testimonials was already having a positive impact on my business.
After setting a goal of collecting at least one new review per month in 2019, we now have 17 Google reviews, and people who contact us for the first time are saying that the reviews influenced their decision to get in touch.
That is why I’m recommending that you copy what I’m doing. It has the power to increase the number of enquiries you are getting much faster than you might anticipate.
I’m not the only one to notice the benefits of focusing on Google reviews. Recent research provides the background as to why this has such a positive impact, especially for businesses that work in a specific geographic area.
A consumer review survey conducted in 2018 by BrightLocal – local marketing specialists in Brighton – showed that 86% of customers read reviews for local businesses, and that goes up to 95% for people aged 18 to 34.
Potential clients read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
And 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
This data is from a survey of 1000 people, and it shows that having a good number of reviews is a vital part of attracting new clients.
As well as impacting on trust, reviews will also help with your Google rankings. Google looks for signals that customers trust you, and good reviews indicate that they do. When people write reviews for you, they tend to describe your services, and this also helps Google understand your business better.
You might decide to set a similar goal for yourself – to collect at least one review a month – and I hope you do. But it is not always easy to do so. It can feel difficult to ask for testimonials because you don’t want to put people out or ask too much of your clients.
What’s the best way to approach this?
The most straightforward thing to do is to make asking for reviews a part of your standard process. Document the steps you go through on every project, and when the project has wrapped up, ensure you have the step, “Ask customer for a review”.
You may want to mention ahead of sending them an email that you’ll be asking them for a Google review, so that it isn’t an unexpected request. Create a standard email that you send at the end of a project, asking for a review. Depending on your email provider, you should be able to save this as a template to save time. Then each time you use it you can edit it to add the client’s email address, name, and brief details of the project you worked on.
If you don’t get a response, follow up a set number of times (I find three times is about right) and then leave it. You don’t want to harass your clients or make them feel uncomfortable.
When not to ask for a review
If you’ve done work that you wouldn’t normally do, and you don’t want to win more work like that, it would make sense not to ask that customer for a review.
Likewise, if you feel the customer is unhappy in some way, it’s better to ask them for feedback, rather than to ask for a review. That way you can correct any issues and hopefully turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one. You may then be able to get a review later – one that demonstrates that you are able to come up with solutions and resolve problems or difficulties.
What we’ve found is that Google reviews create a positive feedback loop, where reviews mean more people click, and more people clicking mean you rank better on Google, meaning you get seen more, and get more enquiries.
If you didn’t start asking for Google reviews after my last email on this topic, could you add it to your process of wrapping up a project now? I highly recommend doing so.
And if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.