Updated - 09/21/2016 Originally Posted - 07/29/2014
With more than 90% of consumers researching online before ever contacting a business, positive public business reviews are very important for every small business.
While it is not feasible for every business to directly contact customers and clients to ask for a review, those businesses who can – Should! And more than asking for a review, businesses should send a direct link to the actual review form to make it super simple for customers to review the business on your Google My Business page.Ask customers to review your business online & give them a direct link to make it easy! Click To Tweet
After completing a project at WebWorks of KC, we send a simple thank you follow-up email to clients. After thanking new clients, we wrap up the email by a asking for a review on our Google My Business listing.
With this request, we send a direct link to the form for them to leave a review – https://www.webworksofkc.com/review
As you see (if you click), this URL automatically loads the Google My Business review form so clients can easily leave their review of WebWorks of KC. This direct link means there is no searching, frustration or abandonment of the review mid-process when the client starts to leave a review.
We focus on Google My Business reviews because… Well, Google rules the internet, right? Sure, reviews on other websites are nice, but Google is where it’s at! Also, reviews on your My Business listing will help boost your results in Google search results.
Nearly 65% of all internet searches are done through Google and when a potential customer searches for your business with Google, the average rating of your ratings on Google My Business are displayed on the results page with a link for the searcher to read all of your Google My Business reviews.
Do reviews on Google My Business really make a difference?
Absolutely, online reviews make a difference, and specifically Google My Business reviews. 92% of consumers read online reviews, which means people trust online reviews more than they trust personal recommendations from friends and family.
As well, research shows that 5 reviews is the magic number of Google My Business reviews. Once your business hits 5 reviews on Google My Business, your business will likely start seeing benefits in organic search results and the “Local Pack” of search results.
The third way Google My Business review are valuable are because a user must have a Google account to leave a review. When an account is attached to an online review it is more likely to be a legitimate review from a real person, not a fake review created by the business owner to make their business look good. If your customer wants to remain anonymous, move on to the next customer. Don’t spend too much time trying to convince a customer to create an account or to use their real name. Ask that customer to leave your business a review on your business’s Facebook page or email you a testimonial you can add on your website, instead.
How to provide a direct link to Google My Business review box that works on all devices
Google is continually updating all aspects of their products and services. The process to create a universal link to the Google My Business review box has change multiple times over the past year – and the actual name of the service has change many times as well (Google Places, Google+, now Google My Business)
Creating a universal direct link to the Google My Business review box is a little bit of a process, but it is well worth the work.
Now that you have your Google My Business listing, grab your cell phone. Open up your browser of choice, go to Google.com. Make sure you’re not logged into Google, or use incognito mode (on Google Chrome). You need to be logged out while creating your direct review link so your username/account doesn’t become part of the URL that you send out to clients.
In the screenshots below, I am using the Google Chrome browser on an Android phone, but the process is the same on iPhone using Safari.
Search for your business name exactly as it appears on your Google My Business listing. Your business’s Knowledge Graph should show up with all of your business information. If you don’t see your business, just modify your search a little – include your city/state, phone number, address, etc. – until your business pops up.
Hit that round blue button with the down arrow.
Scroll down a bit, find the “Review and Rate” section. Tap that 5th star at the far right. Make sure you hit that 5th star, this will be the default rating that will be copied over in the URL you share with your clients and customers. Personally, I don’t agree with pre-populating a star rating, however, you must select one… Would you rather pre-fill a 2-star rating? I didn’t think so.
Excellent, now you’re at the leave a review screen. Press and hold in the address bar until the option appears to copy the URL.
Woohoo! You now have a universal link that will work on desktop or mobile. You can email it to yourself and start to use it exactly how it is right now – https://www.google.com/search?site=&source=hp&ei=OMAqV6vDOcGNmQGbnoco&q=webworks+of+kc&oq=webworks+of+kc&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.3..0.774.7340.0.8188.8.131.52.184.108.40.2063.4152.0j1j5j7j1.14.0….0…1c.1j4.64.mobile-gws-hp..1.13.2797…5j0i131j0i22i30.7xmryFdfQrE#istate=kp:xpd&lrd=0x87c0e840c28bc427:0xe4d31c24d6a3b991,3,5
NOTE – Google has changed the way their local business listings function – and the name of the service – many times over the years. Depending on where in the world your business is located, when you created your Google My Business listing, or even when you’re reading this article – this process may not work for your Google My Business listing. If you cannot get a single link to work for your Google My Business listing, my recommendation is to create a link on desktop and another on mobile and send both links to your customer. If you would like me to create you link for you, I am happy to do so – fill out this form to get started. I’m always testing to improve this method – sign up for our Newsletter to be notified of any updates.
Ugh… lee! A better option: take that big ugly long link over to goo.gl and shorten that long URL into something much more manageable, like this – https://goo.gl/s84R36 – The biggest benefit of using goo.gl over other link shorteners is the name recognition of Google. You’re sending the client to Google to leave a review, so using goo.gl to shorten the link makes sense.
The best option, create a professional URL like – https://www.webworksofkc.com/review – which redirects to the big-long URL above. That’s what we do. Click the link to see it in action.
You can create this redirection in the .htaccess file of your web host. The .htaccess file is in the root of your website. You can usually access it through your hosting control panel (or cPanel) or via FTP.
In your .htaccess file, add the redirection in the format below on a single line.
Redirect 301 /review https://www.google.com/search?site=&source=hp&ei=OMAqV6vDOcGNmQGbnoco&q=webworks+of+kc&oq=webworks+of+kc&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.3..0.774.7340.0.8220.127.116.11.18.104.22.1683.4152.0j1j5j7j1.14.0….0…1c.1j4.64.mobile-gws-hp..1.13.2797…5j0i131j0i22i30.7xmryFdfQrE#istate=kp:xpd&lrd=0x87c0e840c28bc427:0xe4d31c24d6a3b991,3,5
Crafting an email or message to your customer asking for a review
Now that you’ve done all the hard work: get the customer, make the customer happy, created a tool to help you get the review, there’s only one thing left. Ask for the review. My advice here is to keep it short and sweet. You’ve already made the customer happy – you don’t want to turn that all around by annoying them now.
Our Web Works of Kansas City Thank You emails are very simple:
Hi John Doe,
It was a pleasure working on your project!
Would you mind taking a moment to leave WebWorks of KC a short and honest review on our Google My Business listing?
Leave your review here – https://www.webworksofkc.com/review
Another tactic we use is to simply text the link to the client. Of course this takes a little more finesse, but if you regularly text with clients, this method is an even quicker way to get that review.
Again, we keep the message super-simple:
It was a pleasure working on your project! Would you mind taking a moment to review us on Google? → https://www.webworksofkc.com/review
NOTE – If you’re outside the US, send a desktop URL and a mobile URL in the “Thank You” email. If you send a text message, you’re likely safe only sending the mobile URL
What if the customer doesn’t have a Google account?
As mentioned above, and shown in the step-by-step screenshots above, your client must have a Google account of one type or another to leave your business a review on Google My Business. Google’s goal is to be as accurate as possible. Allowing anonymous reviews does not promote accuracy, and allows for misuse of the Google My Business review system. Your customer will always have to be logged in to Google to leave a review of a business on Google My Business.
If that’s a problem for your or your customer, maybe your customer has a Facebook account, ask them to review your business on Facebook instead.
If nothing else, ask you customer to email you a testimonial that you can display on your website.
At Web Works of Kansas City, most of our clients come to us needing a new website, needing search engine optimization (SEO) for their existing website or one of the other various digital marketing services we offer. With every new client, we ask if they have a Google account, any type of Google account – Android, YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, AdWords, Google+, Feedburner, AdSense, Drive, Calendar, Voice, etc – Many times clients are unaware all these websites and services are Google. Any of these account will work.
If a client does not have a Google account, we walk them through the process or create the account for them.
We always integrate Google Analytics and Google Search Console into a client’s website – Both Google websites. Both requiring a Google account. As well, we create a Google My Business listing for their business or website… Again requiring a Google account.
Sure, this method works well for a web design or digital marketing company, but what about other industries? Consider including a hint or note at the end of your thank you email, something to the effect of – “Did you know Android, YouTube and Gmail are all Google accounts?”
Gmail is the most used free email service on the internet, more than half of all cell phones in the United States are Android, and YouTube is the 3rd most visited website on the internet. There’s a very good chance your customers already have one of these accounts.
Now that you have the power, go out and get those Google My Business reviews
Stop hoping customers will leave reviews. Start asking for reviews and top it off by making it even more simple for customers to review your business.
Tell me about your success with Google My Business reviews in the comments below!