Every business owner knows that having a good reputation is key. 🔑
But for a small business, positive word-of-mouth is only a drop in a very big bucket. Most potential customers will look you up before making contact. And without Google Reviews, you can't make a good first impression or any impression at all.
This is the beginning of a series of blog posts that will give you the low-down on Google Reviews. Why do you need them? How do you get them? And how do you respond to the negative ones?
Don't worry- we'll break this down together. But before we get into the nitty gritty, let's talk about why you should even care about Google Reviews.
Do people care about your online reviews?
The short answer- yes.
Turns out that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So just because your customers are beaming about your business to their friends doesn't mean you can write online reviews off completely.
This may sound like bad news, but it's really an opportunity to make your online karma and positive as your karma IRL.
How do people see your reviews?
This is all to show that even the preliminary mobile search of a potential customer could all come down to the Google Reviews that surround your business.
The thing that makes online reviews so important is that potential customers immediately see your reviews in mobile and maps mode.
People don't have to search very hard to see your average customer reviews. In fact, they'll probably see it on their first search.
To demonstrate, I googled "marketing agencies Columbia, MO" on my phone. The first couple entries are paid advertisements by local businesses, but right under the ads Google does the heavy lifting for me by giving me a summary of what's nearby.
Google on your mobile phone will always sum up the top results for someone browsing a big category like 'marketing agencies.'
And just like this, they'll see your ratings, and the ratings of other people in the same business who are close by.
So whether you know it or not, Google Reviews is having you go head-to-head with your competition on the first search of your potential customer.
If we had poor ratings, HDco wouldn't even show up on this list because you can see that Google already filtered this list to be "within 5 miles, open now, and top rated."
And lucky for us, the review excerpt that shows up is positive! So a potential customer can already connect with an online review they might find helpful.
Maps mode can show up on desktop or mobile mode, so potential customers are even more likely to see your ratings in map view.
This time I searched "marketing agencies near me" and clicked on "maps" under the search bar. This mode shows the top rated businesses first and their location in relation to each other.
From this maps page that you see on the left, I could check out HDco's address and contact info.
But if I scroll down just a bit I can get a full break-down of all of the numerical ratings HDco has gotten as well as written reviews from previous clients.
So, if we had poor ratings, HDco wouldn't show up at all. And if we had negative reviews we'd make a bad first impression.
With Google Reviews at your customer's fingertips, be sure to understand what your reviews look like and how they can affect your brand as a whole.
What's the good news?
I know, right now you're thinking of chucking your computer and going off the grid. But if you're lacking reviews (or lacking positive ones) you can bounce back.
Google Reviews are important for the reputation of your brand, in real life and online. Good ratings can connect you with potential customers and spread great brand awareness that no PR stunt can top.
When you understand what first impression you're giving off, you can only get better.
Where do we go from here?
In the next installments of this series we're going to get real about how to get reviews and even how to respond when things get ugly.
Tune in next time, friend!
Hoot Design Co. is a marketing, branding, and design agency located in Columbia, MO. We specialize in creating a custom and comprehensive marketing strategy centered around your business's unique strengths and educating you with the tools you need from day one. From logo design to brand identity, website design and execution, and social media marketing strategies in-person and through online courses, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.