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Online reviews for your local business have a lot of sway in the amount and quality of customers you get. Think about it this way:
Your furnace is dead. Your kid is crying and you have a deadline at work. You need to call for furnace repairs before the cold front moves in and have ZERO TIME to deal with a shoddy service call. What do you do?
You pull up your search bar and quickly find a local HVAC company with good reviews.
You’re not alone; a 2014 study proved that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and that was two years ago—we’ve gotten even more search-engine reliant since then.
SHOCKER: Humans aren’t the only ones looking for local companies with good reviews.
Search engines view reviews as a stamp of approval. Take a look at this study by Yotpo, which shows us the real SEO benefits of reviews:
Now take a look at the search engine listings for local businesses and local services below. Notice anything similar about all of them?
You guessed it…the top companies in the local pack all have Google+ reviews. Sounds easy, right? Get more reviews ⇒ show up higher in the local pack.
Getting more reviews, however, can sometimes be a challenge.
Enter the custom Google+ review link.
What Is a Custom Google+ Review Link and How Can Local Businesses Use It to Get More Reviews?
We’ll make this short and sweet.
A custom Google+ review link is exactly what it sounds like—a custom URL you can create where your clients can leave you a review. When someone clicks on your custom Google review link, a box like this pops up:
This will help you get more reviews simply because it makes it easier for your customers. Check out these 3 easy ways to use the custom link to get more Google reviews:
Include Your Custom Review Link in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is an amazing way to engage customers and catch new ones. Create a special spot in your newsletter or template for your custom review link to live, and highlight it every time.
Send the Review Link Right to Clients
This is as simple as it gets. Send an email, a text (yes, a text), or even a message on social media to your recent customers, and include the following message:
“Hello, [insert customer name here]!
I do hope you enjoyed your recent service with [insert local business name here]! Your satisfaction is our number 1 priority, and It would mean the world to us if you could take the next 3 minutes to follow this link: [insert custom Google+ review link here] and leave us a review! We rely on reviews to improve customer satisfaction and help grow our business, which means more great techs, more CSRs, and more importantly, faster, more technologically advanced service for you!
We sincerely appreciate your business and look forward to serving you next time!
[insert business owner’s name here]
BOOM. Want to make it more compelling? Throw in a free sample! Send it alongside a coupon for 10% off their next service!
Advertise it to Previous Customers on Social Media
Advertising on social media is one of the best ways to create brand awareness and engage with your customer community. Using custom audiences, push out your review link for a few $$ per month.
Got it? Great! Let’s move on to the how.
How to Create a Custom Google Review Link for Your Local Business
Here’s how to get one of these bad boys for your local business:
- Search for your company here: https://developers.google.com/places/place-id
- Once you’ve found your local business, copy the Place ID:
What’s a Google place ID?
A place ID is a unique identifier given to your local business address by Google. Place IDs are available for most locations, including businesses, landmarks, parks, and intersections.
- Tack that bad boy onto the end of this link: http://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<PLACE_ID>
In the end, it will look like this: http://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJL5qojy7Mt4kRcQXaVPO_oBw
Getting more reviews is NOT the end-all-be-all to showing up higher in the local search results. A lot goes into a search engine algorithm, including content, website structure, and authority. You can even have the best website around, but your customer service representatives aren’t the greatest. Start with website analysis to make sure your website is up to snuff, and work it out from there!
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About The Author: Betsy is the social media lead and a digital marketing expert with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing Blue Corona's digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring, hiking with her dog, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod