Think back to the last time you wanted to buy a washing machine. You went on Amazon or Bol.com. You liked a particular model because of its features, but you wanted more assurance to spend the money. You needed confirmation of your decision from your friends, from people who had already bought the product, and from people you thought of as authorities on washing machines. Each one of these plays an important role, and can be the trigger.
There are quite a few types of these triggers, and, fortunately, a lot of them are in your control. You can use them at specific points in the customer journey to your advantage.
I’ll list them briefly here for a brief overview before we discuss what the best ways are to get reviews for your business.
Types of reviews/social proof
Louis Nicholls, author of The Social Proof Handbook, lists seven different types of social proof or reviews that businesses should take advantage of at different points in the customer journey.
1. Warm bodies
The name might sound bleak but it means this kind of social proof doesn’t have to be from people you know. It’s a number. For example, 500 people have bought this washing machine. It is intriguing and helps people to make that final purchasing decision.
Another example; You might also people on social media that you have X happy customers who chose your services over the years. Depending on what service you provide, the bigger the number the better.
2. People you know
This might be known more often as Word of Mouth. People you know telling you that they purchased the washing machine, and it works wonders for them. They don’t need to be experts on washing machines. They just need to know you personally to have an impact on your decision.
On social media too this is a very strong factor. Hubspot claims that 71% of people are more likely to purchase a product after seeing a social media recommendation. You can influence those recommendations, but the most effective ones happen organically. Influencer marketers would disagree with me on this.
3. Lookalike recommendations
If you’re a business owner and you see another business owner use a service or product or recommend it, you’re more likely to trust it.
4. Aspirational/Role models
If you look up to a certain thought-leader, and they talk about using a certain product - probably not the washing machine - it’ll be a strong motivation for you to try it out too.
If an authority on washing machines suggests that you use a particular brand, that can be an easy decision for you.
If the government gives your product the stamp of approval, that can be a very strong review for you. Their reach is international, even if their popularity isn’t.
For small businesses, the owner being visible and accessible can make it easier for people to trust the business. The personal brand of the CXOs and the expertise of the people that make up that business allows people to try it out.
This is perhaps the most straightforward way to create social proof. Putting your face on the website, being active and vocal on Linkedin about your industry trends allows people to build an affinity with you and your brand.
The focus of this article is getting reviews on Google, and for a good reason. If you categorize Google reviews, they probably fall under Lookalike Audiences (written reviews) and Warm Bodies (star ratings).
Why Google Reviews matter
Quite surprisingly not a lot of businesses actively think about collecting reviews on Google, because they don’t see the value. But every time someone Googles a business, you can’t help but go through the reviews in their business’s Google My Business card and see what people have to say about their experience with the business.
More than optics, Google Reviews contribute to your local SEO too. Google has optimized its Maps to show businesses with higher ratings first when people search for businesses in the area. And more visibility leads to more clicks to your website.
How can B2B SMBs collect reviews?
While B2C and big B2B businesses both get reviews from their consumers and actively collect good reviews, B2B SMBs lag behind. It’s even less likely that if they’re not a SaaS company where platforms like Capterra, G2 crowd reviews allow them to collect and share their ratings and reviews.
B2B SMBs can turn to platforms like Google My Business and Trustpilot to get reviews. While Trustpilot plans start from $199/month, Google My Business is completely free. Claim your business A.S.A.P. Here’s how to update your business info on Google My Business.
Once you’ve done that, you can find this card on your dashboard:
I’ve linked this one to Willow’s review form.
How to ask for Google Reviews
Having an active presence on Google My Business is important, especially for local businesses. During crises, the importance of having an updated GMB presence is even higher. You can read more about that in this blog.
The question still remains, how does one get a good review.
- One of the best ways is simply to go to your happy customers and ask them nicely saying something like: Hi Customer, thanks for liking our product/service. It would mean a lot to us if you could leave us a review on our Google at this link: (insert link)
- Make it a part of your email signature. Clear hyperlinked text that says Leave us a review on Google is good enough.
- Reply to good and bad reviews you get on Google My Business. It shows people that you are responsive and approachable. It encourages them to leave a review or get in touch with your business.
Sharing customer reviews on social media
If you’ve accumulated a number of great reviews on your Google, don’t let them just sit there. You can use them on your website landing pages, at checkouts, and share them on your social media channels for Brand Awareness.
Google also has free templates to share reviews on social media. The Marketing Kit by Google comes with your Google My Business account and allows you to choose from a bunch of templates to share your reviews with the rating they gave you to your social media (or wherever else you want to post it). No reason not to use that.