Simple Process for Building Credibility and Trust for Your Brand
Getting reviews on Google for your business is one of the quickest, easiest and most effective ways to build credibility for your brand!
Reviews are extremely important because they create ‘social proof’ for your product, service or brand. But why is social proof so powerful?
The term ‘social proof’ is marketing and sales term borrowed from psychology. More specifically, social-proof can establish influence or ‘bias’ to validate an action or decision. It is just one of many psychological tools that are used to influence emotions and decision making.
More simply put - if people see somebody else doing something, then that action is validated and seen as credible.
This sense of validation can be incredibly powerful with Google reviews. When people are looking up a business, they are already engaged in an act of research. When they find the business they are looking for and are able to see a evidence that other people have worked with the business, it immediately establishes credibility and validation.
For the business owner this leads to a host of benefits. Not only do reviews provide social proof, but they also provide specific examples of how your business operates.
The power of social proof and the emotional influence it creates is extremely effective - especially for small business owners serving a local market.
This article shows how to create an systematic process for following up with your customers and getting reviews. The key to this process is to make it easy for your clients!
If you follow these instructions, you will get a link that you can share directly with your customers. When they receive your thoughtfully written email with this link - they will only need to perform one click to leave a review!
Instructions for Creating the 'One Click Review Link'
For this example I am using Portland International Airport (PDX) as the business location to show the process. I’ve spent a LOT of time here during my career - and it’s one of my favorite airports!
Here is the general process to create your link:
- 1Get the Google Place ID for your business
- 2Create the URL for your business that opens up the review screen
- 3Build a custom URL using a link shortener
Here are the step-by-step instructions One Click Review Link Using PDX as an example
Get Your Google Place ID:
The Google Place ID is a unique string of text and numbers that is specific for your business. You can find the Place ID for your business by searching for it using this Google developer tool: https://developers.google.com/places/place-id
Look up your business on the Google search bar on this page.
After you have found your business, you’ll need to get the unique Place ID for your business.
Your Place ID will be under the business name and appear as Place ID: followed by a string of numbers and letters.
Here is the Place ID string for PDX: ChIJ0_uxtC-klVQR7Q_gsaP6o6o
Now it’s time to create the URL that will open up a direct link to leave a review on your Google Business Site.
Create the Review Link to Your Business
This part is very easy. The process starts by using a link provided by Google that has a placeholder in it for the Place ID.
See the Google provided link below. Copy your Place ID from above and paste it in this link after the = sign.
Google Provided Link Template:
Link with PDX Place ID Inserted:
Make sure to test the link! It’s easy to accidentally include an extra space when you copy and paste the Place ID. If there is even one extra space, the link will not work.
The link should open up a window within your browser that looks like the image below. Notice that this opens up directly to the interface to leave a review. This makes it extremely easy for your clients to click on the star rating and write down a few thoughts!
The last step is to create a custom link using a link shortener service.
Create Your Custom Link Using a Link Shortener
There are several reasons to use a link shortener. Primarily, a link shortener simply creates a shorter URL that you can include in shorter communications such as text messages. A link shortener also makes the URL look clean and professional.
I recommend using Bitly to create your custom link. It’s super easy and free!
Copy and paste your new URL from above into Bitly and click on SHORTEN!
Here is the new Bitly short link!
If you get into this and start doing this a lot, you can create multiple versions for the same original link and use them for different situations. For example, you can use one version for text messages, one version for Twitter and another for Facebook. This way you can track which version of the short link is performing better!
If you plan to do more than one or two links, you’ll need to sign up for a account - but it’s still free!
Now it’s time to start getting reviews from your customers!
Follow up With Clients and Ask for a Review
Timing is Everything
Allow enough time to pass from when you provided the service to when you ask for a review. But make sure you don’t wait too long!
The best time to send the request is when your customer is still feeling the positive effects from your product or service. So send your request within 24 hours, but wait at least 4-6 hours before you send it.
Follow Google’s Rules
Make sure to comply with Google’s ToS. This is easy to do and common sense. Google does not want people to abuse the review platform and their algorithms can detect abuse patterns.
Here’s an obvious example - don’t collect reviews in your office and do not offer compensations or incentives for reviews!
However, Google also states that you should not discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews.
This turns into another opportunity. If you do receive critical reviews, you do have the ability to address them and show viewers how you handle issues including negative reviews.
Google Terms of Service for Reviews: https://support.google.com/contributionpolicy/answer/7400114
Create an Automatic Process
Having a strong base of reviews is a proven way to boost your credibility and establish social proof. If you follow this process you will start to increase the number of reviews AND the recency of reviews.
Make this part of your routine and you’ll be amazed at how quickly this starts working.
Start by creating a standardized email template. The template should be a thoughtfully crafted email that includes the link you created above.
Make sure that you send this out to every new client as part of your follow up process. For example, if you run a service business (doctor, chiropractor, dentist), send a follow up email 6 hours after their first appointment with you.
If you use an email service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, it’s even easier. Just create a new email template within the service. You can then build a list of customers to send it to and configure it to send automatically each day!
You can also use a slightly different email template to send out to your existing clients. Just make sure to only do this once!
Not only do reviews create a sense of validation for your business, they are a source of competitive advantage. The magic with systems like this is that it builds slowly at first, but over time it can accumulate something quite large. This is not something that can be replicated quickly or easily. For businesses who have a lot of competitors, following this process will set you apart and help create a stronger presence over time. If you follow this system you will start getting reviews - and if you follow it consistently the results will amaze you.
So don’t wait - start today!