You likely have heard of Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). GBP is a free platform where your business is verified so that you may claim and optimize your GBP listing.
If you own a business, creating this profile is the first step. Get started at https://google.com/business.
Once your listing is verified and published by Google, you can begin to collect reviews. With the prevalence of hackers and illegitimate companies, Google’s requirements to post your listing are more stringent than ever. It’s worth the effort, however. Think of it as your best free SEO (at least for now).
Google reviews represent to Google that your business is authentic, and the number of legitimate reviews received can improve your rankings. Here are tips to respond to reviews and to avoid having your Google reviews penalized:
Posting fake positive reviews or trying to manipulate your review ratings can lead to severe consequences, including having your Google listing removed or penalized.
Always encourage genuine feedback from real customers.
In 2018, Google stated in its policies: “Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”
Also in 2022, Google renamed Google My Business to Google Business Profile and users managed profiles through Google Maps. At that time, their policies no longer specified the language above.
Some interpreted this omission that there was no longer a penalty for review gating.
However, as of the publication of this guide, current Google policies explicitly address fake engagement and deceptive content and behavior for businesses.
“Contributions to Google Maps should reflect a genuine experience at a place or business. Fake engagement is not allowed and will be removed.
Source: Google’s Policy on Fake Engagement.
Review gating manipulates a business’s online reputation. Platforms like Google and Yelp have policies against these practices, encouraging businesses to collect reviews organically. Attempts to filter out negative reviews or selectively direct customers to leave positive reviews may lead to penalties or the removal of all reviews, ultimately impacting the credibility of your business and website.
My professional opinion is review gating manipulates a business’s online reputation. With platforms like Google and Yelp creating policies against these practices, I will NOT encourage my clients to participate in review gating.
The best practice is to treat all customer feedback equally and not to influence the process of leaving reviews based on their sentiment. Encouraging genuine feedback is an ethical and sustainable approach to managing online reviews.
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You have poured your heart, soul, and countless cups of coffee into your small business. You turned your passion into a daily hustle and took your leap of faith into the business world.
You’re not just a business owner; you’re a dream chaser, a risk-taker.
But you’re missing out if your potential clients don’t know about the magic you’re weaving behind the scenes.
It’s time for authentic, heartwarming, and conversion-boosting tales that showcase how you transformed clients into loyal fans.
Testimonials play a pivotal role in the success of your business. Why? They provide valuable information that future clients need to decide whether they want to work with you.
Testimonials (aka social proof) are more than words on a page—they are your brand’s best trust-building and credibility tools.
Another perk is receiving valuable feedback on how your business is perceived. Do you need to change your services, processes, or staff? Can you implement changes that will enhance efficiency? What can you continue to do or invest in to provide the best client experience?
Feedback from your clients bridges the gap between uncertainty and confidence, so you connect with your ideal clients.
To collect compelling testimonials, you need ask the right questions. Your questions should resonate with both your business and your clients.
Here are a few sample questions to consider for your testimonial requests:
Looking for more testimonial ideas? Download my free guide “The Art of Testimonials!”
There are various ways to collect testimonials, including:
Leverage the client’s excitement right after a sale to request a review or feedback.
Set up email automation for testimonial requests. Automation benefits both you and the client. You can time the email based on the sale or service, ensuring clients can respond at their convenience.
Add QR codes to invoices, thank-you cards, business cards, and more. These codes can lead clients to a survey or your authentic Google Review link on your Google Business Profile.
Send personalized text messages asking for reviews. Timing is key; send the request soon after the experience before enthusiasm wanes.
Include testimonial requests in post-purchase or post-service surveys. This is particularly helpful if you are gathering data about a specific service or looking to learn more about the overall experience.
Many clients are comfortable and prefer video testimonials to share their feedback. Companies like Boast, Testimonial Hero, and Storyprompt offer video testimonial services (no affiliation). Plus, you can provide clients with questions in advance to guide the conversation.
Engage your audience by sharing success stories and asking for testimonials during specific campaigns.
Google Reviews are one of the most vital forms of social proof you can have. Request reviews using your unique Google Review link to ensure authenticity. Be sure to adhere to Google’s policies—read here for more on review gating.
To make the most of your testimonials, consider transforming them into concise, impactful snippets. These snippets are like movie trailers for your brand, leaving readers wanting more while conveying your service’s value and satisfaction.
Once you receive information from your client and you’ve selected snippets, choose the type of testimonial that will showcase your brand’s value the best.
Some types of testimonial options include:
Testimonials are your secret weapon for authentic insights into the real-world experiences of working with you and boosting your business’s reputation.
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background & credentials
I created TBW to help small businesses find the right words and website platform to create a sustainable website presence.
After launching in 2020, it became clear that my clients often need more than website copy and content—they also need an affordable, effective website solution between DIY website builders that don't perform and custom websites that are expensive (and rightly so!).
So I expanded my copywriting business to include website design as an add-on to website copywriting, so you can maximize your marketing dollars.
the bonus writer