• Uncover Hidden Gems In Your Google My Business Reviews

When it comes to local businesses, online reviews (and specifically Google My Business profile reviews) are King and Queen. In fact, 9 out of 10 people look for online reviews about a local business before making a purchase, and with 63,000 searches happening on Google per second you better believe people are searching for your local business and looking for reviews!

If you’re curious about how to get more Google My Business reviews check out some of our best practices, but for now let’s focus on what you should do with the reviews already being posted to your Google My Business profile.

Online reviews can sometimes cause big, emotional reactions to you as the local business owner. Some reviews will make you feel over-the-top excited, while others will leave you on the verge of tears. But the truth of the matter is don’t let one review affect you too much either way. Every business gets positive reviews and negative ones, it’s just the nature of our digital world.

The important thing to focus on is how to handle your incoming reviews so that it benefits your business and accurately informs your customers and future prospects above all else. Let’s take a look at some ideas for leveraging both positive and negative Google My business reviews for your business.

Positive Google My Business Reviews

It’s always nice when people say nice things about your local business. Whether it’s a compliment to your staff, your food, your product, your service, or anything else, it produces ripples of positivity. The first thing to do is thank anyone who leaves a positive review, as they took the time out of their day to offer their thanks to you and tell others how great your business is and why they recommend you.

Beyond generally responding and saying thank you to your positive review, here are a couple of ideas for you to maximize the value of positive reviews:

  • Use the review in other areas of your marketing You can post the review on your website, use it in an advertisement, direct mail send, in your store signage, and so forth. But you should always ask permission first!
  • Use your response for promotion You know people are going to read your Google My Business reviews, and they’re also going to read your response. So think about what you can include in your response that you want others to see. Maybe you’re having an upcoming sales, a customer appreciation day, starting an email newsletter, or perhaps you host a special sale every Friday. Keep in mind there will be eyes on both your review and your response so take advantage!
  • Use reviews to guide what you include in the Questions & Answers section The Q & A section of your Google My Business profile gets answers to people quickly and reduces the phone calls and emails coming in. Take some recurring themes from your reviews and post them in your Q & A section. For instance, after reading a few reviews you might be able to identify what people’s favorite things are about your business. It could be a certain product, a food item, a convenience offering, a certain staff member, or just the overall experience. Whatever people are saying in the reviews, make sure you take advantage and double down in the Q & A section.

Negative Google My Business Reviews

First things first, you need to respond to negative reviews. There’s nothing worse than a negative review going unresponded to, and other searchers take notice. If the review is wildly false, report it and respond, but always take the high road. People will appreciate you responding as it proves you care.

In addition, most folks can see through BS reviews, especially if it’s one or two people that had a bad experience, we’re misinformed about something, or just like to complain about everything. Most people are more than willing to overlook, forgive and forget if they see you responding to negativity or mistakes in a genuine way. Here are a couple of ideas for you to leverage negative Google My Business reviews:

  • Offer a second chance: Maybe things have changed since the negative review happened and you’ve made things better. Explain that and suggest they come back in to give you another chance; they won’t be disappointed.
  • Give more than a response: Sometimes, people just want to be heard. You can always offer them your email for them to write to you directly and engage in a more in-depth discussion. It’s entirely possible some of your best customers may have started as your most frustrated ones.
  • Market your new and improved: While you should acknowledge people having negative experiences with your local business, don’t be afraid to talk about how something that may have been a weakness in the past is now a strength. For instance, perhaps you own a sandwich shop and someone complained about the bread. Luckily, you recently made a change or started making your own. That’s the perfect opportunity to turn a negative review into a positive new offering for people to get excited about.

Always Look for Opportunity

You started your business because you saw an opportunity and seized it, take the same approach with online reviews. Always think about how you can make the most out of a positive review and use the negative ones to your advantage. There’s always an opportunity if you look hard enough.

Most people are leaving reviews because they care and they were moved by their experience. If you can harness that passion, it can end up being some of the best marketing you’ll ever do. People are searching for your local business on Google or for what your business offers locally (searches like “plumber Cambridge MA”), and the trend is only going to continue to grow in popularity. So take a look at the state of your reviews, and run your Google My Business profile through our free Grader tool to find more opportunities to improve your rank.

Dan Slagen
Dan Slagen
Dan is the Chief Marketing Officier & Chief Culture Officer at ThriveHive, where he focuses on marketing, branding, storytelling, content, and product marketing among many other areas. Dan is passionate about building and growth, and he's a big believer in a people first mentality. In his spare time, he enjoys jamming out in his home studio and making his own tasty hot sauces.

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