It’s no secret that, today, Google functions as the gateway to the internet for users worldwide. That’s why Google review management plays such a critical role in an effective reputation management strategy. Offering this service to your clients gives them a powerful tool for managing how their business is perceived online.
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No matter what other digital marketing services your agency provides, Google review management can complement your offering by offering better results for your clients and higher profits for your agency.
In this article, we’ll cover the Google review management concepts you need to know, including
- Why it’s so important
- What its benefits are
- What your client’s pain points are when it comes to Google review management, and
- 5 key ways to succeed in online reputation through managing your Google reviews.
Table of Contents
- Why it’s important to manage your Google reviews
- Benefits of Google review management
- Challenges clients face managing Google reviews
- 5 Google review management concepts to help you succeed
- Google review management with Vendasta
- Frequently asked questions
Why it’s important to manage your Google reviews
Your small and medium-sized business clients are busy juggling many tasks, including developing their product or service, managing their internal teams, fielding customer service requests, and promoting their business. They might be wondering, do I really need to actively manage my Google reviews? Can’t I just let them roll in?
It’s your job to communicate to them why exactly it’s so important to have a strategy in place to manage your Google reviews. Once they understand, investing in Google review management is a no-brainer.
It establishes trust
Today’s customers have a lot more faith in recommendations from peers compared to advertising. In fact, 78% say that they trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertising. Online reviews are perceived as a kind of peer recommendation and are therefore far more trustworthy in the eyes of customers than, say, ad copy.
An essential Google review management concept is the collection of positive reviews. As your clients build up more positive reviews, they will be giving their prospective customers more reasons to trust their business, product, or service.
It improves SEO performance
A business’s Google Business Profile has an impact on how highly that business can rank on Google’s search engine results pages. That’s why Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) review management shouldn’t be neglected by any organization that wishes to be easily discoverable by its target audience online.
A steady stream of positive reviews gives Google a signal that the business is relevant and reputable, and therefore worthy of a top spot in search results. As you manage your Google reviews and build up lots of positive ones, you should see an SEO boost.
Part of a comprehensive marketing strategy
As anyone delivering digital marketing services will know, using a variety of marketing strategies produces a result that is more than the sum of its part. Yes, Google review management has many positive effects on its own. However, it’s even more powerful when it complements excellent ad campaigns, top-notch social media management, SEO efforts, and more.
Source of feedback
Most people understand the Google review management concept that reviews project valuable information to the customers and prospects reading them. However, Google reviews can also provide important actionable insights to businesses.
If there is something that comes up as a positive in many reviews, a business can spend more time promoting that feature or benefit. Similarly, if customers complain about something repeatedly in reviews, it provides good intel to the business about where they can improve their product or service.
Improve customer loyalty
Another key Google review management concept is the importance of responding to all reviews, whether they are good or bad. Responding to reviews can have a loyalty-boosting effect both on the original reviewer and on any other prospect who happens to read it.
By responding, a business signals that they value the opinions of its customers, and that they don’t take them for granted. The same holds true for a simple thank-you response message to a positive review as well as a more elaborate response to a negative or critical review.
A Google Business Profile with plenty of reviews is more likely to catch the attention of online browsers, which is a must in a distracting, noisy online environment. Having a review management strategy in place can play a role in making your clients' businesses more visible on the web.
Benefits of Google review management
Google review management can translate into serious material benefits for businesses, with measurable ROI that will encourage them to continue investing in GBP (Google My Business) review management with your agency.
The benefits that matter most to your clients are those that hit their bottom line. Here are some of the key Google review management benefits to emphasize:
Convert more customers
Positive Google reviews are worth a lot more than just the feel-good factor they can provide your clients. While seeing a regular stream of largely positive feedback flow in on their Google Business Profile can certainly be validating, one of the most important benefits clients will notice is the increase in conversions.
Given that most people are willing to spend more on products and services with positive reviews, it’s clear that reviews can be a powerful motivator for buyers. Google review management will result in more prospects feeling confident enough in your client’s product or service to convert. Those conversions can result in a meaningful ROI.
Improve organic business growth
Businesses have to spend money for each new customer they land. The higher that acquisition cost is, the more it will cut into their profits. Every business owner aspires to find ways to reduce their average acquisition costs. This is why there’s often a ceiling on how much a business can reasonably spend on advertising, for example. The acquisition costs beyond a certain point may not make sense.
A critical Google review management concept your clients should understand is that if you manage your Google reviews effectively, you’ll see a boost in new organic customers. The boost in conversions that comes from a stellar Google Business Profile will reduce overall acquisition costs, improving their profit margins.
Leverage positive experiences
When customers have a positive experience, they’re generally happy to share it. Failing to capture their positive reviews is a missed opportunity; as we’ve seen, those positive reviews can boost conversions, profit margins, and digital marketing ROI. The best evangelists for a brand will always be its happy customers. By implementing a Google review management strategy, businesses can turn their fans into effective promoters of their brand.
Get more juice out of your marketing budget
Let’s say a client is increasing their investment in digital advertising, but they find that their conversion rate isn’t quite high enough to justify their extra ad spend. By managing their Google reviews, they can improve that conversion rate, making their ad dollars go further. Thanks to synergies with other marketing efforts, Google review management can improve ROI in other areas of digital marketing spending.
Challenges clients face managing Google reviews
As beneficial as it is to manage your Google reviews, your clients face plenty of challenges impeding their ability to handle Google review management effectively on their own.
Recognizing these can help you understand their pain points. The next time a client comes to you and says “I’m having a hard time managing my Google reviews,” you can identify the precise area they’re struggling in, and offer appropriate, effective solutions.
Lack of time and tools: Staying on top of managing your Google reviews as a small business can take a lot of time, especially as the business grows. Clients may have difficulty finding the time every day to go through new reviews and write appropriate responses.
Stress about negative reviews: It’s not uncommon for businesses to find negative reviews stressful to deal with, or even unfair and unjustified. Without a Google review management strategy, they may not know how to effectively deal with and prevent negative reviews. Often, they may just ignore them, which is detrimental to their online reputation.
Missing reviews: Amidst the busy day-to-day reality of running a business, it’s easy for business owners to miss reviews that come through on their Google Business Profile. This can mean:
- They miss out on valuable information that could help them improve their business
- They don’t address public criticism
- They don’t make their clients who took the time to leave a positive review feel appreciated
Inappropriately responding to negative reviews: Without much knowledge of how to manage your Google reviews as a business, SMBs may respond to negative reviews in a way that damages their online reputation. For example, they might dismiss valid criticism, or choose to ignore those reviews altogether.
Reputational damage from negative reviews: Due to a lack of Google review management, small businesses may find themselves receiving too many negative reviews. These can bring down their star rating on their Google Business Profile, and turn potential customers away before they even have the chance to prove themselves. Without knowledge of how to manage their Google reviews and gain more positive reviews, this can contribute to a negative online reputation for the business.
5 Google review management concepts to help you succeed
Luckily, despite these common challenges, there are some key Google review management concepts that your agency can use to expertly handle this aspect of reputation management for your clients. We’ll go over these principles and walk you through exactly how you can deliver each element of review management.
1. Monitor reviews
None of the other Google review management concepts in this list will be of much help without an excellent strategy for monitoring reviews. Doing this manually may work for a little while for the smallest businesses, but checking the reviews on Google Business Profile every day just isn’t feasible for busy entrepreneurs. It’s much easier to manage your Google reviews when you have robust review monitoring software at your disposal, like Vendasta’s Reputation Management tool.
With Reputation Management, you can see all Google reviews, as well as reviews on over 100 other platforms, from a single dashboard. A business owners can manage their Google reviews in addition to those on other platforms without having to go through the tedious task of logging into every platform. Your clients will never miss another review thanks to this white-label software you can resell to them under your own brand name.
2. Respond to reviews
With the right tool in place to monitor reviews, you can move on to the next Google review management concept: Responding to those reviews. Responding to reviews, regardless of whether they are good or bad, is a very effective way for businesses to convey that they care about their customers and truly value their feedback.
However, just as manual review monitoring is too time intensive to be effective, manually responding to every review might not be feasible for many of your SMB clients. Vendasta’s Reputation Management tool helps in this respect as well. Your clients can manage their Google reviews by responding to them through the Reputation Management dashboard. Plus, they can respond to reviews on any other review sites that are being monitored, all from the same dashboard. They can also set an auto-responder to interpret reviews and respond appropriately, doing much of the heavy lifting for them.
For a full-service alternative, you can also sell white-label review management to your clients. This means that instead of handling their review management in house, you can rely on a team of white-label experts working under your agency’s banner to respond to reviews on your client’s behalf, using established templates and guidelines.
3. Solicit reviews
It goes without saying that in order to have reviews to which you can respond, you need to have a steady stream of reviews coming in. Positive reviews send an encouraging message to prospects, but it’s just as important that those reviews are recent. Positive reviews from a year ago aren't as convincing. A lack of recent reviews can make a business appear inactive.
Vendasta’s white-label customer feedback tool, Customer Voice, can help you ace this Google review management concept. This tool can be used by your clients, by your agency, or by white-label reputation management experts on your behalf to generate a steady stream of reviews on the platforms of your choice.
Customer Voice can be used to get more recent, positive reviews on your client’s Google Business Profile, website, and any other listing that their audience may use. Plus, thanks to a built-in conversion funnel, clients can see their progress over time at a glance, making it easier for you to demonstrate the value you bring with your review management tools.
4. Claim and manage listings
There’s no denying that there is some overlap between SEO and reputation management activities. The two mutually reinforce each other: Businesses with excellent reputation management are more likely to be seen as reputable by Google, so they’re more likely to perform well on search engine results pages (SERPs). In turn, showing up on SERPs can lead to more conversions and more chances to obtain reviews.
Listing management plays an important role in SEO, particularly local SEO. Your local small and medium-sized businesses clients can benefit from having accurate, up-to-date listings across a range of databases. Many listings sites also collect reviews, so it’s in their interest to claim and manage these listings in order to manage the reviews on those sites.
However, if listings have errors or are inconsistent, it can actually damage a business’s SEO performance. Reselling listing management to your clients along with review management tools ensure that their business never suffers from incorrect listings. Additionally, it gives them more opportunities to collect reviews as a result of being listed on more sites.
5. Create review management guidelines
For these Google review management concepts to work their best, businesses should have a clear set of internal guidelines for how to collect and respond to reviews.
These guidelines should include:
- The business’s personality and tone of voice, ensuring that all communications are made in a cohesive brand voice
- Assigned responsibility for different review management tasks, ensuring that everyone is clear on their role
- Protocols to follow in the event of complaints that need to be escalated
- Scripts that can be used for issues that come up frequently
Helping your clients create these guidelines can ensure that whether they are handling Google review management internally, your agency is stepping in, or you have white-label experts doing the work, the customer experience remains consistent.
Google review management with Vendasta
Vendasta can help your agency deliver high-quality and consistent review management services to your clients regardless of how much experience you have with this important component of reputation management.
Clients who want to be hands on with their review management can benefit from powerful tools such as Reputation Management and Customer Voice, while those who are happy to leave the work to your agency can be sold full-service packages, enabling you to increase your revenue by reselling white-label reputation management.
Plus, thanks to a wide range of other solutions in our marketplace that you can bundle with Google review management, you can create completely customized digital marketing plans for your clients to keep them coming back month after month.
Frequently asked questions
Can Google reviews be removed?
It is possible to dispute Google reviews, which can in some instances result in them being removed; however, removals are only successful if someone is breaking Google’s policies, such as posting fake reviews or explicit content.
Is paying for Google reviews worth it?
No, it is never worth it to pay for Google reviews. This is in violation of Google’s terms and can result in the business being de-indexed from Google. There are safe, above-board ways to generate Google reviews without risking your business.