I’m going to show you five specific things you can do with the Five Star Review System to get ONLY Google reviews. But before I do, please allow me to list some of the reasons why I don’t think this is a good long term review strategy, but a potential killer short term strategy.

  1. Google rewards businesses that have reviews on sites other than Google by ranking their business listing higher in the search results. If you don’t have reviews on other review sites, you won’t benefit from their “reviews on other websites” ranking factor.
  2. Google is not the only site where customers go to find your business. Did you know that Apple, Yahoo! and Bing show Yelp reviews, not Google reviews?  Google is the 800 pound Guerrilla, but there are other monkeys (this is not a reference to Yelp :-)) in the room.
  3. Google can change their review policy and remove all of your reviews at any time, leaving you with zero customer reviews or testimonials.
  4. Many of your customers do not have, nor do they want to create a Google Plus account in order to leave a review for your business. When you don’t give them any other option you’re forcing them to do something they may not want to do.
  5. Writing a review on Google from a mobile phone can be a nightmare. The Five Star Review System makes it as easy as possible, but it’s still harder to write a review from a mobile phone than it is from a desktop computer. If you’re going to do “Google or Bust” either encourage your customers to write a review from a desktop computer or know exactly how to write a review from a mobile phone so you can assist them. This is critical!

OK, I’ve said my piece. Now let’s start getting those Google reviews.

GoogleOrBustBlog

1) Ask Your Customers To Review You On Google

The best place to start if you want more Google reviews is to ask for them. Consider asking your customers if they have or if they would be willing to create a Google Plus account in order to leave you a review. Let them know how important Google reviews are to your business. That will get them moving in the right direction.

2) Change The Initial Review Request Email

Change the text in your initial review request email by providing more direction.  Consider changing it to something that reads more like this.

____________________________________________________

Hi Bob,

Write Your Review on Google Here

Thank you for offering to write a review for us on Google. If you don’t already have a Google Plus account, it will take about 60 seconds to create an account (which is required in order to leave a review). Google will provide easy-to-follow instructions as soon as you click on the Google review link. Thank you very much for making this extra effort.

Write Your Review on Google Here

Sincerely,
Your Name
_____________________________________________________

There are few things I want you to notice in this revised text.

1) The first thing your customer is going to see after the greeting is a link to your Google Review page. This makes it easy for your customers who are reading your text on a cell phone to quickly see your review link.

2) The text is very specific about writing a review on Google. There is no question as to what you want them to do and what they can expect if they do not have a Google Plus account.

You can change the text by going into System Settings > Review Request Settings to the bottom of the page where you will read the text that reads Customize Emails

3) Remove Every Review Site Choice Except For Google

The next thing you can do is turn off every other option except for Google. If you’re really set on getting ONLY Google reviews, you’ll want to turn off the testimonial feature as well. This will force customers to either create a Google Plus account and write a Google review or it will make them step away from the computer without leaving a review. This is what we call the “Google or Bust!” strategy.

You can remove all of the other review sites by going to System Settings > Review Website Settings and you can turn off the testimonial feature by going to System Settings > Review Request Settings.

4) Send Your Request Via Text and Email

If your customer shows an interest in writing a review for you immediately, send them your review request directly to their mobile phone using the SMS/text feature.  This is especially effective if they are on an Andorid phone. You’re going to have customers who will be delighted to write reviews for you while they’re in your office and others who will find your request pushy, so make sure you ONLY ask the people who are willing to do this for you. Then you’ll need to make yourself available to help those customers who need assistance navigating their smartphones to write a review. If you don’t know how to write a review from a mobile phone, how can you expect your customers to do it?

Note 1: Owning a smart phone does not make your customer smart 🙂

Note 2: It is a million times easier to write a Google review from an Android phone than it is from an iPhone for these two reasons.

1) You must have Google Maps installed on your phone before you can write a Google review. All Android users already have Google Maps installed.

2) You must have a Google Plus account. All Android users have a Google Plus.

Better yet, send your customers a text message and an email review request at the same time. There a lot of reasons you’ll want to do this … specifically because it will double the likelihood of your customers writing a review for you. You can learn more about the text+email review request technique by reading my blog post on Sending Your Review Request via SMS

5) Reward Your Staff For Getting Google Reviews

It is against every term of service for every review site in the world to compensate a customer for writing a review. If you want to learn more about this read my post entitled “Consequences of Paying for Reviews.” It is however perfectly OK to reward your staff for getting reviews from your customers and many businesses are doing just that and getting great results. I’ll leave the reward ideas up to you.

Before You Implement The Google Or Bust Review Strategy

There are potential negative consequences to using this strategy however. You will get more Google reviews, but you’ll get them at the cost of getting review on other review sites and making your customers work harder to leave you a review. Because of that I would encourage you to ALWAYS contact your customers who made the extra effort and personally thank them for writing their Google review.

Make sure that if your customers are writing a review for you in your office that they are not writing their reviews from the same computer or IP address. Google looks down on this practice and will remove those reviews if they all come from the same location. If your customers are writing reviews from their mobile phones, this is typically not a problem.

Finally, writing a review on Google from a mobile phone is difficult at best. If Google is their only choice and they’re trying to write a review for you from their mobile phone it can be a very frustrating experience. (This is not true for any other review site.) And even though the Five Star Review System provides a great tutorial for your mobile users, we strongly suggest that you either:

  1. Encourage your mobile customers (especially iPhone users) to review you from a desktop computer where it’s much easier to do or,
  2. Learn how to write a Google review on both an iPhone and an Android phone so you can provide additional assistance to your customers who want to review you on Google from their mobile phone.

If you don’t do one or the other of these things, you’re going to cause many your customers a high level of grief and you’re not going to get many Google reviews from your mobile customers.

* This strategy works well for Google reviews but it is ABSOLUTELY the worst thing you can do if you want Yelp reviews. Please DO NOT follow these guidelines if you want Yelp reviews. Let me say that again. This is ABSOLUTELY the WORST thing you can do to get YELP REVIEWS. Don’t do it! Contact us for more information concerning Yelp.

If you have any other suggestions as to how to get more Google reviews … without breaking Google’s TOS or the law … please post your comment below so others can learn from your experience.