Want to know a trick that took my photography business to another level? My name is Ryan Parker and I’m a headshot and portrait photographer based out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Last year, I discovered a little trick that increased the conversion rate on my Google business page reviews and took me from knocking on doors trying to convince clients to give me a shot, to clients knocking my door down, booking sessions weeks and months in advance.
GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE 101
Scratching your head on what a Google business page is? No, worries, I’ve got you covered. They’re actually called Google My Business, but they are basically a business page created in Google. They are easy to create and a great marketing tool for your business.
If you don’t have a Google business page already, here are some things you’ll need to do to get started:
- Have a physical mailing address for verification.
- Share your business address publicly or you won’t show up in Google maps.
- Get verified by Google My Business so that you can start accepting reviews.
It’s free to create a Google business page. All you need is a Gmail account.
Start here: https://www.google.com/business/
Verification can take about a week, so you’ll want to sign up sooner than later.
If you want to learn more, here’s a great blog post on Google MY Business that will bring you up to speed.
WHY GOOGLE REVIEWS ARE IMPORTANT
Know what’s not a secret? Good reviews are good for business! You don’t have to be an advertising executive to know that positive feedback from happy customers creates more business for your company. So the next logical thought might be to create as many opportunities for reviews as there are platforms to get them. It’s not uncommon to do a search for a business and see customer reviews sprinkled around on platforms such as Yelp, Facebook and the company’s website. The more opportunities for reviews the better, right?
Here’s the trick. Stop the review sprinkling. Instead, drive customers to your Google business page and you will see an exceptional thing happen for your company: You will rise to the top of Google’s search results page. Amazing, right?
Let me explain. When I want excellent food at a local restaurant, I head to Yelp. When I need advice from friends, I head to Facebook. When I’m searching for a specialist, I hit up Google. Give it a try and see for yourself. Search ‘Edmonton, Alberta Headshots’ in Google and I should be top of the results. After the advertisements and before the organic searches, Google pins its map with relevant local businesses in your area. The top 3 businesses (as chosen by Google’s algorithm) are featured prominently on the results page, with links to each business’s website.
If you maintain your Google business page and drive customers to review your business, you will get top listing above the organic searches locally. The more reviews you have, the better your Google ranking and the better your chances to stand out against the local competition.
Believe it or not, Google business reviews are more important than Facebook reviews. But when you think about it, it makes sense. You don’t go Facebook when want to buy a product. When you are looking for a product or business to meet a need, you head to Google, already in spending mode.
HOW TO GET THE REVIEWS
When I started my Google business page, I had a hard time converting clients into reviewers. Even clients who sang my praise at the end of a session weren’t compelled to leave a review. I went so far as to ask them in my closing email to leave a review, but the success rate was only 1 in 10, even when they replied that they definitely would leave feedback..
I can’t blame them, though. To leave a review requires a lot of steps. It needed to be a quick hit for my customers, otherwise I wasn’t going to get anywhere. What I needed was a link in my email that would open right into a Google review window.
When I got that link in my email, it was a game changer for my business and me.
BUILDING A DIRECT LINK TO YOUR GOOGLE BUSINESS
To walk you through the process, I’ve made a quick and easy video.
Here are the links I refer to in the video:
PLACE ID’S LINK: https://developers.google.com/places/place-id
WRITE REVIEW DIRECT LINK: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<place_id> – This is where you’ll input your Place ID.
BE THE TORTOISE, NOT THE HARE
If you’re new to the direct link, don’t fire it off to 20 past clients at once. Google will flag you if you get too many 5 star reviews in a short period of time. This could lead to Google freezing (or closing) your account. Send the link out steady and slow. Play the long game and, in time, you will reap the rewards.
Obviously it’s not enough to send this link out and hope you’ll get good feedback. You have to earn good feedback: Take care of your clients and operate your business at a high standard to achieve a high rating. While excellence is always the goal, things can happen and you may anticipate a lower review from time to time. If a session goes sour, hold off from sharing the link. A bad review on Google will impact your rating and potentially move you down on the Google search listing. This should be the anomaly, though. If you are going above and beyond and providing excellent service to your clients, you should be basking in 5 star reviews in no time.
I hope this tip is as much of a game changer for you as it was for me. Thanks again for reading! Comment below if this helped you out.
Please check out my feeds and get in touch if you have any questions about this.