The most important digital marketing tool for every business is your Google Business Profile (GBP).
Let me share my personal experience.
For the last five years, all of our business comes from repeat customers, referrals and most importantly, organic search results from the internet because we are the #1-rated sign and marketing company in Canada based on Google reviews. Because of our ranking, our team has done business with clients from as far away as Iceland, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Edmonton and, of course, all over Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
You probably want to know how we did it. You ask, we answer. Five years ago while I was in a client’s law office finishing an installation of custom window graphics; Darren, the owner said to me, “I’ll leave you a 5-star Google review,” to which I replied, “What’s that?”
Can you believe that I didn’t even know what a Google review was?
Anyways, I had already claimed my Google Business Profile listing and made sure that my listing information was correct (address, email, phone number, etc.). A day after my conversation with Darren, I received a notice from Google telling me I had received a 5-star Google review… “OK, that’s cool!” I thought.
I took a look at my reviews and found out this was actually the second review I had received. Then I researched a few of my competitors and found out some of them had 2 or 3 reviews just like me. A few had 5 or so (mostly from family and employees), but there was one competitor: someone I respected—and he had over 60 reviews.
Right then I set a goal. Can you guess what I set my goal for? Yes, 60 plus! Now, 5 years later, that competitor (an international franchise) has 115 reviews. But Alley Kat Marketing has over 532 reviews and a 5-star rating. Yes, my competitor is good (as a matter of fact, many of my competitors do good work), but here is the difference: if it’s not public knowledge (i.e., on the web), it’s not real! Many of your customers will be happy to tell the world how good you are… if you ask them! As I said, in the world of marketing, if nobody says it, it isn’t real. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true, people say things, read things and believe things which are literally bald-faced lies!
So what can 532+ Google reviews and a 5-star rating translate to for your business? Well, for Alley Kat Signs and Marketing, it means that every week we receive 25–40 inbound contacts in the form of phone calls, emails and Google messages! That’s well over 100 leads per month.
How can you do that for your company you ask? Well, that’s really it… all you have to do is ask, and ask more often than your competitors (who probably aren’t even asking at all).
If you ever went to Sunday school you may remember this: “Ask and you shall receive.” Nowadays, you have to do an awesome job for your clients and wow them. Don’t even bother asking them for a review if you didn’t go above and beyond to knock their socks off.
Here’s another thing: do you know what your business and my business have in common? Problems. Have you ever had an unexpected problem arise with a customer? Things like weather delays, installation issues, shipping screw-ups, and production problems. That is normal! What you have to do is go beyond the normal and accept responsibility (and/or hold those responsible accountable) and then go above and beyond to solve the problem! It’s no use pointing the finger. Your customer doesn’t really care whose fault it is, they just want a solution.
Trust me, I’ve had projects go sideways. At the time, all that I wanted was to get out of that job, minimize my loss and move on to the next. But, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and then ask yourself, “if I was the customer, how would I want this handled?” Then, ask yourself, “if I was the customer and this didn’t get solved, what would I—as a customer—have to say about our company? Conversely, if I was the customer and your company took responsibility and solved my problem, how do you think they would feel? They would probably feel great, don’t you think?”
Please read our company reviews. You will see mostly 5-star reviews, some 4-star reviews, and even a 1-star review. Because we all understand, you can’t get 5 stars all the time. For many of us (especially Canadians), it’s just not in our nature to give a perfect score. Now please keep in mind that top marks should never mean perfect, but it should mean top service was offered and provided.
Some of our best customer reviews are from situations where we had a problem and we solved it, where our team turned a negative into a positive. I usually address those situations in my replies to reviews—which you must always do! Those are the very best customers because you went above and beyond to fix their issues and they appreciate the extra effort. Really, a grateful customer for whom you’ve solved a problem can be far more of a fan than a client for whom you did it right the first time.
Am I saying you shouldn’t try to do it right and be awesome the first time? Of course not. What I’m saying is that it’s worth the effort to solve the problems which have arisen for your customers—whether as a result of yourself, your team or even other subcontractors. This can turn a frustrated, (even angry) customer, into the most loyal customer and, more so, a fan and cheerleader of your company.
A cheerleader wants to give you a 5-star Google review, and you may not even have to ask! Most satisfied customers will give you a 5-star Google review. All you have to do is ask.
But here is my experience over 40+ years of sales and marketing… now more than ever, dissatisfied customers are more inclined to not only give you a bad review but also slay you on multiple social media platforms. Wouldn’t you agree?
The solution to most—if not all—of your customer relations problems is simple. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” It’s called the Golden Rule. Simply treat people the way you expect to be treated. Deliver on what you promise for quality and value and then ask for a 5-star Google review. You may get it, or you may not. But if you don’t ask, chances are you won’t get it.
PRO TIP: If you want to maximize your connection with your customers, use text messaging. Text messages have a 40% higher open rate than emails. It only makes sense to use reputation-management software that utilizes both text and email pipelines to reach your clients.
Interested in more information? Please check out our Google reviews and—if you think Alley Kat Signs and Marketing is the company you want to partner with—reach out to me at [email protected] to discuss reputation management and Google Business Profiles.