3 Images that Prove Your Business MUST Have a Customer Review Strategy

If you own or work for a local business, and by that I mean a business that services a local customer, you absolutely must have a customer review strategy in place. But based on my near decade of experience executing digital marketing campaigns, I'd bet that about 5% of you do.

What's a customer review strategy you ask? In it's simplest form, it answers the question, "How do we get more online reviews from our customers?"

And why do you need online reviews? That's what a recent post by Mike Blumenthal illustrates incredibly well. Mike pointed out just how many times a star rating or the word, "review" appeared on the front page search results for a local search on Google. His post inspired me to check a few more local search results and what I found illustrates why your business needs a customer review strategy, and why you need to be executing on that strategy.

I ran some searches for a handful of local search terms in industries we've worked. I've included screenshots of those search results and drawn red arrows where star ratings, the word, "review," or something similar appears on the page. The search terms I used included:

  • cincinnati roofers
  • los angeles dentist
  • best mexican restaurant

Here's the screenshot for "cincinnati roofers." There are 10 separate occurrences of rating stars or a mention of reviews. They're even taking up valuable real estate in that third paid ad toward the top.

Front-page search result for Cincinnati Roofers
Front-page search result for "Cincinnati Roofers"

Now let's take a look at the front page search results for "los angeles dentist." Rating stars or "review" shows up 17 times on this page. And look how many reviews these dentists have. I love to see what local companies are doing in highly competitive markets because you can really see what works and what doesn't. Want to know if reviews are important? Searching "los angeles dentist" is a great way to find out!

Count of in-SERP ratings or reviews for Los Angeles Dentist
Front-page for "Los Angeles Dentist"

Finally, check this one out. Rating stars or "review" shows up 24 times when searching "best mexican restaurant" in my area. Roughly 25% of real estate available for each result in the carousel at the top of the screen is devoted to reviews!

Rating stars or reviews show up 24 times in this SERP
Rating stars or reviews show up 24 times in this SERP

So what?

The key takeaway here is that this front page real estate is valuable, incredibly valuable. It's valuable to Google and it's valuable to any of these businesses showing up on that front page.

Google's entire purpose with these search results is to return the absolute best possible result for any given search query. Google pours enormous amounts of time and money into figuring out what it is you want to see when you type the words "best mexican restaurant" into that little search box. The closer they come to showing you exactly what you want, the more you'll use Google, and the less likely you'll jump ship to another search engine.

And it appears Google has decided that what users want are reviews…lots of them. Reviews all over the place. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if Google thinks it's users want reviews, and Google's users are your prospects, then your prospects want reviews. So why not give them what they want?

So get out there and figure out a way to start getting more reviews from your customers. Develop a strategy, put someone in charge, and start working on it, because Google has made it clear reviews are important, and they're betting their $50 billion in revenue that your customers do too.

For those of you working to generate more customer reviews, what are some of the challenges you're encountering? What are some tips you might have? Leave a comment and let us know.

John Crenshaw
John Crenshaw
UFO company founder. 15+ years experience in performance marketing.
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