How to Get More Google Reviews using Neuroscience

A blueprint for how to get more reviews on Google

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Get More Google Reviews Using NeuroscienceYour business’s Google rating can make or break your business. Of all the business reputation indicators it’s the most visible – often displaying before ads and web pages in search. This makes it the most important reputation score.

The best businesses take a proactive approach to reputation management. This means identifying your happiest customers and encouraging them to write reviews. But, many business owners have found this time-consuming with little or no reward.

I’ve sent thousands of review requests on behalf of clients in the last few years. Using A/B testing and applying cognitive research, I was able to optimize and increase the response rate by 5x.

The result is the process below – follow these steps, and you’ll get more Google reviews.

Identify Your Happiest Customers

The first step is identifying your happiest customers. The best way is through an online survey. SurveyMonkey is one option. Their free plan allows up to 10-question surveys, unlimited surveys, and 100 responses per survey.

Survey Email Subject Line: [Company Name] – Your Opinion Matters!

The Practical Reason: This subject line outperformed all others in terms of open rate.

The Neuroscience Reason: Using “you” or “your” instead of impersonal pronouns can create a stronger emotional reaction.

Survey Email Body:

Hello! Your opinion matters to us, and I was hoping you would complete this short survey about your recent [visit, appointment, purchase] – it should take less than 2 minutes to complete. Thank you for your input!
-Brian

The Practical Reason: This email copy outperformed all others, with up to 41% survey response rates.

The Neuroscience Reasons:

  • Using “your” again.
  • Reducing perceived friction by keeping the email request brief.
  • Reducing real friction by keeping the survey under 2 minutes.
  • Saying “thank you” shows gratitude which can increase willingness to respond.
  • Conversational style with personal signature can create a better ‘liking’ effect than a blatant mass email.
  • Personalizing the email would probably even more powerful (e.g. Hi, Brian!), but this can be burdensome if you have a lot of customers and don’t use email software that makes personalization easy.

Survey Questions:

You need to keep the survey under two minutes (as promised). This means including fewer than 10 questions and using multiple choice answers. The two questions you must include are:

Based on your overall experience…how satisfied are you with [Business Name]?
(Completely Satisfied, Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Somewhat Satisfied, Not At All Satisfied)

Based on your overall experience…how likely are you to are you to recommend [Business Name]?
(Definitely Would, Probably Would, Maybe, Probably Not, Definitely Not)

These questions allow you to find customers who are completely satisfied and would definitely recommend your business. It also sets the stage for next step, which leverages cognitive biases to increase engagement.
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How to Request Reviews

After you’ve found your happiest customers that would definitely recommend you, it’s time to ask for the review.

Review Request Email:

Hi there – can I ask you for a favor?

In your survey (thank you!) you said you were happy overall and that you would definitely recommend [Business Name].

Would you mind sharing your experience in an online review? It would be really helpful to other customers [or patients/clients/etc.].

The best site for this is Google: [Direct Link to Google review box]

Thanks in advance!

– Brian

The Neuroscience Reasons:

  • Research shows us that asking for one favor first can greatly increase the probability of success with the second favor. In this case, the first favor is the survey.
  • Saying “Thank You” shows gratitude, and can increase response rate.
  • Reminding them they were happy and would definitely recommend invokes Cialdini’s principle of consistency and commitment. This principle says we feel obligated to align our actions with what we’ve committed to do.
  • Describing the helpfulness of reviews for other customers can motivate some who tend to be altruistic.
  • A direct link to the Google review box eliminates friction. Create your link here.
  • “Thanks in advance!” – Another expression of gratitude, but this simple phrase topped the results in a study of response rates.
  • Conversational, short, and from a person. It feels like a direct request rather than an automated response.

Until early 2018, you could adjust the Google review URL to display the review box AND auto-populate a 5-star review. Google updated their link structure so this is no longer an option. While this does add a tiny bit of friction to the process, I haven’t seen it affect the response rates.

Once you receive reviews, it’s a good practice to respond to the review publicly and thank the customer. When potential customers see engagement from a business along with positive reviews, it helps build trust and likability.

After accumulating about 5 reviews, Google will display your star listing next to your business.

Keep Testing

Everyone’s business and customers are unique. Use this guide as a starting point, but try making a few enhancements and use A/B testing to find the sweet-spot for your business.
Do you need more Google reviews? Here are brain-based tactics to get more 5-star ratings. Click To Tweet

4 Comments
  1. Apivut Chakuthip says

    Hi Brian, very interesting article. I really enjoy it. We send a lot of emails out each month but never thought about using neuroscience in each sentence. It’s a new perspective for me. Cheers, Apivut

  2. Brian Dooley says

    Thanks for your comment, Apivut. If you decide to test this approach, I’d be curious about your results. All the best, Brian.

  3. Saijo says

    Hi Brian

    Thanks for mentioning our (Supple’s ) review link generator tool 🙂

  4. ben says

    Very helpful. The canned response tip is one I will definitely be putting to use. Will save me a lot of time. 🙂

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