Design Domination Podcast Episode #143: How to Get Google Reviews From Clients With John Falke

Google reviews are a free tool designers can leverage to make the marketing and sales process easier. They also increase your chances of getting new clients. Hear how Google reviews have helped John Falke's design business and how to get Google reviews from your own clients.

John Falke's headshotJohn Falke (AKA Johnny Flash) is the founder and CEO of Johnny Flash Productions, a web and digital marketing agency near Washington, DC. He’s created a six-step proven hiring method that includes a tailored trial project to find the best candidate.

Johnny is a coach for Agency Mavericks (formerly WP Elevation), where he helps agency owners grow their business, nail down their processes and expand their team. John is also the creator of Amplified Impact, a six-week church communication course.

John is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CC and has been using WordPress for over a decade.

John is married to Julie (the real super hero). They have four kids: Jeremiah (15), Elias (13), Alicia (11) and Sammy (9).

Getting to Know John

Colleen Gratzer: Welcome to the podcast again, John. It’s great to have you back.

John Falke: Thanks. That’s quite the intro, Colleen. Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be back on and good to just get to catch up with you.

Colleen: It is. Well, before we talked about how you went from a two-person business to one with now a very large team. That was a great conversation.

John: It was. It was fun. I can’t remember exactly when you recorded that but the team I’m sure is bigger now.

Colleen: It probably is.

John: There’s 16 of us now on the team. It’s been going great.

Colleen: Wow. It was back in February, so it’s been almost a year.

John: We had probably 9 or 10 of us back then. I think we’ve hired six this year.

Colleen: Every time I talk to you, you have a bigger team.

So as always, we’ll start with a couple of fun questions first. The first one is: would you rather go deep sea diving or bungee jumping?

John: Ooh, man. That is hard. The deep sea diving sounds pretty awesome. I haven’t bungee jumped before but I did jump out of a perfectly good airplane in Hawaii. I did skydiving.

The deep sea diving would be something totally different that I haven’t done, so I’d probably go for that.

Colleen: Oh, wow. Did Julie jump out of a plane too?

John: She did. When we met, she actually had her pilot’s license—her solo license. She can fly a plane.

I’ve always joked that if we’re on a plane going somewhere and the captain falls dead or something, I’m going to push her up to the front to try to save us.

Colleen: Oh my gosh!

John: She actually has wanted to jump out of a plane for a long time.

As we were going up on the plane… this is going to be crazy. We were engaged at the time when we were in Hawaii and we were on this trip. I would have chickened out if she hadn’t been along because you’re flying up and the hatch is open.

You could literally just fall out of the plane anytime. You’re not strapped to anyone while you’re going up in the plane. You’re just sitting on this bench with the big hole right there.

The guy that I was strapped to was muttering things about, “Hey, I want to end my life today. I just don’t have any purpose to live.”

He is totally trolling me and he played it so well. I was nervous that we were just going to jump out of this plane and no parachute was going to come out. I was terrified.

Julie was there though, and she was so excited about it. I couldn’t back out because I wanted to impress her. So a long story but that was pretty crazy. She was excited about that.

Colleen: Wow. I didn’t know about any of that. That’s really funny.

Well, I’m very phobic of planes. I’ve been in planes and flown a few times. But I’m never getting on one again. They’re too much.

Actually, we’ve been watching a lot of too many things about why planes crash on YouTube recently.

John: Oh, that’s not going to be good.

Colleen: So that seals the deal there.

The other question is: what software or app can you just not live without?

John: Hmmm. This will be good for designers. I’m sure a lot of people listening are using this.

We just we switched to Figma a few years ago for all of our web design. It’s just so great. You don’t need to share the files and people can work on it at the same time. The developers love it.

It’s faster to export than Photoshop. I think Figma would be something I just couldn’t live without.

I think Adobe just bought them. I’m hoping they don’t screw it up or whoever just bought them. I’m hoping they don’t screw it up.

Colleen: Yeah, a lot of people are concerned about that for sure.

John: Yeah, yeah.

Process for Getting Google Reviews

Colleen: Today we’re talking about Google reviews and I know you have tons of them. I know you have this wonderful process to get them.

So the first question I want to ask you about is: what prompted you to even think about getting Google reviews in the first place?

John: I quit my day job 7 years ago to kind of go full time. I woke up… It was early 2018 and I had just watched a webinar. I think it was Simon Kelly interviewing Phil Singleton.

It was back in the WP Elevation days. Phil’s written a number of books on SEO. He runs Kansas City Web Design & SEO.

He was just talking about how important Google reviews are. I hadn’t really given it any thought. We had built all these different websites and stuff over the years and had zero Google reviews.

I thought, “Oh, man. I should probably see if I can get some.” I basically set a goal to try to get 50 Google reviews in 3 months. It was ambitious but I thought I’m just going to ask every single person I know.

The good thing with Google reviews is they don’t necessarily have to be someone who spent money on you. It could just be someone who can vouch that you do good work.

Whether you or I have done business together or not, I can vouch for your accessibility work and I could leave you a review.

You could leave me a review saying, “I do quality web design,” even though we’re not necessarily customers.

I just started asking everybody that we’d ever done work for before. Anyone who could vouch that I did good work. I was just asking, asking, asking.

We didn’t quite get to our goal of 50. In three months, I think we got 46 or something.

Colleen: Oh, still.

John: But we were very close. It was interesting. The results and the exposure you start to get when you get Google reviews were interesting.

Ranking With Google Reviews

Colleen: Where were you ranked before you started collecting Google reviews versus after you started getting Google reviews?

John: We weren’t really ranked in terms of… I guess we might have had a few pages that showed up in a particular search.  At the time, it was called Google My Business. Now, it’s called Google Business Profile.

We wouldn’t have shown up because who wants to buy the product on Amazon that has no reviews and no track record?

Colleen: Right.

John: We skip those, right?

Colleen: Yes. Nobody wants to be the first.

John: No. Nobody wants to be even the third or the fourth, or the fifth. They want to be like the 1000th or the 150th person. They don’t want to be the guinea pig.

Importance of Google Reviews

Colleen: Well, besides exposure or besides having good things to say, why was it important to get Google reviews specifically, as opposed to other reviews? Why Google reviews?

John: That’s a good question. So Whitespark put out an annual search ranking factors report. They’ve been doing it for a number of years now.

It’s interesting to see how local pack and finder rankings have continually shifted more and more toward the Google business profile and reviews.

I think in their 2021 results, between Google business profile and reviews, it was over 50% of the determination of whether you fit into that local pack and local searches. They were based on just those two things.

Then on-page was way down at number three, and links were number 4, and other things were further down.

Now that’s a little bit different than local organic ranking factors where on-page and links, and a lot of that stuff still matter a lot—if you’re trying to search for those.

But in terms of showing up on the map, and as a local company, it’s a huge determination. In my experience, you get the most mileage with your reviews if they’re on Google.

You don’t get much mileage anymore on Facebook. Even when your Facebook page business followers have your Facebook business page they rarely even see your posts.

Even if you post on there and you have 500 Facebook business page followers, only five of them see your posts because Google has really de-emphasized pages.

Colleen: You mean Facebook has.

John: Oh yes. I’m sorry. I said the wrong thing. Yes, Facebook has.

If you have some industry-specific websites some of those still do all right. If you’re a service business and you’re on Angie’s List and you have a bunch of reviews, or HomeAdvisor and stuff like that.

But most of our audience, obviously, are designers and developers, so you’re going to get the most mileage on Google.

Factors in Google Search Ranking

Colleen: You’re saying the factors in the Google search ranking. So reviews are part of it, and then you’re on-page SEO, and then your hyperlinks?

John: Yes and your Google business profile, which the reviews are on there. But you can also choose your primary categories and write a description and share photos.

If you’re posting on social media, you can even add your Google business profile as another place where your social posts go out. Then there’s pulling in all that content of your recent blog posts and other stuff.

That Google Business Profile reviews, on-page and links, if you can get those four things working for you, that’s the stuff that they care the most about.

Getting Google Reviews From Clients

Colleen: How did you go about approaching clients to get Google reviews? Because it can be really hard. It can be hard enough just to get a testimonial from them.

And then the other thing, too, is that a lot of times, we designers will forget to ask for a testimonial when we know the clients are happy with the job we just did.

We have these two different things that work against us. How did you first go about approaching clients to get these Google reviews?

John: I think the first step to take is to just make a list of everybody you could ask. Because if you separate the making the list and making the ask, it’s a little bit easier, right?

Today, just make the list of “Here’s 20 people I could ask,” tomorrow say, “I’m going to ask five of them.”

Then maybe in a few days, “I’m going to ask five more.” You don’t want to ask 50 people or 100 people or everyone on your email list today to leave you a review.

Google doesn’t like it if you’ve never had any Google reviews, or you have barely gotten any, and then all of a sudden “Colleen got 12 reviews today.”

That’s going to look like you’re gaming the system.

Colleen: Oh, really?

John: You want it to be more organic than that. What I would say is to make a list of everybody you could possibly ask starting with recent clients, people that love you, and ongoing clients. You can also ask friends who can vouch for you.

Then maybe on your future list, if you’ve got clients you’re working with right now but you’re still building their website or doing their design project or whatever.

So we’re like, “I’m not going to ask him in the middle of the project. I’m going to wait till we finish the thing and then ask them.”

Whether they prefer email or text or whatever their mode of communication—I would use my “Awesome ask email”:

“Hi, Colleen. I hope you’re having a great week. I was wondering if you could take a moment and leave a review on Google about working with us. This is the URL,” and there are places where you can get the exact URL.

When they click on it, it’s going to pop up on your Google business profile with the stars. They can literally just click it and fill it out.

I would then put that link in there and then I say, “It only takes 30 seconds. Writing something is optional.”

I always put a goal in there so it sounds like they’re trying to help me reach a goal. I say, “Hey, we’re trying to get to X number of Google reviews.”

If you’re at 12 Google reviews, right now, you might say, “Hey, we’re trying to get to 25 Google reviews,” and then say you’re almost there.

Then I just say thanks and send it to them. I think the “writing stuff is optional” is huge because sometimes they get hesitant about what to say.

Another way you can go about it is you can say without asking them for a review. You can just say, “Hey, it was great working with you on this project last year. We had a lot of fun doing it. I was wondering if you could just tell me how it was working with us? Is there anything we can improve?”

Typically, they’ll justify their purchase so they’ll speak well of you unless they had a really terrible experience.

They’ll say, “Oh, man, it was so great. We tell everyone about you and that you did our website. We really liked how you walked us through…” whatever the site map or the design mock-ups, or whatever the thing is that they really liked.

If you have any email like that from anyone, the easiest thing is to then say, “Hey, thanks so much for the kind words, would you mind copying and pasting this into our Google business profile?”

That’s super easy because then they don’t have to think about what to say. They’ve already said it.

One time, I had a guy call and he said, “Hey, John. I was just calling to say thank you.” I was like, “What are you talking about?”

He said, “Well, you know that website you built for us a few months ago? I’ve been getting two to five leads every single day that lead to business for my company. I just wanted to say thank you. What you did work and I appreciate it.”

I was trying not to cut them off, I said, “That is awesome. I’m so happy for you. Would you mind typing what you just said into our Google business profile? That’s an amazing review.”

Sure enough, he did that, and we got the review. It was amazing because he wrote that exact same thing on our Google business profile, and he’s a customer of ours.

It’s just sometimes being intentional, like when you get positive feedback or if you have to do something as a favor for someone.

You’ve had that time when you did a consultation and you didn’t get paid for it. You realize you should have gotten paid for it. The call that was supposed to be 15 minutes was an hour.

They’re like, “Oh, man. I need to pay you something for this because it’s been so helpful.”

What I’ll just say is, “Hey, well actually, why don’t you just leave me a review? That would be super awesome. That’s a way that you can pay me and say thank you.”

You can also say, “Hey, just leave a review of what you just said.”

Colleen: Great idea!

John: You can turn those little favors you do for somebody—a friend or some old client—that you’re not going to charge them for into a review.

Colleen: That’s a great way for designers to take advantage of because designers are notoriously known for doing favors too many times. That is a very good way to alleviate that situation and get something in return.

John: I would make the list. I’d ask a certain number of people per week. Don’t ask all 20 this week. Ask five this week, and five next week as you brainstorm more names.

So you can just get in a rhythm. Every Tuesday morning, the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to email five people asking for a Google review. You just make it part of your routine.

Once you get caught up, you can build into your process, as you’re building a website, or you’re doing that design project. You can ask them for the review somewhere near the very end of the process.

After the website’s launch and you’ve done all your post-launch stuff, you can send the client an email asking for the review. Then you just build it into your process.

Google sends you an email that says, “Your views on the map are up 176%.”

All these people are finding you through discovery now because you’ve gotten these reviews and you show up in the map pack.

Colleen: That’s awesome.

Well, I have a feedback page. It’s a form that clients can fill out, and they can submit a testimonial right there. I ask things like, “What could we improve on?” and “How was your experience?”

I also have a link to go to the Google review page, or whatever you call it. They could leave it there.

But sometimes I think I shouldn’t even have the form there and just send them to Google reviews. Because then I could copy and paste the Google reviews onto my site. That might make it easier instead of saying, “Hey, do this and do that.”

John: I think it all depends, obviously, for designers and developers and people that are generally probably listening to this. They probably have a pretty close working relationship with their clients.

The likelihood of getting a bad review… It’s not that you couldn’t get one. It’s just that you’re probably going to know and hopefully, you’re going to be smart enough not to ask them versus if you’re helping a client that’s a restaurant or something like that, and they’re trying to get reviews.

All it takes is one little stray hair that might not have even been someone who worked at the restaurant.

It could have even been your own hair that somehow got in there. You didn’t recognize it as your own hair and you’re like, “Oh. There’s hair in my food. This is awful. I’m leaving a one-star review,” and you stormed out of there.

In those situations, if you can preemptively find out the experience before asking for it, then that can be helpful.

But you also have to be careful. Google generally frowns on what they call “gating your reviews.” Where if someone leaves me a negative comment, I’m not going to send them to Google and if they leave me a positive I am.

It’s like gating the negative feedback, which then it just looks like only the positive ones go there. Generally, that’s frowned upon.

You just have to use your judgment on that. But I think…

Colleen: I don’t understand. How would you do that? I don’t get that. Unless somebody tells you beforehand if it’s going to be positive or negative. How does Google know? How are they going to know? How does that work?

John: You can set up what’s called a review funnel and you can turn on gating if you want.

The way that it would work is you’d send all of your clients when you finish a project with something like, “Hey, thumbs up, or thumbs down on how the project went.”

If they do thumbs up, then it would say, “Hey, would you be willing to leave us a review on Google? We’re so thankful and we love working with you.”

If they do thumbs down, the form pops up right on your web page that says, “Oh, I’m so sorry that we didn’t meet your expectations. Please let us know how we can improve it.”

Then they just fill out that form. It goes to you as an email but they never get asked to go to Google.

That’s gating your feedback because you’re only sending the people who say that they had a good time onto the review page.

Colleen: But that whole process is only with you? That’s independent of Google until they click through to Google.

John: Right. But Google frowns upon that. Because if everybody did that, you would pretty much only have the positive people or the people who went really out of their way to leave comments. You just have to be careful with that stuff.

How to Handle Negative Google Reviews

Colleen: Speaking of negative reviews, what do you think designers should do if they happen to get a negative review?

John: Unfortunately, inevitably, it comes that you get the negative review. I always think it’s good to try to reply publicly whether it’s positive or negative because Google will also use your review as more SEO material.

If it was a good review, you can say, “Hey, we loved working with you on this web design project and your SEO,” and whatever other buzzwords you’re trying to get in there and just thank them.

It looks like you’re interactive, you care, and you’re active in your business and that you noticed. That’s good.

But if it’s negative, you still want to reply publicly. I usually say acknowledge the issue first.

Something like, “Hey, I’m so sorry that this project took longer than we said that it would. We’re really sorry that it caused delays and that your website was slow to get launched.” or whatever was behind schedule.

Then I would restate our values. “One of our values is to exceed customer expectations. I know that we failed on that this time but we’ve made these changes in our process to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

If you need to resolve it, I would offer it offline. If they say, “I can’t believe you did this. I feel like I should get a partial refund because you didn’t deliver on what you promised.”

Then I would say, “Hey, I would love to connect with you so we can make this right or talk this through. Please email us at this or contact us.”

If someone rational is reading this negative review they would then see the owner acknowledging the issue, apologizing, restating their values, and offering to resolve it. That looks pretty good, right?

Colleen: Yes.

John: You had hair in your food. You couldn’t believe it. Or that the food was this way and then the owner comes up and says, “I’m so sorry. This is not normal for us. We had some new employees that day and I’m not making excuses. They need to be trained better. But we’ve adjusted our training practices and made sure everyone has their hair nets.”

“We would love to make this right so that you can come back again on us. Please contact me at this.” That looks pretty good too.

Colleen: Yes. Because when I’m checking out I’m always looking at reviews. I look at reviews all over the place. I look at Google reviews. I might look at Yelp reviews. I’ll look at the Better Business Bureau reviews and ratings.

I’ve even seen where people or companies have had a Better Business Bureau rating that was really good—A or B—and then they have these horrible reviews that have scared me away. So reviews are very important.

I do appreciate when a company does respond to all reviews, to any type of review. But especially when they respond to negative reviews because it may be, sometimes it just wasn’t a good fit.

It wasn’t anybody’s “fault.” It just wasn’t a good fit. Or somebody had higher expectations or their expectations weren’t in line with what the project scope was.

Things can come up. It happens and nobody’s perfect.

I do always appreciate seeing that someone’s taking time to address that. Otherwise, I just feel like they’re really not that concerned about the service that they’re providing.

When I do see that, and they’re saying what you just said, I would be like, “Okay. I can understand that.”

Leveraging Google Reviews

John: I think once you get those testimonials, you can use them on all kinds of things. You can put some of them on your website. You can feature some of those on a social post.

You can feature them in your newsletters and all different kinds of ways you can use those reviews on.

It’s not like you spend the effort to get them. It helps you be more visible. But then you can also use those in other ways to build authority and to get more potential customers.

Colleen: Yes, they definitely build trust.

How do you approach it? If you have clients that have already left you reviews elsewhere? For example, I have tons of testimonials that are on my website, but they’re not Google reviews.

Do you ever ask clients that you’ve worked with in the past, “Hey, this is what you said before, would you mind copying and pasting this into a Google review?” What do you do?

John: It’s one of the easiest reviews you can get.

If you take the time to say, “Hey, Colleen. Thanks. It was so great to work with you last year. Thanks for leaving us that review on Facebook. That really helped us out.”

Then you can add, “Would you be willing to take 30 seconds and copy and paste it onto our Google business profile? We’re trying to get to 50 reviews and we’re almost there. This would mean the world to us. Thanks so much, John.”

Then I would just copy and paste exactly what they said. They aren’t sent off to go look for it or to go try to find it or remember it. Almost anyone who gives any ounce of care or respect for you is going to take the time to do that. It’s not a big ask.

I’ve done that a lot, some of the times when we were using platforms like Thumbtack or Bark. I had a bunch of Google reviews, but it’d be really helpful if I had 10, 12 or 15 of those over there.

So I would just think of someone who I do have enough equity with, that I can just go and ask that. Then I’ll just copy and paste. They’re willing to do it.

Creating a Google Reviews Funnel

Colleen: At what point did the clients actually get this funnel about the reviews? Is it after you’ve invoiced or before you’ve invoiced?

Obviously, you want to get them when they’re still giddy with excitement about working with you, right? But do you have a certain timeframe you send it out or a certain stage in the process when you send that out?

John: I think it’s whenever you know that they’re generally the most excited. So for us, if we’re building a website and it’s been a week or two after launch and we’ve worked out any little kinks.

They’re starting to tell friends about it. They’ve been getting feedback, “Oh, man, the website looks amazing,” like all that stuff. That’s when you want to ask for the review.

Typically, they’ve already paid the final invoice. We’ve launched the site. It hasn’t been 30 days since the website launch and not the day after it launched.

It was probably a few weeks after they’d gotten some feedback—some good vibes—from people who have looked at the website. That’s when I want to ask them.

Same with a design project. As soon as you hand in the design project, not necessarily everybody sees it.

So wait till it is used or when the booklets are handed out at the conference, and they get all this great feedback. That’s when you would want to ask them for the review.

That’s the ideal but again, if you’re going back to old clients, you can just say, “Hey, I know we worked with you last year or a couple of years ago. It’s been great to stay in contact with you, and would you be willing to do this?”

How Google Reviews Help Your Business

Colleen: I know that Google reviews have helped your business and you were saying earlier that you weren’t even ranking before initially.

Do you know where you’re ranking now? How has that helped, if you’re ranking higher?

John: I think we have 130 Google reviews or something like that.

For a web agency, we pretty much have the most in DC, Virginia and Maryland. I keep track a little bit too much, I guess.

Colleen: I was going to say.

John: It’s like a scoreboard kind of thing. But it really has made a huge difference. Now, this is what happens, it’s like on Amazon.

I use Amazon all the time. I go on there. If I don’t know which product I’m already going to buy. I’m looking up the reviews on the dehumidifier or whatever the thing is that I don’t buy that frequently.

People don’t buy a website that often. They do it once every five years. It’s not like they have a whole list of, “Oh, I’m going to go use them.”

They might not have had a great experience. They need something new. They don’t know where to go.

Unless they have a friend tell them, “Oh, you should go talk to Colleen because she does amazing accessibility and design work.”

Unless someone says that, then they’re just going to go on Google and they’re going to say, “web designer near me,” or “web designer in Fairfax, or in Maryland.”

Then, if you come up, and they’re looking at, “Oh, wow. Johnny Flash has 130 reviews.” Now, this other agency has 23 reviews.

It’s like that product on Amazon that only has a few reviews. It just doesn’t seem that great.

We literally will get people that find us on Google. We had someone come to us, they said, “We’ve seen that you’re the best web designer around and we want to work with you.”

It wasn’t like they didn’t get all these quotes or whatever. That’s a $15,000-$20,000 project that just we got. It’s not that we are the best, but we look like we are the best.

It doesn’t mean that we make the best websites. But in terms of an online reputation, it looks like we’re the top dog.

We’re not the biggest. We’re not the best. We haven’t been around the longest. But in terms of our online reputation, it looks like we’re the best. So we get a lot of business just because of that.

Colleen: I know you’re awesome. I could vouch for that.

Well, do they ever say, “Hey, I looked at your Google reviews”?

John: Oh, yeah!

Colleen: They do mention them?

John: They’ll mention the Google reviews, or they read this blog, content or whatever it was. I’m trying to be really specific about our quote form.

If they go for a quote and say, “How did you hear about us?” If they don’t fill it out, I’ll ask them. You can definitely tell that.

A lot of people have read them or found you, or want to work with you because you’re better than most of the other ones around.

Don’t be discouraged. We had 0 in February of 2018. We have more than pretty much every agency in Virginia, DC, and Maryland.

It’s just a little bit out of time. It’s like anything that you get good at. It’s not like you become this thing overnight.

You can say, “Hey, if I get two reviews every week for the rest of 2023 I’m going to have 100 reviews.”

I’ll probably only have to ask eight or 10 people a week, and I’ll get a couple of reviews from that, and then we’ll be in a much different place. So just a little bite at a time.

Getting Clients to Leave Google Reviews

Colleen: Now, if they don’t respond to you, and you just don’t hear back from them after you send that message, or if they say, “Oh, yeah. Hey, I’ll get to that.”

They never do. Do you follow up with them after a certain period of time?

John: I’ll send one follow up. I’ll usually say, “Hey, we’ve gotten to this. We’re almost there.”

And add, “Hey, if you have a moment, this would be awesome. This would really help us out.” Or if they say, “Hey, I’ll get to that next week.” Then what I do is I don’t reply to their “I’ll get to it next week,” until next week.

Colleen: Yes. I do that stuff too.

John: I would just say, “Hey, thank you so much. That’s going to be so helpful.” We have found a couple of things. If they say they left a review and it doesn’t show up, then oftentimes Google has filtered it.

A lot of times they’ll filter it if they put a web address in the review. Sometimes the client will say, “Hey, Colleen did an amazing job for us on our website,” and then they put the website URL, “she did our Google and our SEO.”

Then they’re like, “I left you the review.” But you don’t see it.

Sometimes it’s just a few day delay of Google publishing it. But then other times, it never shows up. So you might just say, “Hey, could you copy and paste?”

Because they can see it for themselves. It looks like they left the review there but for everybody else or no one sees it.

Ask them to copy and paste it to you and look for that flag. Like they listed a domain name or web address in there or something.

I said, “Hey, could you remove that? I think Google’s flagging it because it’s not showing up,” and then it solves it.

Colleen: They can’t go back and just take it out? They can’t edit that review?

John: They can edit it. They can go in and edit. If they go in and edit it, and then take that out, then the next day, it just magically appears.

Colleen: Interesting.

Adding More Value to Web Designs With Google Reviews

Colleen: Well, you actually take this all a step further, though, and you provide Google reviews as a service to your clients for their businesses?

John: Yes. We try to help businesses get more reviews for their business. It’s the review funnel thing. But really, the trick is to just ask enough.

We have a client that takes a lot of online mobile orders for their restaurant. They have the email address of all those people. As long as they have in their terms, or their signup thing that says, “Hey, we can email you occasionally.”

Then you could just easily export everybody who ordered this week and you could put them into an email campaign and say, “Hey, thanks so much for your order this week. We hope everything went well. We’d love for you to leave us a review.”

In that case, the restaurant might say, “Hey, we should send them to some kind of funnel. We know that there’s going to be someone who got the wrong order by mistake and is going to leave us a negative review.”

They might risk Google caring and say, “Hey, we’re going to send you a review funnel,” and then try to pass on as many of those good ones to you to leave a review.

It typically works best for businesses that have a lot of complaints. The long wait at the doctor’s office, the hair in the food, or the wrong order of the food or the cold food.

Though typically, it’s businesses with a physical location that have a high volume of customers, so they’re not spending a lot of time with them.

There’s a good chance they could mess up every once in a while on accident. Those are the best for a review funnel type of product. Most I’d say designers and agencies and stuff.

Hopefully, you’re working with your clients well enough. You’re going to know whether they had a good experience and whether to ask them to leave your review. You probably don’t have a high volume so you don’t really necessarily need a funnel.

When we first started doing it, we did have a funnel. We realized it was just an extra step. Everyone was leaving us a good review. We didn’t need to have a pre-step before the review.

Colleen: Well, that’s good because that’s an interesting way to actually add value and charge more for websites that you build.

John: Yeah. Even if you don’t do that, you could always do a Google Business Profile optimization, where you say, “Hey, for this amount of money, we’re going to go in, we’re going to make sure you have the right categories—a good description. We’re going to make sure everything’s filled out as completely as possible—your logos on there, the photos of your products and stuff are on there.”

The more it’s filled out and the more comprehensive it is, the better it’s going to do. You could offer that as a service and then you could either build them some links or give them some email templates to ask their clients.

We have a client that sends us their clients every week into our support desk, and then we drop it into their thing and they all get an email that asks them for the review.

You can add value in a lot of different ways depending on how much help you want to be with that or not.

Optimizing Your Google Business Profile

Colleen: Well, speaking of images on that profile, you can actually add portfolio images on there.

John: Yeah, yeah.

Colleen: You can have your work right there for people to see before they even click through to your website.

John: You can probably add a description for all those. You can say, “Hey, this is a home health care website that we built for blah, blah, blah,” and so then when people are searching for home health care web design, your image pops up, your business profile and all your reviews.

You can get real advanced with it. If you were coaching your clients or customers on what to say, putting in buzzwords like home health care, website design, and SEO.

All that stuff is going to be better than if they just say, “Oh, Johnny and his team are great and we love working with them and we highly recommend them.” That’s good but it’s not as good as something that has some of the keywords in it.

Something like, “Could you please mention the social media marketing that we did for you? It seems like that campaign is doing really well. I’d love for you to just talk about that.” Then they’re putting in some of those buzzwords that maybe you care about.

Colleen: I need to check out mine now.

John: I should pull it up and see.

Colleen: Mine’s been neglected for quite some time. I’ve got to get on the ball with that.

But I did upload some many years ago. I did upload some portfolio images to it. But yeah, I need to get on the ball with that at some point.

John: Well, you’ve got a five-star average. You’re doing pretty good there.

Colleen: I am knocking it out of the park.

John: You can just boost up your quantity a little bit and you’ll be set.

Colleen: But I have to pace myself.

John: Yes. Pace yourself. Don’t ask them all this afternoon.

Colleen: Right.

Well, this has been great, John. This has been really interesting to talk about.

I think a lot of designers probably don’t think about this as much as they should, especially as an easy way to boost their exposure online.

John: Totally. I think it’s like one of the lowest-hanging fruit, honestly. It doesn’t cost anything. It just takes a little bit of time and intentionality.

On what we’ve seen, it’s been probably the most effective marketing thing out of everything that we’ve done in terms of return on investment.

It takes a little bit of time but we’ve gotten a lot of results from it. So I think it’s a great option for designers, developers, agencies and freelancers.

If anyone has any questions they want to talk they’re happy to reach out to us at We’re in the middle of redesigning and I’m so excited.

Colleen: Oh you are?

John: It won’t probably launch till the end of January. But we had all of our U.S. team do a photo shoot at four different locations in one day. It was awesome.

We’ve got all this great team photography and talking with clients and stuff that we’re going to put on there.

Colleen: Oh, cool.

John: And from our previous conversation, we have the if someone’s looking to build a team, or have someone help them with their client work, design or otherwise. We’ve got some great resources on there for building your team as well.

Colleen: Yes and I have followed your process. I know several other people who have followed that process and it works great.

John: Awesome, awesome. That’s so great to hear. Thanks.

Colleen: All right. Well, thanks for coming on the podcast, John.

John: Thanks, Colleen. It’s been a pleasure.

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