Marketing

How to Ask Customers to Recommend Your Business on Google

Discover how to ask satisfied customers to recommend your business on Google Search and Google Maps with user-generated content.

The Google logo.

The best salespeople are your customers. So, why not ask them to recommend your restaurant on Google?

User-generated content (UGC) can significantly help businesses with verified Google My Business listings on Google Maps and Google Search.

Business Profiles on Google with lots of user-generated content rank higher and searchers trust that content because it's from real customers. For example, if a potential customer searches for "Japanese ramen" on Google Maps or "Japanese ramen near me" on Google Search, a variety of positive and informative user-generated content could easily increase conversions – without ever visiting your organization's website.

In this post, I’m going to show how to ask customers to recommend your business on Google with user-generated content.

1. Ask Customers to Rate and Review Your Business

Rating and reviewing a business on Google Maps.

Ratings and reviews are the most prominent user-generated content that appears on Google Maps and Google Search.

Ratings for local search results are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Scores are calculated from user ratings and a range of other signals that reflect the quality of the business.

  • 1 Star (Hate)
  • 2 Stars (Dislike)
  • 3 Stars (Ok)
  • 4 Stars (Like)
  • 5 Stars (Love)

Don't funnel the positive and negative reviews (i.e. review gate) and never accept money in exchange for reviews. Both are against Google's Terms of Service.

How to Ask Customers to Rate and Review

Be friendly and politely ask, "Did you enjoy your visit with us today? Could you rate and review us on Google?"

If appropriate, explain how to write effective reviews. For help, read Best Practices for Responding to Reviews on Google, Facebook & Yelp.

For customers who are tech-averse, give them the following step-by-step guide:

Google Maps (Desktop)

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Search for your business.
  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page and click "Write a Review" (see image).
  4. Give a star rating.
  5. Write a review (optional: add a photo).

Google Maps (iOS & Android)

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Search for your business.
  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page to 5 empty stars.
  4. Tap the stars and write a review.

Pro Tip
Respond to all ratings and reviews – positive or negative – via the Google My Business Dashboard or mobile app on iOS and Android. While every business loves a 5-star rating and a positive review, it's impossible to satisfy everyone, especially if customers are unaware of policies or unfairly blaming a business for something that's out of their control. That's why taking the initiative to respond to every rating and review is imperative. Show that your business cares about every single customer. For more information, read How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews [Step-By-Step Guide].

2. Ask Customers to Post Photos or Videos of Your Business

Uploading public photos of a business on Google Maps.

Photos and videos that appear on Google Maps and Google Search give potential customers an inside look into your business without investing time and money.

How to Ask Customers to Post Photos or Video

Be friendly and politely ask, "Would you mind taking a photo or video and sharing it on Google?" or "Would you like to join this month's contest and post a photo/video to Google?"

Ask customers to open Google Maps and take a photo of the interior, exterior, menu items, servers, etc. Alternatively, ask them to open Google Street View on iOS or Android and take a panoramic photo or video of your business or its exterior location and link it to your business on Google Maps.

If appropriate, explain how to create great videos. Google provides several tips on its Local Guide support site that includes using well-lit spaces, capturing the interior, exterior, focusing on details and more.

For customers who are tech-averse, give them the following step-by-step guide:

Google Maps (Desktop)

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Search for your business.
  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page and click "Add a Photo" (see image).
  4. Choose a photo to upload.

Google Maps (iOS & Android)

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Search for your business.
  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page to "Add photos or videos."
  4. Choose a photo or video (up to 30-seconds) from your photos or tap the camera to take a photo. To take a video on Android, hold the shutter for up to 10 seconds.

Pro Tip
Create a monthly contest that encourages high-quality photos and videos. For example, a restaurant could ask customers to practice their "food photography" by taking a photo of your restaurant's menu items. Select the best one each month and inform the winner.

3. Ask Customers to Post Questions for Your Business to Answer

Asking a business question on Google Search.

Businesses that answer questions on Google Maps and Google Search show they're prepared to serve all customers – online and offline.

How to Ask Customers to Post Questions

Be friendly and politely ask customers, "Did you know that you can ask us questions on Google? We usually answer questions within 60 minutes."

Tell customers to ask questions about your location, menu, catering, etc. Give them examples of typical questions (e.g. Can I order take out?) and explain that they can also rate the best questions and answers with a thumbs up.

If customers begin posting questions that are similar to chatting, ensure Messaging is enabled on the Google My Business Dashboard, then instruct customers to direct chat-related questions there. If necessary, report questions and answers that violate Google's content policies.

For customers who are tech-averse, give them the following step-by-step guide:

Google Search (Desktop)

  1. Go to Google Search.
  2. Search for your business.
  3. On the Business Profile (right side), click "Ask a question" (see image).
  4. Write your question.

Google Maps (Desktop)
Not currently available

Google Maps (iOS)
Not currently available

Google Maps (Android)

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Search for your business.
  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page to "Questions & answers." Click "Ask the community."
  4. Write your question.

Pro Tip
Respond to all questions via the Google My Business Dashboard or mobile app. Enable notifications or check the dashboard daily to ensure you're responding to questions about your business before someone else does. That's right! Anyone – including your competitors — could answer questions about your business.

Wrap Up

You just learned how to ask customers to recommend your business on Google. Start getting more user-generated content, communicating with your target market online and converting searchers into customers.

How to Ask Customers to Recommend Your Business on Google first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.

Close-up of Jeff Shibasaki wearing a black hat.

Jeff Shibasaki

I’m an Atlanta web designer that specializes in website design and development on Webflow and Squarespace.

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