You and I both know it's critical for your MSP to get good Google Reviews.
Not only are they an essential part of your social proof (because most people prefer to do what most other people are doing). But also, they're great for your business's Google Juice, giving you better search results.
A few weeks ago I realised to my horror that I hadn't even claimed my own business on Google.
Yes, yes, I know, it's a basic thing to do. That's like a restaurant chef not having any kitchen knives at home 🙄
That only took a week or so to sort out - even during Covid, Google was efficient at sending the verification postcard to my house.
And once that had all cleared and I'll fully set up my listing properly, I emailed all of my active clients to ask them if they'd leave me a Google Review.
That was when the fun started...
You see, I started by emailing them the link from my reviews page. I clicked the button...
Which brings up the box to write a review.
And I just copied and sent that URL.
That approach has worked for years. It's not clever, and the URL is certainly not pretty (although you can always put it through a URL shortener).
But here's the weird thing... it worked for some people, but not others. Whether they were logged into Google or not didn't seem to make a difference.
I'm sure it wasn't, but it seemed like a random fault.
This was the start of a frustrating journey to get a Google Reviews link that works every time.
You see, I got 27 five star reviews from my clients (and thank you so much if you left one, I really do appreciate it).
And I wanted to add a review request to the automated sequence for my MSP Marketing Edge service. So 70 days after someone has signed up, they are automatically asked if they want to leave a review.
This is how the automated campaign looks inside my CRM, Infusionsoft.
This is a smart thing for your MSP to do, by the way. Automate the request of a Google review (or Facebook, or Trustpilot) for new clients a couple of months into their journey with you. That's the point they're most likely to be at their happiest.
Anyway. If you're going to automate something like this, you want to set it up and then forget about it. So it needs a reliable Google Reviews link.
I did some Googling. And discovered that within Google My Business, Google now makes it easy for you to generate a proper reviews link. Hooray!
It can be done on your desktop, but it's particularly easy in the mobile app.
Go to Customers, click on the share icon, and copy the link.
That generated this URL: https://g.page/pgmsp/review?rc
(Note: I edited my company name down within Google My Business, to make the URL shorter)
Click that link now. Does it work for you?
FRUSTRATINGLY it was hit and miss for me. I tested it while logged into Google, and in incognito. Also got some friends to test it.
Sometimes it worked. But other times, it didn't go straight to the reviews part of my Google listing... or even my Google listing... instead it brought up a Google search for my business.
This inconsistency clearly wasn't acceptable. A quick search showed I wasn't the only business having this issue, but the Google Reviews team weren't listening.
If your MSP has this issue, the good news is I found a fix
You can fudge a reviews link using this URL:
All you need is the place ID for your business from Google Maps. Easy!
In theory anyway... you can search for your place ID here.
And this was where I hit my next problem... my business didn't appear in the search results.
If you Google this, you'll see it's another known bug 😡
But there's a workaround. You can find your place ID from your search listing.
Look up your business, then right click on the Write a review button. Click on Inspect.
From the code, you then search for "data-pid".
And the code after is your place ID. Voila 😃
Add that to the code above, and you end up with this: https://search.google.com/local/reviews?placeid=ChIJzWlxmF5TdkgRAi7rU1GBYAw
By the way, if you click and link above and it doesn't work... there's a part of me that doesn't want to know 🙄
EDIT 12th June 2020: Andrew Mein at Alto emailed me a great suggestion. Set up a URL on your website /review that redirects to your Google reviews listing. A much cleaner way to do it, thanks Andrew.