Like them or not, reviews are going to be a big part of marketing your personal trainer business online. They can also be very tricky. On one hand, if you don’t get any reviews you lose a vital tool that helps you get visible on Google. On the other hand, if you get bad reviews you could start losing business.
The following steps will help you get reviews for your business while maximizing your chances of generating helpful ones.
Step 1: Start with you.
Good reviews start with you. If you’re not offering the best possible value for your customer’s money and time then you can’t expect to get good reviews. If you’re constantly late, or you’re inattentive, then you can’t ever expect to build your business. The best that you will ever be able to hope for is that your customers stay silent.
You can also increase your chances of getting a good review by communicating with your customers immediately. At the end of each session, ask them how they’re feeling about the work you’re doing together. Ask if there’s any questions you can answer or any thoughts that they have about their experience.
If a customer is unhappy you’ll be able to uncover the issue then and there, and resolve it. If you can make it right while the customer is standing there then you then you will have an edge. You’ll also know when the customer is happy with you, which will make you a lot more confident about asking for reviews.
Step 2: Emphasize the right review portals.
You want reviews in a couple of different places. The first is Google Local itself. The reviews on Google Local are going to carry more weight than any other reviews and will do the most to help your listing achieve high rankings in the search results.
The second place is on your Facebook page, if you have one (and you should). As a business, you have the ability to receive reviews on Facebook, and while they don’t help your Google rankings they can help you generate more business when other people check out your Facebook page. People do a lot of research online before choosing a trainer, so you want to put your best foot forward wherever you can.
The third place is your own website. Certain WordPress plug-ins make it possible to accept reviews on your site. You’ll be able to post these comments so that you can provide social proof to other website visitors. This is an excellent method for gathering reviews since you maintain total control over them. They’re not going to disappear behind a review filter (more on review filters later) and they don’t go away if the hosting site makes a new policy decision.
Try to avoid review portals that stress “featured businesses” or other advertising schemes. Yelp and Angie’s List are both very notorious for their questionable practices. You simply don’t ever want to have to worry about whether or not your reviews will get tampered with so that the hosting site can make a buck.
Step 3: Ask the Customer
Once you know where you want your reviews to go you can start trying to gather them. The only way that you will ever do this without leaving it to chance is by asking the customer directly.
One of the best ways to do this is with a short e-mail. It could look something like this:
Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of your health and wellness journey. You’re doing really great so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of the positive life changes that are ahead for you.
“Continual improvement” is a principle that I stress as a personal trainer. And I am hoping that today that you will help me continue to improve the way that I serve you by taking a few moments to offer some feedback about the training that I have given you.
If you have time, please leave the feedback in any of the following places:
[Link to your Google Local Page] [Link to your Facebook Page] [Link to your website’s review portal]
Thanks so much! I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Nine times out of ten you’re going to get an excellent review by reaching out and asking for feedback, especially if you’ve already reached out to clear up any lingering issues on a face-to-face basis. And by giving your customers some options you guarantee that you’ll get a nice review mix on all of the sites where reviews matter. You also make it easier for customers to give you a review at all–if they don’t have a Google account or a Facebook account they can always go to your website, for example.
After that, it’s simply a matter of avoiding some of the mistakes that people make when they try too hard to get reviews, mistakes that lead to them running afoul of Google guidelines. I’ll be talking about all of those mistakes in my next blog post, so stay turned.
Your turn! Do you have a strategy for generating great reviews? Please share it in the comments below!