When a potential member first encounters your business, the first step they will likely perform is an online search. It’s during this online search that prospects will come across reviews and find out what people are saying about your business. 97% of people read reviews for local businesses. Reviews can be powerful and very influential and consumers trust these testimonials because they are authentic.
It’s 2020, and you can’t ignore online reviews. Customers flock to review sites like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor to give them advice. Customers are willing to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews. In this quick guide to collecting reviews and testimonials, learn everything you need to receive glowing reviews and testimonials from your members. Skip ahead to:
- What Is a Review or Testimonial?
- Why Are Customer Reviews and Testimonials Important?
- 9 Simple Ways to Collect Reviews and Testimonials
What Is a Review or Testimonial?
91% of 18-34 years olds trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. That’s a pretty high number. Reviews can be highly influential in the purchasing journey. A customer review and testimonial are slightly different but serve a similar purpose.
A review is a written reflection of your members’ experience with your business. You tend to find customer reviews on Google Reviews, in social media content, Yelp, and Amazon. People use customer reviews to see if a product or service is worth investing in. Reviews can contain excellent and negative opinions about your business. Consumers tend to view customer reviews as truthful as usually, you have to have bought a product or subscribed to a service before leaving a review.
Testimonials are slightly different from reviews. Testimonials are an honest endorsement of your business. You usually find testimonials on a company’s website and marketing materials. As the information is being used on a website, testimonials tend to be positive. They include details about the overall customer experience and highlight specifics about your business that they love and would encourage other people to use your service or product.
The Fitness Business Authority Podcast has a fantastic two-part episode on story-telling and building a cult following. Special guest Chris McCombs talks about the most effective way to get great client testimonials, how to build a cult of loyal followers, and expert advice on effective marketing strategies in the fitness industry.
Why Are Customer Reviews and Testimonials Important?
Reviews and testimonials are essential for both your business and customers. Online reviews bridge the gap between word of mouth marketing and feedback that can influence consumer opinion. They allow you to understand your members better and improve your business at the same time.
Reviews allow members to have a voice and share their opinion. Reviews are trusted as much as personal recommendations for a vast majority of people. When reviews are valued as much as a recommendation from a friend, it shows just how important it is to collect them.
Collecting reviews comes with its own risks; after all, you can’t control what people say about you. Even with the best customer service, if you come across someone on a bad day, it may result in a negative review. Businesses that openly allow feedback and reviews show a certain level of transparency. They aren’t afraid of feedback because they are confident in their own services. This helps to build trust with customers and potential members.
Influence Buying Decisions
A significant advantage of online reviews and testimonials is the influence they can have over buying decisions. 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. That’s a large number of people who could be potentially swayed with a positive review. Online reviews can do wonders for your business and be very valuable. Reviews can act as mini-marketing campaigns that continue to work long after the review has been posted.
9 Simple Ways to Collect Reviews and Testimonials
Now you know why reviews and testimonials are so crucial to your business, it’s time to discuss how you can collect more online reviews and testimonials. There are several different strategies you can use when it comes to the collection process. Here are nine ways you can collect reviews and testimonials from your members and grow your business.
Ask Your Customers to Leave a Review
To start collecting reviews, you need to ask your members for them. Of course, picking the right moment is key to receiving a positive review. There are a few ways you can go about asking your customers to leave a review. If you’re talking with a member who seems happy with your services, try dropping it naturally into the conversation. If you put on a fitness event and you’re speaking to someone who loved it, ask them if they would be willing to write a review.
Think about who you ask to leave a review as well. While some people will naturally leave reviews, others need much more encouragement. Consider asking loyal members who have been with you for a while. Repeat customers are obviously happy with your services as they keep renewing their membership, so it is an excellent target for a review.
Conduct a Survey and Ask for Testimonials
Member surveys are a great way to get a lot of feedback in a short period. When offered alongside a small incentive, members are usually happy to fill out a few questions. Try offering a free gym pass for a family member or friend as a reward for filling out the survey. Your survey should be easy to complete and quick with clear and concise questions.
When it comes to the type of questions you ask, think about the testimonials that you’re looking for. If you’re looking for feedback on a particular area of your business, focus your questions on this. For example, if you are looking to share glowing testimonials on your world-class fitness instructors and facilities, make sure the survey questions reflect this.
The Customer Discover more
for Your Fitness
Surveys can be used for a ton of different reasons, from general feedback to market research. They are a great tool to increase engagement and member retention. To help get you started, we’ve pulled together 12 simple and effective questions to ask your gym members.
A survey by Clutch found that 1 in 5 customers rely heavily on customer reviews when making purchasing decisions. However, 81% of people don’t leave reviews themselves. So, how can you encourage members to leave reviews? Well, Incentives can be very beneficial in giving members the nudge they need to leave reviews. Whether the review is negative or positive, you still need to deliver on your incentive promise.
Depending on your business and your members, different incentives might land better than others. Future discount is an excellent incentive for leaving a review. Whether it’s a discount on classes or fitness apparel that you sell, future discounts can be a desirable incentive. You also have the option to enter reviewers into a competition. The winner might receive a year’s supply of protein powder or a cash prize to spend anywhere they want. You know your members more than anyone else, so think about what they would value and push them to leave a review.
Put a Link on Your Website
Prospects and members are already visiting your website, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to collect reviews. Your business will likely receive online reviews from multiple places. But, once they have made their way to your site, make sure it’s easy for them to leave reviews on your website as well. You can do this in a couple of different ways.
Firstly, make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. A vast majority of people use their smartphones to search, and an unresponsive website will make them run in the opposite direction. Make sure to set up links that allow members to leave reviews easily. Links should quickly direct users to places like Facebook, Yelp, or Google to read and leave reviews. Optimize your whole website, blog posts, and social media channels, so it’s quick and easy to leave feedback. The process should be simple on both desktop and mobile, encouraging members to leave reviews.
Embed a Link in Your Email
It’s essential to use every opportunity you have to encourage member reviews. Another simple way to collect reviews is by embedding a link in your email. That way, every time you send an email to members, they are reminded to leave a review or provide feedback more organically.
You can also use email to send a message to your customer list to ask for honest feedback. Provide easy-to-follow instructions on how to leave a review. Send out an email blast to your customer list and wait for the feedback. If you think your members would prefer a different type of communication, think about sending a text message or WhatsApp message.
Request a Post-Purchase Review
Depending on the type of business you have, a purchase may look like a new class sign up, or new membership, or buying branded equipment from your website. Either way, a purchase presents a significant opportunity to leave a review. You may want to follow up with a member after they have completed the class they paid for or a month after their membership, or soon after they buy a product from you. If a customer has made a purchase, it will be fresh in their mind and the perfect time to leave an honest review.
Ratings, reviews, and testimonials are a great way to boost gym membership sales leads. Online reviews help a prospect to figure out if they will fit in at your gym and feel comfortable. This means they are much are more likely to visit your facility. Reviews help to market your fitness business for you and show that you really care about your members.
Ask at the Right Moment
Asking for reviews and testimonials at the right moment is key to the review outcome. A negative review could be seen by hundreds of potential customers and result in you losing future business. Think about positive moments in the lifecycle of your members and when would be the best time to ask to receive a positive review. Consider the following moments:
- User-generated content on social media
- If they refer a friend to your business
- When they make a purchase
- After they experience success with your service or product
Share Positive Customer Reviews and Testimonials
When you start receiving a flow of positive customer reviews and testimonials, share them with other customers. This might encourage other customers to leave you reviews while also showcasing your success. Many third-review sites like Google and Yelp allow business owners and site visitors to mark their favorite reviews. This process helps to keep the best reviews highlighted and further up the page, allowing more people to read them.
You also have the option to share testimonials and reviews on social media. You can reshare Facebook reviews and share quotes on Instagram to highlight the best feedback. The Fitness Business University Podcast with Vince Gabriele discusses this topic further in the episode How to Get Endless Testimonials. The episode shares insight on what social proof is and why it’s so powerful when growing a business.
Create Different Spaces to Leave Reviews
Make sure that wherever customers conduct their online research that they can find out what they need to know, no matter where they are. Create different spaces for members to leave reviews so that your potential customers can use multiple platforms during their research.
A few typical third-party review sites that customers tend to use are Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Customers will be able to read your Google reviews on your Google My Business page. Reviews will appear in the search results of Google alongside your business listing.
There’s a ton of factors that go into a prospect’s decision to invest in your service or product. When making a decision, many people trust online reviews and testimonials to tell them the truth about your business. By encouraging customer testimonials and always collecting new positive reviews, you can build trust, boost engagement, and increase gym membership sales.