Customer reviews (and how you respond to them) play a significant role in marketing your gym, fitness studio or personal training business. They attract new members, show that your business is trustworthy and reflect your commitment to customer service.
There’s plenty of data that backs this up: Research by BrightLocal suggests that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Moreover, 73% of people trust a business more and 89% were more likely to use a business that responded to all its reviews.
Getting customer reviews, therefore, should be at the forefront of your daily operations. But what’s the best way to do it? Encouraging an entire class of tired, sweaty gym members to review your business, or asking a client outright after a tough training session, aren’t always effective methods. Below, you’ll find seven simple ways to get more reviews that can be incorporated into many of your daily business processes.
1. Respond to Your Reviews (Promptly)
We know what you’re thinking, and yes, ask & respond are two different verbs. But a way to encourage customer reviews is to show that you value them, and the best way to do that is by continuously responding to them.
Your responses should be quick; ignored and deleted reviews make you appear untrustworthy. Promptly responding to positive reviews with gratitude & agreement, and to negative ones with concern & empathy, shows clients that their voices matter. It shows that you value every kind word and will always own up to potential mistakes.
Positive and negative reviews offer opportunities to engage with your client base, which in turn begets more reviews! Before you dive in, though, check out our 7 tips for responding to customer reviews.
2. Simplify the Review Process
Clients are more likely to leave reviews if they know where to do it and the process is quick. There are four simple ways you can make the review process as easy and transparent as possible:
- Offer as many places to leave reviews as possible. That means social media platforms, such as Facebook & Instagram, and review sites like Yelp & Google. Gyms & trainers on the Vagaro Marketplace can also receive and respond to reviews right from their booking pages.
- Insert direct links to your review platforms on your website, as well as in email & text marketing messages (more on those below). Reduce the number of clicks where you can.
- Enable mobile booking. Client apps, like Vagaro’s, allow clients to conveniently leave reviews from their phones. If clients can quickly leave a review on the go, they’re more likely to do it.
- Give clients a starting point for their review. These opening questions should relate to their experience and how much more confident, strong and capable they feel because of your service.
3. Incentivize Gym Reviews
Probably the best way to get clients to review your gym is to reward them for it. In fact, a rewards program where clients can earn points just for writing a review is a great starting point. To increase motivation, make leaving a review as valuable as meeting certain goals and class participation.
As far as rewards, discounts on personal training, group fitness classes, boot camps or free merchandise & swag are great starters. Partnering with local companies can enable you to offer more lucrative prizes, such as a mountain bike or piece of premium exercise equipment.
Another way to incentivize reviews is to require them for entry into contests. Make these contests open to loyal clients or those who have been with you long enough to have benefitted. As we said in an another article, the most important part of a contest is the prize, so make sure that it aligns with what your ideal client would want.
4. Incentivize Staff to Ask for Reviews
In the quest for reviews, clients aren’t the only ones you should be incentivizing. If you run a gym, fitness center or personal training business with multiple employees, reward your staff for gathering customer reviews.
Your trainers & staff are also a great resource to tap for reviews because they, too, are in the trenches every day with clients.
The simplest way to do this is to tie the most employee reviews to bonuses and commission. You can also structure it around giveaways. Hitting a positive review quota should be worth a piece of high-quality fitness equipment or wearable technology.
5. Include Review Links in Your Automated Marketing
We touched on this earlier, but you can give clients gentle reminders to leave reviews in your email and text marketing campaigns. Automated email & text marketing tools enable you to customize your messages and release them at the best times to ask for a review. These include after a client has:
- Attended their first class
- Renewed their membership
- Referred a friend
- Made a purchase
Vagaro customers can easily incorporate reviews into their email & text marketing campaigns for client retention. They also get their first 1,000 emails for free. That’s a lot of opportunities to ask for a review. Just don’t forget to include links to your review sites!
6. Share Positive Reviews on Social Media
Customer reviews & testimonials are part of a good social media strategy. We’ve covered how turning your business’s social media pages into review sites is convenient for clients. But by highlighting sparkling reviews, you’ll show that you appreciate feedback and encourage other clients to leave their own.
An organic way to spotlight reviews in your content is to create a recurring event around it. Spotlight one positive review per week and ask followers to comment on it. In this way, one positive review may cluster into several, increasing your chances of attracting new members.
You’ll want positive reviews to be the most visible, and a simple hack for this is to mark the best ones as helpful. This automatically moves them to the top of the stack, where the public can’t miss them.
7. Pick the Right Moment
It’s important to ask for a review at the right time and miscalculating this can result in a negative one. The standard moment is when a pain point is met or when a client has accomplished their fitness goals. Fitness is a journey, so home in on its high points.
However, timing is everything. Yes, those moments when the scale reads a client’s goal weight, or their ideal body fat and muscle mass ratio are magical. But the right moment to ask for a review sometimes comes after a big breakthrough.
How long after? We’re talking after a wedding, a vacation, or spring break. Why? Because looking stunning in a wedding dress, filling out a tuxedo like a secret agent or being the envy of the beach are probably why clients came to you in the first place. Wait until they’ve had a chance to bask in that glory and posted the photos to their social media pages to ask for a review.
Other opportunities to ask for a review include:
- After they’ve tagged you on social media
- If they referred another client to you
- After they’ve renewed their membership or package
- After they’ve purchased equipment
Customer reviews cannot be an afterthought. They play an important role in marketing your business because consumers place a lot of trust in that almighty 4–5-star majority. Reviews showcase your reputation and are proof that your community members appreciate and can trust you. They aren’t difficult to acquire, if you include them in your social media, customer service, client retention & gym marketing strategies.
Whether it’s through automated marketing or their online booking pages, Vagaro helps thousands of fitness businesses accumulate customer reviews to boost their brand. Check out the many other ways Vagaro’s fitness software can help grow your gym or personal training business.
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