How to get more Google reviews for your fitness or yoga studio

How Google reviews affect SEO

As a small business owner, nothing gives you that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling quite like receiving a glowing Google review of your fitness or wellness studio — especially if it’s unexpected. It makes you feel as though all the blood, sweat and tears are actually worth it! But collecting positive Google reviews isn’t just important for your state of mind — it’s actually a crucial business activity to improve your local businesses’ reputation and get more customers through the door.

Why Google reviews are so important

They build trust

Let’s start with the obvious. Research shows that 97% of consumers read reviews before buying from local businesses— and fitness and wellness studios are no exception. In fact, this is especially the case with studios, as in many cases they are committing to a membership for a certain amount of time. So, they need to know they’re in good hands!

When your customers are going to work-out at a new studio, they want to know what others who have visited before thought — just as you would if you were going to try a new restaurant or hair salon. They need to know that there’s no rats scampering through the studio, creepy instructors or unexpected membership fees! While Facebook ads and perfectly curated Instagram feeds help craft your studio’s image, the average consumer is becoming more and more aware that this isn’t always the genuine. It’s your reviews that are really going to help you build trust.

They improve your SEO

Then, there’s the impact of Google Reviews on SEO (or Search Engine Optimization.) Just as customers love reviews, Google’s ranking algorithm does, too. Businesses with strong review profiles on Google tend to be rewarded with higher rankings — which means more eyes on your website! There are a few different factors that impact Google’s assessment of reviews:

  • Volume: At the end of the day, SEO is a bit of a popularity contest — the more reviews you have, the more it’s going to bump up your ranking.

  • Content: Of course, it’s not going to do you any favours if you have 1000 reviews but they’re all one star with a scathing comment! Google has a sentiment filter that allows it to differentiate between positive descriptions like ‘great’, ‘fantastic’ and ‘best’ and negative ones like ‘mediocre’ and ‘OK.’

  • Diversity: Third party reviews — like those left on Yelp, Facebook or other blogs — can also affect your local SEO rank.

  • Velocity: The velocity (or frequency) with which your customers leave reviews has a huge impact on your ranking. Google expects this to be natural — with reviews trickling in over time. A spike when you first open is great, but consistency pays off as well.

How to automate your Google review process

Yes, it’s always nice to get an unexpected, positive review. But for all of the reasons listed above, but especially review velocity, you’re going to want to generate a steady stream of reviews. Don’t worry, we’re not going to suggest you hound your customers over the phone or turn up at their doorstep, demanding feedback! It’s all about automating and streamlining the process. Here are some simple ways you can do just that:

  1. Create a ‘thank you’ page for purchases that asks for Google reviews. In the first video tutorial below, I’ll show you how to set up your MINDBODY account to redirect to your new custom thank you page every time someone makes a purchase.

  2. After the customer has been into the studio for their first session or appointment, send a gentle follow up email asking them to review their experience. You can create an incentive for them to do this by offering them a free session, or 50% off their next class. In the second video below I'll show you how to create a follow-up email in Acuity Scheduling, for those of you who use Acuity for appointment booking.

  3. To ensure you’re getting as positive a review as possible, it’s a good idea to prompt your customers to think about particular questions as they write their review — for example, ‘What did you think of the instructors? How did you feel after your class?’

  4. How you respond to your reviews is almost as important as the reviews themselves — both for SEO and customer trust. This is especially the case with less-than-glowing reviews — NEVER delete and always offer the customer a solution to resolve the issue! To automate this process, it’s worth designating a certain time each week or month and setting a reminder to respond to all reviews.

Tutorial for businesses using MINDBODY

Tutorial for businesses using Acuity Scheduling

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