And Why They’re More Important Than Ever

By Margie Zable Fisher

Fitness businesses were among the hardest hit by COVID-19. According to The Global Health and Fitness Association, at the end of 2020, 17% of clubs had permanently closed. Also, fitness industry revenue dropped by 58% from 2019 sales.

While relaxed social distancing rules and a desire for people to get back to the gym have helped fitness businesses in 2021, owners need to work smarter than ever to get back on track.

One way to do that is to focus on gaining positive online reviews. This is key since more people than ever are reading them. In fact, 95% of consumers check out reviews before making a purchase.

That means that when comparing local fitness options, the vast majority of your prospective customers will be looking up online reviews.

In addition, getting reviews on top review sites can help increase your SEO, by providing new content and related keywords from trusted, authority websites. The search engine ranking algorithms also factor in the quantity and diversity of reviews, as well as the amount of positive reviews.

Wondering which review sites your customers will be checking out?

Top Online Review Sites for Your Fitness Business

Google is not only the top place potential customers look for reviews, it also has one of the least restrictive policies regarding soliciting reviews. While all of the top review sites prohibit compensating customers for reviews (that includes money, gifts, and discounts), Google allows you to ask customers for a review.

Yelp has the most strict requirements, and says that you cannot solicit reviews. Yelp’s guidelines explain that it looks for reviews that seem to be requested, and doesn’t recommend them.

In order to set up Google Reviews for your business, you’ll need to first claim your Google My Business listing. If you’re using Thryv to set up your Google My Business listing, you’re in luck. Thryv is a Google Premier Partner, which eliminates the often time-consuming verification process, providing you with ownership information quickly.

You can also use Thryv’s platform to optimize your Google My Business listing and update your information.

5 Ways to Get More Positive Online Reviews

Here are some tips to get positive reviews more easily:

  1. Ask … at the right time. When you see that a client has achieved their best time in a triathlon or that they are down a pant size thanks to your assistance, ask them to post those thoughts on a review site. Their excitement will make them more likely to publish a review, and will carry through in their words, which will make those reviews much more powerful.
  2. Make reviewing easy. Help that happy customer provide a review with one easy step. Just send them an email you’ve created in the Announcements feature of Thryv, asking for a review, and providing a link to the place on the review site where they can leave the review. You can also create this review request in Thryv as an email that goes out automatically to customers after every service. Remember: This link can be provided for Google Reviews, but not for Yelp, which prohibits asking for reviews. Don’t forget to include the review link on your website and on social media, when showcasing recent reviews.
  3. Show reviews on your website. This has two benefits. First, research shows that publishing customer reviews on your website and landing pages increases sales. Next, website visitors will notice that getting reviews is important to your business. Thyrv allows you to quickly and easily add Google, Yelp, and other reviews to your website. Just add Thryv’s widgets or embedded code from the review site — or Thryv support can walk you through it.
  4. Respond to reviews. Did you know that 78% of consumers consider it fairly or very important that a business responds to reviews? Whether you get a positive or a negative review, make sure you respond promptly and personally to the reviewer. Knowing that your business cares about each review makes it more likely that others will want to leave a review.
  5. Use offline marketing tools. Post signs and review badges at your workplace, on vehicles, even as pins or buttons on shirts for you and your employees. These constant, low-key reminders will help keep your interest in reviews top of mind for customers.

Getting more positive online reviews will help your fitness business stand out from the crowd. These ideas will help you manage the review process effectively.

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