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Your Club’s Secret Weapon: Leveraging Reviews

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In today’s digital age, one of the first things a potential customer does is search for your club online and check out the reviews.

Most likely, that search is being done on Google, Facebook or Yelp — the three most popular platforms that boast customer reviews.

In fact, according to BIA/Kelsey, 97% of people read reviews for local businesses; and Podium reports that 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.

Armed with these facts, it’s important for club marketers to think about how they can leverage the power of reviews to drum up more business.

According to Donyel Cerceo, the marketing director of Merritt Clubs, overlooking the power of these sites — particularly Yelp — can be a detriment.

“If you have noticed your SEO ranking dropping, you see that sites like Yelp are popping up higher in organic search results for ‘best gyms near me’ or ‘best local fitness centers,’ etc.,” said Cerceo. “It’s almost impossible to outrank sites like Yelp. Yelp has far more authority according to Google than your club.”

In fact, Cerceo advised club operators to look at claiming their businesses on Yelp, to ensure they’re able to respond to reviews. “Chances are, if you haven’t even looked at Yelp, your club is listed,” she said. “You need to make sure you have claimed your business and are responding to every review posted.”

In addition, Cerceo added it may even be worth investing in an enhanced profile, which provides further capabilities for leveraging the platform — such as photo and video customization, the ability to remove competitor ads, and the option to add a call to action button, among others.

“It is worth the investment to pay for an enhanced profile,” said Cerceo. “Make sure your club stands out. When you get the enhanced profile make sure you are taking advantage of the slideshow feature. This allows you to show photos that really highlight your clubs. With an enhanced profile you can remove competitor ads from your business page. Removing competitor ads makes visitors less likely to click on another gym.”

Whether it’s through Google, Yelp or Facebook, leveraging the power of reviews can be a boon to your business. As a result, don’t be afraid to ask your customers to review your business. And if asking via email, be sure to include direct links to expedite the process.

Oftentimes, if you have a satisfied customer, they’ll be more than happy to spread the word.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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