THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY FOR / by Bo Gerard

Back in the old days, we used to actually get unsolicited letters, IN THE MAIL, thanking us for the “wonderful show!”  Then came the digital age, and even though we still got unsolicited emails from customers with glowing reviews, they slowly tapered off.  Not because the quality of our shows had changed, but more because there were more distractions pulling our clients away from such niceties.  A” Thank You” email sent their way after the show was usually enough to goose them into responding with a glowing review.

Nowadays, people are overwhelmed with emails and texts, and don’t seem to have the time to respond to ANY communication; let alone to take the time to compose and send a review.  And what would you do with that glowing review if you got it anyway?  Put it on your site?  Yeah, but that’s not where prospective clients are looking anymore.  They are looking at Google and Yelp reviews.  So, now we have to somehow get clients to log on to Google and post a review.  Same problem – they don’t find the time to do it, even if they absolutely LOVED your show.  So, if you really want reviews, you have to either pester them (which might hurt you more than help you), or incentivize them.

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So, what enticing incentive would make a client take the time to log on, create an account, write a review and post it.  What else?  Money!!!  You could offer a discount on a future show, or something like a $10 Starbucks Gift Card.  Might work.  But, there are still a few things left that I will not pay for. One of them is getting someone to tell me what they think of my show.  (The others I will leave to your imagination.)  You can also hire online companies that promise to get you Google review galore!  But I’m guessing they either pester your clients for you, or engage in grey hat practices.

And don’t even bother asking customers to post a review on Yelp.  Yelp only wants Yelpers to post, and instructs businesses NOT to solicit reviews from clients.  If their software determines the poster is not a habitual Yelper, they will take the review DOWN.

So, there you have it.  If you are not cool with bothering or even bribing your satisfied customers to post a review, you will remain under-reviewed.  Well, at least we still have word of mouth!