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Massage Today
March, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 03

Why Your Reputation Matters Now More Than Ever

By Stephanie Beck

We are well into the first quarter of 2013, how are your new marketing plans going? Hopefully, you have added an online referral and review program. Whether you are incorporating reviews on Google, Manta, City Search, social media sites or your own website, your customers leaving reviews and recommendations is so much more powerful now than ever before.

Why do I say this? Let me share some interesting stats from an April 2012 Nielson Report regarding believability and trust by consumers.

The Informational Age

As you are aware, people search online before they buy and they also put a lot of stock in what they read online. If you want to know anything about anything, you can read and review the subject, product or service online. How to know what you are reading is credible is another story and that is why recommendations and reviews have been making such a strong impact on consumers' buying decisions. In fact, studies show that 74% of U.S. consumers choose to do business based on online feedback. Even when that feedback is from total strangers!

According to the Nielson Report, "Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages," 92% "trust completely" or "trust somewhat" recommendations from people they know and 70% trust consumer opinions posted online. This is opposed to 47% trust of ads with TV, magazine and billboards (which, by the way, was a 24% decline from 2011). Even branded websites (58%), editorial content from newspaper articles (58%) and emails they signed up for (50%) showed a higher level of trust than any traditional paid for advertising.

google - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark What is even more surprising is that 90% believe recommendations from people they know and 75% believe consumer opinions online were the most relevant when looking for information about the products they want and need. The next three most believable are branded websites (59%), editorial content such as newspaper articles (55%) and emails they signed up for (51%). All of these are still ranking higher than any traditional or online paid advertising. So, what does this mean for your massage business? That means you need to get written referrals and reviews from all the customers who "love" you and what you do, to post it online for you! Select two or three review sites, create your account and encourage your customers to leave the review. My top ten are listed below:

  1. Google+
  2. City Search
  3. Insider pages
  4. Kudzu
  6. Super Pages
  7. Yellow Bot
  8. Yellow Pages
  9. Judy's Book
  10. Yahoo Local

One of the most popular is Google+, but there are hundreds to choose from. You may have noticed I didn't mention the one that starts with "Y" and rhymes with help. Well, that's because they recently implemented a really difficult filtering process that many customers and businesses are not pleased with. When they finally get it working properly, I might consider recommending them again, but in the mean time we have gotten fantastic results with others. I would say stay with the more friendly sites. And, unless you like being online or have full time staff, keep the process simple to start, choose two to three maximum to begin with, otherwise you might find yourself overwhelmed and confused. This isn't a "set it and forget it" process. Be complete; add your photos, product descriptions, and all your contact information including your address, phone, email and website. Be creative and, if given the option, always take advantage of offering a coupon towards your products or services.

So, how do you get customers to leave a recommendation or review? Here are some ideas for creative ways to make it easy for your customers to leave you a review:

  1. Set up a computer, IPad or laptop at your front desk that has your account open so customers can leave a review right before they leave your facility.
  2. Add a link to your website directing them to review.
  3. Run a review contest where 1 in 20 reviews wins a $30 massage gift certificate.
  4. Print business cards or postcards with the shortened url link asking for review.
  5. Set up endorsement and review apps on your social media sites.
  6. Email requests for recommendations.
  7. Establish a Reward/Referral Program.
  8. If customers don't have time to type it out, grab your mobile phone or digital camera and switch to video and get a video review.

Video reviews and video marketing in general have increased in the last few years, and now review sites are implementing video web forms for reviews. When you are at a conference as a guest lecturer or teaching a live seminar, be sure to have a video camera and capture a few attendees feedback. If video reviews are a little intimidating because you wouldn't know how to structure them, here is the information I recommend you should include:

  • Who they are.
  • Where they are from.
  • What benefits you have received from using your service.
  • Why they would recommend your service (e.g. I would recommend ABC Massage).

Video Reviews

So a typical video review from a customer would be something like this: Hi, I'm Stephanie Beck of SRB Solutions and I wanted to share with you how ABC Massage has helped me with reducing pain and inflammation in my feet, resulting in me being able to resume my walking program again. If you are like me and are in pain and have swelling in your feet and legs from sitting at a computer all day to the point where you have trouble moving, I would recommend working with Jane at ABC Massage because she and her staff will work with you on a program to get you moving again!

Now take the video review and post it as is to your review sites, add it to your website, post it on your social media sites and even have it on a replay on a screen at your front desk of your clinic. Make a customer appreciation day out of it and have a little video session set up. Invite all your customers into your facility and set up a video camera and microphone for your customers to share their feedback. Be sure to have a general video consent form for them to sign. You can get a free consent form for your state here:

If all of this sounds a little too complicated or perhaps you do not have a clinic or facility, then you can still implement several of these ideas for your massage practice. Start by asking your best customers for reviews. We're still in the beginning of a new year so you have time to get started.

Click here for previous articles by Stephanie Beck.


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