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Wedding Business Solutions Podcast with Alan Berg CSP - The 4 things that matter most for reviewsPodcast Transcript – The 4 things that matter most for reviews

Nearly all couples will read some reviews before deciding to contact their wedding pros. That should be no surprise, since these days we can find reviews for almost anything we are looking to buy. Just getting reviews isn’t enough. There’s an art to maximizing your return on those amazing things your customers are posting about you. Listen to this 12-minute episode and learn the 4 things that matter most when it comes to reviews.

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Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

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– When it comes to reviews, there are four things that matter. Yeah, it’s more important than just collecting the reviews. If you want to actually make money from the reviews, there are four things that you need to know. Listen to this episode and find out.

– I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for tuning in to the “Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” Today, I want to to talk to you about reviews. We know that reviews are a huge part of your business, and we know that couples are reading reviews before they reach out to you. A WeddingWire survey of their couples said that it was about 90% or more of couples who are reading reviews before they decide who they’re going to reach out to for their weddings and events. So there are four things that matter most when it comes to reviews. The first thing is the number of reviews. Obviously, people are judging you based upon the number.

But how many is enough? I have some friends that have over 1,000 reviews, over 2,000 reviews, just on The Knot or just on WeddingWire. That’s great if you’re a big enough business like that. But for a lot of you, you’ll never have that many. You’ll never do that many weddings in your lifetime so how could you possibly have that many reviews? So the key is according to WeddingWire, getting into double digits is your first goal. So as soon as you get onto a site, you want to get yourself into double digits as quickly as you can. And you think about it, you’re searching for a restaurant, a hotel someplace, and you see they have three reviews. Huh, three reviews. You see somebody else has 12 reviews. You’re like, “I like them better.” That double digits really, they say makes a big difference. Now, it does make a difference after that to have more. But if you think about it, is 22 that much better than 17? Hmmm. But 12 looked a whole lot better than three, right? Even if the difference is almost the same, the increment becomes less. Friends of mine again, that have 1,000 reviews, 1,001 versus 1,000 isn’t really making a difference. So that’s not the important part.

So the first part is the number of reviews. The second thing would be the score. The score. If there’s a rating system, stars, numbers, whatever, obviously, it makes a difference. You want to have as high of a score as possible. Although, interestingly, just having that one less than five star review can legitimize every other one that you have there. So it does matter the score, but if it’s not a perfect 5.0, it’s okay. People will still give you a chance. And when they’re looking at the stars is a 4.9, looks like it’s filling out the five stars anyway. So don’t freak out if you don’t have 5.0. Sometimes people are a little skeptical if they see it’s only fives, everything’s a five, really? I saw a review the other day, it was a four star review, absolutely raving about this business. And they gave him four. Some people just don’t give you a five. It’s okay. It’s okay. As long as the average score is a high score. Then the third thing that matters and this is really important is the recency.

So when I said I have a friend who’s got 1,000 reviews and is 1,001 better, it is if it’s a recent one. Because it’s not what have you done? It’s what have you done lately? And that’s what people care about. I was consulting with somebody today on his website. He said he’s been in business since 1994. And I told him to take that off. I said in 1997, in 1999, in 2004, that might’ve been okay. But at a certain point, you start sounding old. And it doesn’t matter how old you are. It matters the work that you’re going to do. The best DJs that I know, the best photographers that I know, the best florist that I know, are not 27. They’re more likely 47. And that 20-years difference is what made them so much better, it’s their experience over that time. So take that number off for sure.

But the recency of the reviews matters. First of all, because some of the sites will give you their awards, their best-of type awards, couples choice and things, based upon recent reviews. So that’s important. But the other thing is a couple coming in and trying to see, “Should I consider you for my wedding?” If they see reviews that are old, they might go past you. When my best friend’s son was getting engaged, got engaged, I should say, not getting engaged, got engaged. They sent me a link to look at a venue to see if I knew anything about the venue. And the most recent review was two-years old. So I took it upon myself to go to another site. On The Knot, it was 2017. This was 2019. The couple just got married last fall. And then on WeddingWire, they had recent reviews. So they clearly weren’t paying attention to The Knot. They were only paying attention to WeddingWire. But what if your couple is paying attention to The Knot and they look at it and they say, “Oh, two years old? “Let’s go find somebody “who’s got a recent review.” So you could be losing business. You want to make sure that you get recent reviews on the sites that it matters.

Here’s a good thing for you to do. Go online and choose an ‘incognito’ window or a ‘private viewing’ window in your browser. If you just go to File, New, it’ll give you a choice for the private viewing or incognito. And what that does is it hides all the cookies and things so your site doesn’t know your history and it will hopefully show you something closer to what someone who’s never been looking for your site will see versus you. Because when you search, your browser has this history and things, “Well, you must be looking for what you saw before” and it might not show you the same thing. And you want to see where are all the places you have reviews, because those are places people are posting them. And that’s where you want to ask for reviews. So what I’d like you to do is start doing this going forward. As you’re onboarding people that you sign up as you’re signing contracts, add a question of “Where have you been reading reviews for planning your wedding?” And that’s where you want to go back and ask them to post.

If they’ve been reading on WeddingWire, they’re more likely to post there. If they’ve been reading on Google or Facebook or The Knot or Yelp or whatever, that’s where they’re more likely to post, especially something like Yelp. Because Yelp will likely, if they’ve never posted on Yelp and you say to somebody, “Hey, go post a great review for me on Yelp.” And they go and post a great review on Yelp and then it doesn’t show. Because Yelp is like, “Well, you probably paid them to do that.” And they hide it. They hide it. I had this with me. I was looking online and it told me how many reviews I had on Amazon. It told me how many reviews one of my books had, but I couldn’t see them all. The score is counting it, but they’re hiding them. So you want to ask them to post where they’re likely to go up there. I’m a Yelp Elite. I have over 100 reviews posted on Yelp. They’ll put anything up that I post. One, two, three, four, five stars. It doesn’t matter because they know me. I’m a known commodity. But the first time somebody goes to post, they’re a little skeptical about who you are because you haven’t proven who you are to them. So try to find out where they’re posting and try to get them to post there. This way you get the recent reviews there.

And then the fourth thing, many of the sites these days allow you to respond to reviews. And responding to reviews is important because it allows you to personalize that particular platform. Think about it. If somebody is posting reviews on Google, you’re not there. You’re not even in the room. So how do you personalize that experience? It’s by responding to what people wrote. And I like you to personalize that by reading what they wrote and then responding to it. I’m talking good reviews here, not bad reviews, good reviews. Respond to the good reviews. So let’s say it’s a wedding, and let’s say it’s Jenny and Chris. And Jenny posts the review, but she doesn’t mention Chris. So what you could say is, “Jenny, thanks so much to you and Chris “for inviting me “to be a part of your amazing wedding.” And then read what you wrote, and then respond to those little details. Or add details that she didn’t say. And now people are like, “Oh, I guess you really know who that is.” And every one of those is a personal reply. It’s only two or three sentences. You want to do that as quickly as you can because you’re really not responding to Jenny. You’re responding so that the people that might be considering you, will read that review and get your personality and go, “Wow. She sounds really nice.” Or “He sounds really nice.” Or “They sound really nice.”

You want them to think more highly of you because you have a monopoly on being you and your personality. You don’t have a monopoly on doing a good job for a wedding. So responding to the reviews. Now, some of you are thinking about, “Oh, gosh I have hundreds of reviews.” Okay, I get it. I’m glad you do. Respond to the first few on each of the pages where you can do that. So if you go to The Knot, you can’t see every review. You can see a few of them, and then you have to click to read more. Just do the first few and then as new ones come in, you want to respond there. And the same on the other sites. And speaking of which, on The Knot, on WeddingWire and on Yelp, I don’t know if you can do this on Google, I don’t think you can do it on Facebook. You can tell it to keep one review at the top. You can choose which one to keep at the top. And that’s called either ‘featuring’ or ‘pinning’ or ‘highlighting’. And when you do that, you get to choose some great review to stay at the top. I like it to be a shorter review.

I know that sounds funny because some of you have some really great long ones. But if you put a long one at the top, it pushes all your other reviews further down on the page. And when you’ve responded, it makes it even longer. So look for the great headline and the great first sentence. If the first sentence is “We very much enjoyed “working with Jon on our wedding” it’s not very exciting. But if it’s like, “OMG, Joan blew us away “with her floral designs.” That’s a better first line. And people don’t read, they scan. So that first line is important there that they will see that and scan that.

So the number of reviews, the score of reviews, the recency of reviews, and responding to reviews. Those are the four things that matter most when it comes to reviews. And again, I’ll talk on another episode about replying to bad reviews. I hope you don’t get any. But I will talk about that. But for now, those are the four things I want you to think about. Asking for more reviews. Quick answer on that one. According to WeddingWire, which has millions of reviews, one out of five people post a response if you ask them once, or I should say review if you ask them once. One out of three if you ask them more than once. And then some of my clients are sending gifts and asking for review with the gift and they’re getting a better response. And I’ll give you a more detailed on another episode as well.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site:

©2021 Wedding Business Solutions LLC & AlanBerg.com

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