Reviews and search ratings are the lifeblood of business today! When was the last time you picked a restaurant online without at least glancing at the review count? When was the last time you scrolled to the bottom of a search result page and clicked on the 5th best option?
Well, your future members are not that different than you. When people search for gyms they click what come up first... and a significant part of that is decided by the reviews your business has. For both map and standard searches, the more reviews, the higher ranking... it's that simple.
But let's hear what the experts have to say (and what Google says about itself!)
The way a business reaches consumers has changed considerably in recent times. Whereas advertising and word-of-mouth were the main factors driving a consumer towards using a product or service, reviews and search engine visibility are the main focus.
A key reason for this change is that Google offers a user-friendly experience for searchers. Using the proximity of the searcher, Google Maps lists all the relevant businesses based on the user’s query. What you may not know is that Google filters the businesses that surface based on customer reviews, giving prominence to only the most favorable services.
2022 data from firstpage.com demonstrates that ranking #1 generates a typical CTR of 39.6%. That's more than double the CTR for 2nd position, 18.4%, and nearly 4x the CTR for 3rd position, 10.1%.
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. For example, our algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.
Prominence refers to how well known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business' local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.
We totally get that it seems like an important revenue stream and you don't want to lose all that cash... after all this is a business! But what would really happen if you give away ALL your first time Drop-ins and just asked for a review instead? What if you just focus on wowing your visitors and your visitors repaid the kindness with a fantastic review?! Well let's do some math and see what would happen if you gave the next 120 visitors a free first workout...
Each member's lifetime value is about $2400
(12 months @200/m)
2400 is equal to 120 drop-ins
(120 x 20/each)
120 Drop-ins are equal to 120 new Google Stars
The visibility from 120 new Google stars will AT LEAST earn you one additional member each month
1 new member each month is equal to $28,800 over the year (2400x12 months)
We may be mediocre at math but one thing we know for sure...
$28,800 is way more than $2,400
Maybe it's time to change the way we approach our out of town visitors?
Is charging $20 really worth losing out on all the good will and community you could be building?