Why reviews are imporant to your photography business.
Is there a more satisfying feeling than getting a raving, 5-star review from a client? I don’t believe there is, but what’s the best way to request a review from your client?
No matter how long you’ve been in the business, knowing your client loved and valued your photography and the experience so much that they wanted to take the time to let the world know how great you are is the ultimate pat-on-the-back. It truly never gets old!
However, a great endorsement is more than just happy feelings and affirmations of your skills. In a society where everyone depends on reviews for virtually every purchase they make, positive reviews play a major role in choosing a photographer.
Reviews are literally the lifeblood of your business!
Reviews show Google and other search engines that you are active and highly recommended.
Why do you need to care what Google thinks?
Search engines have one job: to give the person searching a list of websites that are the most compatible in giving them the answer they are looking for.
Ever notice that the businesses with the most reviews are usually the ones that come up first in a search?
Help keep your website in that coveted #1 spot!
Reviews help a client have confidence in you and your work before they even meet you!
Is it possible to choose a restaurant anymore without first checking how many stars it has? Or to go on a vacation without making sure your hotel is recommended by others who recently stayed there? How about when you find something on Amazon you want, but notice it doesn’t have any reviews?
Knowing other people had a great experience with something makes it easier to spend your hard-earned money. While you may buy something without a review, there is always a lingering feeling of doubt until it arrives. It’s natural to believe that if other people are happy with something or someone, you will be too.
Reviews greatly add to your credibility and give potential clients the assurance they need when hiring you.
So you know why you need them, but how do you request a review?!
Easy, just ask!
While it may feel awkward at first, remember that as a photographer you literally just used your camera to bring out the very best in your clients – an intimate time for everyone. There are very natural ways to bring this up that should be painless for everyone.
Your first opportunity is at the end of your shoot.
Hopefully, you’ve built a good rapport with your clients throughout your session. It’s only natural to conclude your time together with a check-in as to how the experience went. Most likely, you will be given various examples of how wonderful it was and how much they enjoyed working with you.
From there, casually give a reminder of how much you would appreciate a review and how grateful you are for their business.
Not all reviews are created equal.
“5 STARS. I would totally recommend XYZ Photography. They are the best!”
YAWN! While a positive review is better than nothing, you could be talking about a refrigerator rather than a personal experience.
How about: “I loved working with XYZ Photography and will definitely use them again. They were wonderful working with my children and the pictures were amazing!” ?
At least this time the reader knows it probably wasn’t just a generic “copy and paste” comment and that the reviewer probably genuinely would recommend XYZ Photography. However, there’s nothing to speak to a potential client and make them think this is the photographer they just have to work with.
While the positive reviews are appreciated, there’s nothing there that will grab a client’s attention and interest.
Reviews that are specific, are better than generic ones.
As you are chatting with your client post shoot, ask questions and show an interest in their feedback.
Are they impressed with the fact that you were able to get their normally grumpy teenage son to smile and take part in their family pictures?
Did you calm their fears when their baby cried throughout the start of their newborn session and you patiently waited and helped calm everyone down?
Were you able to help a bride feel comfortable in front of the camera in spite of her previous shyness?
These are the skills and comments that impress potential clients and make them take notice. They are concrete examples of how you excelled and can directly address a concern a potential client may have. Even if they don’t specifically have a grumpy teen/fussy baby/shy bride, they know if you were able to expertly handle many conditions and you can work with any they may have as well.
Your post session chat is basically your review! Once you’re done talking, it’s easy to mention that you know other potential clients would be put at ease reading what they just told you and it would be super helpful if they would be willing to put their words to paper and write a review online which mentions the specifics you discussed.
You just told them what to write so it should be worry-free!
Don’t forget to follow-up.
But what if they drop the ball? Lucky for you, follow-up is easy.
Make it a habit to personalize and reflect back on your conversations when you send your clients their final photos.
“It really touched me when you told me how impressed you were with how I was able to make your teenage son happily take part in the family pictures and how happy you are with the shots that came from the session. I really think it’s a common concern for a lot of my clients and I would love to have your feedback on it in my reviews. I know your time is valuable so I went ahead and wrote what you said and would appreciate it if you were willing to approve it for me to use on my website as a testimonial and/or for you to share it online. Please let me know if it meets your approval.”
You don’t have to do this for every client – but try and do it for those you feel truly connected with.
You’ve made it as easy as possible and if a client feels enthusiastic about you and your work, they will be happy to help.
Now you can have the reviews you need to succeed!
So next session, don’t be afraid to request a review from your clients! I’m sure they will be happy to support your business.
The last tip, be sure to make it easy for your clients. Give them a direct link so they know where to leave the positive review for you. If you’ve worked with me and were happy, I’d love for you to leave me a review HERE.
Want to learn even more ways to request a great reviews?
How to request reviews is just one of the many topics we cover in my “Unlimited Photographer” coaching program. We’ll cover Business Foundations, Marketing Strategies and a Topic of your choice in this 8-week program. You can get more details at SERVICES.