Most people running a child care center, dance studio, gymnastics program or any other youth enrollment program would rather go to the dentist than ask a parent for a testimonial or review. It’s akin to approaching your junior high crush and saying “Do you like me? Do you really like me? Can you please tell everyone that you like me?” Awkward, right?
It doesn’t have to be and here’s the simple secret: if you don’t make it awkward, it won’t be. It really is that simple.
Consider this: the parents of children in your program understand the concept of social proof. They’ve grown up using the internet and are used to seeing reviews and testimonials on sites like Amazon, Yelp, Google, Facebook…they’re everywhere. Basically, they know what you’re asking for, so there’s no reason to feel like a jerk for asking. Most, if not all, read your reviews before enrolling in your program.
In fact, according to a 2017 study by ReviewTrackers, only 3% of consumers DON’T consider reviews when making a purchase decision on a local business. Click HERE for the source report and full analysis – interesting stuff!
So, what’s the best way to obtain these reviews/testimonials?
First, two general tips:
1. Make It as Easy as Possible.
If you’re asking for a review, always have your links ready. No matter who you’re asking or when you’re asking, don’t make them do the work. For example, if you’re looking for more Google reviews, be ready to email or text the direct link to them. Don’t just say something like “Just look us up and leave a review wherever.” It’s a LOT less likely you’ll get anything out of that.
With testimonials, a quick and easy “trick” I’ve used is to keep an eye on social media comments. If a parent writes something great about your program, shoot them an email including the quote you would like to use and ask if they’ll allow you to use it in your marketing materials. It won’t be posted online as a review, but all they have to do is say “Yes” and you’ve got yourself a nice quote for wherever you want to use it. Easy peasy!
2. Start with the Low Hanging Fruit
You probably know who I’m talking about – those parents that are a pleasure to deal with, love what you do and don’t cause headaches unless there’s a good reason to do so. They’re a good place to start.
In our last post, we talked about the importance of communicating with your parents. Why not pair it with a parent check-in? If it feels like a good time to ask, ask. Again, just make it as easy as possible for them.
But I don’t have time to chase parents around asking for reviews or testimonials!
Of course you don’t. No one does. As a general rule, you should keep it in the back of your mind and be ready to ask when a moment presents itself. However, sometimes you have to create the moment, yourself.
Here are 2 simple ideas to get you started:
1. Time it with an “Anniversary.”
Why not send a lighthearted “Happy 90-Day Anniversary” with your review links when the time comes? Just put a reminder on the calendar and you can decide to send or not later based on how things are going with the family.
You can also automate this if you’re using a CRM system. Just know that that request will go out to everyone – even the people that may not leave such a stellar review.
2. Have a Contest.
Post a contest to social media or send out an eblast – something like “Leave us a review on XYZ platform before the end of the month and be entered to win ABC!” Be sure to be specific about where you want the review and make the prize something worth leaving a review for. Keep in mind how much these reviews are worth to your business!
Of course, a contest is open to everyone, but I’ve never seen a parent leave a poor review to enter a contest. Just something to keep in mind before you open that door.
No matter how or when you ask for a review or testimonial, feel good about it! Your parents “get it,” and are usually more than happy to help you promote your program.
Do you have any “secret weapons” you use to get reviews or testimonials? Have you ever felt awkward asking? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!
Until next time – Be Well. Be Happy. Shape minds. - Tom