So much of the wedding industry revolved around online reviews. Are you doing enough to get more reviews from clients?
I’m not just cynical. I’ve spoken to hundreds of event professionals, and almost all of them dislike the process of asking clients to post online reviews. For some, it’s that it feels grubby. Others dislike the admin of following up and nagging clients. Many wedding pros expressed frustration that even when they asked for reviews, they didn’t get ’em. But reviews matter, so let’s look at techniques you can use to get more and better reviews. And how you can use them elsewhere too.
What is a review?
Okay, let’s get the technical bits out the way. When I say “get more reviews from clients,” I simply mean online reviews on various listings websites. You know, sites like Google My Business, WeddingWire, etc., with the familiar star rating system. Got it? Good. Let’s move on.
Why Do Reviews Matter? It’s For The Ranking.
It used to be that a bunch of 5-star reviews helped you stand out. That’s not always the case, and we’ll discuss that more below, but you still need to get more reviews from clients. It’s actually for technical reasons.
When someone visits a listing site like the Knot and looks for wedding planners in their city, they get a list of matches. These matches occur based on several criteria, including category, location, number of reviews, and quality rating.
So look, all other things being equal, the number of reviews and the overall star rating generally determines how high up in the rank you appear.
Some of the more sophisticated listings sites like Yelp tend to look at factors like proximity, time of day, profile completion, and even the searcher’s history, but most wedding and event industry sites likely use a simpler methodology.
So, more reviews equal a higher ranking. Simples.
Ranking Is Dead, But Appearances Still Matter
Changes are coming to the wedding listings industry. They’re already here in many ways – organic rankings barely matter on many vendor listing sites because paid listings get better placement.
Even if you pay for premium placement, you still need reviews to lend legitimacy to your profile and ranking.
Reviews bolster the decision-making process for your clients. So even if a friend refers the client to you, they’re very likely to google your wedding business first. Often, directories and listings sites can appear above your own website in search results. So, having reviews on the Knot or WeddingWire can help you close the deal.
How long should you wait to ask for a review?
I spent hours researching this, and I can conclusively state that absolutely no one knows. Seriously! I saw people suggesting everything from 1 week before the wedding all the way to the couple’s 1st anniversary. And for every confident, unequivocal statement that X time works best, others disputed it with their own experiences.
No one knows. But you should ask nonetheless.
But there was one thing I noticed. Every wedding business had their preferred timing to get more reviews from clients, but few seemed to test multiple timings. So here’s my recommendation.
Ask multiple times at varying moments in the client’s journey with you.
I’d even recommend asking for a review before the wedding, especially if you’re a wedding planner who has done 18 months or more work with the couple.
And if that doesn’t work, ask for a review the day after the wedding. Then perhaps ask again after the honeymoon. And a month later. And then again when they get their wedding photos (and they’re reliving the experience).
If they still haven’t reviewed you by their anniversary, what will you have to lose by asking one more time? Send an email about 11 months after their wedding. Why not, right?
We’ll get into how to ask for a review a little later.
Where Should Your Clients Review You?
There are plenty of platforms where clients can review you, and they all matter in some way. So how do you decide where to ask clients to post their review? Let’s talk goals.
Wedding planners have sites like:
But there are also non-event listings sites like:
You also have local listings or niche directories, including destination wedding listings, LGBT-focused listings, state-based listings (like this one), and other niches.
Which listing site is right might change based on your business goals year by year.
For example, Facebook is easy for most people to leave a review on – they’re logged in, engaged, and it’s a super easy process. Plus, there’s a social reach bonus there.
Google My Business reviews are super powerful when it comes to search engine optimization and go a long way to helping you own local search results.
Industry sites like WeddingWire are destinations for couples during the decision-making and hiring stage. Many wedding pros get their business from those sites. But the pay-to-play ranking and featured profiles do screw things up somewhat.
What To Do?
Well, if you’re looking for a straight answer, I’m happy to give one. Aim for 10 5-star reviews on each major platform like Google, Facebook, The Knot, and WeddingWire. I have no love for Yelp, but they get plenty of traffic so maybe include them too (barf).
Then, see which site genuinely drives new clients and lean into it until you hit 30 to 50 reviews. Then move on to the second-best site and so on.
Or rotate. Or see which platform your client is already active on.
11 Ways To Get More Reviews From Your Clients
Okay, I hear you. Let’s get to actionable tips on how to get more reviews from your clients.
1. Don’t add steps
Seriously. Send the client a direct link to the place to add a review. Every extra step the client needs to take is a possible drop-off point. If your client has a Yelp account but not a WeddingWire one, then send them to Yelp.
2. Give prompts, but don’t write the review
Aks specific questions like:
- What was your favorite moment?
- Did you hear any fun stories from your guests about the wedding?
By giving clients these prompts, you’ll inspire unique reviews that feel authentic and compelling.
3. Ask for the 5 stars
Just go ahead and ask for the 5 stars. It might not feel super comfortable, but it matters. Clients can always give you whatever rating they think is appropriate.
4. Explain why the review is important to your business
The client invested in you and your wedding business. And you invested your time and effort (and services) into their event. Go ahead and explain to them why their review matters to your business and personal success.
5.Tell them how long it will take to leave a review
Some review sites can take ages, and it might be a turn-off for your clients. So if it’ll take them only 1 or 2 minutes, say so. It’ll help them just jump into it.
And if it will take 10 minutes, that’s fine too. It’s better that they carve out the time to leave a proper review.
6. Send the direct link
Seriously, don’t ask for a review without sending a direct link to the review page itself. You never know – the client might not find the correct place to leave a review. I know I’ve struggled in the past to find the review link on some platforms.
7. Follow up
If, at first, you don’t succeed (in getting a review from your client), try and try again. And again. Follow up. People are busy and get distracted. They might have every intention of leaving you a glowing review, but life happens. Your follow-up isn’t disruptive. It’s another opportunity for your client to show their appreciation for you.
8. Feature your clients
Let your clients know that you’ll feature their review and their fantastic wedding on social media, your website, and elsewhere. People love seeing their name and, added to their appreciation of your hard work, will likely get them to write that review.
9. Time your request
You’ll get more reviews from clients if you nail the timing. If a client has just expressed some gratitude for your exceptional effort, ask them if they’d mind sharing it online by writing a review. You don’t need them to do the review then and there, but let them know you’ll follow up later with a direct link.
That’s not the only timing that matters.
Ask for the review if you see the client share wedding pictures on their Instagram. Or if you know, the photographer just delivered their wedding photos. These moments are perfect. The couple is reliving their wedding and thinking about how wonderful it all was.
10. Add the review as a task to their to-do list
11. Prime it with a conversation
It’s a good business practice to follow up with clients anyway. After the wedding:
- Send the couple a picture or two you took of them on their wedding day.
- Share how special the day was for you and how proud you are of your fellow vendors’ work.
- Tell them why they were awesome clients.
Then, let them know you’ll be sending another email later with a direct link for them to add a review.
You could also prime the review request by sharing a picture or two on social media and tagging them. Once they “like” the image, send that link to review you.
What you’re doing is reminding them of how memorable their event was, which is an excellent lead-in to a 5-star review.
Use Client Reviews Elsewhere
Whew, that’s a whole lot of effort to get reviews. Still, you can maximize your business benefits by using reviews elsewhere. It’s one of the best reasons to get more reviews from clients and spend the time chasing ’em down.
So, where can you use these reviews? Well, I won’t be blowing your mind if I tell you that reviews make for great testimonials on your website.
Also, share reviews on Instagram where other potential clients might be looking. That way, you’re placing the review front-and-center and not relying on the Knot’s ranking algorithm to showcase past happy clients.
Also, whenever you send a client proposal, try and hand-pick some relevant reviews. For example, if your proposal mentions floral design, try to include a client review that explicitly mentions how delighted they were with their wedding flowers. Strategic testimonials go a long way in convincing on-the-fence potential clients.
Go Get More Reviews Right Now
That’s it, and it’s a lot to think about, but it shouldn’t take much time in your day-to-day. Try and make asking for reviews into a process. Use an email template, make it habitual, and you’ll find it becomes second nature, really, really quickly.
You deserve great reviews. So go get them!