On Track for 100 x 5-Star Google Reviews in 90 Days

On Track for 100 x 5-Star Google Reviews in 90 Days

In this episode of The Pilates Business Podcast, our host David Gunther discusses with Tara Smith from Pilates Can their journey towards achieving over 100 5-star Google reviews in 90 days with the help of automation tools like ActiveCampaign and strategic customer engagement techniques.

They recap previous discussions on email automation, the importance of communication cadence, and using SMS to bridge the gap in customer communication. Special guest Adam Tuttle from ActiveCampaign provides insights on creating effective SOPs and the benefits of automating processes wisely.

The episode also covers real-life examples of how adapting automation and communication strategies have led to a significant increase in positive Google reviews. The discussion emphasises learning from past mistakes, the importance of customer feedback, and the role of detailed process documentation in achieving business goals.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Kicking Off with a Goal: 100x 5-Star Google Reviews
  • [00:00:40] Recapping Previous Episodes: Automation Insights
  • [00:02:14] The Power of SMS in Automation
  • [00:03:12] Learning from Mistakes: A Continuous Improvement Journey
  • [00:03:40] The Importance of SOPs in Streamlining Processes
  • [00:06:08] Real-World Examples: Adapting and Optimising Automation
  • [00:09:02] Replicating the Processes With the Studio Instructor Team
  • [00:13:54] The Journey to 100+ Google Reviews: Successes and Learnings

"The problem that we've solved here for clinical Pilates studios is that we've had a fantastic relationship with our clientele, but the clientele have not been inclined to do Google reviews. It's just something that they don't really do, unless they have a reason to do that."                                   David Gunther – The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra

Click to Tweet

Episode Resources

Episode Transcript

DAVID GUNTHER: We are on track to achieve 100 5-star Google reviews in just 90 days. Find out more in this new episode of The Pilates Business Podcast.

What we're going to talk about in today's episode is that we've been very successful, with this automation, with the CRM, with ActiveCampaign's help, with Adam Tuttle helping us. Welcome, Adam.

ADAM TUTTLE: Thank you. Nice to be back.

DAVID: Yeah. Good to have you back from all the sporting commitments with boys and family, and Tara welcome back as well.

TARA SMITH: Hello. Thanks David. It's great to be back.

DAVID: What we might do is just start with a very quick run through of what we've covered in the last couple of episodes, because it's been quite a substantial list really. A couple of episodes ago, we covered triggers, goals, having too many emails, and putting links in those emails so you don't have too many emails. We covered thinking about automations as assets, as we like to do with a lot of what we cover on the Pilates Business Podcast. The main message and the main action you want the recipient to be taking, and then in the next episode we covered the art of automation. In our last episode we covered the cadence. The balance of how many times you're sending out communications, against cluttering up email boxes that are already overcluttered for people. Noise versus open rates, being very important. We covered thinking about it from a client's point of view and using the concept of the avatar client to help us with that. We covered the amount of time saved because of the number of auto emails sent by the system, and we've probably sent millions, just from our one small business.

I don't suppose you did get those figures, Adam, at all?

ADAM: Unfortunately, I'm sorry. I didn't. Apologise for that.

DAVID: Yeah, no problem. Maybe we can look at that, when we circle back in June to see how we've done with getting our 100 Google reviews in 90 days which is our goal, which we're well and truly on track for. In fact, we're over performing at the moment. Then we continued on to talk about the bridge over that flood of emails, and that bridge being SMS. We haven't used that very well to date, but now we're using it quite well with this automation. It's been a very good test case for us, and we've had some Google reviews coming in just after they would have received their SMS.

Good word there on SMSs, and the wording of those SMSs. The SMSs linking to another asset being the survey as part of this whole communication process, and how to speak with the right client at the right time. Then letting you guys know that there's this detail in the show notes, and that you should also expect some changes from what we've been talking about, because it has been a creative process for us with Adam.

Again, we thank Adam for helping us with that creative process, and with myself and Tara trying to work out exactly how we create this, so it works well. We've learned from our mistakes, and we'll talk about that in this episode, and we've made changes. We are aiming at 100+ 5-star Google reviews within the 90 days, and we started about four weeks ago. We've got another couple months to achieve that, but we're already in the high 50s, so we're well and truly ahead of target there. Let's talk about the supporting documentation for this sort of thing. It is important, isn't it to have SOPs?

Adam, you would use SOPs with your team and in ActiveCampaign just with what you deliver. How important do you find those in your processes?

ADAM: Most of my experience has been on the sales side. I think that's really important to remind folks of. But I know that within our marketing team, when you have an organization, whether it's three or four people, or if you have a marketing team that dozens of people, salespeople, whatever it might be, there has to be some process to it.

I think that my experience would say that, even early on, we probably could have been more aggressive as a business. Again, speaking specifically to the roles that I have been a part of, on creating some of those SOPs. I think that one of the biggest mistakes I made early on, though, was making my SOPs reactive to every little problem that I saw. Instead of trying to solve for the bigger picture and achieve the bigger goal, I would see a problem, whether it be with a sales rep or how we manage a certain process, and I would immediately try to fix that one thing. What happened then is I had a lot of little fixes that didn't always work towards a connected goal.

SOPs, or ROEs, rules of engagement, if there's multiple coaches within the same business or instructors, you might want to have some rules of engagement of, who they can go after, and who their clients are so that everyone's just getting along nicely. I think, again, making sure that it's always going towards the bigger goal, as opposed to trying to always be reactive to the little problems that maybe are really annoying. I think sometimes it's worth trying to take that step back. Try to solve for the bigger picture, and remember your mission.

DAVID: Yes, if you're mission driven and you're using your purpose there, then it does help you with that bigger picture. Do we have any examples of that, Tara, from this process, perhaps where we've learned from our mistakes, or we've thought this would be one direction that we should go in, and then we've decided to go in another direction? Either because we've seen that it's a mistake, or we've just decided, 'oh, actually, this would be better'.

Do you have any examples that you can think of from this process with this Google Reviews project?

TARA: We do have the example of the email notifications that were being sent to the instructors. We designed the automation originally to let the individual instructors know when each client was receiving an email, so that the next day they would be able to talk to that client in the studio about the email they received.

However, this meant that with the number of clients that we added to the automation, the test instructor was getting a lot of emails all at once, and that was cluttering up their own inbox. So, we changed that process to have all of those sent to the admin team instead, who then collate all of those for the next day, and send those to the instructor in one email, A bit easier for the instructor to digest, and then they can better action the relevant follow ups and initial contacts with the clients that they need to.

DAVID: Yeah, I think we've got a really good, smooth process there now that does bring that information to the instructor in a way that's really succinct and useful for them to use, so that they know who they're going to thank initially in the sessions for giving a Google review.

That's really important because that opens up the conversation within a semi-private environment, and to be able to thank you for a 5-star Google review. Get the conversation going that way, rather than asking someone for a 5-star Google review, and then someone else pipes up and says, 'oh, I got an email yesterday about the 5-star Google review. I'm definitely going to give you a 5-star Google review'.

'Oh, thank you for that, that's terrific', and then even people that haven't given a 5-star Google review that are in the session that maybe they didn't receive the email, didn't read the email, didn't understand the email, didn't have time to deal with it, they're able to be followed up and the instructor has all that information just on the one page.

Our principal instructor Claire Gunther at Pilates Can, she's been doing this, and she's basically collected over 50 Google reviews within that four weeks herself, and really led the way, in that process.

We now need to replicate that performance from Claire with the team, and one thing that Claire has also learned is that having too many in the pipeline can be distracting, can be difficult within the session, can be detrimental to the big picture, as you say, Adam. They're things that we've certainly learnt.

Adam, I'm going to ask you if you've got any examples where you focused on something small and then made a quick change of direction. Perhaps as you realized it wasn't helping the bigger picture or there was something else that you could do for the bigger picture?

Do you have any examples, either what we've been talking about with this actual automation and process, or in others that would be relevant?

ADAM: I think that what you both have highlighted, and what Tara raised, was actually a very interesting point. Specifically, around having a little too much communication. I think what I would maybe second, and I could try to give a specific example, is times where I've over automated the process. I think that marketing automation can be such an incredibly powerful tool, and we've already talked about how it can save you a lot of time and a lot of hours. I know that, especially early on in my sales management career, I was responsible to build all of the automations for the sales teams and things like that at ActiveCampaign.

I would over-automate, where I was putting way too many tasks in way too aggressively, and then what was happening was my team was having to go in and clean up that mess manually. A lot of the work that I thought I was saving them was actually slowing them down on the back end.

I think that's a really good lesson to learn quickly, and it's cool that you recognize that, and we're able to adapt like within just a few weeks. That probably saves you a ton of time, or the people that you're working with a ton of time down the road.

One specific example where I've done it poorly was when we would get a new lead in our pipeline, and I would automate task creation for the whole two weeks. We might have five or six different tasks over a two-week trial period for our customers. I would automate all these tasks instantly, so that way, they're all just preset, set it and forget it. The problem was that if someone then got in touch with that person on day one, they now had five extra tasks that they had to mark complete, or something like that, and it just added to the time.

Then I got smarter about building automations that would wait a couple days, see if the person had progressed through the pipeline. If they had not, then I would create the task. If they had, I would ignore it and move on. So, it got a little bit smarter.

I obviously love automation. I've worked for ActiveCampaign for almost 12 years at this point, but I think that it's one of those things like shiny object syndrome. Sometimes you can get so excited about this shiny tool in front of you that you can make things overly complicated.

One thing that I would just highlight for the audience listening is that Gong, the call recording software, they just released a study where they were asking a lot of CROs, what are their focuses for 2024, and one of the biggest focuses of using AI was actually to reduce administrative burden. If we're over automating processes or bombarding people's inboxes with notifications or whatever it might be, that's actually adding to the administrative burden. It's going counter to what is probably going to make your business the most effective.

I'd always look for those opportunities to say, 'hey, this is really neat. We can do this. Is this actually the best thing to do for the people doing the job?' Sometimes it's just asking the questions, and getting a pulse check. I thought that was a really interesting thing that you raised, Tara, and I think it'll be really neat to see how you continue to optimise it over the coming months.

DAVID: Yes. Thanks, Adam, and we want to really understand the reasons why we do things. Many times, the listening audience will look at the processes that we'll have detailed in the show notes, or links to those details at least in the show notes, because we can't get everything in the show notes, obviously.

But, to be able to actually understand why we've made those changes or why we do it in a certain way is really important because it helps you stay on that right path, if you know why it is you're not doing it one way and you are doing it the other way. Usually that is because you've already made a mistake and tried to do it this other way. It's like a baby walking and putting one foot in front of the other. They know they have to keep doing that if they're going to stay upright, but then when they make a mistake, that's when they learn.

That whole process is so important, that we learn from our mistakes that's what we're trying to get across here with the stories in the podcast and the examples, so that there's an understanding with the listeners. Not just a list of tasks. This is one of the challenges that Claire will have with replicating how to do this with her team. How to speak to the right people, at the right time, in the right way about Google reviews, in this instance. Claire’s challenge is to move this task on to the right instructors initially, to get started on this so that they can keep up that success, and understand that success, and understand why it wouldn't work if you do it another way, and it will work quite well if you follow this formula where everybody wins, essentially.

We've been really happy, Adam and Tara, with the results, haven't we? It's just been fantastic to get the quality of reviews that we're getting. It's so uplifting for our instructor team, and for me personally, actually, and for you too I'm sure, Tara, to read some of this feedback. Really heartfelt feedback that really tells the story of Pilates Can and what they're getting out of it, and their association with Pilates Can. Some of them for well over 10 years. The problem that we've solved here for clinical Pilates studios is that we've had a fantastic relationship with our clientele, but the clientele have not been inclined to do Google reviews. It's just something that they don't really do, unless they have a reason to do that.

So, we've asked them at the right time in the right way, and we've helped them to go ahead and make that Google review by giving them some support, if necessary. What are your thoughts, Tara, on that? Have you got anything that you can add to that?

TARA: I was going to say on the really lovely reviews that we've had, some of these clients you've known for a bit longer, but I've worked here for a very long time, myself now. and we had a particular review from someone who first started coming when they were still a child.

Now they've grown up, and they're very successful. I’ve seen them grow up before my eyes, and to hear that we've had such a massive impact on their life is, like David said, it's really rewarding. Makes it all worth it. All of the long days of spreadsheets or whatever else we're wrangling at the time.

DAVID: I think that person that you're talking about, to take that example, it is one of many, but I know the one you're talking about because that person is also a physiotherapist. They work in the health industry. In Australia, we call them physiotherapists. In the USA, you call them PTs.

Is that right, Adam?

ADAM: Yeah, we're physical therapists. Very close.

DAVID: And the wonderful things that she had to say about how we provide our services and what it's done for her personally, and from that point of view of physiotherapist, as well as a client. We do have quite a number of health professionals in various fields that have given us that sort of feedback.

People working with pain, people working with mental health, people working with physical health, like the example that we gave. So, just tremendous extra benefits that we actually didn't think we might achieve. We're really just going for helping the business to survive.

Now, of course, we want to pass this on to the clinical Pilates industry to help them to do well in a marketplace where Pilates is not owned by anybody, but everybody seems to want to claim the word. That's fair enough. The word is available.

You can use that word, but we want to help clinical Pilates businesses like us. This process won't actually help you if you're not providing a 5-star service to your clientele. It won't do you any good whatsoever because, with the way the process is set up, it is designed for those 5-star Google Review clients, the people that really do value your services. We're lucky. We've made our own luck, but over the last 25 years, we've created a service where we are delivering that level of service.

That's working very well for us, and I know within the clinical Pilates industry, there's many instances of that. We can improve our marketing of that to help more people find you out there, in your clinical Pilates studio that's delivering that really high quality of service.

We'll have more details about how to get 100 5-star Google reviews for your clinical Pilates business next week in The Pilates Business Podcast, but until then, stay awesome. 

"I think, again, making sure that it's always going towards the bigger goal, as opposed to trying to always be reactive to the little problems that maybe are really annoying."                           Adam Tuttle – Senior Director of Business Activation, ActiveCampaign

Click to Tweet

DISCLOSURE: This podcast contains affiliate links. We may receive a commission on products or services that you purchase through clicking these links, at no extra cost to you.

Subscribe to the Pilates Business Podcast 

If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Pilates Business Podcast, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

You can also help by sharing an episode with someone whom you think will enjoy or benefit from it.

Sharing an episode will help us build awareness so that we can have a positive and powerful impact on our Pilates industry. THANK YOU!

Are you getting all the shows? Subscribe today!

Subscribe to Receive the Latest Updates

Receiving our free, high quality content could save you thousands of dollars by assisting you to make the right decisions regarding your business development.