The Art of Google Reviews with CRM

The Art of Google Reviews with CRM

This episode of The Pilates Business Podcast discusses how the clinical Pilates studio business Pilates Can successfully achieved over 50 five-star Google reviews in 30 days and is on track to surpass 100 reviews in 90 days.

The guests explore the strategic use of CRM (Client Relationship Management) and email marketing, including the 'art' and technical aspects of ActiveCampaign, to solicit reviews effectively.

They discuss the importance of email conciseness, the potential of incorporating SMS messaging for direct engagement, and share insights on planning for scalability and future-proofing marketing automations.

The episode also touches on learning from mistakes and continuously improving communication strategies to efficiently achieve business goals and stand out in the marketplace.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Unlocking the Power of CRM for Stellar Google Reviews
  • [00:00:44] The Art of Email and SMS Marketing in Business
  • [00:07:37] The Critical Role of SMS in Enhancing Customer Engagement
  • [00:10:40] Optimising Automation and Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy
  • [00:15:11] Reflections and Future Directions for CRM and Marketing Automation

"That brings us to the great importance of short circuiting that email flood and a bridge over that email flood that's coming into people's inboxes, and that bridge is the proactive text, SMS, that we haven't been using so well."                    David Gunther – The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra

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Episode Resources

Episode Transcript

DAVID GUNTHER: We have achieved over 50 five-star Google reviews in just 30 days. We have done this by asking the right clients, at the right time, in the right way. This is essentially the definition of optimal use of a CRM, client relationship management system.

We are now aiming at achieving over 100 five-star Google reviews within 90 days... and we are ahead of schedule!

In this podcast episode, you will find out more about the 'art' of our five-star Google review process for your clinical Pilates studio business.

The outcome, the result, the goal. Adam, can you give us some insights into that cadence? Because we're really talking now about the art of ActiveCampaign, as well as the technical side. This is more on the art, the cadence.

ADAM TUTTLE: I think what you did sounds like the right thing, and I think too, there's actually value in sending people back to your domain, because it drives traffic that can boost your SEO rankings for site traffic.

There's other positive outcomes that can come back to that, and so, if you have, 14 emails that each have their one little thing that they talk about: one, it takes much longer to get into the hands of the consumer, two, if you can give a summary in a couple of emails, and then give them the link, it's driving them back to your site. They might browse your site. There's other positives that can be there. I think that's something that a lot of companies have struggled with at times, finding that balance, because that is the tricky part about email marketing.

I think that a lot of times somebody comes to you and they say, I've got the perfect sequence, and for X amount of dollars, I'll sell it to you, and it works every time. But the truth is that all audiences are unique. Certain audiences expect more, certain audiences expect less, and that's tricky. That's a tough place for the marketer to try to figure out for their audience.

One thing that I would say as email marketing has gained in popularity, even in just the 12 years that I've been at ActiveCampaign or almost 12 years, is that, when I first started, people's inboxes we're not nearly as cluttered as they are today. And just thinking about how many emails you get, in your work, email, your personal emails, all these things, your text messages, right?

It's all just noise, and what you want to realize is that sometimes companies care so much for their company, for their business. They care deeply about the customer. They want to educate the customer, right? But what happens is that they forget that the customer is also getting similar emails or other emails from 10 or 12 other places, and so if you have to take 10 or 15 emails to deliver your message that you could do in three or four, I would say go with the three or four.

You don't want to be the noise. You want people to be willing to open your emails. You don't want them just to get to the point where they're like, 'Oh, it's just another email that doesn't really tell me much' or 'it's not applicable to me today'. Then they stop opening your emails and clicking on your links. That's the worst case scenario, right?

So, I think your approach is really stellar. I'm glad that you recognize it. It's important. A lot of people don't, so it seems like you got on the right track there.

DAVID: Yes, thanks for that, Adam. And, I think you've really opened a great insight into the art of this sort of communication, or any sort of communication, and that is to put yourself in the shoes of your avatar client. In our case, Betty is our avatar client, and that helps us to think about what our clients are like. Of course, they're not all the same. Everyone's different, but we try to classify an avatar so that we can think about this in a useful way when we're communicating to our clientele.

Having Betty there with her interests, and her age and her relationship with technology. There's different types of clientele within that avatar, within our clientele as well. You can't just say everyone is going to be exactly the same. You've got to think about all of those scenarios when you're thinking about the art of communication, particularly when you're sending out lots of emails, and we're talking about hundreds of thousands of emails, really, that we would have sent out, possibly millions of emails.

I'd love to be able to know how many emails we'd actually sent out through ActiveCampaign over the last seven years or so.

Is there a way of doing that, Adam?

ADAM: There's probably sneaky ways to do it. I'll have to see if we can get an engineer to pull your data. It's not convenient, but for someone that's been around seven years, I'm sure we could find a way. Where there's a will, there's a way. It's all tracked.

DAVID: It's all there. It's just a matter of adding up the ones and zeros. Goodness me. All right. that's a surprise. I mentioned that from point of view of just, being interested, just curious, butthat would be amazing to be able to share with the listeners here. To give some idea of the scale of how much time you are going to save, because if you look at that number, and it will be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of emails, and you multiply that by even one minute.

That's a lot of time that you're saving yourself and all your staff, and really a lot of time that you're regenerating into profit for your business, and time that you can spend with your puppy dog called Australia walking around the block,and just living your life.

ADAM: Yeah, and if I could just add, I might've mentioned this last time, but I think I'm going to re mention it because it's worth highlighting and really probably drives this point home. ActiveCampaign, we've got 185, 000 customers on our platform currently.

We send 1. 5 billion emails a week,on a normal week. That's not a Black Friday week, then it's much, much higher, right? We're one email provider. There are dozens, if not hundreds. Some of the big dogs, they're sending tens of billions of emails a week, for giant corporations and things like that.

When you think about that, there's a significant amount of volume that is going out into the world every single day, and it's really important like you said, to remember that your customer is not only receiving your emails. They're not only receiving your messages. They're getting notifications for their kids sports, and their upcoming class for a different type of exercise, and for their vacation that they've been planning. All the newsletters they've signed up for, from the e commerce purchases they've made, and the Amazon fulfillment emails, and all of these things.

Again, it just fills the noise, and so it's really important that a marketer takes the time to remember that, take that step back and say, okay, how do I make my emails as memorable as possible so that I'm packing in good information without being overwhelming? You don't want to, on the flip side, try to pack everything into one email. You have an email that's 5k long, because attention spans are short too, right? So, it's all about finding that balance, and pushing them towards a piece that is true to your brand, but at the same time engaging making them want to open your emails.

DAVID: Very true, Adam, and that brings us to the great importance of short circuiting that email flood and a bridge over that email flood that's coming into people's inboxes. And that bridge is the proactive text, SMS, that we haven't been using so well. So, we really should now talk about that proactive text, the SMS, and how important that is and how important the wording of that is, the length of that, and what the message should be. Let's talk a little bit about that, Tara. Have you thought about what should be in that text at this point? I know this is a work in progress. This is like a creative session here, Adam.

TARA SMITH: No, not yet. We don't have any wording for any of the communications that we're putting out beyond that first email.

DAVID: Excellent, so now's a good time to come up with a little bit of that. At least maybe dot points of what we would include, and what we wouldn't include importantly as well.

Because we've got an expert in the room, we're going to take advantage of you there again, Adam, to give us some critique over these sorts of ideas that myself and Tara will try to come up with creatively on the spot.

Tara, I think we've got to reflect back on the communication from the instructor, so if that SMS is coming that afternoon, it's got to mention the instructor in some way, perhaps their session, but we don't want to be adding too much into the SMS. At the heart of it, we do want to have it do what we need it to do, which is to get them to take action on the review.

So, it's mentioning the conversation with the instructor, and then moving on to checking if they have had a chance to actually send that review.

TARA: I would think we just also link them to the survey via the text.

DAVID: Okay.

TARA: People are on their phones, but their phones are smart these days, David. They can very easily answer the survey on their phone, rather than via their computer if that's the way they like to.

DAVID: Lovely. Yes. What do you think, Adam? Will that work?

ADAM: Yeah, I definitely think putting a link in there is a good idea. I'm not an expert in text. Most of my career has been on the email side of things, but I would just speak from how I like to get text messages from companies. I think short and sweet and to the point. What do you need me to do? Why am I doing this? Like you said, you could reference the instructor.

One thing that I would think about though is, where emails, you often want it to feel very personalized, like it's coming from a specific person. The text could do that, however, if the customer's expectation is that they're going to respond back to that text, and then it just is going to a generic inbox, and they're thinking that it's the instructor, that might feel like not a great experience for them.

I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud in the moment. But I think that, yeah, I would say just short and sweet, and I definitely would put the link in there. I think Tara raises a great point. I don't know anyone that doesn't have a smartphone, so just let them use it as they do every single day.

Don't make them go to their desktop if they don't have to.

DAVID: That sounds terrific. Getting that link in there and keeping it short and sweet and to the point. Adam, you brought up an important point there. If they respond to the SMS, what actually happens in the system?

ADAM: It depends on what tool you're using, so if you're using ActiveCampaign usually it's like a do not reply number. You might want to actually even say in the message, do not reply, something like that.

Again, it's all about setting expectation. Whether it's email, or text, or any form of messaging. Even face to face, right? It's always about setting expectations. I think that if it's coming from a generic number that's not going to have the response back, then I would tell them: do not reply to this. It's not a real number. Set that expectation up front and you should be okay.

DAVID: All right. We can certainly handle setting that expectation. The other thought I had was, how do we know if they do go through that link? That's to the survey. Is it Tara? That's what we're saying. Not to a Google review, but that's to the survey again?

That's correct. Okay. So they go to the survey and we're able to take them out of the automation if they answer 'yes, I'm going to do it', or 'I have done it', or 'no, I don't want to do it for these reasons', so we can take them out of the workflow at that point. Is that our plan at the moment?

TARA: Yes, that's correct. When the survey is completed, they'll be taken out of the follow up automation, and put into the appropriate automation. Whether it's to tell the instructor so that it can thank them, whether it's to tell me so that I can call them and help them, whether it's to just take them out because they want to opt out and they don't want to do it.

The point at which that will happen is once they complete the survey, which has been linked via Zapier to ActiveCampaign. They should just need to complete it and no further action is required. After the survey is completed, it will take them out of the automation automatically.

DAVID: We should think about our listeners here, clinical Pilates studio business owners, who are thinking 'how do I do this?' We will have links also toActiveCampaign and SurveyMonkey in our show notes.

Please do look at those after you've subscribed, so that you can get involved with doing the same sort of thing as Pilates Can has done, and is doing, to be successful there as a clinical Pilates studio business.

That all sounds quite wonderful so far, and like something that will really revolutionize our ability to get Google reviews, and that, in turn, will revolutionize our ability to stand out in a marketplace. which is confused by the word Pilates.

With so many other businesses claiming the word Pilates, quite rightfully. Joseph Pilates did a lot of different things. He did some circus work. He did some boxing. He worked in rehab and worked with ballerinas. A fair bit of variety there with what Joseph Pilates did right at the beginning.

But, of course, what we do with clinical Pilates is about rehab and working with people, with their mobility, so that they can do all the wonderful things that they want to do with their life that are hard to do without good mobility, or if you're carrying a lot of pain.

We can help them very effectively with that. So, we want to help other clinical Pilates studio businesses that are doing that important work, to be able to do that efficiently and effectively by also having a very successful business side of their operation.

All right. What have we missed here? Where are the gaps that we haven't explored, that the listeners would like to know about? 

TARA: We'll probably find more things, David, as we're working our way through the process and find out that actually, no, that was a terrible idea. We've sent 4,000 texts to Zimbabwe somehow accidentally, and it's all gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Or, that wording was terrible, or it was the wrong image because, someone was wearing a shirt that we didn't anticipate in the background. There'll be something that we need to tweak, and then we can come back to people and go, we did this, we started running it. We've worked out already we need to make a couple of changes to it.

DAVID: That's a plan. That's a good plan because it's along the lines of that continuous improvement, and we've worked on it during the podcast. Thanks very much for your patience, and your expertise, Adam, in assisting us with that.

We'll report back with our next episodes, about, those mistakes that we may have made, and the extra steps that we've taken and included into the standard operating procedures for this, important project, For the automations specifically, as this is part of the CRM series of this podcast.

So, thanks very much, Tara, and thanks very much, Adam. Would you like to add anything to what we've talked about today?

ADAM: I think the only thing that I would just add on to what you just said is that, as you both go through this process, you will make changes. You will make updates, obviously, I think you both know that.

But, one thing that I learned and I still try to think about as I'm building my automations is where do I want them to be in six months? Because what I find is that I've often started fighting fires. And so I start building automations to fix the problem that I have today, but then I forget that it's maybe not going to be a problem in six weeks, or we have a big rollout coming, or we have some big change coming out in a few months and so then sometimes that's necessary, but I think that it should be intentional, right?

Where you say, 'hey, I'm going to build a solution that gets me up until the point of that launch, or that maybe carries me through that launch.' I think just that intentional thinking about where you want to go.

The reason I say that is, I've made the mistakes on the flip side of that so many times that I ended up having to go back and rebuild my automations that I thought were brilliant two weeks ago, and so I always try to steer people away from repeating that mistake because it's a doozy.

DAVID: Brilliant. That's terrific. We're going to stop this episode here, and we're going to do exactly what Adam's mentioned.

We're going to go through and put these automations and these standard processes together, and find the things that we need to change. We'll come back to you, Adam, with that. And we can discuss that further, in the context of the CRM and how we've been using that to help us with this very important project.

Tara, do you have anything else that you'd like to add at this point?

TARA: I was just going to say to Adam, we do have a few future proofing ideas. Obviously, as we build this automation, we want it to be able to go out to all of the instructor's clients, not just Claire's, but we're using Claire as the Guinea pig before we set it all up and have it being sent out to all the instructor's clients.

We are thinking about what we want it to be in the future, because we have other types of reviews we might want to get from these people. That's another place where we can look at how we can change it slightly and do it for Facebook reviews or another kind of review that we might be trying to drive after we've already got so many Google reviews, because it's running in the background and it's just a business as usual' thing, David, something that's just happening all the time.

DAVID: Exactly. Look, that sounds very exciting, that, we can build on this first idea and this first set of standard operating procedures to address one issue, and use it to really build more assets for us that will work not only for us, but hopefully for other businesses out there who can replicate the sorts of things that we're doing for our clients and our prospective clients.

ADAM: I think you're right on and I'm glad to hear that you're already thinking that way because it's a doozy to try to come back from. So, good on you.

TARA: I've also been burned before.

A lot of the automations that we have on ActiveCampaign at the moment were set up by another marketing professional, and then when we stopped utilizing that person, I took them on and started learning from there.

It's been a while, a few years that's been my job, and now I'm quite a bit more technically minded about it, but I think also because I've made some mistakes as well, Adam, I don't want to do that thing again.

We have had our automations occasionally go rogue, and just send too many or the wrong kinds of emails to people, so I think learning from those mistakes. And being like, I just don't want that thing to happen again. It's okay to make a mistake as long as you learn from it.

The next 100 times that you do that thing, it's not going to happen because you'll remember that time that you made that mistake.

DAVID: So in the next episode, we'll go into the SOPs, standard operating procedures for this process, and the best way to use those. We'll also be looking at the mistakes we've made through the creativity process. The challenges, and the changes that we've come up with to deal with those. We'll look at the reasons why we do the things that we've done.

We've learned from the mistakes, so we know the reasons why. That's the important lesson that we'll be working through in the next episode. Until then, stay awesome.

"ActiveCampaign, we've got 185,000 customers on our platform currently. We send 1.5 billion emails a week, on a normal week. That's not a Black Friday week, then it's much, much higher, right? We're one email provider. There are dozens, if not hundreds. Some of the big dogs, they're sending tens of billions of emails a week."                                           Adam Tuttle – Senior Director of Business Activation, ActiveCampaign

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