in previous columns, I’ve discussed the importance of getting reviews, especially on platforms like Google and Facebook. So what’s the best way to do it? How do you ask for a review without sounding desperate?

Why are reviews important?

Reviews on both Google and Facebook are important because they help build your reputation. Whether it be a simple star rating or an in-depth recommendation from a client, having these is important as you continue to build your business. Whether it’s the case or not, having no reviews might show that you’re inexperienced, whereas having just a few reviews might show that you aren’t consistent and lose clients often.

Having at least 10 reviews on each platform shows you’re a reputable business owner and photographer, and can further help in boosting your brand and attracting new clients.

Ask for something specific

I reach out to clients after they’ve hired me a couple of times. Getting a one-and-done client to review you will lead to a very generic review, as they really don’t know how you work yet.

Prompt your clients with reminders of what you did for them.

When I do decide to reach out to a client, I start out generic in terms of my request, but then I go to more specifics.

Ask for what you want

Ask them to highlight your work on that recent headshot you did for them, the winter family session that was freezing but fun or the event where you really captured the essence of the atmosphere. Give them ideas on what to write on you, but don’t direct them.

Give simple instructions

If you don’t provide an easy way for clients to review you, they simply won’t do it. Here’s how to send instructions to both Google and Facebook:

Google

Visit the Google PlaceID Lookup Tool help page here. Then search for your business name, take note of the Place ID and then insert that into this URL: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<place_id> (your Place ID goes after the equal sign). The final URL should look something like this: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJgXqQ1E1TGIgRtEhsYZJAFPw

Then copy and paste this link. This will be a direct link for your clients to leave you a review, without them having to search.

Facebook

With Facebook, it’s gotten a lot easier to get a quick link to your Reviews portion of your business page. Simply visit your business page, click Recommendations or Reviews on the left side, and copy the URL in your browser window. Then paste that in your email to your client.

You might see that you’ve only been recommended by a few people on Facebook, even though you have more reviews. This is because Facebook recently changed reviews to go just beyond star ratings, allowing users to “recommend” businesses as well as give a star rating. New reviews will automatically present this to the user to recommend (or not recommend), but old reviews are not automatically updated.

Selectively send to clients

Once you have your instructions ready, send an email to your client(s). It’s important to personalize each email when asking for a review. It’s also important to remind them of some of the most recent and successful photoshoots you’ve completed for them. Here’s a typical email I might send:

Hi Client –

I had such a great time working with you last week as we captured the winter spirit with your family! If you’d be so kind, I’d love for you to leave me a review on Google. If you can, I’d love it if you could write about how I made your kids feel comfortable by having fun in the snow! To do this, simply visit https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJgXqQ1E1TGIgRtEhsYZJAFPw and leave me a review. Thank you in advance for your kind words!

I’ll talk to you soon,
Bryan

It’s as simple as that — short and sweet, but still personalized to your client. Don’t ask for a five-star review; expect them to leave this for you if you did a great job.

By doing this and prompting your clients, you’re bound to get some reviews that will surprise you in a good way, and hopefully, that will help you build your client base.

For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.