As a fishing charter captain or guide, you’re hopefully no stranger to fishing guide review marketing with Google Reviews, TripAdvisor and Yelp. In fact, for better or worse, you may be reviewed on one of these channels before the day’s end. And what others read about you on these same sites has a direct impact on your fishing business. A stream of glowing reviews and those considering booking you are more likely do so.

However, if more than a handful of the same reviews describe a day on the water with you akin to hiring Blackbeard himself, the opposite is likely. And no captain or guide looking to make a living on the water can afford an outright mutiny can they?!

Even worse than bad reviews? No reviews at all! Guides and charters without reviews might as well not even exist. 

Positive Social Proof is Where “X” Marks the Spot

When your prospective clients are influenced (positively or negatively) by reading reviews, we refer to this as “Social Proof”. It’s the idea that people will act differently based on seeing what other people are saying. It shows us how the opinions and reviews by our peers influence our decision-making and spending habits.

It’s similar to the word of mouth referrals you rely on – just on a different scale. People generally tend to trust the words and experience of like-minded individuals – more so than commercials, ads, or other forms of marketing. Folks are simply more inclined to book a fishing guide or charter recommended by someone they know. And even though the likelihood is slightly lessened, we are all still more apt to make the same choice EVEN if we don’t know them.

Before clicking “book now”, your prospects often spend time looking at multiple reviews of you and your fishing charter or guide service. In fact, folks will often go to several review sites to feel certain that they are getting a more complete picture of both your good and bad reviews.

Great Service = Great Reviews

Of course, it should go without saying (and I’m not yelling at you about how to run your business here) that positive recommendations and reviews are EARNED by providing an outstanding value and experience to the anglers that put their trust in you. Provide a great day on the water and you’re much more likely to receive the gratuity ($$) you worked so hard for. Not to mention the positive feedback in the form of reviews.

As an aside, did you know that over 90% of consumers are influenced by online reviews? And just under 90% read a brand’s response to those reviews!

Not only are peer reviews steering your prospective customers’ booking decision, but how you respond to reviews has an impact as well.

Great Reviews on your Website Book More Fishing Trips

There are a number of ways to use positive customer reviews and testimonials to your benefit, within the context of your website.

One of the best uses of reviews is to showcase them on your homepage. A glowing review (or three) for visitors to see when they first visit your charter or guide site is important because it serves as proof that they’ll have a great time with you. Assuring visitors from the beginning that they’re in the right place and in good hands can be worth its weight in gold.

Keep in mind though, that reviews & testimonials aren’t just for the home page of your site. And that not all visitors enter your website through its homepage…

Sprinkling short customer quotes throughout the entirety of your website can be just as powerful – especially so if paired with corresponding, related content. In other words, a customer review of your “shark fishing trip” should be on your “shark fishing trip” page. It should not be on the “snorkeling excursion” page 😉

Also, having a testimonials page in your site can help make site visitors feel more comfortable about booking their fishing trip with you. Displaying a collection of testimonials in a single location shows that many people have used your services and have had enjoyable experiences with you.

Be aware that this won’t be a highly visited page. Studies show that testimonials and reviews are more powerful within the context of other pages (like I described above). But it certainly doesn’t hurt to do both.

You Have to ASK Fishing Clients for Reviews!

How do you get your fishing clients to leave reviews for you? Ask, ask, ask! Nearly 70% of people shared that they would leave a review if they are asked to do so!

Many times, people don’t leave ratings or testimonials simply because they aren’t asked to. You could be missing out on possible customers simply because people aren’t sharing posts about their trip for their friends & followers to see!

Sending customers a simple, well-designed  “Thank You” card that shows them gratitude for choosing you to be their guide and asking for a review is a big step towards getting more engagement by way of reviews.

Just as important, is sending each client a follow-up email on your ‘ask’. In a 2017 white paper called From Reviews to Revenue , researchers from Northwestern University found that 80% of online reviews were spurred by post-purchase, follow-up emails urging customers to write about their recent experience. Also, including a link to the review site provided consumers less of a barrier and translated to higher rates of reviews. Make it easy for them!

(BTW – The folks over at SaltStrong wrote a great article about the impact of a simple “thank you” card for fishing guides…. check it out sometime; it’s a fun read.)

Encourage Social Sharing While You’re at It

In the same thank-you card and email (you should send both), you should also encourage clients to post pictures and videos from their fishing trip on social media. Having them tag you in their social posts will help bring attention from their friends and followers, ones who might not otherwise know you exist (literally).Don’t be surprised to hear from a few of their like-minded friends who want to experience the same great fishing outing. This is how word-of-mouth works today.

Customer Reviews are Little Hidden Treasures in Fishing Guide Marketing

Getting customers to review your charter & guide service, adding them to your website & encouraging social shares doesn’t take a lot of work on your part. It’s crucial to your fishing guide review marketing strategy.

In fact, your fishing guide marketing agency should be able to handle and oversee all of the heavy lifting (if not, let’s chat). From customer follow-up email templates and thank you card design, to the look and feel of your website and social platforms, Thrive Creative Labs can help you put customer reviews and testimonials to work for you and book more trips in the process!


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