Recently we hired a great bay area child photographer to do some shots of our children.  While I loved the photos, I was even more impressed with the follow up email I just received from the photographer.  Check out this excerpt:

I was wondering if you would be able to write some reviews for me on websites where my business is listed. If it is easier you can use the same content too. It is really helpful for clients to see customer feedback.

Go City Kids (once you submit it, I think you get a confirmation email and it takes a while to post the review)

My blog

Decidio ( a new listing)

I am also on Facebook at the link below!

Thanks so very much! I’d be happy to provide you with a few web resolution files from your shoot as a thank you that you can share by email or on Facebook, etc or with family + friends.

Not only do I dig the fact that she is asking me to review her on other sites (although I think she could have asked me to do a few more local review sites), I love that she will provide me with more photos as an incentive for me to write the reviews.

To those in the local search field this should come as no big surprise, but for those readers who are local business owners who are looking for that extra edge, perhaps you have just found one.

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10 Response Comments

  • Stever  February 16, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Well done, I like how he mentions the hoops they may need to jump through for some of the sites, like registering an account at Yelp. And nice thank you incentive at the bottom.

  • James Svoboda  February 16, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    This is similar to hotel and restaurant client I worked with. However I do not think that my client understood as well as this clever photographer the true value in following up with customers and guests. I put together a list of 40+ review sites for them to present to their guests and they managed to offer only 15. If my client followed up by email with their hundreds of daily guests in the same manner, they would have quite a lot in such a short amount of time.

  • Jonathan Wegener  February 16, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    That’s a very polite and kind message that the photographer wrote.

    Sorry to be a buzz-kill/party-pooper, but offering any kind of incentive (like free photographs) in exchange to write a review is against Yelp’s TOS and probably not allowed by the other sites either. Not that it’s likely that they’ll ever find out..


  • Craig Mullins  February 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    What a sweet idea. Time to get asking. Where’s that list of 40 local sites to put my reviews on. 🙂

  • Joy Local SEO  February 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing the email. While I think it is an extended concept of receiving coupon after a customer satisfaction survey, I think some of these review-for-service or product marketing campaigns can cross the line like Jonathan mentioned.

    A month ago or so, I came across one of Yelp Auto Repair listings. This shop’s reviews were filled with how the customers were satisfied with their visits because they got a Yelp discount.

    “…even though it wasn’t cheap, the staff at … kept me happy through the entire process and I was even able to get a discount since I found them on Yelp.”

    I don’t think giving a thank-you note and offering a little extra service as part of follow up and asking past clients to volunteer to write a review for them is crossing the line. But, giving a discount on the spot targeting a specific local directory is very close, if not already crossed, to violating the idea of fair competition online.

    I think local search marketers should definitely think about what would be acceptable and what wouldn’t.

  • Andrew Shotland  February 25, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I think it comes down to this:

    1. What are a business’ obligations to compete “fairly” in social media?

    All things being equal I honestly don’t think they have any obligation to compete fairly, whatever that means. Nor do I think most would consider the above-mentioned tactics “crossing the line”. Absence the whole social media spamming thing these just sound like good customer loyalty practices.

    2. What are the potential downsides to competing “unfairly”?

    This is where the decision about how to compete really matters – are you in danger of getting dinged by Yelp or another similar player? If so, maybe change your behavior. Are you in danger of getting a bad image online or among your customers/potential customers? If so, you should probably change your behavior.

    While I think most of us want a “clean” public well, the sense of “crossing the line” is probably not going to enter into the equation for most businesses. The equation is much more one of risk vs. reward.

  • Mike Choraaj  February 26, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Children are always nice to see. This picture is nicely made. It shows a real impacts.

  • Andrew Shotland  February 26, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Ok Mike that’s the freakiest comment spam I have seen in a while that I need to keep it up. Thanks for the kind freaky words.

  • Zach  March 11, 2009 at 8:52 am

    @Andrew & Mike…..hahahahahaha

    I found this site yesterday and I am HOOKED! So much GREAT content, and written in such a witty, humorous view. Keep up the great work Andrew!

  • Bob  August 24, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Freelance Photography is extremely competitive, I’m sure every bit of positive feedback helps. Especially if that photographer had a rogue client that left negative feedback on Yelp, etc…even one negative feedback could really hurt their bottom-line.