How Changing One Sentence led to 2.5x more Reviews

December 17, 2020
2 min read

June 2019
Fifteen years in business and we had a measly three reviews on Google.


I reminded myself that this is exactly why I moved back from the Bay area to work on the family business – to use technology to expand. Let’s fix this!

Stoneland Reviews December 2019

I’d read somewhere that people are most willing to review right after their experience – good or bad. I’d been itching to use Twilio, and this was the perfect use case! Our inside sales person saves a visitor’s contact information right after a visitor leaves. Their phone number is included in this.

So, June 2019 I wrote a python script that sent an SMS to the visitor an 1 hour after they left. The SMS said:

If you enjoyed your visit (or didn't), please let us know how we did!
-Stoneland Team

I thought it was pretty slick, getting the URL, a cohesive message and proper formatting into one SMS.

At the same time, our sales team made a push to get reviews by emailing old customers.

December 2019
We have 18 reviews now! While a big improvement over the last 15 years, it was still far below our competition. And most of the reviews were in September when our sales team made the push. Now the trickle had dried up.

I’d been reading and listening to a lot of Indiehackers, especially interviews with founders who were marketing specialists. After ingesting Indiehacker nuggets, I settled on changing one factor at a time to understand what drove reviews.

In January 2020, I tweaked the copy of the SMS to read:

If you enjoyed your visit, leave us a 5 second rating!
-Stoneland Team

December 2020
That tiny change made all the difference! As of December 15, 2020, we have 93 reviews with a 4.9 rating! We’ve outstripped all our competitors in the area, as well as several of our customers.

Bottom line? Copywriting matters.

Stoneland Reviews December 2020

P.S. For anyone wondering about the math around ‘2.5x’, here’s the breakdown:

  • June 2019 - December 2020 (~6 months): 15 reviews
  • Extrapolated over 12 months: 30 reviews
  • January 2020 - December 2020 (~12 months): 75 reviews
75/30 = 2.5

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