How To Encourage Authentic Yelp Reviews for Your Business
In honor of my newly awarded Yelp *ELITE* status I’m inspired to share insight on how your business can use Yelp as an effective marketing tool and increase the chances that you’ll receive reviews from your customers.
Many businesses make the mistake of getting all of their friends and family to write positive reviews in order to boost their ratings. It’s important to keep in mind that this strategy is inauthentic and won’t work because of Yelp’s Review Filter. Yelp strives to provide a forum with real reviews and experiences that’s a true resource for consumers. Here’s how to encourage authentic Yelp reviews from customers who are already avid Yelpers.
1. Reward Yelpers– Show Yelpers that you acknowledge and appreciate their reviews by rewarding them after they write a review. This isn’t something you need to promote. In fact promoting that your customer will get something for a reviews is, bribery therefore does not earn you authentic reviews. I have two examples of how I’ve seen this done.
Burger Lounge– In October 2009, Burger Lounge announced that if you previously reviewed their business on Yelp, they wanted to thank you with a free burger on a specific day. This promotion was for those who already reviewed Burger Lounge, so even if you hadn’t reviewed them yet you still heard the positive buzz which may have encouraged you to try them out and write a review to possibly benefit from future promotions. I was one of the lucky reviewers, happily claimed my Yelp Burger (Veggie) and definitely shared this news with my entire network optimizing Burger Lounge’s exposure even more.
Dr. Grant McGann Oral & Reconstructive Surgery– After going to Dr. Grant McGann for my wisdom teeth, I wanted to share my positive experience with others. I submitted my Yelp review and to my pleasant surprise received a Thank You letter from Dr. McGann a couple weeks later. He enclosed two movie passes to show his appreciation. Of course after I received the letter, I took a photo and shared it with my entire network which resulted people not only being aware of what a great surgeon he is, but also praising him for being Social Media savvy.
2. Include Yelp Links Everywhere– I’m seeing many people include links to their Facebook and Twitter in various outlets but noticed many are forgetting Yelp. Include a link to your Yelp page on your email signature, website, email newsletters, Facebook page, etc. so your customers will start associating your business with Yelp.
3. Post Events on Yelp– Many businesses create Facebook invites to promote their events but most don’t know you can list your event on Yelp. Adding your event to Yelp provides you exposure to new customers who are Yelpers. If someone finds out about your event on Yelp they’re most likely an avid Yelper who is more likely to review your business.
4. Highlight Positive Yelp Reviews- Positive Yelp reviews can be used as testimonials for your business. Include a Yelper’s quote in your newsletter, website or Facebook update. You can also tweet portions of reviews with a link back to your Yelp page. This will remind people that you’re on Yelp and provide more credibility to your business as customers see other validating your company.
5. Address Yelper’s concerns– While we would all love to have 5 Star reviews 100% of the time, this won’t happen. Accept this and receive negative Yelp reviews as constructive criticism that will help you improve your business. If you read a review from a customer who has a real concern, take the initiative to reach out to them so they know you care about their experience. Depending on the concern you may want to offer them something to encourage them to try your business again. Perhaps a gift certificate or a refund. How you handle the situation can really make a difference in how that person talks about your business in the future. Many people will even go on and write an updated review after trying your business again.
What is your experience with Yelp? Are you an avid Yelper? Do you use it to find services or products? Has your business benefited from being on Yelp? Please feel free to share your insight in the comments below. Feel free to also follow Marketing Melodie’s Yelp Reviews.