Yelp reviews are some of the hardest online reviews to get from your customers. We look at why that is, and guide you on how to get more of them.
You might have a small army of loyal customers, but if your Yelp page is quiet, you may find it harder to attract new customers into the fold.
Of course online reviews translate directly into dollars... if you're getting the right kind (and yes, Yelp is the right kind).
But with a notoriously strict review filter how do you get those coveted Yelp reviews?
It's just like mom always said: all you have to do is ask nicely. Okay maybe it's a little more involved than that, but getting Yelp reviews isn't as hard as you think.
Let's take a look at why it matters and exactly how it's done.
Why Yelp Matters
Between desktop and mobile versions, nearly 150 million people visit Yelp each month (according to Yelp itself). Google and Facebook don't release stats about their review readership, but they are becoming increasingly important, even eclipsing Yelp in volume and readership (more on this in a minute).
And online reviews are incredibly influential, according to a recent survey.
Over 1,000 people were surveyed about how their shopping habits were affected by online reviews, and the message was clear:
In order to drive business, you need customers to consistently write positive reviews because:
- 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 73 percent of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant
Asking for Yelp Reviews
Here's where that "asking nicely" thing comes in:
Survey Says: Seven out of ten customers will post an online review if you ask them to. So... start asking.
It's worth noting Yelp's official position about asking for reviews...
On one hand, the company tells businesses not to ask customers for reviews. But on the other hand Yelp does encourage businesses to tell their customers to "find us on Yelp."
If that sounds confusing it's because... well, it is confusing, especially because Yelp is the only major review site that has this policy.
But rather than ponder why this is their policy, let's instead focus on what matters...
The Step-by-Step Guide On How To Get More Yelp Reviews
Whether you're a new one-person startup or a decades-old business, you can get more Yelp reviews using the same process. (Of course, you can't get any Yelp reviews if your business isn't on Yelp. So if you haven't already created a page for your business, start with Yelp's Add a Business page.)
- If you haven't already, claim your Yelp business listing. Claiming your business is a way of stating you're authorized to speak for it. To take this step, visit Yelp's Find and Claim page and search for your business. Once you've successfully claimed the business, you can respond to reviews and track visitor activity on your page.
- Optimize your Yelp page by adding all relevant information about your business, such as hours and parking information. Upload high-quality photos of your location and products. Photos are really important: according to Yelp, users spend 2.5 times longer looking at pages that include photos than those without photos.
- Add links to your Yelp page that direct users to your website and other social media pages.
- Make it a habit to ask customers questions at the end of every transaction, and train your staff to do the same. Ask something like, "How was your experience here today?"
- If the feedback is mixed or negative, ask (nicely!) to hear more about what the problem was. When you empathize with the customer and ask for genuine feedback, you might be able to address their concerns and make them feel heard and understood. And when that happens, you can convert them into happy customers, or at least make them less inclined to complain about you on Yelp.
- If the feedback is positive, ask the customer to write an online review. The key is to ask in a casual, no-pressure manner. Say something like "Glad you're happy! Don't feel shy about posting that on Yelp or Google!" If you can get a smile out of the customer, they're that much more likely to review you positively.
It's only natural to focus on Yelp - it's an important online review site. But it's not the review site behemoth it was a few years ago. In fact, Yelp is increasingly losing in marketshare to Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and industry-specific review sites.
What's that mean for you? It means don't obsess over Yelp. Obsess over providing a great customer experience. Obsess over getting more positive online reviews in general. But let your customers choose the site that they're most comfortable reviewing you on, Yelp or otherwise.
Getting reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc is definitely worthwhile, considering how much business is driven by online reviews. But it takes tons of time and continuous effort to keep those good reviews flowing.
Using an automated system like ReputationStacker makes the process incredibly easy and simple.
Just enter your customers' email addresses or phone numbers into the system, and ReputationStacker reaches out to them with a single survey question. Unhappy customers are directed back to you so you can address their complaints, while happy customers are directed to the review sites of your choosing to post a positive review.
What If My Customers Don't Have a Yelp Account?
Yelp is what a lot of us think of when we think "online reviews", but again it's far from the only game in town.
Cultivate your business pages on review sites like Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and others to build a diverse review profile. And if a customer says "I'd love to review you but I don't have a Yelp account," you can respond with something like, "No worries, you can review us on Google or Facebook, too!"
The other reason it's important to have reviews on a few different sites and one that you're no doubt already well aware of: Yelp uses complicated algorithms to decide what reviews are shown on your page and which are filtered out, and the company is tight-lipped about how those decisions are made.
Suffice it to say, if your customers are reviewing you on Yelp but they don't have strong Yelp user profiles (i.e.: if they're not already fairly active about posting Yelp reviews for other businesses), then their review is going to get filtered out.
This advice is extremely important so we're going to repeat it: work on getting more online reviews in general and don't focus so much on laser-targeting Yelp.
Over time your customers who are active on Yelp will naturally post reviews there and those reviews won't get filtered. If you focus on and push only for Yelp then statistically speaking most of the reviews posted there are going to get filtered.
Don't be obsessive about Yelp; spread the review love around to a variety of sites.
Many business owners look at Yelp as both a blessing and a curse, but managed properly, it's really mostly a blessing. That said, Yelp is not the be-all end-all of online review sites.
Use the suggestions here to get more Yelp reviews, but also don't ignore other review sites like Google, Facebook, and niche online review sites that are specific to your industry.
Most of your customers will post reviews when gently prompted. And systemizing the way you get reviews keeps positive reviews flowing in and keeps negative feedback from overwhelming your online review presence.
An automated system like ReputationStacker takes all the guesswork out of getting more positive online reviews and building your customer base.