As a business owner, it’s pretty likely you have an ambiguous relationship with Yelp. The super-popular review site is a great way to drive sales – if you have plenty of five star reviews. However, Yelp also gives the disgruntled, angry, or flat-out unpleasable customer a platform they can use to trash your business. If these negative reviews are the only ones your potential customers see, they’re not going to take a chance on you. The only recourse available to business owners today is to solicit genuine positive reviews from your customers who love what you do and enjoy doing business with you.
Here are the ABCs of soliciting positive Yelp reviews from your customers:
A: ALWAYS ASK
Make asking for a positive Yelp review a standard part of the way you do business. Use a sign near your cash register; include the request on your receipt or any tuck-ins you put in your customers’ bags. Share the need for reviews on social media, and don’t be shy about asking your best customers in person. When you explain that positive Yelp reviews are a critical component of helping their favorite business stay open, they’re generally going to be happy to help.
B: BE SUPPORTIVE
Your customers may read Yelp reviews, but some have no idea how to post a review themselves. Experts agree that providing a brief, easy to understand tutorial on your website is a great idea. Use this space to emphasize the value of filling out their profile completely, adding their picture, keeping reviews strictly honest, and sharing their thoughts about many businesses they’ve dealt with – not just yours. These best practices will make it more likely that their positive reviews will actually appear and not be trapped in Yelp’s spam filters. (PS: Need help with this? Give us a call. We’ll do it for you!)
C: CONNECTIONS MATTER
Your customers are the best source of positive Yelp reviews. However, they’re not the only people you can talk to. Ask your vendors to post about what it’s like to do business with you: the public values knowing you’re an honest & reliable business partner. Talk to your family members and friends and ask them to share their thoughts. Be aware that all of these positive reviews can’t come from the same computer: Yelp will filter out multiple positive reviews originating from the same IP address.
What about paying for Yelp reviews?
You’ve likely read about how easy it is to get positive Yelp reviews using a service like Fiverr or Mechanical Turk. All we’re going to say about that is that Yelp knows about this strategy, and takes measures to weed obviously purchased reviews off of their site. Don’t waste your money!