We wrote a post last year on how small businesses can use Yelp for marketing. In the article we detailed 7 ways you can get more visibility by using Yelp. Now let’s talk about what you really want…..more Yelp reviews.
The first step is getting involved, so read the previous article for tips on using Yelp. After you understand how the site works then you can take it to the next level and get more reviews.
The next steps are….
- Post a sign
“Let Us Know How We Are Doing” You’ve seen this statement before on comment cards, receipts, posted at a cash register, or in a followup email or mailing. It is a way for businesses to empower customers, let them know you care about their opinion and that you are actively improving your business by listening. There is no reason to recreate the wheel, continue to ask for feedback but now let them know that they can do it digitally.
On your receipts, comment cards, business cards, marketing material, and sign postings let people know that you can be found online and that they can read and give feedback there.
- Encourage check-ins
Foursquare the preeminent check-in service hit over 5 million users in December of 2010, is at 2 million check-ins and 25K new users a day, users are split up geographically between 60% US and 40% international, with the average Foursquare user checking in 3-4 times day. (techcrunch.com)
What is a check-in? It is as simple as it sounds, people go places and when they get there they check-in. It looks something like “Bridget just checked-in @ Qualcomm Stadium (w/ Don Lowe) (San Diego, CA)”. I know, I know…. you don’t care that I am at Qualcomm watching a San Diego Charger game but what Qualcomm and any other business I check-in at SHOULD care about is how many people just saw me check in. I am promoting a business by telling people I am there and on just Foursquare alone there are 5 million people who are doing it. That is why Google, Facebook, and Yelp are now offering comparable services.
When is the best time to get a referral? The answer used to be “during the transaction” now it should be, “when they are standing right in front of you”. A check-in is a real time endorsement and a quick, free way to get someone to promote your business. So if you want Yelps encourage the check-in, show Yelp check-ins on your website and social profiles, reward people for checking in.
- Host a Yelp Event
You want Yelps, well then you need Yelpers and to get Yelpers you need to invite them. To host a successful Yelp event you need to be a Yelper, that means…
1. Create a profile
2. Start Yelping
3. Then Start Connecting; by “friending” your local Yelpers. How do you find them? Look at local businesses, competitors, and industry leaders on Yelp and look at who is reviewing them.
Once you have been on the network for a bit (a few months), you have contributed in the forums, made connections, and become an active user of the network. Post an event and invite some local Yelp buddies to attend. Promote the Yelp event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You can also contact the Yelp Elite in your area and let them know you would LOVE to host a Yelp Elite Event.
- Offer discounts to Yelpers
We discussed this in our previous post, but it is worth repeating. Yelp lets you post discounts, coupons, and events for free so use it. If Yelpers see a discount that may encourage them to stop on in, and active Yelpers write reviews. Also by offering a Yelp discount you will know who the Yelpers are and you can make sure that they get fabulous service, not that they wouldn’t if they weren’t Yelpers.
- Integrate your Yelp profile into your business marketing
Businesses are getting savvy about integrating their web presence into their marketing material, finally. We now see Facebook and Twitter icons everywhere, in magazines, on T.V. ads, websites, brochures, business cards, etc. So add Yelp or better yet mix it up, rotate your review sites and your social sites. One of the most overlooked places is in an email signature, at the bottom of your signature highlight the review site. Ask for the feedback.
- Let people know when you get a Yelp review
Sometimes we just need to see others doing it to stimulate us to do it. When people read a review of a company, business, or organization they are familiar with one of five things can happen;
1. We like the review but see a few things missing that we could add
2. we hate the review and want to defend the company
3. We love the review and are inspired to write one of our own
4. We love the review and decide to share it with our network
5. We do nothing
To us the odds lean towards an action being taken, so taking the time to promote reviews when they happen is worth it. We left off negative reactions and reviews, but can you get some bad reviews? Yes. There will always be those people that are not happy with you or your service but, and that is a big BUT, if you are company that excels at customer service the proof will be in the quantity of good reviews. It’s in the numbers, if we see more good reviews than bad, the bad reviews will hold less weight.
So, what are the takeaways here? The best way to get reviews from Yelpers is to become a Yelper. Those customers that don’t know what Yelp is are not likely to try and figure the site out to give you a review. You need to target and entice Yelpers to become customers and then the reviews will start flowing.