March 22, 2014
A Yelp business profile can be an excellent marketing tool for your small business.
By Maureen McCabe
For small business owners, Yelp reviews can be a positive word-of-mouth marketing tool, while for others it can become a repository for negativity or customer complaints.
Since Yelp is one of the most widely used — and trusted — online review websites, your small business can’t ignore it. That’s why I have developed this quick guide to help you understand the workings of Yelp and what you must know about this popular customer review platform:
- Anyone can review your business. The first thing you need to know is that any user can create a page for your business and leave a review. Even if you’ve never logged into Yelp yourself, it’s possible that people are already leaving reviews of your business.
- You can claim your page. As a business owner, you can obtain administrative access to your Yelp profile, even if it has been set up by another user. Taking ownership of your business’ Yelp profile will allow you to edit contact information, add photos, and information about your business, as well as respond to reviews. To do so, you must locate or create your Yelp page through Yelp for Business Owners. Once you’ve located your page, you will receive a phone call to your business with a code to confirm that you are indeed the owner.
- Yelp filters its reviews. Yelp actively tries to weed out spammy, fake, or paid reviews left on business pages. While this is an excellent feature, the algorithm used to determine these spammy reviews can sometimes filter out real reviews from satisfied customers. This leads many business owners to frustration when they see legitimate reviews being filtered from their page.
- You can respond to reviews. As the business owner, you are able to respond to any review left on your business profile. This feature is definitely underused within the Yelp community. Responding to both positive and negative reviews can be valuable. Show visitors to your profile that you care about your customers and are listening to their feedback. This simple task will set you apart from your competition.
- You will get negative reviews. While we hope that all reviews left on our profiles will be positive, this is not always the case. Customers who have had a negative experience with your business may take to the internet and leave a bad review. The best way to deal with these types of reviews is to respond professionally, and be honest and straightforward as you address their comment.
- You’ll be able to see who is interacting with your page. Yelp offers business owners an excellent dashboard for gaining insight into their page’s performance. You can track the views your profile receives, which day of the week receives the most views, see how visitors are engaging with the page, and how many people visited your Yelp listing via a mobile device. This information can help you understand how, when, and where people are interacting with your listing, and guide you in your other online marketing efforts.
What Can I Do to Improve My Yelp Reviews Overall?
Of course, the best way to get great customer reviews on Yelp is to offer your customers a great experience with your business! How they interact with your business and how they feel when they purchase and use your product or service will have a huge impact on any review they might leave you on Yelp.
If you notice real reviews being filtered out from your Yelp business listing, this is usually a result of a user having an incomplete profile, and can also occur if they have only left a single review on the site. You can reduce the number of legitimate reviews that get filtered. Reach out to these customers and encourage them to fill out their profile, or review other businesses they have interacted with. You may also add the reviewer as a friend on Yelp, or “upvote” the review as a business owner.
Should you ask your customers for Yelp reviews? Yes. But know that it is against Yelp’s terms of service to pay for reviews or engage in any type of review trading scams. Instead, simply let your customers know your business is on Yelp. Continue to focus on delivering great customer service, and keep your Yelp profile up to date. Over time, your profile will get new reviews that will stick.
I suggest you check out the other blogs in this series; after all, you wouldn’t want to miss one juicy morsel. Or better yet, subscribe to my blog!
How to Get Great Customer Reviews Online: Creative Strategies
Why Customer Reviews are Important for Small Business Internet Marketing
Which Review Sites Should I Be Listed On?
How Online Reviews Can Impact Your Business
How to Get LinkedIn Company Page Recommendations
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