Every small business owner knows that online reviews can make or break a consumer’s purchasing decision. It seems every industry even has their own review site. Plastic surgeons can be found on Real Patient Ratings, plumbers can be found on Angie’s List, and nearly every small business has a Yelp profile, whether they want one or not.
If you have your head in the sand and refuse to admit that Yelp reviews impact your bottom line, we’re here to tell you that you’re sadly mistaken. These days, a brand is built by those who shop, dine, and experience it. Wise business owners make sure it’s a good experience.
Most business owners focus unnecessarily on the handful of negative reviews that may show up on their profiles when common sense suggests that flooding the channel with positive reviews is a far more effective strategy for influencing buyers. Most people understand that there’s no way to make everyone happy, so if the majority of your reviews reflect a positive experience, it’s easier for consumers to overlook an occasional negative review.
But getting those positive Yelp reviews from your happy customers can take a bit of prodding and encouragement. Here are a few tips to get you on your way to a 5-star Yelp rating.
- Claim Multiple Review Sites – There are a few places you should undoubtedly have a profile – Yelp, Google+, and Facebook to name a few. But where else should you be? Each industry is different, but it’s likely there are other relevant platforms like LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, or maybe even SpaFinder. Do your homework to determine where potential customers are looking for you, and then make sure you have a presence on the platform.
- Ask for What You Want – Like most things in life, you’ll never know unless you ask. When customers give you a compliment or send a kind email, ask them if they would mind sharing the same sentiment Yelp. The odds are great that consumers understand the influence their words may have and are motivated to help if they can.
- Remove the Barriers – Don’t make a happy customer search for your online profiles. Provide links, QR codes, and in-store signage to help customers easily access your review channels. Email signatures are a great place to get started.
- Motivate Your Team – Make sure employees understand the importance of receiving online reviews. Some companies offer cash payouts to employees when customers leave a review. It doesn’t have to be complicated. People are intrinsically motivated to share their experience, and staff is more likely to help when they understand the magnitude of their request.
- Thank Reviewers – Everyone appreciates a sincere “Thank you!” Each review site is different, but some allow businesses to thank Reviewers with a coupon, discount, or free offer. Be sure to do your homework to avoid violating any TOS agreements, but a small gesture can go a long way in turning a happy client into a loyal referral source.
- Offer Incentives To Reviewers – It’s against most rules to buy reviews. But everyone likes being rewarded for their effort and hard work. Sometimes incentives can be the tipping point between a happy client ignoring you, or expounding on a fabulous experience. To stay out of trouble, make sure your incentive is offered to anyone who leaves a review, not just those who leave a kind review. Random drawings and giveaways for all those who submit a review are a good way to avoid any suggestion that you are paying for a review.
Clearly, review sites are here to stay. Consumers rely on them more than ever to make purchasing decisions. Yelp may be the single most powerful review platform in the world. If you need some help with your Yelp, get in touch with us!