Let’s be honest, we’ve all turned to Yelp to preview a business before we make a purchasing decision. Even if you haven’t, you undoubtedly know someone who has. Yelp is one of the highest profile and most influential websites for steering consumer decisions based on customer feedback. If your business has a low overall rating, it’s most definitely hurting your bottom line.
While we wish we could tell business owners that improving your star-rating was as easy as asking for reviews, there’s a lot more that goes into it. Yelp has some of the most restrictive policies in place and prohibits a business from blatantly requesting reviews.
Yelp is all about the soft-sell when it comes to building a business profile, and they discourage business owners from reaching out to only those customers who they know will leave a positive review. After all, how trustworthy can a review site be if only happy people are asked to leave reviews? For Yelp to succeed, customers must be able to trust that Yelp is unbiased and that the reviews are authentic.
Just like Google and Facebook, Yelp uses an algorithm to determine which reviews appear on the site, and the order in which they appear. The formula tries to flag any reviews that appear solicited by looking at a variety of variables that includes not only the user’s profile but also the quality of the review.
So how can you get more Yelp reviews for your business without violating Yelp’s rules and regulations? Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Email Signature – Make sure every email that leaves your inbox includes the words “Check us out on Yelp!” and includes a hotlink to your Yelp profile. Choose your words carefully, though. The words “Check us out” provides a “heads-up” to customers that Yelp prefers over “Leave us a review” that is considered a “solicitation.”
- Yelp Review Badges – Yelp provides all the tools (and code) you need to include a badge on your website. Simply paste the code into your site and you’re all set! The totals even update in real time when someone leaves a new review! Sweet!
- Office Signs – Yelp provides the tools to print signage to place in your place of business, just click and print to create the brand assets you need.
- Share Reviews on Social Media – You can easily share reviews to your business Facebook and Twitter accounts when you’re logged into your Yelp profile. Be careful not to go overboard, but publishing a few positive reviews can encourage others to leave reviews. Worried about sharing reviews with lower star ratings? Don’t be. It’s good to sprinkle some of these throughout the channels with a thoughtful reply to help reinforce the authenticity of the reviews. After all, people will have a hard time trusting you if they believe you only get 5-star ratings. Nobody’s perfect all of the time.
- Use Reviews in Your Marketing Campaigns – Yelp doesn’t like it when you solicit reviews, but there aren’t any rules about sharing reviews. Just be sure you don’t take the review out of context or edit it by substituting or deleting words. It’s a good idea to get permission from the reviewer, as well as credit Yelp whenever you use it.
With more consumers headed to review sites prior to making their purchasing decision, having a great Yelp profile is more important than ever. Now is the time to take advantage of everything Yelp has to offer, just be sure to do it within their review guidelines. If you’re ready to boost your Yelp profile, give us a call. We’re ready to help!