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Arment Dietrich

Boost your Yelp Rating…and Your Sales With These Six Steps

By: Arment Dietrich | October 26, 2011 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Molli Megasko. 

I live in New York City and finding a spot for dinner can be a daunting task.  With about 25,000 restaurants an easy cab ride away, Google just doesn’t cut it.

If my husband and I feel like eating out (which is most of the time), we have a process.  We choose a culture, pick a neighborhood, find Zagat-rated places, then look at the reviews on Yelp.

This usually narrows it down to two or three, then we choose by menu choices or which place can seat us sooner.

A few nights ago I found this Moroccan place in our neighborhood that got an A rating and I wanted to try it out.  We looked at Yelp and it had bad reviews and against my better judgment, I wanted to try it anyway.  The outcome?  It sucked and we vowed to never go against Yelp again.

Which got me thinking, how much in new sales do companies get with good Yelp ratings?

After doing a little bit of research, I ran across a new study from Harvard Business School titled “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com.”  The study concludes that one full star boost on Yelp can increase sales by five to nine percent.

Just in case you did not read that correctly…businesses can see a five to nine percent increase in sales just from one extra star added to their review.

So, what does this mean to marketers?  What does this mean for small businesses?

It’s time to stop paying attention to bad reviews and work on our communication skills to gain good reviews.

Bad reviews are going to happen if customers have a bad experience; the hard thing is encouraging customers to post positive reviews.

Six Ways to Boost Your Yelp Rating

  1. Do good business.  First and foremost, make sure you are tight from the inside out.  Don’t expect positive reviews to happen if you’re not giving your customers what they were promised.
  2. Own your Yelp page.  Make sure all the information on the page is correct – the company name, address, cross streets, etc.
  3. Encourage customers to take photos.  When customers are using your product or service, let them know you encourage photo-taking and sharing and direct them to your review page.
  4. Follow-up with customers.  After the sale, follow-up with your customers either by phone or by email and ask them to post a review if they were happy with your services. Send them the link to make it as easy as possible for them.  Here is a recent example of one I received from a florist I used for an event: “Please keep us in mind for any upcoming events, and if you were pleased, do recommend us to friends and/or write us a review on Yelp. And of course if you have any photos of the flowers from the event that you would like to submit, we would greatly appreciate that.”
  5. Send an email blast to past and current customers.  Same idea here as number four.  If you distribute a newsletter, add this as one of the topics, or just send a note to your database about how you’re working on some marketing activities and if they wouldn’t mind, to leave a review on your new Yelp page.
  6. Promote your Yelp ratings.  Take some of the reviews and use them as testimonials, note your star status on your website and like from you blog.  Remember, one star boost can increase your sales.

What other tips do you have for generating positive reviews on Yelp?

It’s tomorrow!
Social Media and Media Relations Measurement
with Johna Burke of BurrellesLuce and our own Gini Dietrich.
Thursday October 27 at 11:00 a.m. CT.
This webinar is $50 and you can register here.

19 comments
Reputation
Reputation

What do you recommend for a business that has a few bad reviews and has responded in kind, but also would like to push them down?  He's gotten some good reviews from customers too, but Yelp keeps filtering those.

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

I feel the same way in DC, it is overwhelming to pick a new restaurant. I definitely rely on Yelp and the reviews. I'm actually surprised the sale increase isn't higher than 5-9%. If owned a restaurant I would most definitely be paying attention to this. And hey, I think it's quite an advantage if you really want to be good at what you do.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Simple, basic and so spot-on. If more businesses engaged in this type of social media channel, they'd better understand the reason why we're all engaging on the others.

photo chris
photo chris

It's too bad that this post couldn't address the abusive business practices of Yelp instead, and how to fight them- THAT would have been helpful.

To encourage anyone to use them as a review site is simply irresponsible. The thing about people with bad business practices is that if you ignore them, they WILL go away. Stop giving abusive people power.

I am all for sound customer service, business replying to their cusotmers and honest reviews- yelp promotes none of this.

When over 100 current, positive, reviewes get mysteriously "filtered" into a tiny, light grey link after a string of random and OLD bad reviews after saying "no thanks" to their advertising, when no one can tell you what their "secret formula" is to creating those suspicious filters, and when you can't get a person on the phone to address it, something needs to be done, and is it NOT the promotion of others using their services to promote sales.

I am so disappointed something like this would be posted to what I have otherwise considered an excellent, responsible and informative blog.

emily.vonsydow
emily.vonsydow

The company I work for has been trying to get reviews on Yelp for some time now. I believe we have something like 12 reviews--but they've all been filtered.

We've been trying various tactics like contacted clients for reviews less frequently (so reviews are posted less frequently) and even contacting clients who may not give us a 5-star review. To no avail. Yelp still thinks we're stuffing the ballot box with fake reviews.

We definitely see the value of positive reviews. We just can't figure out how to get Yelp to post them!

daphne_reznik
daphne_reznik

@jpalnau 1) that's so TRUE about NYC, it's how I ate there. 2) I wish more of #lovelansing would take this on and increase Yelp traffic here

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I'm here!!!

I love the Yelp Phone App.For all the reasons you mentioned above. I also use FourSquare and Gowalla in the same way btw.

Lets talk why @yelp is dangerous.

My client Chunk-n-Chip has an abusive review we flagged on Aug 15th. Still flagged. Can't get a response. Not via email or me contacting @yelpoc who btw actually likes my client and we like Hazel. But I sent a DM and no response. I asked for an email and still nothing. Notice there were no responses to my angry tweets today. We have been trying to get this resolved since Aug 15th.

If this guy just said he was upset vs using the language he did I could contact him and make him better. My client remembers him and felt his story is incorrect (but yes customer is always right)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/chunk-n-chip-cookies-orange-county#hrid:rDQ4tyi7K0nngDeo8N2qtw

We have another recent review that is completely fake in my opinion. Person will not respond to my email asking when her problem occurred can we make this better.

Anyone can make a fake account (or many) and destroy a brand and then Yelp!! makes it impossible to fix because there is no customer service phone number. We don't get email responses. And so I wonder do we want to play here for the 500 views a month we get. My client has about 5000-8000 customers a month right now. Our main competitor has also had a few bad reviews lately.

We suspect they only help companies that buy ads. And if so everyone needs to know this. Lastly they did ask us to advertise. Guess where? On our competitors pages. Yes that is right they are selling ad space to your competitors on your page.

My counterpoint @MolliMegasko has been said and as I emailed @ginidietrich I think I was nice here helped that I calmed down LOL

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

Good stuff. I think the advice about following up also says a lot about letting your customers drive the conversation. I listen to a lot of complaints on-line where businesses don't feel like they have interesting content to share.....but if you followup with your customers and get them to share pictures, reviews, and their experiences, then you have content that you can use on your website and across a spectrum of social networks. And of course genuine relationships shine through on social sites like Yelp.

KenMueller
KenMueller

It's really amazing how so few people do this. Not just on Yelp, but across the board. There are so many tools out there that others are using to talk about us, and yet we fail to use those same tools to our advantage. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Great stuff, Molly!

terence.stephens
terence.stephens

great idea and post. Easy & Actionable and something likely to give fairly immediate results.

SeanDeming
SeanDeming

 @emily.vonsydow pay the $300 a month in adevertising and they show up.  It's called extortion and it's how YELP survives.  550+ complaints to the BBB this year alone.  YELP is a joke.  Where I live COSTCO is the 2nd highest rated restaurant.  Pizza hut is #4.  It's a joke.  Pay to advertise and your reviews gets posted, refuse to advertise and all the positive reviews are gone because of some filter.   Nothing good about YELP at all.  Good luck dealing with them unless you can afford the extortion (advertising) fees.  

MolliMegasko
MolliMegasko

Keep in mind, Howie, we are discussing how a GOOD review can increase sales. We all know that with any user-generated review site, that you must take it with a grain of salt when it comes to the bad reviews.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I wish to add my client and I love Yelp! The day they debuted the BOO-Yah!! Truck at the OC Foodie Fest my client took second place as fan favorite out of 50. and this year took fan favorite 8)

MolliMegasko
MolliMegasko

I agree. It's crazy that there are all these tools, FOR FREE, that small businesses ignore. Hopefully, by shining some light, we're helping at least one.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@MolliMegasko LOL you can't focus on only half the equation Molly! Yes if the premise is a good review on 'any site' can boost sales you are correct.

But we aren't talking a negative review we have some I am ok with that. What if a PR Listing Service allowed reviews. And it was one of the big services everyone used. And you got some good reviews. But I went to PRSA and just was fire to your ice and decided to hammer your listing with horrible attacks using the B word or worse like that guy in my link and the listing service refused to take them down.

Would you focus on the good review or the platform as possibly unsafe for your business?

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