Imagine you’re a server.
A table at your restaurant is having a great time. They love you, give you compliments, know you by name. So you decide to pop the question.
You approach the table. Four faces turn to you.
“We’re looking for reviews on Yelp. I have a laptop in the back. Would you like to help?”
Four blank stares. Shameless self-promotion, you think.
Heres’ a tip: when you want to request reviews, don’t ask directly. When you ask for reviews, not only do you create awkward moments, you make reviews bias.
So, how can you create organic reviews? Here’s ten practical tips for you to try.
10 No-Nonsense Tips for Yelp Organic Reviews
1. Give customers a memorable experience.
First and most important: if you want good, organic reviews, you must give your customers what they want: a memorable experience.
In his book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie claims that, “The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.” He goes on by saying:
Here is a gnawing and unfaltering human hunger, and the rare individual who honestly satisfies this heart hunger will hold people in the palm of his or her hand and ‘even the undertaker will be sorry when he dies.’
The easiest (and most honest) way to generate organic Yelp reviews is to give your customers a good time. Make the experience memorable. Serve them great food. Make them feel comfortable. When you give customers a good time, they will be far more likely to review you on Yelp.
2. Put Yelp stickers on your window and front counter.
Marketing effectively implies marketing subtly. In other words, not “bam-in-your-face-marketing,” but “smooth-hey-you-should-check-this-out” kind of marketing.
And for the latter, stickers work well.
According to most small businesses, sticking “People love us on Yelp” stickers on your windows and front counters gather reviews like a rake gathers leaves. Want a sticker? Fill out this form.
3. Add a Yelp button to your mobile website.
If your customers plan to review your business in store, they will most likely review you from their handhelds.
Thus, add a Yelp button to your website. This simplifies the process for your customers.
Simplifying your online discovery leads me into another important point…
4. Complete your profile.
Believe it or not, some businesses do not complete their profile. The fuller your profile, the more professional you appear. And the more professional, the higher your reviews.
Here are some things you don’t want to forget:
a. NAP: make sure you have the correct name, address, and phone number. Though this may seem obvious, do keep in mind that 60% of business websites don’t have a phone number for the business.
b. Website: provide a link to your business’s website.
c. Photo Gallery: Yelp accounts with more pictures see more action. Add photos of your restaurant, product or service, customers, community service events.
d. Hours: make sure you post the right hours. In our digital era, having the wrong store hours is dangerous.
e. Menu: Post your full menu: prices, names, and a short description.
f. More business information: whether it’s “wheelchair accessibility,” or “bike parking,” or “WiFi,” fill out the “more information” questionnaire.
5. Optimize your profile.
By far, offensive tactics (completing your profile, linking website with Yelp account, putting stickers up) yield quicker results.
However, you’ll want to strengthen your defensive tactics, that is, make your Yelp account easily discoverable in search engines.
To optimize your profile, use the right words to reach the right people. And for Yelp that means choosing the right category and utilizing your “From the Business” section.
6. Use “Yelp ads.”
Why use a Yelp ad?
More exposure to local customers. That’s why.
As Yelp says, a Yelp ad:
offers targeted advertising to increase your exposure on relevant searches and nearby business pages.
According to Yelp, an Italian restaurant, Spaghettini, made a killing off Yelp ads. Spaghettini saw these increase in weeks:
- 67% increase in user views.
- 300 % increase in mobile calls from Yelp users.
- 83% increase in website traffic from Yelp.
While Yelp ads don’t guarantee more customer reviews, they do guarantee more customers. And that, in turn, means more reviews.
7. Prevent “good review filtration.”
Sometimes, Yelp filters out comments left by customers who haven’t completed their profiles. Yelp does this to prevent SPAM. It’s undesirable side effect is, of course, less reviews for you.
When you see a filtered comment, and its not SPAM, tell the customer his or her comment is showing up as SPAM. Encourage this customer to complete his or her profile, ask to be their friend, and see if the comment breaks through the filtration algorithm.
8. Ask rather than solicit.
Most of the time it’s not what you say but how you say it.
So instead of asking “Can you review us on Yelp?” say “You can find [blank] on Yelp.” When you say this to all your customers, the ones you make an impression on will review you.
9. A poor review is not a bad thing.
Though, surely, you want good reviews, poor reviews tell you what you can do better.
When you do get a poor review, you definitely need to answer it. To answer it, however, you should keep a few things in mind. And that, my friend, is the subject of next week’s article.
10. Keep working at it.
As John Maxwell says, “champions aren’t made champions in the ring; they’re merely recognized there.” In other words, you must work everyday to get better reviews.
Don’t give up. Keep raising awareness. Keep telling customers. Put stickers on your windows, your car, all your cars, your bike, whatever. Eventually, you will see reviews.