Yelp Marketing: 12 Best Practices to Generate 5-Star Yelp Business Reviews

Yelp marketing
Viktoriia Horbunova
Viktoriia Horbunova
Content Marketing Manager
≈ 10 min read
Upd. on: 17 Jun 2022

It’s no secret that today’s consumers turn to online reviews to check the social proof of your business and cut their research time. With more than 244 million reviews and a remarkable reputation, Yelp has become the standard de facto review site for most US consumers. In fact, Yelp receives more than 178 million unique website visitors and 33 million mobile app users each month. In other words, 12% of all US consumers check Yelp business reviews before engaging with a business. And among these, 42% make purchases on the same day from businesses that have 5-star reviews!
yelp demographics
First things first, if you wish to generate a steady flow of customers and sales, your business needs an effective Yelp marketing strategy. The ultimate goal of Yelp marketing is to make sure consumers find your business when they need it and choose you over your competitors. Be aware that Yelp marketing affects all local businesses despite size and industry, not just restaurants. Below you can see the breakdown of reviewed businesses by category.
Reviewed businesses on Yelp
Unlike fishy review sites that come and go, Yelp has been around since 2004. The site stacks up competitively to Google Business Profile (GBP), the main business listing for brick-and-mortar brands. Why is it so? One reason is Yelp supports long-form reviews that give thorough, in-depth insights on whether a nearby restaurant or coffee shop is worth checking out. Furthermore, the Yelp site is intuitive and user-friendly, unlike GBP, which can easily get cluttered with spam and third-party adverts.
Yelp business reviews
Okay, enough about Yelp. They have already built their reputation. Now, how can you get that Yelp 5 star rating to drive local sales in your business? Here is a quick guide to Yelp reviews, including 12 proven tactics that will give you Yelp 5 stars every time consumers review your business.

Yelp Page Activation to Get the Most Out of Your Account

It will help if you re-evaluate how your business appears on Yelp before embarking on generating reviews. That said, you need to activate your Yelp page in order to get the most from your Yelp marketing strategy. Here is how you can do it:

Step #1 – Claim Your Yelp Business Profile

Business owners can claim a business on Yelp by undergoing the site’s verification process. Fulfilling this gives you access to a suite of free tools that can help enhance your business’s visibility on Yelp. Moreover, claimed businesses can respond to funny reviews on Yelp via a public comment or direct message, update photos, and enrich the page with a biography.

Step #2 – Make It Easy for Potential Customers to Find You

Consumers want to know the business location and when exactly to access your products and services. After claiming your business profile, complete it by filling out as much information as possible about your company to optimize the chances of someone finding your profile on Yelp. That said, add your company’s physical address, website URL, and a detailed description of the services you provide. It will also help if you give up-to-date business information, such as closures, operating hours, and mobile phone numbers.
Yelp reviewers
Don’t forget to leverage relevant keywords to optimize your Yelp profile for more visibility on the Internet.

Step #3 – Leverage the Yelp Business App

Yelp Business App gives you the right tools at your disposal to engage customers on the go. With the convenience of all these tools on your phone, you can get data about your user views, customer leads, and other activity on your Yelp Business Page through real-time insights. Moreover, if you run paid ads on Yelp as part of your Yelp marketing strategy, you get insights into the total number of Ad clicks to complement your overall Yelp marketing strategies.
business app

Step #4 – Consider Using Yelp Enhanced Business Profile Features

You can also leverage Yelp enhanced business features to increase the functionality of your page. These features include an additional CTA button for customers to engage with your business directly, an enhanced photo gallery for easy product updates, and Yelp deals for exclusive offers, such as discounts.

Once done with the above steps, your Yelp page is optimized to appear in the first-page search results. Now, it’s time to get as many 5-star reviews as possible to create a positive brand sentiment.

12 Proven Tactics That Will Give You the Best Yelp Reviews

According to Harvard Business School, a 1-star increase on Yelp could lead to a 5-9% increase in business revenue. But are Yelp reviews reliable? Yes, because they are your brand’s advocates. Happy customers will likely influence new ones to buy from your brand.

Below you can learn about 12 proven tactics that will help you get started with the first positive reviews on Yelp.

1. Get Initial Reviews From Your Network

First, you’ll need to get initial reviews within your existing network as a foundation. You can ask your friends, family, and staff members to give honest reviews on your Yelp profile. While doing this, be on the watch out for customers who often talk about your business and invite them to leave their reviews on the page as well.

After that, send out a mass email to your current customers informing them of the new business listing on Yelp business reviews. You’ll be surprised how many of your customers will be willing to give detailed reviews highlighting their experiences. Also, echo the same message in your periodical newsletters to encourage more happy customers to leave reviews.

2. Ask Customers to Check In to Your Business

It looks unprofessional to solicit positive reviews from your customers directly. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t remind customers to check into your business on the Yelp app. If a customer includes a photo with their check-in information, Yelp will automatically send them an email within a day or so requesting them to leave a review. And they’ll gladly do so if you gave them an awesome experience.

3. Embed Yelp Badge on Your Website

There is a very high likelihood that the majority of consumers will interact with your website first before proceeding to compare Google reviews vs Yelp. That said, displaying a Yelp badge on your website can help drive traffic to your Yelp business profile. Moreover, Yelp review badges allow you to showcase existing Yelp reviews on your website.

4. Leverage Social Media By Sharing Positive Reviews

While soliciting for reviews directly is unprofessional, it’s not a crime to share some of the positive reviews with your audience. Social media sounds like a good platform for sharing reviews, thanks to the high number of active users. Besides driving sales, this move can encourage other happy customers to review your business too. Remember, the higher the number of positive reviews, the more your business looks credible and trustworthy.

5. Use Yelp Branding In-Store

It will help if you also target your physical in-store customers in a bid to get more Yelp reviewers on the page. That said, order a free window cling for Yelp in-store branding. Ensure that this window cling sits on a noticeable area, preferably at the entry and exit points of your local store. Alternatively, you can hang the window cling alongside wall menus.
Yelp in-store branding

6. Try Follow-Up Text Messages

Text messaging is gaining traction as a way of following up on consumer experiences. Besides a higher response rate of about 45%, 90% of consumers will likely open your text messages within three minutes of receipt. You can include a Yelp profile link in your follow-up text messages to encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews.

7. Leverage Receipts

Receipts work nearly the same way as follow-up texts. Consumers often love to confirm prices and discount rates later on receipts after purchasing products or services. If it’s a digital receipt, you can embed a Yelp badge on it and encourage the consumer to leave a comment. Alternatively, you can just include a short CTA, to prompt customers to talk about their experiences on Yelp.

8. Offer an Incentive

Yelp deals include discounts and you can take advantage of this to offer direct incentives to your customers. For instance, you can create a check-in offer for Yelp customers who can claim it via the site. Moreover, Yelp incentives also come with other benefits, such as driving orders on days that are typically slower, such as weekdays.

9. Run an Ad

Running an ad on Yelp places your business among the top listings in search results. Typically, first-responding businesses with actively running ads always appear first in search results as opposed to businesses in the sponsored ad sections. This gives you an upper hand in a highly competitive industry, positioning your business for better visibility and more positive Yelp reviews.

10. Post Regular Updates

Think of Yelp as a social media platform that allows you to share business updates with a more specific target audience. This is because the site has a feature that allows you to post critical updates and stay in touch with your consumers. Some of these updates may include new menu offerings, upgraded services, or logistical changes. Regular updates show your customers that you are active on the Yelp page and encourage them to leave more reviews or trust the existing ones.

11. Monitor Your Account and Respond to Existing Reviews

Although it can be tricky responding to bad Yelp reviews, doing so shows your customers that you care. It also builds trust with new prospects and positively affects your online reputation, knowing that your business owns up to its shortcomings.
Moreover, it’s common and understandable to experience a couple of unhappy customers who will leave bad reviews on Yelp. That said, you need to respond to both positive and negative reviews because nearly 89% of consumers are waiting to read your business’ response to its reviews. In that case, it will help if you don’t exude any anger in your responses.

12. Consider Utilizing Review Management Software

As your business picks up, you’ll start getting many reviews from multiple sites, some of them fronted by independent consumers. This can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you have a culture of tracking and responding to every review. It even gets more daunting if you are a national brand serving multiple locations.

Fortunately, you can leverage review management software to ensure brand image and response consistency across all locations. For example, PromoRepublic allows you to manage all your customer reviews and communication for every location via one dashboard.
review performance analytics
Additionally, the platform helps monitor customer satisfaction and speed at which local teams or customer care approach online reviews via in-depth analytics.
review response time

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Yelp Marketing And Reviews

How to embed Yelp reviews on your website?

Unlike a screenshot or copy-pasted reviews, embedded Yelp business reviews feature up-to-date rating and review count. You can embed positive reviews on your website in the following steps:

  • Choose your recommended review on Yelp official site;
  • Click review options;
  • Select embed review and copy the embedding code;
  • Paste the code at the right section of your website.

How to respond to a bad Yelp Review?

Knowing how to respond to Yelp reviews, whether positive or bad is critical. When it comes to negative reviews, you need to be brief, apologetic, and shoot straight to the point. After that, encourage the customer to pursue their concerns offline before resuming online conversation resolving the matter.
how to respond to negative reviews

Can business owners delete Yelp reviews?

Many business owners would want to know how to remove negative Yelp reviews that unnecessarily tarnish brand image. Well, it’s possible to initiate the process with Yelp, especially if the subject review violates Yelp review guidelines. However, it’s not a guarantee that Yelp will remove the reviews.

Should you buy positive Yelp reviews?

Buying positive Yelp reviews is purely an aesthetic choice for business owners. However, you can buy one or two if your business is in a position to pay for Yelp reviews. But keep in mind there are many risks associated with buying yelp reviews as Yelp is not keen on the idea of people trying to cheat their system. If Yelp’s algorithm suspects a review is not genuine, it automatically hides it so that potential customers will not likely see it. Hence, buying reviews can easily turn into a complete waste of your money. It will help if you offer the best services or know how to get a bad review off Yelp so that you don’t worry about buying in the first place.

Why are some Yelp reviews not recommended?

Some Yelp business reviews may not be recommended if the platform suspects they are fake, biased, or unhelpful. To illustrate, roughly 25% of all user reviews are not recommended by the algorithm. Some of them are filtered simply because the reviewer is inexperienced, while Yelp aims to provide in-depth, throughout opinions for its users. However, customers can still search the Yelp filtered review and browse through them.

The Bottom Line

Yelp enables people to search for local businesses based on customer ratings and reviews. Despite myths that Yelp markering is only for restaurants, it covers a broad range of industry sectors such as beauty and fitness, travel and hotel, health and medical, home services, and many more.

As a brick-and-mortar business owner, you can use Yelp to showcase your products and services and connect with customers and prospects in your local area. To do so, you need a comprehensive Yelp marketing strategy that includes a step-by-step plan for generating a consistent flow of positive reviews.

In this article, we’ve reviewed 12 proven tactics to help you get those 5-start reviews coming in. Be aware that responding to customer reviews is as critical as generating them and can create a dialogue and show customers you value their feedback. If you have many locations to manage, consider using an online reputation software or a local marketing platform, such as PromoRepublic, to effectively manage communication in different areas via one dashboard. To see how it works, book a demo now.

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