Of the many ways for local eateries to increase their Internet presence, Yelp.com is arguably at the top of the list. When a potential customer uses Google to search for an individual restaurant, the Yelp reviews for that restaurant will be at the top of the list, often directly above the official website of that business. If a customer is unsure about a restaurant they’ve never tried before, Yelp is one of the first places they will go to find out more information. An abundance of poor reviews and if the restaurant bio lacks information will influence customers to find another eatery. So how do you fix it?
- Claim your business page on Yelp. Information about restaurants will appear on their Yelp page as more reviewers post. Reviewers are invited to share pictures, comment on the price, and share more relevant reports about the restaurant. However, accuracy is not necessary. You may offer take-out, but if one customer is unaware of that, your Yelp page will reflect their ignorance. Take charge of the situation by posting information yourself. You may also want to share your full menu and pictures to help sway potential customers. The process of claiming your business is fairly simple, but very important, and often ignored.
- Encourage patrons to use Yelp. Of course lots of favorable reviews are going to help your business. But it’s difficult to encourage patrons to review your business after they’ve already left the establishment. Customers are most likely going to forget to do it. Try to encourage patrons to review while they are still on your premises. Although you don’t want to bombard people with your persistence, you also want to make it as easy on them as possible. Have signs or centerpieces that give the appropriate URL or barcode that smart phone users can scan to take them directly to the website. Ask waiters to suggest writing a Yelp review to customers that seemed to have had a good experience.
- Create Yelp deals. After you’ve claimed your business page, you have the option to create specials and deals for customers who visit your Yelp page. This is a great way to push potential customers into paying customers. Yelp also offers a way to sell gift certificates to your establishment on their website, giving you 90% of the revenue from that transaction.
- Don’t be afraid of bad reviews. Encourage your patrons to be honest, even about the negatives. Every restaurant will have bad reviews; without them, your business will look like it is faking reviews. Use the complaints as a way to improve your business. You also have the ability on Yelp to reply to your customer
’s posts. This can be a great way to alert future customers that you are addressing the issue.
- Promote Yelp wherever you have an Internet presence. Put a link or badge to your Yelp page on your business’s website. You can also encourage patrons to write a review through your social media avenues. Again, don’t overdo it, but do give gentle reminders to followers that there is a place where they can share their love for your eatery.
Dylan, Scott. “Yelp for Business: How to Get More Reviews.” http://www.scottdylan.net/yelp-for-business-how-to-get-more-reviews/ (23 July 2013).
“Support Center.” https://biz.yelp.com/support/deals. (23 July 2013).