How do I Manage Yelp?
When it comes to how to manage Yelp reviews, you have two choices. You can leverage Yelp to improve your business, or you can let “outspoken” customers get the best of you.
The choice is yours. Maintaining a positive online image is serious business in today's fast-paced arena of customer interaction and feedback.
Have you ever heard the adage 'sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me?' Well, whether you're an established entity or the "new kid on the block" in the marketing world, you already know this saying is false. And, while we all know words can't physically hurt us, marketing strategists far-and-wide can confirm structured libel can deliver some serious financial blows.
At the very least, these defamatory words can hurt your bottom-line-- especially if you reside in the service industry. From restaurants and hair salons to software support and engineering firms, service-based businesses often overlook the effect of unfavorable public feedback on their ability to secure future customers.
Newsflash: Ignoring reviews can be devastating to your future success!
Now, if you’re not already familiar with the massive influence customer reviews can have on a business, look at Yelp. And, for those of you who are aware that Yelp shows up on the screen of nearly 200 million unique users— don’t worry. I won't spout statistics merely to give an already established company an unsolicited ego boost.
Still, I’d be remiss not to mention some key statistics surrounding the well-known local-search engine, Yelp. In a recent article published by Forbes, my fellow marketing specialist, Ryan Erskine pointed out some substantial numbers:
For every star gained on Yelp, businesses can expect 5 to 9 percent in revenue growth on average.
82 percent of Yelp subscribers expressed an intent to buy a product or service.
Of course, you can bet there are many more stats which create fear and dislodge confidence among business owners just like you. Apart from avoiding "Gestapo marketing tactics" at every turn, I feel it's my job to help service-oriented businesspeople realize that you shouldn't be frightened by Yelp reviews. In reality, you should embrace them. After all, you can start mastering the art of ‘Yelping’ in a few, simple steps.
How to manage Yelp reviews in 3 easy steps
Step #1 | Claim your business on Yelp
Although claiming your business on Yelp may not be a revolutionary notion, you'd be surprised how many businesses in the service industry overlook it. Yelp has a very easy-to-follow set of instructions which appear when you click the "Claim your Business" button at the bottom of their service page dedicated to this initial step.
Despite requiring a brief identity verification period, officially registering your business with Yelp remains remarkably easy. Also, don't forget the huge role your company-profile plays in your ability to manage your Yelp listing. Optimization is clutch. After all, if you're company doesn't look good online, chances are people will not want to visit your establishment any time soon.
Alternatively, publishing an accurate and comprehensive Yelp profile can help you establish more verified leads. It can also help your business earn credibility with customers unfamiliar with your service or location.
Step #2 | Keep an eye on things!
Ensuring your business's Yelp remains up-to-date and optimized is crucial to attracting new customers and increasing sales. In case you believe smaller and less prominent companies are more likely to receive nasty, online reviews about their services, you'd be dead wrong. Even the biggest and best companies out there are not immune to negative customer feedback from time-to-time. It's unavoidable. That’s why monitoring for newly posted blogs about your company is so critical, both on Yelp and across the web.
Read, Adapt. React.
Consequently, it's how you respond to things that determine whether you successfully neutralize a customer complaint or you suffer from a costly mix-up. Don't even try to deny it; volatility constantly looms behind your next quality control slip-up or a customer’s next bad experience. So, thinking you can head-off every patron wishing to express their opinion about the quality of your service is downright bonkers!
For the time being, you should worry about more important things, like implementing your marketing strategy and sticking to your budget. There's not much point in sweating the small stuff, nor trying to smooth out past customer dissatisfactions. Start thinking of Yelp as a tool, rather than an obstacle. Finally, there's one last thing to remember-- and it's super important:
ATTENTION: DO NOT attempt to alter the public's perception of your company by deleting reviews.
I REPEAT: DO NOT delete reviews!
Not only is this cut-rate methodology wildly underhanded, but it also straight up violates Yelp’s Terms & Conditions surrounding transparency. Furthermore, illegitimately removing an online review from Yelp directly violates federal law per The Consumer Review Fairness Act. In brief, the relatively new federal law (2016) protects consumers' rights to free speech under the First Amendment of The Consitution.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about putting a "spin" on your business-- especially if you're hard-pressed for progress. I mean, heck--it's called creative marketing people! At the same time, promoting your company in a favorable light doesn't necessarily entail a perfect track-record or making into Google's coveted 3-Pack.
Step #3 | Entertain the idea of advertising
Are you one of the rare managerial leaders or businesspeople who flawlessly implemented your current marketing strategy? If so, I guess you don’t have to worry about receiving an unfavorable review, do you?
For the rest of us doing business on planet Earth, hiring outside advertising help is a smart and viable option if you wind up face-to-face with any number of marketing dilemmas. There’s a reason why colleges and universities nationwide dedicate entire departments to the study and science of marketing. Of course, we also know marketing isn't the most exact science because of human factors.
Is perfection really the enemy of progress?
In my experience, too much focus on perfection regarding your Yelp reviews is counter-productive. To quote the late, great Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, another opens.” And, as Mr. Bell eventually surmised, many people miss out on future opportunities because they’re focusing too much on the past. Of course, this retrograde-like motion is not the only reason the service industry’s businesses failure to engage in active Yelp review management. A lack of available time among organizational leaders is also quite commonplace.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the reason is behind your disregard for Yelp. If you’re not getting flattering reviews or you have yet to Claim your Business, you should consider hiring help from outside your company. Think about it. If you try to delegate complicated marketing tasks to unqualified employees, you’re at high risk of having to retrain. Alongside costly re-training, I can almost guarantee your total production capacity would take a sizeable hit as well.
At the end of the day…
You need to take an active role in how Yelp presents your business. Meanwhile, playing a part in the effective management of your Yelp account doesn’t mean you should have to re-prioritize your entire schedule. To reiterate, proper Yelp account management strategy shouldn’t focus too much on poor reviews. And, as hard as it may be, try to learn from your mistakes and move forward.
Instead, today's approach incorporates a multi-faceted attack-plan for effective management, with Yelp holding colossal sway over the consumer market. Those of you in the restaurant industry should be more than familiar with the consequences of a poor review. Even if you operate within a completely different industry, you don’t need to be a restauranteur to understand how a bad customer review on Yelp can prove devastating to any eatery.
Imagine a review where a customer gives a detailed description about the garnish of loose hairs atop their Singapore Mei Fun while dining out at Uncle Ping’s Udon Palace. Or, was the customer talking about the side of sautéed cockroach they received instead of steamed broccoli? Now, while these may be extreme examples, it’s not hard to picture good ole’ Mr. Ping facing a hard road ahead.
On the flip side, if Mr. Ping opted in on the services of an experienced marketing professional outside the Palace in the first place, he may have had more time to devote to “front-of-house” operations. Similarly, if he strategically outsourced his marketing needs beyond the labor pool of the Udon Palace from the start, Mr. Ping could have drastically reduced his long-term advertising costs. By offloading the brunt of his marketing workload outside the restaurant, Mr.Ping may also have had the time to take the right precautionary measures to avoid the unsatisfactory customer experience altogether.
You’re just getting started!
There's a little more to each of these steps than detailed above. But still, the easy-to-follow steps above provide a reliable model for managing Yelp reviews. In addition to accounting for varying job-related tasks throughout the service sector, working quickly and correctly often requires significant experience and expertise in the field of digital marketing. You need someone who can provide proven results and implement a sound marketing strategy within a reasonable amount of time.
Do you want to deliver a remarkable experience for your customers and save money on advertising?
Developing a marketing plan that works takes serious time and effort. So, if you're not looking to add anything new to your to-do list, shoot me a message right away.
I'd be glad to step up to the plate as your marketing coach and strategist. If I happen to be busy with other assignments and don't feel I can best serve you, I'll let you know immediately. That way, we can get you connected with another qualified marketing guru without wasting any more of your time.