How to get more Yelp reviews

How To Get More Yelp Reviews from Customers of your Restaurant

You already have great customers. Now get great reviews.

It seems that today’s customers start every search on the internet. Get your business noticed by these review-hungry customers with a better Yelp rating and more reviews. Consumers love Yelp because of its reputation as a site for accurate and reliable reviews.

What’s a Yelp, and how can you get started?

Yelp Sticker

Yelp is a website that combines Yellow Page-style business listings and word-of-mouth reviews with an average of 120 million unique visitors per month in the fourth quarter of 2013. Yelp was started to help consumers find positive and critical reviews that gave them an honest picture of businesses in their area. It was created with consumers in mind, however, they have a number of free business tools designed to make communication between you and your customers easier. Respond to customer reviews, post your menu, offer special deals and coupons, and advertise online with Yelp for business owners.

Yelp for Business Owners:

Yelp offers tools for businesses because they know that without great restaurateurs like you there would be no community of reviewers. Get started with your business page to take advantage of these tools. Follow these 5 easy steps and turn hungry customers into happy reviewers!

1. Be Authentic

Yelp has a secret algorithm that screens all reviews posted to the site. Reviews that appear biased or unrealistic will not be shared with the public. Yelp wants your customers to write you a positive review ... but only if they had such a great experience they want to share it with all their friends. Don’t ask your customers for reviews, and do not try to buy Yelp reviews because getting caught trying to buy a review is worse than a bad one.

2. Be Visible

Yelp Sticker

Let your customers know you’re on Yelp and are interested in great reviews. A simple “Let us know how we’ve been doing!” sign is an effective way to encourage your guests to share their thoughts. However, instead of a comment jar, post the link to your Yelp page on the sign. Rants and Raves are great feedback for you, but they can be an even more powerful tool for getting someone in the door who has kept a curious eye out “for the BEST ___ in town!”

Posting a “Find us on Yelp” sign in your window front can make a positive impression by letting foot traffic and passing cars know they can easily find your menu, hours, and reviews online. Good news travels fast and since the majority of Yelp reviews are positive, your potential customers will think any news is great news.

3. Post Yelp Only Deals and Coupons

Yelp allows you to post deals on your business page that only Yelp-ers can access. These deals can be in the form of a discount coupon or a gift certificate. Customers can print or pull up these coupons on their smart phones to easily show their server. This process is quick and painless for your guests and staff and who knows, that coupon may have won you a repeat customer!

Make the coupon significant. Don’t give your food away, but you want people from the Yelp community in your restaurant. As an added bonus, Yelp gives preference to reviewers who post often so the more members from the Yelp Elite you can get in the door the greater chance you have of a review being recommended and featured.

4. Post Your Businesses Profile and Menu Online

Chalkboard Menu

Yelp licenses business information from third party data collectors and posts that information online. This means that information about your business isn’t always perfect. Fortunately the free Yelp business support center allows you to submit up-to-date or alternate information about your phone number, hours, price range, etc... Use this tool to update and improve your current listing.

Post your menu. This could be the difference between a guest coming to check out your “new dinner special” or heading to their regular place down the block. Posting a menu will also give you the advantage when out-of-town guests are looking for somewhere to eat. Restaurants have been posting their menus outside for years; just think of this as your online store front!

5. Keep Calm and Respond to Reviews

We get it. Your business isn’t just your job; it’s your sense of pride and your paycheck. But sometimes negative reviews happen, so read them and patiently respond. If your business gets a negative review take the time to contact that reviewer and figure out what happened. Is there something you can do after the sale to change their point of view? Sometimes an explanation or apology from you can change their review or win them back for a second chance.

Knowing how to keep a level head when responding to negative reviews is great, but don’t overdo it with positive ones either. If someone writes you a great review write them a private message and say a quick “thank you”. Imagine you’re that reviewer, you may not want a long email from every restaurant you review but acknowledgement of the time and energy invested is always nice.

Try to reserve public messages for comments that will benefit all customers. If you can add something to a positive review then great, post it publicly—but recognize that multiple public “thank yous” can look like pandering to customers for reviews. If your customers posted a review it means they had such an impressive visit that they want to share it. Acknowledge that compliment, and keep up the good work.

Please note: Nothing you post online is private. Think twice before negatively responding to a critical review. The last thing you want is to appear threatening or aggressive to potential customers.

Yelp was founded on the principal that “the customer is always right.” Their goal is to connect consumers with great local businesses. Be that business by using these 5 simple steps to get more reviews on Yelp!