You have an amazing business, and you should have a great reputation to match — instead, your reputation barely registers online.
Yelp reviews can help get you noticed for the right reasons. In this piece, we’ll explore why good reviews matter, and what steps you can take to get Yelp reviews that boost your online reputation.
Why Yelp Reviews Matter
The hard truth is that no matter how wonderful your company is, no one will even know it exists without online reviews. According to recent data, more than half of consumers read at least four product reviews prior to making a purchase. According to a study from the Colorado State University College of Business and the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, meanwhile, negative reviews can have a significant impact on customers’ decision-making, especially if they’re well-informed about the product or service they’re considering.
Simply put? Reviews matter. Customers trust other customers more than they trust your business, making reviews a critical component of increased revenue.
So how do you get positive Yelp reviews that help bolster your online reputation? Start here:
How to Get Yelp Reviews
- Add a link to your email signature, website, and social media
- Mention your Yelp page to loyal customers
- Respond to negative reviews
- Be a good company
- Don’t buy Yelp reviews
- Regularly review your reviews
1. Add a link to your email signature, website, and social media.
The easiest way to get more organic reviews is to simply link to your Yelp page wherever possible. Add a link at the bottom of your email signature (like this yoga studio does in their emails to me), include a Yelp widget on your website, and throw a link in the bio lines of your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more.
Since Yelp doesn't allow direct solicitation for reviews, don’t word this pitch as "Write a Yelp review about us." Instead, opt for something like, "Check out our Yelp page!" or "See what our customers are saying on Yelp!" The direct link will encourage more of your customers to click through. And, once they're already on your Yelp page, it's more likely they will contribute their own review.
2. Mention your Yelp page to loyal customers.
If you have a base of long-term loyal customers, why not mention your Yelp page to them? You should never tell them to write a review, but encouraging them to check your Yelp page can't hurt, especially if they've had positive experiences.
Even better? If they’ve had consistently positive experiences with your company, they’ll often take the time to write a thoughtful review, highlighting the (hopefully many) pros and (hopefully significantly fewer) cons.
It’s worth noting, however, that cons are critical for improvement. Every business has room to grow, and it also will let Yelp know that the reviews are probably genuine.
A great way to authentically show off your Yelp page is by requesting a Find us on Yelp sticker. For businesses who have truly earned their stripes, Yelp will issue a special "People Love Us on Yelp" window cling.
3. Respond to negative reviews.
In 2020, 66% of consumers said they were dissatisfied with a product or service, but 58% of those who complained got no response from the company.
It’s a hard pill to swallow when you’re building your business, but every company is going to get negative reviews. As a result, the true measure of your success isn’t avoiding these reviews — it’s addressing them head-on.
Start by responding promptly. Apologize for any inconveniences the customer has faced and admit mistakes your company may have made. Try to offer a solution to their problem. You should be speaking like a human, not a bot, to show that your company really cares about each and every review, whether it be good or bad. By proving that you genuinely want to improve your business based on customer feedback, customers will be more likely to trust your company and appreciate your honesty.
4. Be a good company.
This may sound self-explanatory, but the best Yelp reviews don't need coercion or recommendations. They occur when a customer is so delighted by your company's products or services that they want the rest of the world to have that same experience.
The point is that you shouldn't be serving customers with the underlying intentions of getting them to write a fantastic review of you. Instead, simply provide great products and services, plus memorable customer service, and do so without the expectation of any favors in return. It's the humble, high-quality, and transparent companies that succeed the most.
5. Don’t buy Yelp reviews.
This should go without saying, but just in case you’re tempted to take the shortcut of buying Yelp reviews — don’t.
Not only are these reviews relatively easy to spot, but Yelp has been cracking down on companies using this tactic. If the company finds out you’ve been buying reviews, you’ll end up with a large, red warning message about potential fraud on your review page. The message will stay up for 90 days but is taken down after that time so long as you stop engaging in fraudulent practices.
It’s also worth keeping track of what’s happening with your Yelp reviews — along with reviews on other sites such as Angie’s List or Google. In practice, however, this can be challenging, especially as your business grows and the number of reviews generated by your products or services ramps up.
As a result, it’s often worth deploying review management tools capable of capturing review data across multiple sites, in turn allowing you to quickly assess general trends, dive deep into specific reviews or address ongoing concerns.
Regularly reviving your reviews not only provides a broad sense of how customers perceive your brand, but also ensures you have the data you need to take action if overall review scores are trending downward.
Customer reviews matter. More reviews mean a growing reputation, which in turn leads to brand recognition and better sales.
When it comes to getting Yelp reviews, the key is connecting with customers — giving them the opportunity to share their experience with your brand online, and ensuring that you promptly respond to reviews, both positive and negative. By making customer service a priority, placing Yelp links wherever possible, and avoiding the temptation to buy your way to positive perception, you can cultivate a culture of honest reviews that improve your overall reputation.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.