How To Get Yelp Reviews

I had an awesome conversion with one of the highest rated locksmiths in New York City on Yelp the other day about getting reviews, and not just reviews, but getting GOOD Yelp reviews & lots of them. I wanted to break it down into a Q&A in prep for my session at SMX West – Up Close With Yelp because I thought it was so insightful (and I am sharing this info with everyone attending the session and I wanted them to have it for notes) … great read here so enjoy!

Yelp Reviews means money
Yelp Reviews = Money

1.  What is the single best way to get people to write reviews about you, without breaking Yelps policies?

  • Rule #1 If a customer finds you on Yelp, talk about Yelp!!! After hearing that your lead came from Yelp start your response with a big smile on your face. Try to relate a story of how YOU found a great local business through the same site and how valuable a tool it is for deciding on what business to choose.
  • I always like to tell my customers about how I found the best Indian restaurant in New York City through Yelp! I tell them that the positive reviews are what influenced my decision to try the place out. Emphasize how customer feedback on Yelp is what makes businesses thrive! I find Yelpers to be a very enthusiastic bunch who are eager to share both positive experiences and horror stories (especially about the service industry)!
  • While wrapping up my service, I like to exchange “Yelp finds” about great “food spots” in town. I make sure to thank the customer for choosing me AND for using Yelp! I often hear in “I’ll make sure to review you on Yelp” with my farewell!
  • Keep Yelp in the conversation, the rest will take care of itself!

2.  What are some good ways to get reviews that Yelp maybe might not like?

  • Apart from the obvious guideline restrictions, I don’t see Yelp having a hard time with people emphasizing the impact reviews have had on there business. My first response to customers when they’ve told me they found me through Yelp is usually “I’m so happy to hear that”, “Yelp is my favorite way to attract new clients and reviews are what put us on the map”. Expressing how powerful an impact positive reviews are to your business is really stating the obvious! Its a direct yet subtle way to influence a positive response. Another more direct way to generate a review is to simply say “your feedback is so valuable to us and would be much appreciated, its what keeps us on top of our game”. You’re not really saying “review me”, but anyone would get the point.
  • Another way I like to generate positive responses (that I hope Yelp won’t mind) is to state to the customer that they will receive your best service because they found me through that site. To be honest, every customer receives my very best service but I like to openly state that to a Yelper. I want them to feel special for using that site and to express how grateful I am that they chose me. That said, an offering of “I’m gonna take good care of you because you came through Yelp” is really meant to be an expression of gratitude and a way to make the customer happy to be a part of that site.
  • I think Yelp’s guidelines are very clear and should be enforced. Otherwise, businesses would be whoring themselves out to get positive responses and that would deteriorate certain industries. I believe that good service is the best way to generate positive, organic reviews that reflect the customers real experience without any influence.

3.  Any tips for those with no reviews and wanting to build that side of their web presence up?

  • Immediately ask new customers if they found you on Yelp! Even if you know that they didn’t, ask anyway! Explain that your presence on Yelp has generated new clients (even if its bullshit) and how happy you are to have that exposure. Also, ask your new customer if they use Yelp!!! Tell them that you promote your “special offers” to Yelp users first. That said, I strongly suggest utilizing Yelp’s free business tools to constantly promote “special offers” and “discounts” for being a Yelp user. Keep Yelp in the conversation with all of your clients, you’re bound to come across an active participant who would love to give you feedback.
  • In addition, business owners who are looking to establish a presence on Yelp MUST read their competitors reviews!!! See what an established presence looks like in their industry. Read what they are doing right and simply copy it (or one up it). What I like about Yelp is that it not only generates good deals but also ups the level of customer service! If your competitors are kicking ass on Yelp because they are prompt and courteous, then be prompt and courteous! Do everything that Yelpers seem to like about your competition, period!

4.  Things to avoid with reviews?

  • Well, there is also over doing everything written above. Don’t push the issue of a review, the subtle path is the best path. Be confident in your service first and the rest will take care of itself. Take extra special care of a Yelper like you would a long-time customer, not like someone who has the power to make or break you. The best of my many reviews are the ones expressing how amazing my customer service has been. Let your good service do the talking and be sure that Yelpers will do the positive reviewing!

12 thoughts on “How To Get Yelp Reviews

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  3. Johnny Optimo says:

    I’ve started do do yelp consulting for a few clients and I can definitely say my strategies are similar to yours. There’s only so much you can do from an online standpoint, engaging your customers is just so simple and effective – it’s how a business can easily double sales and improve their own service at the same time.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The whole concept of yelp is flawed. Why not ask for reviews? Why filter positive reviews? The client who writes the review like us, but not necessarily yelp. so he may write review for us but not others. Yelp eliminates this. Where as fake ID are retained.vOf course i f you start advetising with yelp…..
    I think there are 75 more sites competeing for this segment

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got my business on yelp and I definitely agree with these points. It’s nice to see someone elese’s strategy – always something to be learned.

  8. julian says:

    We have 0 public reviews on Yelp. We have 5 filtered reviews. Yelp makes it way to difficult. Just recently I had a conversation with a patient, they posted, and now it is filtered. I didn’t even ask for the review. I’m giving up on Yelp. We don’t get any traffic from them to our website anyway. Google and FB drive tons!

  9. Matt Siltala says:

    @julian While Google and FB do drive good traffic, you have to realize what Yelp is … it in itself is a local search engine. On almost every smart phone out there. People on their mobile phone do not go go FB or Google app as much as they use Yelp for this kind of searching. My suggestion is not giving up on it … yes, the Yelp review filter is annoying and a PITA but if you overcome it will drive a massive amount of business. One elite (legit) review will help a ton too. Just watch and see.

  10. Julian says:

    Thanks for the follow-up. I still have lost faith in Yelp. It has potential but its strict platform makes it impossible. I see far more action in the restaurant industry than the service industry. Breaking in, even with 1 review is difficult. We have excellent reviews in on so many other platforms. Maybe people just don’t use Yelp in our city.

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