Yelp is an online business listing/review site that showcases primarily local, brick-and-mortar companies. To leverage Yelp as a business, simply set up a profile with a description, contact information, and photos. Then, use the expert tips below to get reviews without violating Yelp’s rules.
To increase Yelp reviews, consider a review management platform like Podium. It offers tools to help you acquire new reviews and alerts you when they come in so you can respond quickly. Customer sentiment reports then show you how your efforts are affecting your business so you can continually improve. Learn more about how Podium can boost your business.
Here are 18 pro tips on how to get Yelp reviews:
1. Open Reviews to Everybody
Doreen Clark, Owner, D.I.Y. Public Relations
Open reviews to everyone—not just your favorite clients. Use the Yelp badge that will link to your business and make it visible on your website. Additionally, because credibility is the name-of-the-game, don’t be afraid of negative reviews. Sometimes, showing how you handle difficult situations that show up in less-than-favorable reviews can showcase your strength as a brand more than a glowing and stuffed sense of happiness.
2. Set up a Yelp Offer
John Melchior, Founder, Kapture Pest Control
To build reviews fast, we set up a Yelp offer on our Yelp page. This can be as simple as $25 for $50. This easily shows us when someone comes through Yelp. Also, Yelp sees that they purchased through (their platform) so they will later mark the review as legit. We know that these customers are Yelpers and we can make sure to get a Yelp review from them without asking for it (as per Yelp guidelines). Lastly, to really get the reviews flowing, we set up a Facebook ad that broadcasts the offer ($25 for $50) and then sends people to the Yelp page.
3. Feature Positive Reviews in Print to Encourage More
Erin Shea, Market Director – North America, Vistaprint
Getting positive reviews on sites like Yelp can have a major impact on your business, but their usefulness translates from URL to IRL (in real life). Whether you’re prepping for a pop-up, shipping an order, or stocking the shelves at your brick-and-mortar store, positive reviews look great and stand out in print. One good review can inspire others to offer the same.
4. Set Up a Yelp Elite Event
Brian Gottesman, Public Relations Account Executive, GottesmanPR
Yelp Elite Events work as follows: I schedule events with Yelp employees through Yelp Elite Events. Once we schedule an event, the Yelp employee invites guests. They usually bring 30 – 50 people (depending on the capacity of my client’s business) to sample my client’s products for free. In return for the free samples, the guests can post pictures and reviews on Yelp.
Jeff Steen, Marketing Editor, Fit Small Business
Your first step to building Yelp Reviews is to claim your business profile on Yelp so people can easily find you and recognize you via correct, up-to-date business information. Visit the Yelp website and click “Manage My Free Listing” from the top left-hand corner of the homepage. From there, fill out your business information as prompted.
But don’t stop there. Get your customers using your Yelp page by offering quotes and appointments from your Yelp page. If customers find you and start doing business with you via Yelp, they’re more likely to return after working with you to leave a review of their experience. Click here to set up your Yelp page.
6. Showcase Model Reviews
Sam White, Marketing Manager, AC Transmission
In your thank-you emails, include a section titled something along the lines of “What people say about us on Yelp” along with a quality review. This primes the customer with what a good review looks like. Include a link in the email to your Yelp business page to give your customer an easy path to leave you feedback.
7. Display Your Yelp Link on a Website Review Page
Joe Goldstein, Director of SEO & Operations, Contractor Calls
Always start by creating a dedicated review page on your website to act as a funnel. Using a simple URL, such as SimpsonPlumbingServices.com/reviews/, makes it easy for customers to directly navigate to your page so you can share it offline. A reviews page also lets you prioritize different review sites, like Houzz and Yellow Pages, by putting the links to your profiles in the preferred order.
8. Ask for Reviews Without Specifying a Platform
Tiffany Powell, Co-Founder, Sapphire Bookkeeping & Accounting Inc
Sometimes it is as simple as just asking a client for a review. We have a sign on our front desk asking clients to review us on any platform. We make sure to ask how clients found us and if they used a review site to find us we make sure to ask them to do a review as well.
9. Share How Yelp Reviews Help Your Business
Brady McAninch, Partner, Hipskind & McAninch, LLC
We know that soliciting reviews is against Yelp’s policy, but we do let clients know how important they are to us. Once a case is over, we often ask a client how they found us initially. When they mention it was online, we ask if they read our reviews. Almost all of them did. We do not solicit a review, but we do remind them how important they are for us and our marketing work.
Miranda Paquet, Marketing and Operations Manager, The Close
Yelp may be strict about soliciting reviews, but there are still smart ways that you can give your customers the hint. Offline, you can add a “Find us on Yelp!” call to action to flyers, brochures, or menus. ProspectPLUS! is a great tool to make this process easy and quick. As long as you’re delivering an exceptional experience, a gentle reminder of your Yelp presence should do the job and inspire them to leave you a stellar review. See what print materials ProspectPLUS! has to offer.
11. Prompt Customers to View Your Yelp Profile
Jake Lane, Director of Growth, NuBrakes Mobile Brake Repair
While you can’t explicitly tell people to leave a review, you can prompt them to at least view your profile. I typically do that by sending a follow-up thank-you email to a customer after they’ve used our service with a call to action saying, “Find out what other happy customers have been saying” and linking to our Google and Yelp profiles. This essentially provides them with the thought process that other customers are leaving reviews and so should they.
12. Consider Yelp Filters When Building Reviews
Evan Tarver, Managing Editor, Fit Small Business
Yelp Filters will often hide customer reviews from users who are not active on Yelp. For example, if someone has never left a review on Yelp but they do leave a review on your page, it may be filtered out from public access.
To avoid this issue, provide a link to all your review profiles in your emails—whether they be on Yelp, Google My Business, or social media. That way, people who are used to leaving reviews on Yelp will be more likely to leave a review there while those who are more comfortable with another platform will leave a review elsewhere. This way, you get reviews from active Yelpers and so are more likely to get a review the Yelp filter won’t filter out.
13. Share Photos Customers Post to Yelp
Aura Simis, Branding & Communications Manager, Coalmarch
Think about how your customer base uses Yelp. We’re very visually focused in today’s day and age, so sharing Instagram-worthy customer photos from social media can help you engage with your customer base and spark other customers sharing their positive experiences as well.
14. Advertise on Yelp
Virginia Case, CEO, STRATAC
Yelp advertising is the only tool we see drawing more attention to a business. From an SEO standpoint, you really can’t compete with someone that’s paying to be top of the list, front and center. Sometimes I’ve seen customers click an ad and leave a review because it reminded them that they had intended to do so. That’s why it’s super important to think of this channel as another reputation management opportunity/challenge that you must pay attention to.
Yelp actually offers check-in discounts. You can offer a free appetizer or a discount to anyone who checks-in on Yelp. Check-ins to your business will help with your Yelp ranking, but you’ll also be more likely to receive reviews from people who have checked-in. Yelp will also be less likely to mark the review as fake if it’s from someone who’s checked-in. Read this article from Jacob Levi Productions to learn more.
Click First Marketing recommends you share your Yelp ratings on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can even post or share your less-than-favorable Yelp reviews as long as you’ve responded appropriately to them. Your happy and loyal customers might take notice and decide to take action and support your business by giving you a positive rating and review on Yelp.
Place an official Yelp sticker around your establishment to let guests know your business is active on the site and you’d appreciate their reviews. Consider placing these stickers near your cash register or front door so it’s the last thing your customers see before leaving. Seeing the Yelp stickers in your business may remind your customers to write a Yelp review when they return home.
Celebrate good reviews in a more permanent way. Yelp recommends doing this by showcasing great reviews on staff T-shirts, coasters, napkins, plaques, business cards, window clings, and other swag. These can help serve as a lasting reminder of what customers have said about your business.
Bottom Line – How to Get Yelp Reviews
While Yelp is very strict about businesses not soliciting reviews, you can still encourage reviews without directly asking. Some ways to increase Yelp reviews are to build brand awareness within Yelp—via an active profile and advertising—and providing exceptional service that encourages positive reviews. Review our 18 tips above for more guidance on how to secure Yelp reviews.
To make review management easy and far less time-consuming, consider using a reputation management tool like Podium. This platform helps you acquire reviews, alerts you to new reviews, and offers customer sentiment reports so you can ensure your online presence stays positive. Plus, it works with multiple review sites. Click here to get started with Podium.