Many of my business clients are thriving on Yelp. Their phones ring of the hook and, today, business is great. The owners, however, are absolutely terrified because so much of their business comes from one , very fickle source.
Yelp reviews can literally make or break your business. All it takes is an unhappy customer or two, a disgruntled employee, or a sneaky competitor to post some negative reviews and your business could go into a tailspin. You need to protect your business from Yelp by ensuring that Yelp is only a small part of your online strategy, not your entire online strategy.
Here are 4 ways to protect your business from Yelp:
1. HAVE A WEBSITE THAT GENERATES BUSINESS WITHOUT YELP
Your business website is the central hub of your online marketing strategy, where Yelp is just one of many spokes. Your company should be generating far more customers from your website than from any other single online source. This way, if any exterior source begins to fail, your core business is still fine.
Simply stated, if you are getting more calls from Yelp than from your own website, you are playing russian roulette. It’s time to take a hard look at where your customers come from and don’t wait until it’s too late!
2. CREATE A GOOGLE PLUS PAGE AND START GETTING GOOGLE REVIEWS
Most of you probably know that your business should have a Google Plus page. It’s critical for SEO and can generate business on it’s own. But, did you know what Google has launched a Review platform to compete directly with Yelp?
And, because Google is the search engine, guess which reviews will peform better in search results.
All you have to do is create your Google Plus page and invite your customers to go there to submit a review instead of Yelp. Promote your Google reviews on your website, and across your branding to encourage even more Google reviews.
3. SPEND YOUR MARKETING DOLLARS AWAY FROM YELP
Yelp is famous for their aggressive sales approach, with many business owners feeling bullied or trapped. Don’t give in!
Instead of spending money with Yelp, and becoming even more dependent on a single source of customers, you need to differentiate. Spend those dollars building your brand, independent of Yelp. Focus on SEO for your website, or even PPC campaigns. Depending on the type of business, you may be able to build a huge customer base with social media like Facebook and Instagram.
Even consider old-school, offline advertising programs… anything to keep all of your eggs from being in the same basket.
4. RESPOND GRACEFULLY TO YOUR YELP (AND GOOGLE PLUS) REVIEWS
Whether it’s Yelp or Google or someplace else, public reviews are here to stay. And, if you are in business long enough, you will eventually have bad reviews.
Be engaged regularly with your reviewers. Thank them for positive reviews and respond immediately and graciously to any negative reviews. In fact, think of a negative review as a chance to show the public how classy you are with your tactul and kind response. That positive engagement could boost your business more than a positive review would.
At the end of the day, the best defense against Yelp is a good offense. Be sure your business is positioned to grow even if Yelp turned negative. And, taking these four steps, your business will grow while you are still benefiting from Yelp.
You can handle more customers, right?