Yelp in Your Words (Canada): Interview with Samantha Chan of Paintlounge

When did you start noticing people were finding your business on Yelp?

A lot of our customers come to us because they are planning special events (e.g. parties, birthdays, dates). Because of this, customers are even more inclined to read reviews before selecting their venue.  When customers tell us how they heard about us, it’s usually because they read good things about us online and I would have to say that the most popular source is Yelp!

From the suite of free tools available in your business account (ex: adding photos, messaging reviewers, adding information about your business),  what have you found to be the most successful in attracting customers to your business?

I think visuals are very important. To be a bit cliche, a picture is worth a thousand words but it fits our situation since it gives customers a better idea of what to expect since the Paintlounge concept is new to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). Customers are always curious as to how we were founded and so the “History” section on Yelp helps us connect with our customers better.

Any Yelp success stories you’d like to share?

Yelp helped us connect with the local Yelpers in the community, especially the community managers in the area. Before Yelp GTA was created, the former Toronto Community Manager, Vivek, was extremely helpful in supporting our business in its startup stage. I remember Vivek sharing a few of our events on the Toronto Yelp Weekly and invited us to join the first Open Yelp Party in Toronto at Hotel Ocho called the “Magic 8 Ball”. Joining that event was great exposure since a lot of Toronto’s most influential bloggers were present and they all got a taste of the Paintlounge experience at the event!

When Yelp GTA was created last year, Kris, the GTA Community Manager, also offered amazing support for our business. We hosted the second Yelp GTA Elites party at Paintlounge Markham.  This event was great because all of the local Elites had to chance to paint, try out our cafe drinks, plus we got to know the Elite Yelpers in our community on a personal level and we continue to build relationships after the event.

Why should other businesses in your community claim their business page on Yelp?

By looking at web analytics, a big chunk of our web traffic does come from Yelp and this shows that customers are using Yelp to find us and learn more about us. Claiming your business on Yelp allows businesses to interact with their web audience in another way. Best of all, it’s free so there’s nothing to lose!