Here at Yelp, we live and breathe all things local. From dog groomers and plumbers to hole-in-the-wall sushi spots, we are proud to support the millions of amazing entrepreneurs who bravely set out to start their own small businesses. Their risk is our collective reward because those locally owned businesses are what give neighborhoods like The Mission in San Francisco and Columbia Heights in D.C. their hard-to-replicate, OMG-I-want-to-live-here-forever, unique local flavor.
In honor of National Small Business Week (May 4-8), we talked to five seasoned business owners to see what they’ve learned over the years about using Yelp to grow their business (hint: a lot). Get ready for a knowledge bomb!
5 Tips for Yelp Awesomeness from Small Business Pros
1. Enhance your Yelp listing until there’s nothing left to enhance.
Enhance your listing, enhance your listing, enhance your listing! I can’t say enough about how important it is to not only claim your business page* but to complete all of the information about your hours, offerings and amenities. – Deborah Dower, Paradise Laundry
*Claim your free Yelp business owner profile at biz.yelp.com to start enhancing your listing.
2. Yelp gives you free tools…use them!
The automatic email notifications notify me on my mobile that I have a new review, which allows me to keep on top of new reviews for a quick response if needed. The check-in offers allow me to know that A) Yelp sent me the client and B) I can change them up to keep people looking for the new offer. The Activity Feed allows me to monitor traffic over time, so we have come to use this to anticipate busier periods and staff accordingly. – Valerie Girard, Les Deux Gamins
3. This review thing is a two-way conversation. Respond to yours, both positive and negative.
I respond to every review personally, within 24 hours, whether it’s positive or negative. If something wasn’t right, I apologize and offer to make it so on the next visit. I also consult my managers and staff to determine what happened, if it was avoidable and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Like all reviews, it gets posted on the staff bulletin board for all to see. – Steve Basile, B. D. Riley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
4. Don’t fixate on negative feedback. As Taylor Swift would say, just shake it off.
Move on. You can’t fix all problems…or make all customers happy. Work on getting more reviews from happy customers, and stop fixating on the 2-stars. Ultimately, new customers respect the credibility factor that comes with having lots of reviews – they don’t pay attention to the rants. – Pam Nelson, Butter Lane
5. Focus on your moneymaker: great customer service.
Yelp is a megaphone that broadcasts your customer’s version of their experience to the world. If you focus on making sure your customers are overjoyed the rest will take care of itself. – Heidi Lamar, Spa Lamar