Even after a little over 15 years on the Web, online review site Yelp can be mysterious and challenging to a new business owner trying to learn the ins and outs of this customer feedback channel. In fact, we receive questions specific to getting a business Yelp account activated on a daily basis.
If you have been wondering how to claim your business on Yelp, let us take you through the process one step at a time. Claiming your business on Yelp is foundational to your online marketing and customer experience strategy. If you have not yet done so, the time is now.
Intimidated by Yelp? Relax. 67 percent of Yelp reviews are actually 4- to 5-star reviews.
Your business may already be on Yelp
If you have been open for business for a while, and you are finally getting around to setting up your social and customer feedback channels, chances are someone may have already beat you to the punch. Your business may be already listed as well as reviewed on Yelp and other review sites.
If this is the case, then consider it good news. It means the buzz has begun, and upon claiming your profile you can begin managing your business information and engaging with your reviewers (as well as those using Yelp to find businesses in their local communities).
Ensure accuracy of information on your Yelp page
If your business is listed already, it would be sensible to review the accuracy of the information associated with the listing, since user-generated profiles often have limited or inaccurate details. Be proactive! The earlier you take control of your Yelp profile, the sooner you will be able to get Yelp reviews that fully reflect all that your business has to offer.
Setting the stage for a great Yelp profile
Taking over your business Yelp profile or activating a new profile, if your business or shop is not listed, is a very simple process.
Having said that, there is a right and wrong way to set it up. The truth of the matter is that you will be promoting your business in a platform where the competition is fierce, and only the best businesses benefit from the bulk of the leads and local searches.
Get your website ready. Prior to taking over your Yelp profile, you may want to have your business website ready. Even if your website is very simple, it will help by providing Yelpers expanded information about your business that is framed in a look and feel that best conveys what you have to offer.
Add photos. In addition to having your website ready, consider having high-quality photos to add to your Yelp profile. Most shoppers are visual, and great pictures can persuade potential customers to pick you over a business with similar qualities but less appealing multimedia. Check out “Yelp Tips: Get Your Page and Business Noticed by Adding Photos”.
Claim your business’ Yelp page
The first step to taking over your Yelp business profile is to conduct a search query to see if a user has already added your business. Begin your Yelp profile activation by visiting: https://biz.yelp.com/claiming. Now follow these steps to locate and claim your business on Yelp:
1. Click on the “Claim my Business” button.
2. Yelp will prompt you to enter the name of your business as well as the geographical location. For added accuracy, or if your business is part of a chain, enter the specific street address of your location.
3. Yelp will conduct a query and will show you a list of businesses with the same or similar name as yours, to help you see if you are already listed.
If you identify your business among the listed businesses, click on it and you will be prompted to follow additional steps to claim it and to validate your claim.
If your business is not yet listed, then you will see at the bottom of the query a prompt to add your business to Yelp. Click on it, and be ready to enter basic business information.
4. Yelp validates your business entry by sending you an E-mail. This reduces the number of spammy or fake profiles created by malicious individuals.
Once you receive your validation E-mail, you will be able to access your full Yelp profile.
Optimizing your Yelp business page
Yelp profile activation gives you a very basic profile that provides Yelpers with a Google map that displays your location and basic information, such as your business hours, phone number, and website.
Clearly, from a branding perspective, this type of profile is weak and not conducive to engagement or conversion. Now is the time to make your Yelp business page as good as or better than your own website experience. Here are a few things you can do to effectively serve information to shoppers using Yelp and tip the scales in your favor, hopefully gaining additional visibility and incremental business leads.
Lead with a great exterior photo: Your Yelp profile provides you with superior online real estate that should not go to waste. Uploading a great exterior photo of your business serves a dual purpose: first, it reinforces branding and speaks to the quality of your facility; second, it provides potential customers with a visual that may be helpful for navigational purposes the first time they visit your venue.
Share socially. If you are already active on social media, such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter, then consider doing a social search of your new Yelp page. Keep in mind that you are not to solicit reviews from your customers. The purpose of your share is to showcase your new profile and make your followers aware that you are now active on Yelp.
If you already have reviews, engage with your reviewers. Be a smart reputation manager and take time to engage with reviewers. Provide review responses that address negative issues, expand on positive feedback by providing additional information to empower the reviewer for future visits, and educate other Yelp users about your business in a way that may influence them to make you their next selection.
If you are a local brick and mortar shop, chances are Yelp, if managed well, will be a great ally in expanding your visibility and helping you foster customer loyalty. As you grow in size and online reputation, you may even want to consider potentially running a promo, or advertising via this website, especially if your business is in a highly competitive and heavily saturated segment.
Yelp is just one piece of the puzzle. To fully leverage customer feedback on third-party websites you need to have a comprehensive review and reputation management strategy. A well-managed online reputation will benefit your business for years to come. And it all starts with taking the first step.