One of the most recent Yelp reviews of Stuffed Cakes, a West Seattle bakery, reads: “Let me just say that these were not the best Vegan cupcakes I’ve ever had. They were not the best Gluten-free cupcakes I’ve ever had. They were, hands down, the BEST CUPCAKES I’ve ever eaten, period! Seriously. And I’m not even a huge cupcake fan.”
Most of Stuffed Cakes’ other reviews on Yelp are also full of praise. (“The triple chocolate concoction is awesome!” “Great for a trio of stoners like us on a Monday afternoon, or for the after-school crowd. Hell, everyone should eat these cupcakes because they’re just freakin’ delicious and cheap.”) According to Stuffed Cakes owner Donna Lawson, these positive reviews on Yelp have played a huge role in acquiring new customers.
“Yelp honestly was probably the best thing to grow my business,” Donna said in a recent interview with Street Fight. “I know people have a love/hate relationship with Yelp, but it has just kept growing and growing, and I keep getting great reviews.”
Stuffed Cakes serves as a great example of how Yelp and other similar review aggregators can help drum up new business. The bakery has 42 Yelp reviews so far, 30 of which are rated with five stars. The reviews, as mentioned, are mostly raves (with very few rants). Through word-of-mouth, it’s steadily building a reputation as one of the best cupcake places in Seattle. Donna is also getting heaps of praise and compliments from Yelpers, who expressed appreciation for this business owner’s “unique flavors,” “amazing service,” “eye-catching design,” and “on-time delivery.”
In the interview with Street Fight, she shared some key insights about what it’s like for a local business owner to successfully manage and monitor online reviews – and to see the tangible results come in.
Asked if she does anything to encourage online reviews, Donne answered, “I don’t. When I first started the company, I put out the word to friends and family and anyone who has tried the product, ‘If you are on Yelp, can you (post) reviews?’ But after that, I haven’t done anything.”
She continued: “What I have found with Yelp is that I won’t have reviews for a couple months, then there might be three in a weekend. Then what happens is the way they do things, they’ll end up filtering most of them out. So I’ve learned that it seems like if we push it and ask people to do reviews, and if too many people do it at once, they don’t even allow them to be viewed.”
The lesson? Do everything you can to encourage positive reviews – without actually asking for them.
One way of doing so is by driving awareness – by letting people know that they can find you on Yelp and other online business listings, directories, and review sites.
Donna, for example, said that she is now redesigning the Stuffed Cakes website to make sure that links to her Yelp and Urbanspoon pages are included. “What I really feel is important is integrating all of our social media,” she said. I’m also looking forward to having lots of different galleries and photos, so we can hopefully grow on (pin-based content sharing service) Pinterest.”
You can read the full Street Fight interview here.
Meanwhile, if you’re a business owner looking to monitor restaurant reviews or coffee shop / café reviews, be sure to give ReviewTrackers a try. It’s free trial, and if you need help on getting started, just contact us or call (866) 854-7670.