Online directories, such as Yelp, are very important for Online Marketing purposes. They make it easier for prospective clients to find your business and get important information such as business hours, direction, phone numbers and website.
Prospective clients can also read reviews left by your previous patron as well as view pictures of your products. This kind of consumer to consumer data transfer is very important to online marketing. It validates your business and gives viewers a neutral 3rd party perspective.
In theory, online directories are amazingly powerful resources that can help your business pick up new clientele. The problem comes when businesses find themselves attacked by negative reviews resulting in a poor online reputation. These reviews can be left by competitors, disgruntled ex-employees, or even isolated cases when clients leave unhappy that in no way generalize your business’ otherwise good reputation.
How do you deal with it? Unlike social media site, such as Facebook, where business account owners have the ability to regulate what viewers can comment, Yelp and other online directory reviews cannot be regulated by the business owner. Regardless of what you may hear, you cannot pay a reputation management company to remove a bad review or even Yelp itself for that matter. However, there are still ways to help lessen the burden of bad reviews:
- Actively encourage your satisfied clients to leave you positive reviews online that will dilute the negative effect of the bad reviews. Over time the continuous addition of new reviews by your clients can have the effect of “removing” the negative reviews by making them the minority.
- Make sure you have a Yelp link on your website, your Facebook page and other social sites.
- Post your good Yelp reviews on your website so visitors will see them.
- If you see a review that shows someone had a bad experience, reach out to them and offer something to make them feel that their concerns have been heard. You can message the reviewer from your Yelp page.
- Actively use your Yelp page. Make sure you have claimed it and filled in all the business information. Post photos to the page and you can even post updates for events at your business. If your Yelp page is current, reviewers know you are reading it and may be more likely to post a review.
With lots of good Yelp reviews, your Yelp ranking rises which should mean more customers for you. Just like with traditional marketing, keeping your customers happy is the most important thing you can do to be successful.