Getting More (and Better) Yelp Reviews for Your Business

While Yelp used to be mainly focused on restaurants and retail stores, it’s now the platform of choice for people needing everything from electricians to plumbers and a hot cup of joe. Each month, an average of 28 million mobile app users log into Yelp to do one thing: evaluate businesses. Their goal? To make an informed choice about where to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Number of Yelp users


If you run a local business, you need to think carefully about the impact Yelp can have on it. Some already do fairly well today. Some might not. Whatever the case may be, let’s look at some of the most effective ways to get more authentic Yelp reviews. We’ll show you how easy it can be to manage and monitor Yelp and the online reviews you get across multiple platforms. But first, let’s look at just how important reviews are for your business.

Understanding Your Reviews

People will read your reviews and they’ll be influenced by them—whether that means they decide to work with you or not. So, as you think about reviews, here are some review stats that might pique your interest:  

  • 97% of people read reviews for local businesses before working with them. (BIA/Kelsey)
  • 90% of people who read online reviews said positive reviews influenced their decision. (ZenDesk)
  • 87% of people won’t work with a business with a 1 or 2-star rating. (Search Engine Land)
  • Improving your review score by a single star can increase your revenue by 5-9%. (Harvard Business School)
2-star ratings are bad

As you can see, having plenty of great reviews will have a substantial impact on your ability to turn casual prospects into your next great customer.

Getting More Positive Reviews

Great reviews make you look awesome and can help you get more customers. But as a business owner, you also know that a few one-star reviews can feel like a death sentence. So how can you recover from a few nasty Yelp reviews? What can you do to get your happy customers to to leave you more great reviews, so a few bad ones barely make an impact? Simple. You ask them to leave reviews. According to BrightLocal, 85% of your customers will be willing to leave you a review if you just ask them. Here are a few approaches:

Ask in person – The quickest way to get started is to simply ask customers or suggest they leave you a review on Yelp after you complete a transaction. This approach is easy, but because people tend to be forgetful, it’s not always the most effective.

Email them – Assuming you have a list of customer emails, you can send an email with a link to your Yelp page inviting them to leave you a review. It’s a super common way to ask for reviews, but it’s still not the most effective (see chart below).

Text message them – If you want quality reviews quickly, it’s best to text message your customers a review invite. Using tools like Swell, it’s easy to automatically send a customer a text-message review invite. Since it’s super easy for them to leave you a review, most businesses get tons of great reviews in just the first month.

email vs. text open rates

Other Review Factors

Most businesses focus on their total number of reviews as well as their average score or star rating, but there are a few other factors that can affect how you’re perceived online:

Review Quality – Depending on the review platform, a customer can leave a star rating without actually writing a review. Though this might help your review total and average score, it doesn’t give potential customers an idea about what it’s like to work with you. How did you earn that great review? What did you do to make things great for a customer? Be sure that as you’re soliciting reviews, you’re encouraging customers to leave a review that includes a few sentences about their experience. Positive, well-written reviews will help prospects decided to work with you.

keep reviews fresh

Review Freshness – Many businesses will use a tool or work hard getting a bunch of reviews then stop once they get to a few hundred reviews or a sparkling score. This is a mistake for a few reasons. First, reviews are a competitive arms race. If you stop soliciting reviews but your competition keeps getting more, they’ll pass you up, which might make you look less appealing by comparison. Second, while reviews are a great way to look awesome online, they’re also a great way to gather feedback that can help you improve your business. Since every business should be looking for ways to improve, you should be trying to constantly get new reviews so you can adapt based on the information you receive.

Review Monitoring and Maintenance

After you start soliciting reviews, you’ll want to pay closer attention to what people are saying. As noted, reviews will give you valuable feedback you can use to improve your business. Here are some things you’ll want to do regularly:

  • Read reviews and apply feedback – If you implement an effective review generation program, you should be getting plenty of reviews on many platforms. As part of that, you should read what people are saying. Reviews can be a treasure trove of information on what you’re doing well and what’s not working. Use that feedback to become a better business.  
  • Respond to reviews (good and bad) – Many businesses reply with a thank you for positive reviews they receive. If you happen to remember a customer, personalize a thank-you message for bonus points. If you happen to get a negative review, don’t panic. Reply quickly and courteously and try to resolve the problem. And don’t worry if you get a few lower ratings. You’re not perfect. You’ll make mistakes. But chances are your positive reviews will far outweigh the negative. For a thorough look at how to turn a negative review into a positive customer experience, check out this piece.

Certainly, replying to lots of reviews across platforms might seem tricky. How are you supposed to find time to monitor everything out there? Many businesses are using tools like Swell to help. With Swell, you can bring together reviews from across a number of review sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google, and more. When you get a new review, you’ll get a notification. Inside Swell, you can read the review and even reply to it—no matter which platform it came from.

Conclusion

Yelp is a critical platform for your local business. And luckily, it’s surprisingly easy to get a ton of return from Yelp if you’re using the right tools to make it easy. But remember, Yelp is just one of many platforms to keep tabs on as you develop an online reputation management strategy. Take a look at this resource page for more information on how to get an online reputation that brings your droves of new customers.


If you’re looking for a way to get more reviews, reply to them, and manage them, take a look at Swell. With Swell, it’s easy to manage all your reviews, communicate with customers, and even make it easy for them to pay you. Check out this page to get your demo today.