When a potential client puts your studio name into a search engine, the first results will probably be your website, social media profiles and your Yelp page. Right there in the search engine listings, customers can see your star rating – from one to five – and a few key words that reviewers have posted. Yelp is definitely one of the more popular rating sites, and a lot of consumers take reviews very seriously! If you’re hovering in the one- to two-star range and your competitor has four or five, it could seriously hurt your business. Use this guide to familiarize yourself with the basics of this website and learn how to improve Yelp ratings for your dance studio without compromising your ethics.
Setting Up Yelp
If you don’t have a Yelp account, you should definitely consider signing up. It’s free to create a business profile and shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes. The only part that’s different from other social sites is that you’re required to verify your email and phone number. Once you enter your telephone number, you must be available to answer a phone call from Yelp. They’ll give you a code to enter on the website, and then your profile will be authenticated.
Once you’ve set up an account, take some time to fill out all the sections of your profile. According to Entrepreneur magazine, Yelp and other search engines rank pages higher if they’re thoroughly filled out. Include a profile picture, address, contact information, website link and hours of operation, as well as a detailed description and supplementary pictures.
How to Improve Your Yelp Rating
If your account is set up and your profile is complete, the next task is to get some reviews posted. The simplest way to do this is to ask your customers to take a minute and rate your business. Post the link to your Yelp account on your Facebook and Twitter pages so people can click right to it. Mention it to parents and students during class time as well. You can ask your instructors and vendors to write reviews too, as they can vouch for your studio’s environment and customer service. There’s no need to hound people, as your dedicated customers will be happy to do this small favor and you really only need four or five great reviews to put your studio on the map.
Another important way to improve your Yelp ratings is to check your spam filters. Like many other website, Yelp sorts out comments that seem automated or inauthentic. Fox Business explained that you should go through the reviews marked as spam, which are located at the bottom of your business page, and see if any are legitimate. The best way to get these ratings to go live is to contact flagged reviewers and ask them to add to or reword their comments.
Sticking to Yelp Ethics
The methods above are Yelp-approved promotional tactics. However, there are some other ways to improve your ratings that fall into an ethical gray area and that you should probably stay away from. Yelp is pretty firm about its policy that you can’t pay people to write reviews. You can offer incentives, like coupons, but you can’t fork over cash in exchange for a rating. This probably goes without saying, but Yelp will also take action against you, a.k.a. delete your account, if they find you’re writing fake reviews for yourself. It’s easy to create a number of different profiles to get some positive feedback, but that’s misrepresenting your studio and reflects badly on you.