Online Reputation Management - How To Manage Your Reputation Online
There’s no doubt that more and more consumers are turning to review sites like
Yelp, Google+, Foursquare and others when looking for businesses in their area.
Because of this, the importance of review sites to business owners has increased
exponentially, but not everyone is taking advantage of the huge opportunities
presented by these sites.
However, the local businesses that do leverage these sites correctly can see an
increase in customers and revenue while those that don’t will only fall behind and
may even go out of business entirely.
This has left many local business owners very frustrated because while they know
the importance of these sites, they are often unsure of how to take advantage of
them and maximize their potential.
That’s where this guide comes in. It has been specifically developed to show local
business owners like you how to effectively and efficiently leverage sites like Yelp,
Google+ and others.
We are going to show you different strategies you can use to achieve 4 and 5 star
ratings across the web and dominate your competition.
The first thing we are going to go cover is just how important these sites are to
local businesses, because once you know the jaw dropping statistics behind
review sites you will be forced to take action.
There has been a lot of research on how review sites affect local businesses and
here are some of the most important findings.
1. A one star increase on Yelp can lead to a revenue increase of up to 9%.
2. 70% of people who read reviews share them with friends, family and
colleagues amplifying their importance.
3. 70% of consumers have consulted the online reviews of local businesses
before making a purchase decision.
4. 69% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal
5. Businesses with 50 or more reviews earn the most trust with consumers
while 70% of consumers say a minimum of 6-10 reviews is required to earn
any trust at all.
So what does all this mean? Online reviews matter and they matter a lot.
Okay, so now that we know how important online reviews are, where do we get
Note* While this guide will focus primarily on Yelp, the tips and strategies we will
cover can easily be applied to other review sites. Here is a list of some of the
biggest review sites:
Part 1: Building the Foundation
Step 1: Claiming Your Listings
The absolute first thing you must do is claim your business listings. Claiming your
listings allows you to edit and update the information that is displayed on these
sites. You simply cannot leverage Yelp or any other review site without first
completing this step.
Surprisingly, a shocking 50% of businesses have yet to do this. But don’t worry if
you haven’t as were going to show you exactly what you need to do to get
To claim your listing simply go to http://yelp.com and search for your business,
once you find your business listing it should look similar to this (hopefully with a
In the red box you will see a button that says “Work Here? Claim This Business”
you want to click this. From there, just follow the steps to claim your listing. Once
you have claimed it, you will retain ownership of this Yelp page and be able to
edit it however you see fit.
If you cannot find your business listing then you need to set it up which can be
done here: https://biz.yelp.com/
Step 2: Bling Out Your Listing
Now that you have claimed your listing the next thing we want to do is fill it out
with all the proper information.
It’s important to think of a Yelp listing like a storefront that customers walk by
every day. Would you want trash outside your business? Would you want dirt on
the windows, chairs and tables? A broken sign on top of the building? No, of
Then why would you not take the time to properly fill out your Yelp listing? Your
Yelp listing is like your storefront, but online. This is why it’s so important to make
it look as professional as possible and represent your business in a positive light.
You absolutely have to take the time to fill it out properly. For many potential
customers, the only impression they will get about your business when making a
purchase decision will be the one they get from your Yelp page. The more you fill
it out, the less you are leaving to chance.
Here is some of the typical information you can put into your listings:
Hours of operation
Pictures- not just 1-2 low quality ones. Use high quality images that
represent your business professionally
About your business
Note* Different review sites allow you to add different kinds of information. For
example, if you’re a restaurant, some sites will allow you to upload a menu while
others may not. Be sure to see what information you are able to post and be sure
to post it.
Once your listing has been filled out be sure have a friend or family member look
it over and ask them what they think. And Make sure to double check for any
typos or grammatical errors.
Step 3: Set Up a Yelp Deal
Now that we have our listing claimed and filled out with basic information we’re
going to take it one step further. The next thing we want to do is set up a Yelp
Here is an example of what a Yelp deal looks like.
Having a deal on Yelp does two very important things. First, in the search results
of Yelp you can see listings that have deals as seen in the image below. Because
not all businesses do this, having a deal show up in the Yelp search results will
help increase the number of customers that click through to your listing. Because
let’s face it, at the end of the day everyone likes a deal and an opportunity to save
The next benefit is Yelp has a search filter that allows its users to only show
businesses that are offering a deal. Since most businesses don’t do this, when
users apply this filer your listing has a much better chance of showing up at the
top of Yelps search results.
Be creative when creating a deal and be sure to check out your competitors to see
what they are doing and for ideas on deals you can offer.
Step 4: Sell Gift Certificates
While it doesn’t make sense for all business types to sell gift certificates
(construction for example), there are many businesses where it makes perfect
sense to do this. If you already sell gift certificates, there’s simply no reason to not
offer them on Yelp as well. You’re only giving potential customers more reason to
come in and shop with you.
Now that you’ve completed these first 4 steps your listings should look
immaculate. The great part about this is once it’s done, it’s done, and you
shouldn’t have to come back to these steps very often, if ever.
Part 2: Maintaining Your Listings
The first part of this guide was primarily focused on the best way to set up your
Yelp account. The next part of this guide is going to be focused on maintaining
your listings properly.
Step 5: Monitor Your Listings
Monitoring your listings is very important because how can you expect to leverage
them if you don’t know what’s going on with them. You should be checking in on
all of your listings at least once every few days and preferably once a day for the
major ones (Yelp, Google+ etc). While this can be time consuming and a little
cumbersome it is an important first step to dominating Yelp (and other review
By checking your listings you will be able to see when new reviews come in and it
will give you a better overall idea on how your online reputation is doing.
If you want to save time there are services that allow you to monitor all your
listings from a single location.
Click here to check out one of our favorite review monitoring services.
Step 6: When a Customer Writes a Negative Review
No matter how hard you try you simply can’t please every customer and even the
greatest businesses get negative reviews from time to time. Sometimes it’s the
businesses fault, other times the customer could just be having a bad day. Either
way, it’s important to handle these negative reviews in a professional manner.
Here are some tips on how to handle negative reviews:
1. Don’t respond immediately.
Let’s face it, whenever someone bashes our business online it can be painful
and our initial response is to be defensive and often times angry. That’s why
it’s important to wait even just a few minutes after seeing a negative review
before responding. This time allows you to calm down and clear your head.
The last thing you want to do is respond to the review in all caps with
2. Private message or public response?
Depending on the nature of the review it might be better to send a
message to the individual that left the review. Read their review over
carefully and think about how others will interpret it when viewing your
Yelp page. Sometimes a private message is the most appropriate response
to a negative review.
3. Address the reviewers issue in a calm, reasonable and professional manner.
Regardless of how true or false the review is you must remain polite and
respectful. Potential customers are going to see how you respond to this
person and that will give them an impression on how your business
Are you being rude and abrasive or polite and rational? Your goal here is to
address their concerns and discredit their assessment. Yelpers weren’t born
yesterday and most can spot an unreasonable and baseless rant when they
4. Make Amends
If there is any chance at saving the situation you can offer to remedy the
problem the customer had. Offer them a freebie of some sort or anything
else you think they might like. If you do this the customer might go back
and change their original review to one that’s more favorable to your
Step 7: Checkout Your Competitors
Don’t be afraid to check out your competitors listings from time to time. This can
give you insight into how they are doing and help give you ideas on what you can
do better. As the saying goes “there’s no need to reinvent the wheel” so if you
see them doing something good feel free to copy it.
Part 3: Dominating Yelp
This is what you have all been waiting for. What are the steps you can take to get
your customers to leave positive reviews about your business? In this section we
are going to show you exactly how to get your customers to leave you good
reviews on a consistent basis.
In short, the best way to get Yelp reviews is pretty simple: ask for them! The only
problem is it’s easier said than done. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back and
are going to show you some of the easiest yet most effective ways to get your
customers to leave you reviews!
Step 8: Find Us!
The first thing you can do which requires pretty much zero effort is putting up a
“Find us on Yelp” sign in your location. They cost less than five bucks and it takes
less than five minutes to set up. Even if one customer every six months sees this
sign and decides to write a review it was worth it.
But if you really want to dominate Yelp you’re going to have to do more then put
up a “Find us on Yelp” sign.
Step 9: Review Pages
One of the most effective ways we’ve helped local businesses generate reviews
from their customers is through the use of a “review page”. Basically, a review
page is a page you set up on your website that is designed to spread positive
reviews around the web and keep negative reviews off of it.
Here is an example of a review page created using ORM Builder.
Your goal when creating a review page is to send as many customers as possible
to it. We will explain later how to send customers here, but first lets explain how
these pages work and why they are so great for local businesses.
An Unhappy Customer
When you send a customer to your review page they are given two choices, they
can click the happy face if they had a good experience or they can click the sad
face if they had a bad experience. Because it’s impossible to know which category
each customer falls into we have these two choices.
So let’s say your customer had a bad experience and they click the sad face. Once
they click the sad face they are shown a contact form they can fill out that goes
directly to you. To get a better idea and see a functioning review page click here.
This works great because by sending this unhappy customer to your review page
and having them fill out a contact form their frustration is expressed directly to
you instead of on sites like Yelp and Google.
To understand why this works so well it’s important to get in the head of an
unhappy customer. Typically when a customer has a bad experience at a business
they just want to be heard and express their frustration.
Without a review page their only option is to use review sites like Yelp to express
this frustration. But for local business owners that send their customers to a
review page, this customer now has an alternative to Yelp. And because the
business owner is in direct contact with the customer it gives them more options
to remedy the situation.
Another important note is negative feedback about your busin ess isn’t a bad
thing; it’s only a bad thing when it gets posted online. Having customers send you
negative feedback is a great way to get insight about your business, see problems
you didn’t know existed and to improve your products/services.
A Happy Customer
Now let’s go over what happens if your customer has a good experience. If they
have a good experience at your business they click the happy face and are shown
different review sites (chosen by you) where they can leave a review. Again, to
see a fully functioning review page click here.
This is great because it gives your customers a choice on where to leave their
feedback. Some customers prefer Yelp while others may prefer Google+, you
could never know, but by sending them to your review page you let them pick out
where they can leave their review.
To understand why this works so well it’s important to get in the head of a happy
customer. When a customer visits your business they expect good service.
Because of this expectation, when they receive good service they often don’t
think about leaving a review.
Think about it, when was the last time you received good service and the first
thing that came to your mind was to leave a good review online? But business
owners that drive their customers to a review page can get these customers that
otherwise wouldn’t leave a review to leave one.
Driving Customers to Your Review Page
The idea of a review page is great, but you’re probably wondering how to drive
customers to this page because they aren’t going to find it on their own.
As an example, let’s say you set up your review page on http://joedentist.com/feedback There are a few different ways we can send customers to
your page now.
The first is review cards. A review card is simply a postcard or business card you
hand to your customer at some point during their visit that prompts them to go to
your review page.
Here is an example of one:
Simply create something similar to this and hand it to your customer. It can be
when you give them their bill, when they are leaving your building or you can
even send it by mail, just make sure they know your review page exists. You can
even add your review page URL to the bottom of your receipts.
Review cards work great because they give your customer a specific, actionable
step they can take to leave you feedback and because you have a review page it
doesn’t matter whether it’s positive or negative feedback.
Another way to send customers to this page is through social media. You can post
a Facebook status, a tweet or something else.
As you can see, a review card paired with a review page is without a doubt the
most powerful and effective way to spread positive reviews to Yelp and other
review sites while keeping negative reviews offline. Imagine if you hand out just 5
review cards a day, that’s 150 per month and even if only a small percentage of
your customers leave you reviews it adds up over time.
If you’re looking for an easy way to set up your own review page we recommend
using ORM Builder as you can create one with literally the click of a button.
Step 10: Emailing Your Customers
Another way to get your customers to leave you a positive review is to email
them asking for one. While not all businesses are able to collect their customers
email addresses, for the ones that do this is often an overlooked option.
Simply send them an email and attach links to your business listings inside.
Another reason we like ORM Builder is they have a built in emailer that allows you
to send emails to dozens of your customers and insert links to your listings
automatically. Below is an example email created and sent through their emailer.
Part 4: Other Thoughts
Buying fake reviews
Every business owner has probably thought of it and maybe even some you have
done it but we highly recommend avoiding this at all costs. It simply isn’t worth it.
Because Yelps main selling point is the authenticity and trust of its reviews they
fight tooth and nail to protect this.
They are getting much better at finding fake reviews and at punishing those that
buy them. Take a look at the image below to see what can happen to your listing
if you are caught buying fake reviews:
The last thing you want is for this alert to show up on your listing. It will literally
kill any chance you have of getting customers off Yelp.
Even worse than this alert is getting sued by Yelp. Yup you heard that correctly,
Yelp has even sued people that have purchased fake reviews for their business. So
no matter what people have told you, it is best to avoid purchasing Yelp reviews
no matter what.
The Yelp Filter
The Yelp filter can frustrate business owners because sometimes legitimate, 5 star
reviews are filtered from their listing. While you can’t do anything to un-filter
these results it’s good to at least get an idea of how these filters work.
Basically, all major review sites like Yelp have algorithms that automatically filter
reviews they deem fake. Because they can’t check every review on every listing
manually they need an automatic way to filter out what they believe are fake
Here are some of the ways in which Yelp decides which reviews might be filtered
From users who have written only one review
From users that have little to no profile information
Questionable objectivity- reviews that are strongly slanted positively or
Short reviews with few details
Reviews written by friends, staff members or other unreliable sources
Reviews where it looks like the reviewer has not actually been to the
While it can be frustrating dealing with the Yelp filter the best thing to do is to
generate a constant flow of positive reviews for your business. While some
reviews may be filtered, most of them will get through because they are real
reviews coming from real customers.
Every day you aren’t working to dominate Yelp and other review sites is another
day lost. Because there is so much potential to grow your business on these sites
and make more money don’t put off following the steps in this guide to a later
Go ahead and get started: claim your listings, fill them out with the proper
information, make sure they look as good as possible and be sure to monitor
them on a daily basis.
When all this is done its time to start dominating and beating your competition.
Start using review cards and a review page, start emailing your customers and
don’t be afraid to think outside the box for other unique ways you can get your
customers to leave you reviews.
At the end of the day, if you want to dominate Yelp and other sites it’s going to
take a little time and effort. But hey, you already own a business so there’s really
no reason not to get started. So go ahead, take action and grow your business.
If you’re looking for the easiest way to do this we recommend checking out
ORM Builder by clicking here.