What would you do if you were lost with no smartphone, but you weren’t allowed to ask for directions? Frustrating, right? That’s the situation with Yelp—you need reviews, but you’re not allowed to ask. So it’s time to get creative.
Let’s stipulate a few things right away:
- Your window and door business needs plenty of positive reviews on Yelp. While other review platforms have gained influence in recent years, Yelp remains incredibly influential, and Yelp overall ratings for businesses are prominently displayed on search results on Bing—which owns over one-third of the U.S. search market share.
- Yelp won’t let you directly ask customers to review your business. This has been the company’s “soft” policy for some time, but Yelp became much stricter about it late last year. For the record, this also includes review solicitation software—Yelp doesn’t want you to include it as an option (unlike Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, etc.), so you must leave it out.
- It’s not like the local police will come knocking if you violate this policy—asking isn’t illegal, after all—but it’s still a bad idea. The platform could demote your placement in Yelp search results and indicate on your Yelp page that you’ve violated its policies. That looks very bad to potential clientele.
So yes, Yelp is being rather fussy. It makes you want to say, “To heck with Yelp—we’ll just focus on the other review platforms and not even bother with this one.”
But that won’t really work either, because certain customers will review you on Yelp whether you like it or not. And if some leave negative reviews, you need to generate a lot of positive reviews to even everything out for a better overall rating.
Like it or not, you need to solicit positive reviews on Yelp—without directly asking for them. Here are a few options:
- Heavily promote your current positive Yelp reviews on your site. Yelp provides businesses an “embed code” that makes it easy to embed reviews, so take advantage and include some of the best. You don’t have to limit this process to a “testimonials/reviews” page: Feel free to include reviews on a variety of pages. This likely will prompt certain customers to take it upon themselves to review you on Yelp.
- Order Yelp’s free “Find Us On Yelp” stickers. You can order them for free here and post them in conspicuous places around your business. Have your field employees put them up in their vehicles and on equipment as well.
- Have your staff note aloud how beneficial reviews (in general) are to your business. This might seem to border on a gray area, but consider that Yelp is only saying you can’t directly ask for reviews. If a customer raves to you about how thrilled she was with the service, there’s certainly no rule barring you from saying, “Getting an excellent online review really helps us.” You don’t have to specify Yelp—quite a few customers will naturally review you there regardless.
(Note: Monitoring your business’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your business.)