Salon and Spa Digital Marketing Part I: Yelp!
By Matt Wiggins
With over 20 million reviews and 60 million regular users, Yelp! is important for small businesses. Studies show several positive Yelp! reviews can increase new client visits by as much as 40%, while negative reviews can cripple or even shutter your salon or spa.
Why Should I Care About Reviews?
There are two types of review sites: moderated and non-moderated. A moderated review site is controlled by the business, keeping the good reviews and discarding the negative ones. Everybody knows this, and therefore the general population pays little to no attention to moderated sites. Alternatively, non-moderated sites like Yelp! assure the individual shopper that the reviews are legitimate. A good ratio of positive to negative reviews on non-moderated review sites turns into real dollars for your business.
One of the worst things you can do is offer any goods or services to your clients in exchange for a good review. These quid-pro-quo exchanges are against Yelp! policy and may result in suspension of your account or even a public shaming! Instead, try reminding happy clients to provide feedback about their experience in order to grow your reviews organically. Also, make sure your business software is able to contact happy clients and help them easily connect to your review sites.
Be a Spy.
Immerse yourself in Yelp! by searching for local competitors and reading their pages. Peruse photos, “about us” sections and site links. Look closely at 4-star vs. 3-star reviews and ask these questions: What is the difference in reviews? Does the information make you want to visit their business? What do local clients value? What prompts some people to leave a negative review? Use the information you’ve discovered for your own success on Yelp!
Respond to Reviews.
Before you start attacking every bad review and get into a “flame war,” stop and consider a more strategic approach. Respond to negative comments thoughtfully and respectfully, remembering that this is a public site! Show current and potential customers that you care about others’ concerns. Thank the negative reviewer for their feedback, let them know about things they may not have been aware of, explain how you plan to improve your service, or even offer a discount on their next visit.
You can respond to positive reviews as well by thanking your customers for coming in and for their kind words. This as an opportunity to highlight, in an organic and natural way, the hard work you’re putting in toward a great customer experience. Your visibility as the owner within the reviews section will do a lot to set you apart from your competition… because most businesses don’t bother!
About the Author
Matt is VP of Sales and co-owner of ProSolutions Software. With over 20 years experience in the beauty industry, Matt teaches classes to salon and spa owners on business topics including branding, marketing and advertising.