As one of the largest review sites, Yelp has proven to be a power player in the online reputation arena. And figuring out how to tapping into this power has proved to be a hot topic for many marketers. According to a source, Yelp shared some “white hat” tips for getting more customer reviews at a local search workshop last week. One “hidden gem” technique mentioned that many might not be aware of is incentivized check-ins.

Compared to other review sites, Yelp sits at the top of search results and has one of the largest influences on the web. However, Yelp has a strict “no review solicitation” policy that has left many marketers wondering what to do to generate more reviews on the site. Yelp’s “review filter” practices have also been the cause for numerous lawsuits and odd conspiracy theories. This has created some difficulty for business owners who may not have many Yelp reviews, but would like to start encouraging customers to make reviews in order to establish credibility and a good reputation online.

Here’s the trick: Unlike other review sites, Yelp allows business owners to incentivize check-ins (as in “check in offers”). When a user checks in to receive an offer, they are prompted by Yelp to review the business upon their return to the site or mobile app. However, users must be signed into a Yelp account to do this. It looks like this:

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A Yelp check-in offer is a bonus or discount offer presented to users who check in to a business using Yelp’s mobile app. Some examples include a “free dessert” or “10% off an oil change”. These incentivized check-in offers allow businesses to reward their most loyal customers while attracting new ones.

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Of course, Yelp is allowing business owners to create a pre-review offer to get users to the review site. Although Yelp won’t allow direct incentives to acquire reviews, this could be an “indirect” way to present an opportunity for customers when they visit the site for the incentive. In turn, Yelp gains from these offers because it builds value for both business owners and customers.

As Yelp integrates with more services such as Eat24 and Open Table, this will be a well-established feature for the review site. For right now, it could be a little-known way to generate more reviews online.

Sources: Marketing Land


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