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Yelp Marketing 101 for Salon Owners

The numbers don’t lie: With over 158 million monthly mobile web and desktop unique visitors, your future clients likely are perusing Yelp when looking to book their next lash or brow appointment. “When consumers shop around for high-ticket-price services or services that require highly- skilled professionals, they’re more inclined to research and make a decision based on reviews, social proof and third-party influence,” explains Nicole Soltau, a Miami- based digital marketing specialist. “Yelp is one of the most trusted review platforms and provides [a way] for eyelash and brow artists to not only showcase their work, but for potential customers to discover through reviews how happy and satisfied their existing clients are.” Need help navigating Yelp? Soltau shares her tips so you can get on the review bandwagon and secure new clientele.

Protect Your Profile 

You must have a complete, accurate profile, starting with your hours of operation. Be certain to double- proofread them to ensure they show all times you’re open. “If people just quickly glance and your hours are incorrect, they’ll go elsewhere,” warns Soltau. Then, if you have more than one location, list them all. “This is important so clients can choose the most convenient spot,” she says. Another must: Select the appropriate categories and services (think: “makeup artists” and “eyelash services”) suitable to your business. “[If you don’t do this], you won’t be found,” warns Soltau. Post a quality profile picture of your logo, you or whomever you want to represent your studio and, in the corresponding featured photos section, post up to five of your best photos that showcase your beautiful work and specialization, your team, your chic studio or a promotion that’s been artfully designed, says Soltau. “This will show clients who you are, where you work and what to expect,” she adds.

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Respond Promptly 

Yelp displays your response "report card” for the world to see so it's imperative to get back to customers ASAP to earn good grades. If you take too long to respond (people) will see your status and, [if it’s poor], it doesn’t make your company seem efficient,” says Soltau. The best response practice: one hour. “Chances are clients are shopping around and looking at other profiles and you’re not the only one getting a message,” explains Soltau. “There’s a value to every lead ... so you need to grab every one and try to turn it into a sale as soon as possible.”

Prioritize Call to Actions

Clients may be on the lash fence or browsing your online competition so entice them to take action immediately with an offer they can’t refuse. “Create an offer that’s really good and hard to pass up,” says Soltau, who suggests promotions to help fill new or junior artists’ schedules, call out Valentine’s or Mother’s Day gift cards, or book up slow times with lunchtime or happy hour specials.

RELATED: Photo-Sharing Best Practices for Lash Artists

Temp Them to Check In

When clients check in to your studio on Yelp, not only will their friends take notice, but so too might Yelp. “Yelp doesn’t publish every review ... and it’s trying to eliminate fake reviews. [Check-ins] are one of the ways Yelp can verify them,” says Soltau, who notes that while it’s no guarantee, checking in might give your clients’ reviews a better chance to be published. With the proven factor that more positive reviews will net you more future clients, offer a little bonus for a check-in, like $50 off their first full set, suggests Soltau.

Fill Your Gallery 

Take clients through a journey of what your services can provide by packing your photo gallery with before-and-after photos. “[It will help to] create a trust factor, emphasize your experience in the industry and show your skill set,” explains Soltau

Get Them to Peep Your Profile 

Yelp’s rules don’t permit you to offer incentives or directly ask your happy clients to write those coveted positive reviews, but you are allowed to request they check out your profile, says Soltau. “The hope is if [they were happy with their service] they’ll write positive reviews!”

RELATED: 8 Ways to Build Positive Word of Mouth for Your Business

Answer Appropriately 

When clients pen uplifting reviews, always let them know how much you appreciate their feedback. If you’re struck with a negative review, get to the bottom of the issue and, no matter if it’s fake or real, offer to rectify the problem. “Even if you know it’s fake everyone else is reading it so you always have to be professional,” says Soltau. “You should never respond negatively toward a negative review; a lot about your company [ethos is revealed] through your responses.”

 

[Images: Getty Images]

 

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