Local businesses have a love-hate relationship with Yelp. If you have a 3.5+ rating on Yelp with over 30 reviews, then Yelp is a terrific resource for new customer acquisition. On the other hand, if you have a sub-3 rating on Yelp, then Yelp can destroy your business. The ratings and stars is a good example of gamification, a booming trend. (Click here to see What is Gamification)
It’s therefore important to not only get a lot of reviews on Yelp, but to make sure they’re positive reviews. This post will cover how to increase your review count, while a future post will cover how to make sure these Yelp reviews are positive.
Who should read this post: local business owner that are looking to increase their Yelp reviews
Why you will learn: how to get customers to leave you more Yelp reviews
Obvious and effective. Post a sign at your location to encourage your customers to find your business on Yelp. Now that more and more customers have a smartphone, customers can write a review while they’re shopping or dining at your location.
This is very very effective.
I saw this used at one of my favorite vegetarian fast-casual restaurants in Irvine, CA. They printed and framed their best Yelp reviews and posted them inside of the restaurant so you can see them while waiting in line to order. Furthermore, the frame looked very exquisite and they blew up the reviews to 10x their size so that it’s very easy to read.
This technique has two very positive results:
Yelpers are highly likely to use other social media service such as Foursquare. Therefore, the more Foursquare users that you attract, the higher the chance that you’re attracting people that leave reviews on Yelp.
Fourquare users must also take out their phone in order to check-in. If they’re taking out their phone to check-in, they may also take out their phone to review your business on Yelp. Increase your chance of Yelp reviews by getting more Foursquare users.
Another obvious and VERY effective way to boost your Yelp ratings. Take the following steps to hold a fun Yelp event with many Yelpers:
It’s always a good idea to collect emails.
Do NOT send an email just to ask for Yelp reviews – this can have negative consequences and makes you look like a needy business owner. Instead, make the ask passive.
In the footer of your emails, create a link to your Yelp page:
Let us know your feedback on Yelp! Over 100 others have already!!!
Each step above takes investment on your part. If you hustle, have excellent food and service, and constantly remind your customers to review you on Yelp, then you will greatly increase your reviews and see a very positive increase in foot traffic to your business.]]>
For food lovers, the McDonald’s Breakfast Menu is the equivalent of diamond. Everyone wants it, but not everyone can have it. Hard to come by and unique, those lucky enough to wake up for it savor each bite, while those who are not so lucky ask the question “Why not serve it all day?”
Starting with the Egg McMuffin in 1972, McDonald’s pioneered breakfast fast food by providing a quick and easy way for consumers to have the ‘most important meal of the day.’ In the United States, most McDonald locations stop serving the McMuffin and their breakfast menu at 10:30AM, with a few stopping at 11:00AM on weekends.
While many fast food and QSR chains have expanded their breakfast menu hours to run all day, most notably Jack in the Box, McDonald’s remains one of the few chain restaurants to serve breakfast only during morning hours, and for good reason. While there are obvious economic reasons in play, such as the differing cooking temperatures for breakfast items vs. lunch items (ie: hamburger patties vs. eggs) and extra staffing requirements, from a marketing and branding standpoint, McDonald’s is an excellent example of Gamification and how not serving it all day has it’s benefits.
The Law of Scarcity states that when a person perceives that something or someone that they want is in limited quantity that the value of the object will be greater than if it were to be abundant and available.
To clearly understand this, we will use shoes as an example, specifically the Nike Air Jordan brand.
Often the most sought out pairs of shoes when released, the Nike Air Jordan brand was fueled not only by an iconic brand in Michael Jordan, but by a marketing strategy built to drive demand. Rather than produce pairs of shoes based on the demand of the market, Nike often produces a set number of Air Jordans. Regardless of demand for them, Nike brands Air Jordan’s as “get them while you can” products. No matter the outcry and consumer demand, the scarcity and difficulty in acquiring a pair of Air Jordans is what makes it so appealing.
Circle back now to McDonald’s and wee see the same sort of effect. Yes, McDonald’s may sell more by changing the hours during which they offer their breakfast menu, but just how Air Jordan’s have branded themselves as the exclusive shoe for basketball enthusiasts, so has McDonald’s in becoming the go-to fast food destination for breakfast.
You may not have an Egg McMuffin or a fresh pair of Jordans, but there are still plenty of ways to create a demand for your product.
With Every Pair You Purchase, TOMS Will Help a Person in Need.
One for One.
In building a very profitable business, TOMS pulls at the emotional strings of consumers by tying purchases with goodwill. Remember: there is always a story to tell with your product. From how people use it to how it is helping do good, sometimes the key is just to dig a little.
Just like McDonald’s and their breakfast menu, taking simple products and turning them into ‘high-demand’ commodities is all about strategy and planning. Let us know what you think about McDonald’s marketing strategy for their breakfast menu as well as any others that you think are worth mentioning in the comment section below.]]>
When it comes to picking the right loyalty program, there are many options available. From solutions that focus on smartphones, iPad apps that utilizes Gamification, to the traditional physical cards, loyalty programs are abundant. Still, while there are many choices, the hard part can be figuring out which solution will fit your business best.
These are the sorts of questions that business owners need to ask when picking a solution that best fits their needs. While the most obvious question is the ability to measure and track ROI with a loyalty program, there are many factors that need to be considered.
To address the questions that businesses looking to add a loyalty program, we’ve put together a Loyalty Program Comparison, an informative infographic that compares RewardMe along with 3 other popular loyalty solutions available.
There are a myriad of articles online about why Yelp sucks:
Even our own reader Patrick expressed why he feels Yelp is bad for business on our post about how to get more Yelp reviews:
[You] did a big disservice to small business by asking them to suport YELP. Yelp is bad for [the] business community and any effort to support them will [continue to affect businesses negatively]. They are first of all not business friendly and most of the Yelpers are bargain hunters. 90% of the reviews are complaints and it has become a complaint forum.
Why do you want business to pay / support a complaint forum. If people really care about business they can talk with the owners and resolve issues. You dont want people to give you a 1 star because they dont like the paint color or they didnt like the owners hair style.
I strongly suggest you should do research and write about how Yelp can hurt local community. Yelp makes a business by pitting customers against business. This is not a healthy model for the economy and local community.
The only way for Yelp to fail is to ignore them and stop their cash flow from businesses. If businesses understand this they will stop support to Yelp.
With so much compelling evidence, should business owners completely shun away Yelp?
The number one mistake that a business can make is to ignore Yelp. Yelp is a public company that isn’t going away any time soon. Whether a business owner likes it or not, consumers use Yelp on a daily basis to discover new restaurants and other types of local businesses. Just this week I used Yelp to find a Smog Check service and a Hair Cut Salon for men.
Give a customer a good experience and he’ll go home happy.
Give a customer a bad experience and he’ll tell 5 of his friends about how terrible the business is.
This is just human nature, and is reflected in the distribution of positive vs negative Yelp reviews. The critical factor to take note of is that a Yelp user will write a negative review on Yelp even if you choose to ignore Yelp. All of Yelp’s users will see this negative review and your business will be hurt because of it.
This is why it’s so important to take ownership of Yelp and use it as a way to salvage a relationship with a distraught customer. Don’t ignore Yelp; take advantage of it to communicate directly with dissatisfied customers and fix the problem.
A study by the Harvard Business School determined that a restaurant that boosts its Yelp score by one full star can see revenue increases from 5 – 9 percent! This is huge!!!
The goal of a local business is of course to serve great food and provide excellent service. Great food and excellent service will naturally drive positive reviews on Yelp, but there are strategies that you can utilize to drive Yelp users to positively review your restaurant on Yelp.
Though we advocate strategies to get customers to positively review a local business on Yelp, we are highly against ads for Yelp. There are plenty of posts written about how Yelp ads do NOT target the right keywords and are NOT relevant to the user’s search terms.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
In this case, stay as close as possible to Yelp because it has a big impact on your local business.
As Pinterest continues to grow in business relevance, a common question is how to setup Pinterest for your business. While a relatively easy process, businesses can benefit from following our easy, hassle free steps on how to setup and how to begin ‘pinning’ on your businesses Pinterest page.
The first step to starting out on Pinterest is to ask for an account invitation.
Invitation waits vary, but most users will receive an invite within the first 24 hours if not sooner. While you wait, you can always explore others pins
Once you get your invite, you will need to choose by which social account your Pinterest account will be connected too. Currently the two options you can choose from our Twitter and Facebook. If you do not have either, you cannot sign-up for an account.
After you select the social account which you want to connect with, you are able to create your account including selecting a username. If you are a business, use your business name for your username.
Whole Foods Market Pinterest page:
Now that you’ve created your Pinterest account, the next step is to start building your ‘brand.’
For a business, Pinterest is great because once something is ‘pinned,’ it will link back directly to the original posting.
When building out your wall, don’t just focus on pinning your own products. Pin other products that are relevant to your brand and industry. For example, if you are an Italian restaurant, pin not only your food, but also recipes, places in Italy and also things that inspire your dishes.
Remember how you linked your Facebook or Twitter account when you first setup your Pinterest? Share your Pinterest wall with your friends and community on your social networks to build up a following.
Similar to how you interact on Facebook and Twitter, comment, share, and Like others Pins to gain traction and grow your engagement.
After you’ve had a chance to setup your page and shared it, the next step is to begin measuring success. By success, we refer to if it can make a positive impact on your business. From sales to branding opportunities, every business will have different milestones.
One easy and simple way that every business can take advantage of is to use Google Analytics or another data analytics program such as Omniture, to track traffic that comes to your website via Pinterest. To learn more about setting up tracking, check out this step-by-step guide on setting it up Google Analytics.
Are you currently using Pinterest for your business? What are some best practices that you would share? Let us know in the comments below.]]>
Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that McDonald’s was no longer the world’s largest restaurant chain. No longer will McDonald’s and their Big Macs be known as the largest chain. Rather, Subway will bring it’s iconic green and yellow logo and $5 foot-longs to the top of the list and take claim.
While the general public may find it surprising to hear that McDonald’s was overtaken, should one take a closer look at Subway and the strategy they undertook to get where they are today can serve as a great model for franchise restaurants as far as defensibility against other restaurants and expansion strategies.
In the mid-80′s, the popular phrase “Knowing is half the battle” was coined by G.I. Joe. While G.I. Joe no longer does PSA’s on television, restaurants that stay ‘in the loop’ are the ones that are most likely to succeed.
If you look at some of the top restaurant chains in the United States for example, you will note that one common denominator amongst them all is that they are constantly getting feedback from their customers on ways to improve the service they provide as well as suggestions on future products. Corner Bakery for example is known for their careful attention to detail when it comes to their customer service and making sure that they are providing the highest quality product possible to its 25 million + customers annually.
In the case of Subway, they were able to effectively stave off competitors like Quizno’s by focusing on adding new food products through customer research and market trends.By introducing toasted subs and lowering prices at the appropriate times, Subway was able to capitalize.
Remember, there is always something new to learn about ones customers and market.
Another factor that helped Subway grow into the number one restaurant chain worldwide was their strategic partnerships and worldwide growth focus.
In an interview with QSR, Subway’s director of development, Don Fertman, discussed the growth of Subway into 10 international markets that it had identified as having high value for expansion. Subway didn’t stop there though. Fertman goes on to say that:
“in our initial reading of top markets we did not include Russia. Right now Russia is up to 75 stores and our developer there has just announced plans to get to more than 1,000 stores by the end of 2015, quite an aggressive goal. But they’re looking at the economics in the market and they can see that Russia is a much bigger market than was originally anticipated.”
Partnerships have also helped Subway grow and expand. For example, it’s not uncommon to find Subway locations paired up with the popular yogurt chain, TCBY. By identifying chains that would compliment the Subway brand, Subway is able to offer a ‘all-in-one’ experience for customers. One should note though that the focus here isn’t to offer a variety of selections. For example, if you are a coffee shop, you shouldn’t start making pizza because you hear that it’s popular.
Key takeaway: Focus on what you’re good at and build partnerships that make sense for your brand and target market.
Are you a franchise owner? If so, what are some things that you as a franchise owner do to do stay competitive with your competition? On the same note, what does corporate do to help position against competitors? Let us know in the comments below.]]>
There are a TON of Twitter clients. It gets to a point that I get decision paralysis because there are too many options to choose from. If I feel this way, then I’m sure you feel this way too.
Twitter clients range from HootSuite to TweetDeck, providing you with powerful analytic tools, scheduling features, and multiple account management.
The tools and analytics that these robust Twitter clients provide are great only if you’re a big agency or corporation managing 5 Twitter accounts or more. The truth is that the majority of Twitter clients provide you with more features and information than you’ll ever need.
The simplest and most effective Twitter client is Buffer – I use Buffer on a daily basis to easily schedule my Tweets, track my reach, and stay productive throughout the day.
Who should read this post: local business owners looking for an effective strategy to stay consistent with Tweets
What you will learn: how I use Buffer in my Twitter strategy to stay consistent and relevant
Top reasons why you need a Twitter client:
1. Twitter can get time consuming: a Twitter client can help you stay productive and effective without making you commit more time than needed on Twitter
2. To space out (schedule) Tweets: it’s more effective to space out Tweets throughout the day (1 Tweet every 4 hours) rather than clump Tweets all at once (5 Tweets within 30 minutes)
3. Track data of Tweets and reach: easily view your Tweets and track clicks to determine your most effective Tweets
One word: simplicity
I’ve used the other clients such as HootSuite and TweetDeck and I found them to be way too time consuming and too feature-rich.
The dashboard allows me to quickly view which Tweets are scheduled to go out and when. As you can see from my dashboard, I have a scheduled Tweet going out today at 7pm.
I don’t schedule Tweets via the dashboard – there are much more effective ways to do it.
The analytics page lets me easily see the data that is important to me:
Buffer is great because it lets you customize the scheduling for Tweets. I kept mine at the default setting as I like my scheduled Tweets (which are usually business and productivity related) to go out earlier in the day.
1. Buffer for Chrome
Buffer for Chrome is a simple extension that allows you to easily schedule any webpage as a Tweet. Above you’ll see where the icon is placed in the browser and how Buffer allows you to customize your Tweet before you schedule it.
2. Buffer on Twitter
Because Buffer is integrated with Twitter, I can directly use it through my Twitter dashboard.
Here are the principles that I use to stay effective and consistent on Twitter:
1. Only follow people that are important and valuable to you: check out my twitter page and you’ll see that I follow only a select group of 197 individuals. These 197 individuals constantly share valuable content and articles, saving me time because I don’t have to manually find valuable content to share.
Don’t mass follow – it’s worthless and dumb. Follow people that are important to you and you’ll be able to share better content with your audience.
2. Follow bloggers that always write quality content: I follow Cody, Carlos, Carmen, Baker, and Neil on a consistent basis because they always write great content that is relevant to my audience. It makes it easy to share Tweets about good articles my community will benefit from.
3. Relax: don’t worry if there’s nothing to Tweet about. Take a deep breath and relax – it’s not the end of the world.
Learning to swim can be a fun and exciting experience. From learning the basics of kicking to the different types of strokes, becoming an expert is not an overnight matter. On the other hand, not all of us learn how to swim through a set process. For some, learning to swim involved being dropped into a pool (or in some cases a large body of water) and ‘improvising.’ Much like the latter, this is how many businesses learn how about social media.
In what can be best described as a trial and error style marketing approach, businesses that jump into the ‘social media’ pool, can find themselves looking for a life vest if they aren’t careful. To help businesses avoid making the same mistakes that others make, we’ve come up with 4 Common Social Media Mistakes Businesses Make:
If you are relying on Facebook Fans to drive your sales, then you should be worried. While Facebook is an excellent distribution channel for your brand, it should a business should not use it as a sole revenue generation tool. The truth of the matter is that while large and at times highly engaging, Facebook is still in its infancy in driving direct sales from the site.
By no means should this lower the relevance or need to be on Facebook, but rather it should keep goals and expectations realistic in what to expect from being on the webs largest social network.
When the concept of ‘social media’ was introduced, no one knew what to expect. To this day, there are those that are still unsure.
For brands though, playing the waiting game is no longer a viable strategy. With everyday that passes, another competitor moves further in relevance through the digital space. What were once valid points on holding out from building out a presence on social media outlets, are now excuses. Businesses that don’t consider social media as one of their priorities in regards to marketing and business strategy are putting themselves at a disadvantage.
Remember that after a certain point a reason can become an excuse. With the digital boom now entering it’s third year of growth, now is the time to join in if you haven’t already.
Social media is a powerful and valuable tool for businesses, but to call it the solution to all ones problems is overvaluing it. Everything has its limits, and social media is no exception to the rule.
For example, expecting social media to bring your company out of bankruptcy is unrealistic.
Just how you wouldn’t try to use a fork when eating cereal, social media has a place and use. Before starting, make sure you full understand the use and core foundation of the social media platform you are looking to use.
One of the most common mistakes that businesses do when starting out is to appear to be just a news feed of information associated with their brand.
For example, check out the following Twitter news feed:
From a user’s point of view, the feed reads like a newspaper: one-sided with no opportunity for interaction. With that in mind, what reason does the user have to follow/interact with the brand/business?
Remember that social media is all about the 2-way conversation and taking down the barriers that often separate brands and their fans.
Tip: Be creative, be innovative.
What other common mistakes have you seen businesses make when it comes to social media? Let us know in the comments below.]]>
Restaurants are always looking for new ways to promote their business. From social media to traditional media, restaurants continue to look for new ways to re-invent the wheel. One platform that continues to grow in interest and use is the social platform, Pinterest.
Pinterest, a pinboard-style social photo sharing website has grown quickly as a tool for brands to distribute photos and content relevant to the brand.
Restaurants in particular can benefit from using Pinterest because of both the visual story that images of foods evoke and the ease of sharing that the Pinterest platform allows for.
If you are a restaurant, check out this great infographic on How to Market Your Restaurant with Pinterest:
Highlights from infographic:
Showcase your stuff: Pin photos of your food, decor and staff to get potential customers an idea of what to expect
Share some secrets: In comparison with ‘regular’ pins, recipe pins have a 42% higher click through rate than other types
Pricing: Pinterest has a section called their ‘gift section.’ If you would like to show up in this section, add prices to the pins so that you will show up in that area.
Share the wealth: Share images from other sites that are relevant to your brand and/or industry. This will create a well-rounded experience for the user.
Buttons: Make following your restaurant on Pinterest easy and hassle free for the user. Install the Pinterest follow button on any restaurant websites as well as in-store via signage.
Are you currently using Pinterest? How effective has it been for you? Let us know in the comments below.
Traditional marketing for retailers involved print ads in magazines and newspaper spreads, television ad spots, billboards, and signage within retail centers. Today though, the word ‘traditional’ is slowly starting to become obsolete as the rise of digital and social media grows.
In a recent 2012 joint research project by Shop.org, comScore, and The Partnering Group, entitled the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce study, the role of social media and the way it plays into consumers behaviors and buying decisions is apparent by the results which we will discuss below.
To help understand the case study fore mentioned, we have related them to the Top 4 Reasons Why Retailers Should Use Social Media:
According to the study, 2 out of 5 online consumers follow retailers through one or more social networking sites. As a retailer, being in front of the consumer at every possible opportunity is key. In the case of social media, the opportunity is huge. With communities that reach into the high millions, retailers that take advantage of the numbers will be able to tap into the consumer that is listening and looking.
So why does a consumer even follow a retailer online? One of the main reasons is for product promotions. From free samples to first-offers on discounts and new products, the average consumer is more budget conscious than ever. The digital space not only allows for the increased flow of communication between users, but it also allows for easier, more immediate access to deals and new products. Retailers should take advantage of this, especially since the costs involved are much lower than traditional marketing avenues.Some other numbers:
“3 in 10 consumers who follow retailers via social media say they are actively looking for information about events, current trends and ideas, or photos and videos, such as “how-to’s” and styling ideas, as well as expert opinions”
The internet and digital space is full of so much information that knowing where to get the ‘right’ information is often very hard. For a brand, especially a retailer, being able to build a presence and ‘own’ your presence is essential. If you don’t, then you allow others the opportunity to come in and try to represent you.
Like sponges, consumers that follow your brand are looking to eat up every ounce of new information, new product, and new trend relevant to you. By those accounts, retailers can take advantage of this by curating the consumers experience and influence their behavior.
4. The perfect solution for retail
“Online U.S. consumers report that they follow an average of 9.3 retail companies through Pinterest compared with the average of 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter.”
While social media networks like Facebook and Twitter were built for the ‘end-user’ in mind, social media platforms have built many features for brands. These include features like Fan pages and Advertisement on Facebook, Verified accounts on Twitter and brand pages on Google +.
As the study points out, platforms like Pinterest are perfect for retail brands. Pinterest, a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more, is perfect for for retailers as it allows them consumers to pin new products and their favorites to share with their community.
Are you a retailer that is currently using social media? What are some things that you’ve seen effective and more importantly, not effective? Let us know in the comments below.]]>