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Ideas | How to be loved on Yelp

yelp love

If someone took the time to write a review about your company, good or bad, they deserve some attention.  Yes, I know.  There are a lot of haters out there, who only want to cause trouble and say mean and, at times, completely untrue things.  And that angers you to no end.  It isn’t fair.  It isn’t right that they have the ability to sway potential customers with completely false accusations, causing you to possibly lose business.  It’s not right.  But it’s the reality of the world we live in.  And we can either ignore it or try to do something about it.

Here’s a framework on a new way to respond to reviews on Yelp.  Just try it and see what happens.  You never know.

For every person who gave you a good review
Send them a direct message and offer them a gift certificate to thank them for their review.

For every person who gave you a lukewarm review or pointed out a couple things that they didn’t like
Send them a direct message and offer them a sample of your best items/services, that they didn’t try, as a complimentary gift.

For every person who gave you a bad review
Send them a direct message and apologize that they had a bad experience.  Tell them what you’re doing to correct it and offer them a gift certificate if they’d like to give you another try after you’ve corrected the problem.

IMPORTANT: Do not treat this as a promotion!  Do not promote or advertise this (not that you’d likely want to give away free stuff anyway).  The key is to show pure appreciation for all feedback and you can’t sully that by turning it into something commercial.

Ideas for Realtors

In Hawaii, there are so many realtors, it’s often difficult for any one of them to stand out.  Many often rely on referrals or repeat business.  These ideas can help leverage your previous buyers as well as help to get you some new ones.

1. Create a monthly e-newsletter

Feature a few of your current listings.  Include some home remodeling tips to keep people’s interest.

Since it’s sent via email, it’s easy for people to forward on to friends that might be interested.  Constant Contact and Mail Chimp provide customizable templates and customer database tools, making it easy and quick to send your first e-newsletter.

2. Send monthly post cards featuring one home on the market to former clients

They can be printed relatively inexpensively by companies like Vista Print and PS Print.

3. Print a calendar

Ask former clients if they would allow you to take some professional photos of their home and place them in a calendar to be mailed to all of your former clients.  Have the photographer take unique and artistic shots of the home to make it more compelling for people to hang up.  Send each client 2 copies, one to keep and one to give to a friend.

4. Create a house hunting blog

Start a blog that provides tips for people looking for a house in Hawaii.  Blogs are great ways to drive search traffic to your site and can catch people who may be looking at numerous sources.  If you put in the time to make your blog truly useful, you can establish credibility and trust, even before you meet with a new client.

5. What to look for in a house e-book

You can also write an e-book on what home buyers should look for in a home.  Again, providing resources like this establishes you as an authority.  They’re not as difficult to write as you would think.  Check out this article from HubSpot, which provides a good overview.

Ideas for Promoting Shopping Centers

Check out these ideas on how to gain more traffic for your shopping center and better promote your merchants.

1. Host a scavenger hunt
Invite shoppers to participate in a mall-wide scavenger hunt where they have to find clues at select stores.  Winners would receive a generous mall gift card.  The clues should highlight featured products/services at each store.

2. Build a microsite with videos of all of your stores
Videos can be professional TV spots they currently run or just the owner/manager talking about what makes their store great and why consumers should visit.  With so many options to record video (e.g. iPhone, digital camera, etc.), virtually any merchant can record a simple video.  The personalized message may be even more engaging than the TV spots, if it’s genuine and authentic.

3. Send out a daily deals email
Similar to Groupon or Living Social, send out a sale or promotion featuring only 1 of your stores.  You can make the requirement of the offer more lenient than other group deals companies (i.e. doesn’t necessarily have to be 50%+ off) to increase merchant participation.

4. Create a Foursquare Page with all of your stores
People who follow your page would receive tips for every one of your stores, allowing a central place to create targeted messages.

5. Do a direct mail campaign to households within a one-mile radius
The people who live nearest to your location are likely the ones who frequent it most.  So send a quarterly “Hey Neighbor” direct mail piece to homes within your area.  The piece could include upcoming events, community related news, exclusive offers just for them.

6. Position mall signs along anchor routes
Optimize the positioning of your mall signs so that they’re placed along the most common routes that people travel to go from the parking lot to key anchor stores or restaurants.  Use those mall signs to feature new stores (mall sign ad space could be included in new leasing agreements).

Ideas for Marketing a Hotel in Hawaii

1. Do a Friends and Family of Kama‘aina special
Send an email blast or direct mail to your Kama‘aina guests which provides a discount to their friends and family.  It could encourage them to invite their loved ones  on the mainland to come for a stay at your hotel.

2. Mail a postcard with a glamour shot of your property to previous guests 1 year after their stay
Simple message: “Wish you were here again”  Could be a question or a statement.

3. Create a Foursquare page of island attractions
Rather than creating a page that just shows your hotel locations, why not host a Foursquare Page with recommendations on things to do around the island.  Members who follow your page will get your tips on all the interesting sites you list when they “check-in.”

4. Send a pass-along e-postcard
Send an electronic postcard to your database with a unique code on each.  Recipients would be directed to enter the code and email address at a microsite to redeem a prize.  The prize could either be a discounted room package, logo items, $ off your restaurants or on-property activities.  After they get their prize, they’ll have the option of sending the post card to other email addresses to see what they can win.  The postcards they send will have the same code as the original, so you can track what type of people are the most likely to share and also which has a network that is likely to share.  Use that info to optimize your CRM program and target those influencers.

5. Host a chartered tour for guests during shoulder periods
Do something a little different than the usual golf or spa package.  Create a package for lower occupancy months, where guests will also receive access to a daily chartered tour of the island, sponsored by your hotel.

6. 365 days of [your hotel]…
Create a page on your website that lists what’s happening at your hotel or on the island each day of the coming year.  Some of the entries could be events you’re hosting.  Others could be things to do around the island.  Some could just be general things to do around the property.  But each day should be a little different.  Make it so they can enter the days of their expected stay and see some of the things they could be doing.

7. Sweet Upgrade
Create a package rate (that’s just a little above a standard rate) where people who book it will be randomly chosen for a complimentary upgrade to a suite and room service or dining certificates for each night of their stay.  You can select the timing of when to give the suite based on availability.  So you’re not losing revenue on the room.  And you can set the rate based on the F&B costs for the promotion.  But the end goal is to create a package that’s unique and can stand out.  So many offer the same types of packages.  Creating interesting and notable packages can help sell themselves.

Ideas for Farmer’s Market Vendors

For vendors at any Farmer’s Market, how to stand out can be a big challenge. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

1. Hand out recipe cards using your produce and products
Tell people about all the great dishes you can make with it.

2. Create postcards with pictures of your products
Have pictures taken by a professional photographer and create an elegant design that sets you apart, so that people are likely to mail them or keep as a souvenir.

3. Print business cards promoting your yelp profile
Encourage people to post comments and photos to Yelp

4. Offer a different special item each week
Promote it via Twitter or your website to draw interest

5. Post videos of the Farmer’s Market experience on your website
Show people enjoying your booth and products