The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every consumer category, influencing new consumer behaviors, and pushing many gyms worldwide to the brink of permanent closure. In Indianapolis, gyms, fitness studios, and workout facilities can resume normal operations with restrictions like limited class sizes, masks, and safely spacing equipment. However, fitness and wellness business owners are still struggling to keep their doors open! We chatted with Niki Burt, Yelp Senior Community Manager for the Indianapolis area, to get some tips and best practices to help your business during these uncertain times. Read on to see the best tips and practices from yelp!
BWI: How can local fitness and wellness business owners leverage Yelp?
Niki: Every business with a brick & mortar location has a Yelp page. Whether you personally added your own business to Yelp or a kind customer helped you out, I always recommend “claiming” your page so you can be the one in control of your information. Head to https://biz.yelp.com/ (or the Yelp for the Business app) and type in your business name to either create a page or claim an existing one.
BWI: Why is it essential for business owners to claim their Yelp page?
Niki: Claiming your page is completely free and will allow you to add business information, beautiful photos, COVID-19 safety measures, special hours, and more. You’ll also be able to respond to reviews and see customer demographics… all for free!
BWI: What is the new feature Yelp recently rolled out this year?
Niki: We recently launched a place within Yelp for Business, where you can update COVID-19 related information all in one place. Once updated, these details will then be displayed on your Yelp Business Page for consumers to see. Just log in to Yelp for Business (Business Information tab), and click “edit” next to “Updates during Coronavirus” or click “Go to COVID-19 Updates.” I recommend adding specific details to your COVID banner, as well as listing your updated services (delivery, curbside, virtual classes, in-person classes, etc.) and health & safety measures (staff wearing masks, sanitizing, distancing, etc.).
BWI: What are some tips you would recommend for business owners to do now to leverage Yelp?
Niki: 90% of consumers who make a search on Yelp make a purchase within the week. This is why I always encourage business owners to frequently log into their Yelp page to maintain their online storefront by responding publicly to reviews, adding photos of updated offerings, adding special hours, and checking consumers’ demographics.
BWI: What’s the best way to respond to a negative review?
Niki: Responding to reviews shows people what to expect from you when it comes to customer service. It also shows that you care about your customers in a very public way. It’s a great marketing tool, but it requires a bit of strategy because reviews can be tough. You’re not alone! I recommend responding publicly, as it gives you the last word and shows everyone visiting your page that you are responsive and have handled anything mentioned. We’ve also found that if customers can see that a real person will be responding to them, they’re more likely to lean positive. Need help knowing what to say? Here’s a helpful guide. If you have a review that does not reflect a customer experience, includes threats or obscenities, contains promotional material, etc., you can also flag a review.
BWI: There have been several new businesses opening despite the pandemic. What advice do you have for new business owners?
Reach out to me at @YelpIndy or email@example.com! I’d love to help spread the word on your business. I live in Indy, and everything I do is with the goal of supporting local businesses for free. I can share about you on our social media, co-host a virtual event for a big group of local Yelpers, host a giveaway, or feature you in our weekly newsletter. When you add your business to Yelp, it’ll be listed as “hot and new,” a category that many people love to search for. Lastly, you can also look into Yelp advertising to create a customized ad announcing your arrival.
BWI: Lastly, what other tips would you add?
If you haven’t taken any photos of your team teaching virtual classes, wearing masks, or cleaning surfaces, I recommend doing so! Adding these photos to Yelp and social media will help ease any anxiety your customers may have and show the great effort that your team has put into keeping visitors safe. Y’all deserve some credit!