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HOW TO: Find Yelp users who are clients


Find Yelp usersEasily search and connect with your clients who use Yelp!

Search by Email

Yelp allows you to search their records to find Yelp users who are clients using their email addresses. This is useful for new businesses starting out with Yelp who may not have any reviews on their Yelp page, or for existing business who may need to improve their ranking. Below are steps you can follow to get access to those Yelpers.

    1. Export contacts from your database
      (Include first name, last name and email address)
      Save to a text file (CSV) with first line field headers: “First Name”,”Last Name”,”Email Address”
    2. Import CSV to web mail
      The following email clients are supported: Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook (Live, Hotmail etc), AOL
    3. Find Friends on Yelp
      Login with personal account, click Find Friends, connect to your email client.
      Yelp displays a result set of all your contacts that have a Yelp account.
    4. Process Results
        1. Create Excel page to sort results
          Click CTRL+A to select everything on the result page
          Copy/Paste to a text file, delete the garbage at the beginning and end and then Copy/Paste what’s in the text file to your Excel page. You’ll notice it is all in one column. Sort it and the first data you see is all the ‘friends’ and ‘reviews’ info for your Yelpers…this is important to do because we will be cherry-picking the ones who are most active to pursue (I recommend chasing users with 3+ reviews).
        2. Tally Yelpers by the # of reviews they have done
          Take a quick count of Yelpers and their Reviews (e.g. 5 Yelpers with 3 Reviews, 2 Yelpers with 65 Reviews…etc)
          Yelp users with less than 3 reviews are not worth your time. Focus on 3+ reviews.
        3. Create an Excel page to store the Yelper’s data on.
          Use your tally sheet for marking off.
          Search your text file for “X reviews” and copy/paste Username, City, # of friends, # of reviews to the new Excel page.
        4. Match Yelp users with clients in your database
          Usernames often contain a person’s full name or initials.
          Search each one and match it up with your client.
          Make a reference to their client record on the Excel page.
        5. Store links back to the Yelp user’s profile
          Take the client’s name or email and feed that data back into the Find Friends feature on Yelp’s webpage in order to double-check and get a link to their profile. I like to have links to the user’s Yelp profile so I can see how active they are and also to check up on them after they have left a Review.
          Store this link in the Excel file.
          NOTE: Not all Yelp users can be looked up by their email/name through Yelp when searching individually. (The bulk tool seems to find users better…).
        6. Tip for hard-to-find Yelp profiles
          For those Yelpers whose Username is too generic or short or for whatever reason doesn’t allow easy matching to a client or to a Yelp profile, you can still find their profile on Yelp if they have a profile photo. Search the page of results you got when you used Find Friends on your email contacts.
          Save their profile photo to your desktop, open up Google Image search and click on the camera icon.
          Upload the profile photo and Google will spit out matches.
        7. Discard any records you cannot match with even a possible client
    5. Quality Control
      Have staff go through the client records for the Yelpers with 3+ reviews and examine the account carefully. Ideally you only want to approach happy current clients.
      Past-clients may be OK as well depending on your business model, but in every case you need to make sure that these people were not displeased with your service before you contact them.
      The last thing you need is to remind a Yelper about bad past service and get that person motivated to write about you.
    6. Plan a call script
      Once vetted, plan out a script for contacting your clients.
      How will you verbally confirm that they are still satisfied with their service?
      If they are unhappy, what remedies will you offer to turn this person into a fan?
      If they are happy clients, will you offer them an incentive to review your business?
      Make sure they know to make the first sentence punchy because that content will show up first when people see excerpts of their review or when a review is chosen to be featured on your page. I counted 104 characters on the low end for the iPhone Yelp App.

Next Steps: Once you have managed to talk some of the Yelp users who are clients into reviewing your business and you have some positive feedback to brag about, you can start to use that content to get more clients. I know some clients who chose to do a Yelp campaign after boosting their star rating. Others choose to repurpose the reviews for use in email communications (don’t forget to attribute the content to Yelp and link to your page).

DISCLAIMER: Yelp actively discourages users of their service from soliciting reviews, and I will agree with them all day long that you shouldn’t plunk a laptop down in front of a client and ask them to review you. But let’s face it, any business owner who cares about their clients and their reputation doesn’t want bad reviews on their business page. They want to deal with that person directly, come up with a solution and ultimately leave them with a warm fuzzy feeling. No business is good 100% of the time, and that fact will come out even in good reviews, but the goal is always going to be to have 0 bad reviews. That’s just good customer service. I recommend that you vett your Yelpers and only contact the happy ones because I am assuming that you already have corrected whatever issue that led to the unhappy person complaining in the first place. In most cases I would venture it wouldn’t be helpful to current or prospective clients to know about a one-time issue that occurred in the past. So, I don’t see a problem with a business new to Yelp actively seeking content that hopefully will inspire trust in their listing, especially if they are seeking to eventually advertise on Yelp. It’s not deceptive. No one’s arm is being twisted into leaving a “good” review and ultimately, no business can prevent an unhappy client from venting on their page.


  1. Is there a maximum number of contacts? I imported 1000 into gmail and then was able to import them into Yelp.
    But then I did 11,000 into gmail and Yelp seemed to no longer be able to log into Gmail, it gave some sort of error like it couldn’t get the files.

    ANd yes I did the right format because the test worked.

    I still don’t get how to easily look through 10,000 names to pick which ones to invite. Import into excel? I didn’t get that part

  2. I don’t know the exact number, but 11,000 is way too many for a bulk search tool. You’ll have to chop that down into smaller chunks to search. If you have enough contacts to import it may be worth it for you to experiment until you find the max. Otherwise, if 11,000 is what you’re working with then just import 1k at a time (clear out of gmail after you are done matching)…it’s annoying but it shouldn’t take very long.
    As far as how to use Excel to parse through the user-match data Yelp gives you, I will go ahead and post some clarification.
    Or you can send me your list of contacts and a check and I’ll be glad to help you out 🙂


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