Small Business Owners Guide to Yelp! Everything you need to know to put the business review site to work. You'll learn how to optimize your profile for positive reviews, website traffic, integrated marketing, and much more!
Small BusinessGuide toHow to Make the Review Site Work For Your Business
Small Business Guide to YelpHow to Make the Review Site Work For Your BusinessThe Internet has revolutionized the face of marketing and offersconsumers a plethora of resources to thoroughly research a productor service before making the decision to buy. According to theFleishman-Hillard 2012 Digital Consumer Index, 89 percent of theconsumers surveyed claimed to use the Internet to make their buyingdecisions. Approximately 70 percent of consumer searches on theweb are for local businesses, and 81 percent of these local searchesthat are performed using a mobile device result in conversions.These statistics alone indicate the power of local search.Yelp and Local SearchIn an effort to bring together consumers and local businesses, Yelp was born in 2004. This onlinecollection of reviews on local restaurants, attractions and shops prides itself on helping consumers findnearby businesses based on reviews and recommendations from informed and credible locals. As of thefirst quarter of 2013, the site featured more than 39 million reviews of local businesses and reportedapproximately 102 million monthly visitors, on average. Yelp is one of the most widely used local searchand review resources for consumers, so your business can’t afford to not have an active presence on thissite.Having an active presence on Yelp offers local businesses a number of advantages, including:• In a world where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key, Yelp provides another opportunity for yourbusiness to appear at the top of a search-results page. Yelp activity has a real impact on your searchrankings.• Consumers crave validation before making a purchase, and being able to read positive reviews onyour Yelp page from actual customers about their experiences with your product or service helps tobuild instant credibility for your brand.• Yelp provides your business with another opportunity to deepen the relationship with yourcustomers and create loyalty for your brand. By recognizing the value of your customer reviews andresponding to them, you can communicate your appreciation for your customers and encouragerepeat business.www.digitalsherpa.com
Getting Started with YelpNow that you’ve made the decision to make Yelp a part of your local search marketing strategy, you maybe wondering how to get started.It’s always a smart idea to first browse through Yelp to view your competitors’ profiles to see what they’redoing right. Take note of what their customers are saying about them. Try to gain an understanding ofwhat merits a strong customer review and why your competitors may be receiving poor reviews. By doingso, you can leverage your own success on the site.The next step is to create your own Yelp business profile in its entirety. Pay close attention to thefollowing critical components:• Be sure to fill out your business name, select acategory for your business, and provide your fulladdress, phone number.• Share your website address and other social mediasites on which you have an active presence.• Include important information about yourbusiness, such as your hours, price point, parkinginformation, and anything else that your customersshould know before paying you a visit.• Create a detailed bio about your business that willhelp to further convince prospective customers tovisit your business.• Offer a strong photo gallery, ideally with professional shots that will help communicate to yourcustomers what your business is all about. It’s a good idea to include a picture of the front of yourbusiness to help first time visitors better recognize your location.Small Business Guide to Yelp: How to Make the Review Site Work For Your Businesswww.digitalsherpa.com
Getting Yelp ReviewsOnce you’ve had a chance to create a Yelp profile that you are pleased with, the next and, equallyimportant, step is to get reviews from customers. Because the majority of people are turning to theInternet to research a product or service before making the decision to buy it, Yelp reviews offer aunique opportunity for consumers to read an actual customer’s true experience with your brand. Yourcustomers have the option to rate their experiences with your business on a scale of one star to fivestars, with five stars being an exceptional experience. Your brand becomes more credible as you bring inmore and more positive reviews..So how do you go about getting Yelp reviews for your business?The point of a Yelp review is to provide a real-life account of a customer experience with your productor service. The best reviews are written spontaneously by customers with recent experience with yourbusiness. While one of the most challenging tasks of building a strong Yelp business profile is earningpositive reviews from customers, here are some helpful tips for getting reviews from customers:• Include a link to your Yelp page on your website, social mediasites, and email signature. If you send out a regular newsletter,be sure to make your readers aware of your Yelp page.• Post Yelp signage at your place of business to increaseawareness of your company’s presence on the review site.• Frame and hang your positive Yelp reviews at your place ofbusiness for customers to see. Not only will this give kudos toyour business, but it may inspire others to write a review oftheir positive experiences in dealing with your company.• Host a Yelp event to thank your customers who completedreviews on the site. By advertising your upcoming event, youmay entice more people to write reviews about your business.www.digitalsherpa.comSmall Business Guide to Yelp: How to Make the Review Site Work For Your Business
As you can imagine, not all reviews will be positive for your business. In fact, one of the biggest challengesthat small business owners have with Yelp is the impact that a negative review can have on their image.According to the latest data collected by Yelp through the first quarter of 2013, 39 percent of reviewswere five stars, 27 percent of reviews were four stars, 13 percent of reviews were three stars, 8 percentof reviews were two stars, and 13 percent of reviews were one star. Because it’s inevitable that yourbusiness will receive a negative review at some point or another, here are some ways to rectify thesituation while keeping your brand’s image intact:• Decide whether to publicly or privately respond to the comment. A public response that is dealt withand resolved in a positive manner can actually build more respect for your brand. Also, once the issuehas been addressed and the customer is once again satisfied with your brand, you could ask that heor she submit an update to the negative review on Yelp to portray your business in a better light.• If you would prefer to deal with the negative review privately, ask the customer for feedback on whatyou should have done differently to have created a more positive experience. Depending on theresponse, you could ask the customer for a second chance to win him over, or at the very least, thecustomer could evaluate how you have taken his feedback into consideration by paying your businessa second visit.• If you feel that the negative review is defaming your business and there is no resolution to thesituation, you can contact Yelp directly to get the review removed from your business profile. Whilethis option may be tempting with each negative review, it should be used as a last resort as it’s in yourbrand’s best interest to resolve the dispute with your angry customer.www.digitalsherpa.comSmall Business Guide to Yelp: How to Make the Review Site Work For Your Business
Probably the primary reason why consumers consider Yelp to be such a credible review site is that it isfiltered to weed out fake reviews from a business owner who aggressively puts a laptop in front of hiscustomers and requests positive five-star reviews. A common frustration business owners have with Yelpis that customers will tell them that they gave the business positive reviews on the site, but those reviewsare nowhere to be found. This is because the Yelp filter typically kicks out reviews completed by newerand less established Yelp users. Therefore, if a customer recently created a Yelp profile simply to write apositive review for your business, it probably won’t land on your business’s Yelp profile. The best way tocorrect this is to encourage your customers to create full Yelp user profiles versus just providing the basicinformation as this will make them more credible reviewers by the Yelp filter’s standard.Regardless of whether a review is positive or negative, you should take the time to respond to them. Notonly will this help to further build the relationship between your business and the customer, but it canearn your business higher rankings through Yelp’s internal search engine.Advertising on YelpIn addition to attracting customers organically to your business through customer reviews, Yelp alsooffers businesses a variety of advertising options. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally a good idea to haveat least three positive reviews (three-and-a-half stars or better) on your business’s Yelp profile beforeconsidering advertising with the website. Advertising through Yelp offers your business yet anotheropportunity to improve its search rankings.Yelp DealsSimilar to popular local deal websites such as ScoutMob or Groupon, Yelp offers businesses theopportunity to run a “Yelp deal.” Through this advertising option, businesses can choose to offer adiscount on a product or service or allow customers to purchase gift certificates through the site.By running a Yelp discount deal, there is no upfront cost to your business; however, once a deal ispurchased by a customer, you will pay 30 percent of the collected fee to Yelp. If a customer purchases agift certificate through your Yelp deal, you will be responsible for paying 10 percent of the collected fee toYelp.Yelp Monthly AdsAnother advertising option for businesses to consider is a Yelp monthly ad. These ads are sold on acontract basis (typically six to 12 months), and during this time your ads may appear on a competitor’sYelp page, but your competitors can’t place ads on your Yelp page. While this can provide peace of mindto your business, it is one of the more costly advertising options on Yelp.www.digitalsherpa.comSmall Business Guide to Yelp: How to Make the Review Site Work For Your Business
www.digitalsherpa.comSmall Business Guide to Yelp: How to Make the Review Site Work For Your BusinessYelp PPC AdsYelp also offers businesses the option for pay-per-click ads, which are sold for $3 each. This advertisingstrategy can position your business to appear above regular search results as well as on yourcompetitors’ Yelp pages. Your business would have the opportunity to design its own advertisement orallow Yelp to feature a snippet of a positive customer review for your advertisement.Using Yelp MetricsMany small business owners are not aware of Yelp metrics and how it can be such a powerful tool instrategically positioning your business on the website. For example, through Yelp’s dashboard, you cantrack all of the traffic that your Yelp profile receives as well as how many times your business appeared insearch results on Yelp. You can also gain a better understanding of how your online visitors are engagingwith your Yelp profile, such as clicks to your website, check-ins, and uploaded photos. This informationcan help you to better measure the success of your business’s Yelp profile.ClosingYelp is an online guide that offers businesses a free way to connect with existing and prospectivecustomers. Being recognized as one of the most credible review sites with more than one million onlinevisitors per month, on average, your business cannot afford avoid having an active presence on Yelp.Today’s consumers crave third-party validation before making a buying decision, and Yelp offers opinionsabout brands from trusted locals in the know. To learn more about Yelp and how it can be a smart onlinemarketing strategy for your business, please contact us at DigitalSherpa.WAS THIS HELPFUL? SHARE OR CONNECT WITH US ONLINE!digitalsherpa.com/blogwww.facebook.com/digitalsherpaswww.twitter.com/digitalsherpaswww.linkedin.com/company/digital-sherpawww.youtube.com/digitalsherpas