Let’s talk Yelp. Yelp! was created to assist consumers in finding businesses with the best local services in their surrounding areas. By the end of the third quarter of 2017, the app had an average of 30 million visitors each month and over 142 million total submitted reviews. With that much activity taking place on their website, it is crucial for businesses to utilize this instrument in their marketing plans.
According to Pew Research Center, online reviews are accessed during shopping experiences by more than half of adults aged 18 to 29, and slightly under half of adults in the ages of 30 to 49. It’s easy to see that Yelp is the dominating force for social reviews.
So, let’s get you started!
- Before looking up your own business, do a little research. Check out your competition. Read their profiles. Make note of what’s catching your eye.
- Search for your business. Look for the “Work here?” link and go from there. Start filling in those blanks! Give detailed contact information with complete address and phone numbers. Provide links to your website. Use high-quality photography to represent your business. List your hours, price ranges (yes, it matters!), outdoor seating, reservation recommendations, etc. It’s the tiny details that can drive a customer to you. If customers can’t see what you have to offer, they’ll find someone else that will show them!
- Start taking pictures. Don’t rely on cellphone shots from your visitors! You want to stand out amongst your competition. Show what your business looks like from the street. Showcase your entry, your décor, and your specialties. Capture the ambiance of your surroundings.
- Ask for, and respond to, reviews: ALL OF THEM! As the owner, you’re able to acknowledge any review placed on your business profile. If you receive a negative comment, thank them, and respectfully respond. If you receive a compliment, be gracious and grateful. Ask if you can share their comments on your other social media sites. Quickly responding to both positive and negative reviews left for your business will show your potential customers that you care about their business. By listening to suggestions and constructively responding to criticisms, you’re proving to your patrons that you’re always working towards improvement and care about their experiences with you. Everyone likes to feel important. This will keep your customers coming back for more! (Just a quick pointer: While Yelp discourages owners from asking for reviews, it is NOT a violation of the app's Terms of Service. However, it is a violation to offer incentives to customers to leave or remove reviews. So, feel free to ask for a review, just don’t offer anything other than sincere gratitude for the feedback.)
Your Yelp strategy should be one of the most effective tools in your marketing plan. If monitored and affiliated with your daily or weekly activities, it can become the single-most compelling reason your visitors and sales numbers steadily increase. Yelp and be heard!