By now, Yelp is a household name.
Whether used in a pinch when traveling and hangry, needing the right place to eat because if you are going to pay for an overpriced meal, at least it better be a good one. Or as your go-to app, whenever your AC makes a weird noise, or when the mildly annoying toothache is not magically going away.Either or Yelp has become a reliable and practical option when choosing a business.
* I found this great place on Yelp, called WesBurger'N' More, while visiting San Francisco. We were starving, and it was raining, but the burgers were so good it saved our trip.
But what is Yelp exactly?
Yelp aims to "connect people with great local businesses." It's an online business directory service, similar to the Yellow Pages, with customer reviews accompanying every local business.
Yelp users can log in either through the website or by using the mobile app. In addition to finding a listing for local businesses and leaving reviews, users can also look for events and talk with other "Yelpers."
Let's go over three reasons, why your local business will grow with Yelp:
Like it or not, your business is probably already in Yelp's listing. The platform allows reviewers, as well as owners, to add companies to their listing.
If you only want to do one thing regarding Yelp: claim your business. This way, you get a say in the conversation people are already having about your brand.
Consider the alternative. Worst case scenario, when someone looks at your page, all they can find are poorly lit photos accompanied by bad reviews that have gone unanswered.
Best case scenario? They find some positive reviews but aren't able to get the necessary information (opening hours, location, prices, etc.) and quickly lose interest by selecting another option that is simply more practical.
Remember, claiming a business is free, and you may have something to win by just setting up your Yelp business profile and validating yourself as the owner. Claiming your Yelp Business Page has reported generating an $8,000 average annual incremental revenue.
This simple step shows to your customers that you care and overall gives a better first impression than the alternative. It also allows you to:
The exciting thing about Yelp is that people that use it already know what they are looking for and are only missing the where. These are potential customers that intend to spend money.
As local or/and small businesses being on the same online space that a paying customer sounds pretty appealing. But how many people are actually using Yelp?
According to ComScore (2019), Yelp reaches over 100 million online unique visitors each month. Exposing businesses to new, lapsed, or loyal customers on a big scale in just one place.
Survey Monkey released a study that concluded that 97% of Yelpers purchased with a local business after using Yelp.
The same survey showed that 51% purchase within a day and that 90% did within a week.
Reinforcing the idea that people that go into Yelp are ready to spend money. This is the most significant difference that sets Yelp apart from other review sites and social media platforms.
Tied up with these statistics comes the fact that most of the searches inside Yelp are unbranded.
Across industries, in Yelp, 85% are unbranded searches (Yelp Internal data, 2019).
What does this mean for you as a business owner?
It means that when people come to Yelp to do their online research, they aren't biased or looking for a specific brand. They are aware of their problem and know their solution, but the particular business they are going to use is yet to be determined.
For example, Lucy just transferred from Los Angeles to San Francisco. She works a high-stress desk job that sometimes gives her shoulder pain. Lucy managed this back in LA by going to weekly restorative yoga classes. But she is new in town and needs to pick a good yoga studio that is also conveniently located.
Naturally, Lucy goes into Yelp and types in the search engine: "yoga studio." She is not sure which specific business meets her needs, and therefor she will review the business listing. Lucy is doing a general search, not for a brand but for her necessity.
This general or brandless search ultimately means that her business is up for grabs.
There is no form of planned marketing that can beat the ultimate kind of organic marketing that is word of mouth.
According to Ogilvy Cannes, "74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision."
From what Netflix show, you should watch next to where you can find the best Ramen. These are decisions that, more often than not, you inadvertently end up running through your friends or family.
Think about it. Did you want to watch the first episode of Game of Thrones? Or did your brother convince you to, and then you needed to know what happened to the little boy that got pushed out of the window and suddenly you had binge-watch the whole season, and it was two days later. Please tell me that it was not just me.
The reality is you trust your friends more than businesses that want to sell to you. And there is no advertising as enticing as when someone raves about businesses they've experienced and loved.
But how does word of mouth translate to online reviews?
According to a 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey survey:
Being in Yelp's business listing allows you to leverage and regulate your online reputation. Consumers are way more interested in hearing what people are saying about you than what you've got to say. That is why user-generated content, such as online reviews or customer uploaded photos, generate credibility for your brand.
As a local business owner, if you haven't already, it's time to consider how Yelp comes in your marketing strategy.
There is a lot that businesses can get out of simply "Claiming your business," and it isn't much of a hassle.
Whether your business profile is full of positive reviews or you need to sway public opinion, you can use this information as a starting point for your future strategies.
Ultimately you want to be part of a conversation with people that are ready to make a purchase and that are in the same area as your business. Being actively part in Yelp listing allows you to do just that.
At Gray Group International, we're a digital creative solutions agency that believes that everything we do starts with "why". We believe in the power of forming relationships to actualize marketing goals, focusing on inbound and content marketing.
Our team of fearless risk-takers will create a marketing and promotional plan that is unique to your brand, from the web design to the personalized text message campaign. Together, we can explore new ways to reach prospective leads in the digital landscape.
Call us today for a complimentary consultation to learn about how we can help you reach your target audience, nurture leads, and grow your business. Let us do the heavy lifting while you propel your brand into a bright future.