Yelp for Business Owners – The Essentials
Top 5 tips for leveraging Yelp for your business
Love it or hate it, Yelp helps influence local buying decisions every day. Here are some of the top tips we offer clients to leverage the platform for their business.
Claim your page.
This seems like a no-brainer, and yet so many businesses still haven’t claimed their page. This can happen because Yelp users can add local businesses to Yelp, even if the business is unaware that they have done so. This is an easy fix. Search for your business name, and click the “Unclaimed” link next to your business name. You will need to go through some verification steps to verify it is your business. If for some reason it has been claimed and you don’t remember doing it, check with your business associates to check if they have and gain access through them. If all else fails, visit Yelp for Business and reach out to support.
Complete your page.
This is your opportunity to give customers valuable info that they want about your business, such as website, phone number, operating hours, products or services offered, business history, owner bio and more (Yelp also allows you to add Special Hours for holidays when your business hours will change from the normal schedule). The other reason to fill out your business page is that (currently) Yelp’s search engine pulls from all the information on a business page — whether from your information or your customers’ checkins and reviews. This means that the more text you have that is relevant to your business and its offerings, the better chance you have to show up in Yelp searches by users. That said, you should review your business information regularly to make sure everything is accurate and up-to-date.
Respond to reviews.
Whether your reviews are positive or negative, respond to all reviews in a short and concise manner. This shows the Yelp community and your prospective customers that you are engaged and interested in serving your clientele. Should you end up the recipient of a “bad” review, do not engage in a war of words with the reviewer. Instead, take time to detach and try to understand what the review is about — and if you can learn anything about your customers and their experience in the process (sometimes a bad review can help uncover a weak point in your own business that you haven’t yet dealt with). If you find yourself charged up and wanting to fire back at the reviewer, it may be best to wait at least 24 hours before sitting down to write a response. Yelp offers good advice about handling bad reviews, but if you need specific help you can reach out to their customer support.
Measure your Yelp activity using external tools.
While Yelp does have its own dashboard for business owners, the information is limited and doesn’t detail the customer’s information, whether they are new or returning or what happens once they land on your website. I recommend installing Google Analytics on your website to track information about visitors coming from Yelp. Google Analytics is free to use and gives you valuable business insights, but doesn’t start working until you install it. Also, use a trackable phone number on your Yelp profile. This allows you to determine the specific value of your Yelp leads, how many are new customers vs. returning customers, and (if you have employees) the quality of service your business is providing your customers. I insist that tracking is so important that I wouldn’t spend a dime on advertising without at least these two measurement tools in place.
Understand what you are paying for (before you hand over your credit card).
At this point in time there are basically two ways that Yelp makes money — enhancements to your business profile and advertising. Note: I don’t have issue with this philosophically as long as there is a value exchange — after all, social media platforms need a business model to be sustainable. However, as the business owner, you need to understand the difference between the two to make the best decision for your business.
Business page upgrades
Business page upgrades include a call-to-action, slideshow and removing competitors’ ads from your page. These all have the ability to increase conversions from your page, but will not get more people to see your page in search results. Currently, you can get an enhanced profile for $75 per month that includes all three features mentioned above.
Advertising on Yelp will get you more visibility which increases the chances that your prospective customers finding you. Yelp continues to change the packages it offers, so I won’t go into detail about them here, but there are pay-per-click and pay-per-impressions options available. The appropriate one for your business will depend on several factors, including the competition, your industry compared with available categories and your business goals. I think that Yelp advertising has a way to go to become a useful marketing tool for advanced marketers, but it has helped some of my clients, so I say speak to a third-party marketer or agency (other than Yelp) who understands search engine marketing to advise you on your specific situation.
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