Yelp shouldn’t be scary for small businesses. In fact, there are plenty of benefits to be had when businesses engage with customers on the review platform.
All small businesses do their best to put their best product, customer service, and presentation out there in the hopes of useful tips, referrals, repeat customers, word-of-mouth, smiles, etc. Then business improves, online activity increases, and growth is activated. But then there are those days when things don’t go right. Then what do some customers do? They go online, behind the comfort of their device and say something. Most notoriously on Yelp.
A platform that small business are more familiar with than some social media sites. Your business may already exist on the site without you even opting in and creating a profile. And that is what makes Yelp famous. That there is an image of your business out there built on both positive and… constructive feedback. Making it a site of love and sometimes loathe, but in either light, it is an opportunity to interact with your customers and build a larger presence.
So let’s discuss how this all can be beneficial to your small business.
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is powerful.
What Even Is Yelp?
If you are thinking of small business review sites, the 1st website that comes to mind for everyone is Yelp. Whether you enjoy hearing the voices of your customers or fear the opportunity for commentary that you may not agree with it is one of the top places for small businesses to be listed. Users in the Yelp community may already list your business. What is going to make your experience on Yelp worthwhile is understanding the platform and how much energy you are willing to put towards it.
Yelp began in 2004 as a way to connect consumers with local business. By 2016 it became the #1 review site to find local business and that 92% of users visit Yelp because they intend to buy, with 79% of those people making that buy within a week’s time.
In simple terms, Yelp is a consumer review site, aimed at providing community opinions for visitors to make a decision. There the consumer can list, provide listing information and leave their reviews, without the approval of the business. Making this platform predominantly about the customer. Community reviews have become a massive part of purchase intent in these days of the internet.
A Stage For Your Small Business
As anyone can write a review at any time a business may also claim their business at any time for free. You can talk to reviewers and create clear social proof with their feedback. While it is a site dedicated to customers, Yelp has evolved to give business more of a place on their platform to put their best foot forward. Start by “claiming” or listing your business.
After the business profile is claimed, you can adjust or add the business listing information such as hours, website, phone and other specialties. Then after that, you can begin to add photos and engage with customer reviews. As you should with any online profile make sure it is comprehensive with a fully filled out “About Us” section and photos that enticingly show your business. Sometimes pictures are all a visitor wants to see. We all have that friend who knows what they want to order before getting to the restaurant by looking at Yelp photos.
Keep in mind that when filling out anything descriptive to think of keywords that your customers may be searching to find you. Google and other search engines will pull from Yelp reviews to improve the search results. Don’t forget to review all information on your profile every couple of months to make sure it up to date.
One-on-One With Customers Online
The most valuable benefit of the Yelp universe is the direct connections you can make with your customers. Remember that the reviews serve as guides to understanding your image and product, to become approachable and improve your business. It’s market research, coaching and development all in one.
So know when to be gracious and professional. We know you love your business, but emotional responses are a reflection of your business and shouldn’t be fueled by your personal feelings. It’s easy to determine if someone is merely complaining, giving constructive feedback or is purposely trying to hurt your business. You can’t change their experience, but you can show you care about your customers and what they have to say. Considerate responses can improve and create positive future relationships. Always stay positive!
Besides, don’t stress the small stuff. Most reviews on Yelp are positive anyway.
By responding regularly, you can spot the trends as well as nip issues in the bud before more of your customers start to express them. This is excellent customer service. While it may not solve that customers problem, it shows other potential customers that you do indeed care. Some reviews will be positive, so make sure to acknowledge those. They took the time to say something sweet so you should too. You can engage reviewers publicly or privately on the platform.
Furthering Your Opportunities On Yelp
Once you have a healthy amount of good reviews and no recurring issues to address then how does one level-up on Yelp? Well, number one is NOT to solicit reviews. That is a huge no-no and will set you way back in Yelp. Because if the reviews aren’t random and true, it de-legitimizes the platform. That’s why you show your customers ways to lead them to your Yelp profile and hope they are in a great mood from their experience with your business. Remember where you see “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers? Those stickers are awarded to businesses that have gotten high rating and reviews. Now you can show off online and off!
If more is what you are looking for then advertising would be the logical next step. With over 90 million visitors there it is more than likely that you be the right business for someone. Advertising will help broaden your reach, but won’t get you a better rating. So don’t think buying ads automatically improves your stars nor your business. Consider this; a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5% to 9% percent increase in revenue. So give some thought to how much those stars are worth to you.
There are so many businesses that are succeeding on Yelp that don’t pay us a dollar, and we’re really excited about that.”
People Will Love Your Business On Yelp
Yelp is a place to show off your business and to engage with more customers quickly. And yes, make the most out of your business listing because it means people want to talk about you. Create discussion and community from your one-to-one responses. Get the honest truth direct from your customers to further improve your business. Or you may already see the public value of Yelp and begin advertising. At Teacup, we are a Yelp Ad Certified Partner we can now help you rock your Yelp profile, promotion and more.