Over 178 million unique Yelp users (“Yelpers”) look to Yelp as their first point of reference when searching for local businesses. Yelp has become one of the most trusted sites for reviews and business information, and it has one of the most influential factors in the consumer purchasing decision.
There are more than 163 million consumer-submitted reviews on Yelp as of June 2018. Anyone who visits your store can write a review, which shows up on your business’s Yelp page. These reviews contribute to the reputation of your business and help build a social proof marketing strategy.
In 2017, 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses. 85% of those consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Yelp is the number one place the majority of customers look for local businesses and reviews—and they take these reviews seriously.
Yelp has a strong positive effect on foot traffic, brand reputation, and overall sales for local businesses and physical storefronts. But it has also shut down or slowed businesses that didn’t know how to properly optimize on Yelp.
What are the impacts and benefits of hosting a solid Yelp business page?
Image of "Burger Joint" -> https://www.parkernewyork.com/eat/burger-joint/via via The Newer Yorker-> https://neweryorker.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/five-guys-burger-joint/.
1. Influence people at the right moment
When a consumer goes to Yelp, they typically have a specific place or service in mind that they’re looking for. They might be searching for “gel nail manicure” or “kickboxing gym.” Yelp will then bring up local businesses that fit their search criteria, similar to Google My Business.
In most cases, these consumers are ready to make a purchase—or at least a visit—when they do a search on Yelp. So they’re coming to you at the perfect moment for conversion. If you optimize your Yelp page, it’s easy to convert searchers to customers.
Conversion comes from providing them with all the information they need to make a purchasing decision. A customer will be drawn to your business if you provide them with a lot of information about your business and if you have a lot of positive reviews. Yelp already holds a lot of weight with consumers, so a strong Yelp page shows that you are a credible business.
Yelp is likely your business’s first impression on a prospective customer. Make it an amazing first impression so they can’t wait to visit your business that very same day.
2. Interact and engage with customers
Yelp users are more likely to leave reviews than users on any other social platform. Yelpers are telling you (and others) what they think about your business. This opens the door for direct engagement between consumer and brand.
If you get negative reviews or complaints on Yelp, you have the opportunity to apologize and rectify the situation. Even if you can’t win that customer back, you might be able to at least get them neutral about you so they won’t damage your reputation.
You also get the opportunity to publicly respond to these reviews, which can demonstrate your customer service. If you reply to negative reviews in an understanding and remedying way, other customers will see that you are dedicated to the customer experience.
Consumers know that not all reviews will be 5-star. But they want to see that your business cares enough about the consumer to try to improve the experience. This gives you the opportunity to make a good impression on other prospects even in spite of the negative review.
3. Encourage long-term customer loyalty
You don’t want to just reply to negative reviews, though. Businesses that respond to all reviews actually have a higher approval rating than those that only respond to negative reviews.
With positive reviews, your customer went out of their way to leave you a good review. So thank them for their feedback, and show your excitement and gratitude that they had a good experience.
This again tells other prospective customers that you care about providing a positive customer experience, which will encourage those prospects to come to visit you. It also makes the reviewer feel special and appreciated that you answered their review. You’re thanking them for their loyalty, and they’ll respond with even more loyalty. This can build your repeat business and contribute further to positive social proof.
Although monitoring your online presence takes time, it can also help improve your credibility, enhance your customer experience, and encourage new and long-term business.
4. Build a brand image
Your Yelp page is likely one of your customer’s first impressions of your brand. You can direct and optimize how your business is presented on the Yelp page. Although Yelp users can add their own photos and reviews, you still have the opportunity to add branded content and business information.
The more information you include, the more credible you’ll appear to Yelpers. This includes business hours, description of services, and even an online menu. You can also include professional shots of your business, products, and staff.
Yelp isn’t the best place to share updates, blog posts, and social posts like other sites, but it’s a good way to emphasize the key parts of your brand. Use this as an opportunity to show off your brand voice and lifestyle through photos and customer experience.
5. Boost your SEO
Google considers Yelp as an “authority” site. That means having a backlink from Yelp to your website can boost your credibility on Google. It tells search engines that you are a legitimate business that is relevant to searchers. The more quality backlinks you have from authority sites, the higher you’ll be in search results.
Google also takes into account the ratings and reviews on Yelp. So, if you have a lot of positive Yelp reviews, Google will push you higher in search results.
Also, Yelp and Google are linked. So, your location in Yelp can appear in Google Maps. This consistency can also improve your Google My Business marketing so you appear higher in Google results along with Yelp searches.
image property of Yelp.com -> https://www.yelp.com/
6. Improve conversion
Yelp offers a lot of tools that actually encourage your customers to move through your sales funnel. Yelp knows that their searchers want products and services right now, so they make it easy for customers to make those decisions.
For example, you can include a “Message this business” button on your business blurb, which gives customers the ability to ask you questions and find out more about your business. You can also have a “Make a reservation” or “Make an appointment” button, which allows customers to instantly book with your business.
This sets the stage for a call to action that directs consumers to convert. Customers are already more likely to come to Yelp ready to making a purchasing decision, so Yelp helps them along for you.
7. Builds trust
Ultimately, having a full Yelp page with a lot of honest reviews builds your credibility. It helps you gain trust within your community. In fact, 73% of consumers trust a local business more if it has positive reviews.
This is especially important to focus on for new businesses who don’t yet have a foothold in the local area. You can use the power of Yelp to spread the word about your business within the first week or two of business.
Yelp is a vital part of your marketing strategy, especially if you are a local business. The majority of consumers start their search for local places on Yelp, where reviews are one of the most powerful drivers of success and visibility.
Optimizing your Yelp page is critical to branding success.
Want to create a cohesive online brand image? Let us know more about your business’s marketing to get going and growing!