Yelp 101: A guide to Yelp for small business

You’ve likely heard the saying, “good news travels fast.” Unfortunately for small business owners, bad news travels equally as fast (if not faster) than good news, thanks to platforms like Google and Yelp. The meteoric rise of Yelp has given nearly every customer a soapbox to share their experiences with the world.

If you are a business owner, you should be concerned with your reputation online because a large majority of customers are conducting their research on you. Most customers will even read the company’s response to a review. This means you must be not only proactive in responding to your reviews, but diplomatic in your responses. 

If Yelp is something you want to master and take advantage of for your business you must understand a few crucial components:

  • The complete business profile
  • Activity overview dashboard
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Inbox communication
  • Advertising on Yelp

Yelp will be the first to tout the benefits of these points. For example, they provide reasoning for completing the profile for your business: completed profiles receive 5 times as many leads per month as those lacking detailed information. For more tips on crafting the perfect Yelp business listing, refer to the infographic below from Housecall Pro. They even include some helpful advice from the Yelp team themselves including why you shouldn’t pay for reviews or trust companies that promise they can help you maintain your reputation.

Infographic: Send Yelp: A guide to Yelp for business owners

Send Yelp: A guide to Yelp for business owners

Business owners need to understand the importance of this social platform and how to get the biggest impact on customer acquisition, engagement, and retention. Why? By 2020, Yelp is expected to have more than 200 million reviews. There are currently 35 million monthly active users on the platform’s mobile app, 63 million on desktop, and 69 million on mobile web. Of that, 69 million users have college degrees and half earn more than US$100,000 annually. And out of all the reviewed businesses, 19 percent are restaurants, 17 percent are retail, and 16 percent are home and local services.

Tips to craft the perfect listing for your business

Include detailed information such as your hours of operation, a unique value proposition, and business photos. Users spend twice as much time on a business’ profile if it has photos.

Provide an accurate service area: Local businesses shouldn’t over-extend their ability to service customers in a timely fashion with an enlarged service area.

Increase your business visibility by making sure your profile is complete. Businesses with a complete profile receive 5 times more customer leads per month.

Always reply to new customer inquiries. Responsiveness encourages more leads through the Yelp community. Also, make sure you always respond to reviews both negative and positive. 89 percent of consumers read the business’s reply to reviews.

Enable quotes, offers, and deals: Request-a-quote features attract more messages; Deals and gift cards incentivize more sales.

Advertise on Yelp. Target ads to potential customers in top search results and on competitor pages.

Help from Yelp: Advice from the top

Don’t pay for reviews
Solicited reviews are systematically different from self-motivated reviews. A study from Northwestern University discovered customers prompted to review provided 0.5 stars higher ratings on average.

Don’t trust reputation management services
Companies who claim they work with Yelp to manage your business reputation are making false claims.

Differentiate Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons
Pick an action that isn’t already possible on your Yelp listing to avoid a poor user experience where customers are confused about where they should click for the desired action.