business tips, yelp

Business Owners Tool Box : A Profile of Yelp

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Yelp is the largest consumer review website on the internet. It surpassed its nearest competitor, CitySearch, in 2008. Yelp is supported all over the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and several other countries.

The basic premise is simple. Real people leave reviews about physical businesses, such as restaurants, spas, bars and chiropractors. People who’re looking for a good Japanese restaurant can easily hop on the site to see what others have reviewed highly.

Traffic & Statistics
Yelp gets over 70 million unique visitors per month. According to TechCrunch, Yelp has over 20 million reviews on its site, as of July 2011, each review representing a real customer leaving real feedback about a business. Alexa estimates Yelp as reaching about 0.4% of daily global Internet users.

Yelp Demographics
According to Quantcast, Yelp has a strong leaning towards the Asian demographic. There’s also an above average percentage of users who are Hispanic. Yelp users tend to be high earners, with a strong percentage of users earning over $150,000 a year. The strongest age bracket is the 25 to 34 bracket, with 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 being about even. Usage drops off sharply after 45.

Should You be on Yelp?
If you have a physical business, being on Yelp is essential. It’s important to note that you’re going to be on Yelp whether you want it or not. People are going to review your business. It’s your choice as to whether you want to actively manage your page or not. Chances are your page is going to rank highly in Google and have a large influence on how people treat your business.

Yelp Pros and Cons
Pro: Yelp can bring in a lot of qualified traffic. If you get your business in the top 5 of your local category, you can pretty much be guaranteed to book out.
Con: It’s difficult to remove bad reviews. Once someone leaves a bad review, it’s there
for life.

Pro: Yelp lets you respond to comments. If something negative happened, you can share your side of the story. This helps mitigate the impact of negative reviews.
Con: Yelp has a notorious reputation for pushing advertising. Don’t be surprised if you keep getting cold calls from Yelp’s sales team.
Pro: Yelp Deals is a fantastic way to advertise your business. Give Yelp users a discount and you have a good chance of winning their patronage.
Con: Building a solid reputation on Yelp takes time. You can’t just start a new business and expect Yelp traffic. It can take months, even with active promotion. If you just leave it, it can take years.

Tips for Success on Yelp
For starters, have a strategy to actively cultivate Yelp reviewers. Yelp doesn’t let you bribe people for positive reviews, but you can reward people for leaving a review of any kind. For example, you can give a free order of spring rolls to anyone who leaves a Yelp review.
Make your Yelp page as appealing as possible. Make sure your information is filled out completely, including website, address, phone number and hour of operation. Add an online menu so people can see what you have to offer. An online menu used to be the exception, today it’s the norm.
Add as many photos as possible. Take pictures of both your product and the environment. For example, if you own a café, take pictures of the coffee and the food, as well as the seating areas. People often want to get a sense for the atmosphere before showing up.

Finally, always respond to negative or neutral Yelp reviews. Take the time to share your side of the story. This can really help you reduce the impact of complaints.

Managing Yelp doesn’t take a lot of time. Take these steps and actively nurture your Yelp profile. It’ll start to pay off in just a few short months.  Check out Yelp HERE.

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About Becky Flansburg

Becky Flansburg is freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant living in Northern Minnesota. A dedicated mom to two beautiful kids, her veteran blog is filled with laughter and love about the joys parenthood. Becky is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoy life beyond the cubicle and find clarity in the work/life/family balance. Connect with Becky via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest