Yelp is a website and mobile app that has quickly evolved into the go-to source for finding businesses for all your different needs—whether that’s food, shopping, or even nightlife. There’s over 100 million reviews and an average of 167 million unique visitors every month! With numbers like that, Yelp is one of the most important sites for the success of small local businesses. To see what Yelp can do for you, here’s some things you should know:
- It’s not just for restaurants We all know Yelp is great for looking up delicious nearby restaurants. You would think because of that, restaurants would be the largest category. Surprisingly, that’s not the case. The largest category of reviewed businesses is actually shopping/retail. Yelp states that shopping represents 23% of the reviewed businesses while restaurants are now 18%.
- Don’t encourage customers to post reviews Usually businesses ask their most satisfied customers to write reviews, not the unhappy ones. Yelp says, “These self-selected reviews tell only part of the story, and we don’t think that’s fair to consumers. We would much rather hear from members of the Yelp community who are inspired to talk about their experiences without a business owner’s encouragement.” Yelp doesn’t take this matter lightly and will not recommend reviews you’ve asked customers to write.
- The Yelp Sticker MUST be earned You know those “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers you may see on windows of local businesses? Those weren’t bought—they were earned. How do you earn a sticker? Well, Yelp will send out stickers once a year to all businesses that qualify and have great ratings. If you really want one, you can apply for a Yelp sticker with this link.
- Good Customer Service = Good Reviews If you want good reviews, make sure to have superb customer service! It’s been shown that if customer service was described as “great”, the customer is “over 5 times as likely to give a 5-star review rather than a 1-star. Similarly, nearly 70% of “bad” customer service experiences are given 1 star.” Customer service matters. If you want great reviews, you need to make sure you’re achieving high-quality customer service.
- Yelp favors independent businesses If you own a franchise, Yelp won’t be a very helpful resource for you. According to a 2011 study by Michael Luca, Yelp’s influence on chains is “statistically insignificant and close to zero.” Luca revealed that “chains experienced a decline in revenue relative to independent restaurants in the post-Yelp period. Higher Yelp penetration leads to an increase in revenue for independent restaurants, but a decrease in revenue for chain restaurants.” Why is this? Franchises will be almost exactly the same everywhere you go. For example, a Starbucks in Houston, TX won’t be that different from a Starbucks in Los Angeles, CA. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to look up a chain restaurant on Yelp, since you probably already know the products, the services, etc.
- The more stars you have, the higher your revenue In Luca’s study, he found there is a direct correlation between high rankings and revenues. A one- star increase in rating leads to a 5-9% jump in revenue. If you take another look at number 4, you can see the best way to increase your ratings effectively. (Hint: It’s customer service!)
In this day and age, having a local business without a Yelp account puts you at a strong disadvantage. Many people rely on Yelp for trustworthy reviews and if your business isn’t listed, you will be losing numerous potential customers. Stay on top of the competition by using Yelp to reach a larger audience. If you don’t already have a Yelp account or have any questions, talk to the marketing experts at Satori to get started. Share your business with the web, and prepare to see your small business thrive.