It's easy to find yourself overwhelmed with all the newest social media platforms when marketing your small business. After all, it seems like everyone these days is talking about the newest marketing tactics using Meerkat, Periscope or Instagram. While all of these are useful tools, none of them are built to provide the kind of basic information potential clients need in order to actually find your business. When you're looking up a business for the first time, think about the four biggest questions you need answered:
- What does this company do?
- Where are they located?
- When are they open? and
- Is this business any good?
Answering those four foundational questions is where Yelp comes in.
Yelp is a website built to help people searching online for a particular business or kind of service find everything they need to help them decide if it's the right choice for them. Information like hours, location, and how to contact them is built into every business profile, alongside reviews left by real former or current customers. Founded in 2004, it's often the first place a person may go to find a great restaurant for date night, the perfect place to grab a latte, or even to hunt down local dentists, plumbers, or building contractors. No matter what type of business you can think of, odds are they've already built a profile on Yelp — or they really need to. With more than 89 million unique visitors on mobile devices alone in their third quarter of 2015, the usefulness of Yelp definitely shouldn't be underestimated.
How can you make the most of marketing with Yelp and help your business to grow?
Optimize Your Profile
First things first, you'll need to sign up in order to claim your company's listing. You'll need to stay by a phone for this, as Yelp will call your company phone number in order to verify the existence of the business and authenticate the contact information you gave.
Once you've claimed your listing, get ready to optimize. Alongside basic information like location and hours (Yelp helpfully provides a GoogleMaps view of your location once the address is added), you can also provide further details. Take advantage of this! Don't settle for bare-bones; clients won't look twice if you don't give them something to look at. We recommend adding three to five photos and filling out the Specialties, History, and Meet the Business Owner sections in order to bring a personal touch to your profile. Each of these allows your potential customers to find out a little bit more about you, helping them find the authentic connection that today's consumer is looking for.
Once your Yelp profile is optimized, it will be one more tool helping to build your online presence and will often be one of the first results in a Google search for your company's name.
Respond to Feedback
While you may not receive reviews from clients immediately, you'll want to keep a regular eye out for them. While Yelp has tools designed to filter out inauthentic reviews (like those left by people paid to leave a positive review, or friends and family members trying to up the review score on the site), they do not filter out negative reviews left by customers who had a bad experience with your business.
As a business owner, it's in your best interest to monitor these reviews and leave feedback whenever possible. Even a positive review may contain constructive criticism. If a customer leaves an overall positive review but mentions a negative aspect of it (for example, a plumber who fixes the clogged pipe quickly but is rude to the homeowner during the visit), it's worthwhile for you as the business owner to reply. Let the customer know that the constructive feedback has been seen, and that you will look into what happened to ensure it won't happen again. When new potential clients see that you take an interest in ensuring quality service is provided even after the transaction itself is over with, they will be more likely to choose your business — and the customer who left feedback will be more likely to utilize your services again in the future.
What about negative reviews? Before you reply to totally negative review, take a moment to think. If your reply is defensive, aggressive, insulting, or in any way replying with more negativity, it will only serve to make a bad situation even worse. The best way to respond to negative feedback is to acknowledge the problem with empathy and compassion, then detail how you would ensure it would not happen again. If the feedback is unreasonable (a 1-star review from a customer who didn't realize your electronics store didn't sell paint, for instance), it is best to leave only a short acknowledgement, or to not reply at all. Potential and future customers will want to know that you will do what you can to help if they have a negative experience, but they'll be able to tell the difference between legitimate complaints and misguided ones.
Take Advantage of Yelp's Helpful Tools
When you sign up for Yelp as a business owner, they make several helpful tools available that you can use to make the most of your listing. Once you've claimed and built your business listing, you'll begin receiving a weekly e-mail letting you know how many views your Yelp listing received and how many customer leads were generated, along with a short piece of helpful advice on how you can best utilize Yelp for your business.
You can also look at your Yelp account page to see how you're doing. Alongside a more detailed look at visits and generated leads, you'll also see an approximated value-per-visit and suggestions for further optimization like page upgrades, paid ads, calls-to-action, gift certificates you can offer through the site, and more. Using your business account will help you stay on top of your listing, see new reviews as they come in, and learn more details about the people finding your business through the site. They also provide a Business Owner's Blog and regular webinars, where they detail other useful ways to stay on top of your Yelp marketing and grow your business.
Partner With a Team That's Here to Help
When you want to truly make the most of your marketing opportunities, you want to call in a team dedicated to telling your story. Waypost Marketing provides responsive website design, email marketing, social media, and other inbound marketing services, providing the kind of compelling storytelling that helps your customers find you and discover that you are the solution they've been looking for. Interested in learning more? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us by phone at (864) 288-6162 or online, or click the banner below to schedule a consultation!