Getting the Scoop on Yelp

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Managing Your Business Online Presence in One of the Largest Review Sites

Yelp is an online database of business reviews written by customers for other people who might be interested in going to a local store. This website helps people find good places to shop, eat, drink or loosen up after a whole day’s work. Yelp is a site where you can find both nice and unpleasant evaluations of different businesses.

Many people use Yelp – reviewers who want to share their experience, vacationers who want to know more about the place they’ve visited and other people who want to know more about a certain business. This makes it necessary for entrepreneurs to pay more attention to this site which now has more than 20 million reviews on its record. These reviewshave the ability to make or break businesses, depending on what was written.

Businesses need to make their mark on this site immediately. This is because your own business information can appear on Yelp without you knowing it. Third-party data providers gather basic business details and contact numbers from public sources. Search your business name on Yelp to see if it comes up on the site. You may need to correct the facts listed, such as address, phone numbers, and more.

If you want to benefit from the web traffic visiting Yelp every day, coordinate with the site to place ads that make your business visible online to more potential customers. Placing ads are not for free, though, so you need to plan how yto advertise your merchandise on this review site. Other than that, here are some things you need to know about this site:

1.  Yelp’s traffic comes from its home page.

Out of the 78 million people browsing on Yelp, 60% of the site traffic mainly comes from laptops and desktop computers, with smartphone traffic following after. The number of visitors using mobile phones to access Yelp is increasing, though, so entrepreneurs will do well to add their Yelp business information on their mobile campaigns.

2.  Retail stores have the biggest category.

Before September 2011, restaurants are the top search term customers use when they go to Yelp. Now, retail stores and other shopping centers make up the biggest group on the review site. This is because people look for more alternatives in their shopping trips due to the economic downturn that hit the country. Many businesses involved in retail have seen this opportunity and went to Yelp.

3.  Don’t ask customers to post reviews on Yelp.

According to Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s Local Business Outreach manager, businesses should not solicit reviews from their customers. This is because Yelp wants to focus on raising awareness rather than making businesses compete with each other with the number of reviews they have on their respective pages.This also runs the risk of making customers feel like promotional prizes that must be touted for everyone visiting Yelp.

4.  Earn Your ‘People Love Us on Yelp’ Stickers.

Companies with consistent high ratings get free ‘People Love Us on Yelp’ as proof of their perfect online reputation. Once a business earns this ‘badge of honor, customers familiar with Yelp will trust this business more and visit more frequently.

5.  You can ask reviews to be posted on Yelp through subtle ways.

Yelp recommends that entrepreneurs to add the URL of their Yelp business page onemail signatures and business cards to let customers they’re on the review site. This is a more understated way to request a customer to look at your Yelp page and write a review.

6.  Yelp used to pay for reviews.

When Yelp was just starting, they paid for reviews outside the San Francisco area to get more people to visit their site and pull up their search engine rankings. This strategy was abandoned, however, when Yelp started to grow and became more popular.

7.  Customer service has the greatest pull.

When people grade a business, they put more value on customer service than the quality of the merchandise they bought. This proves that engagement and service levelsare more important in terms of building good relationships with customers. Put more attention to the way you conduct customer service to make people more aware of your good qualities.This can persuade them to come back.

8.  For every star you earn, there’s a 5-9% increase in profit.People naturally want to go to stores, boutiques and other commercial establishments with high ratings. When your 3 1/2 star rating becomes 4 or 4 1/2, more customers will patronize your store. If they’re satisfied with your overall service, they’ll become part of your regular client base.

9.  Yelp is inclined to invite reviews for independent businesses rather than chains.

Independent businesses get more reviews than chains because their service tends to become more or less uniform. This is because chain businesses have an overall management committee who keeps tabs on the way things are run on each branch. Independent businesses, on the other hand, have varying reviews because they are managed by different people with different approaches to how they run a business.

10.  Entrepreneurs can approach Yelp about ‘inappropriate’ reviews.

When businesses receive malicious reviews, business owners can contact Yelp and dispute over the review. Entrepreneurs can communicate with the reviewers, if necessary.

11.  Yelp advises businesses not to sue over bad reviews.

Negative reviews, especially fake ones, can make tempers boil until the entrepreneur is forced to file a lawsuit against a reviewer. Before starting legal action, Yelp advises to let cooler heads prevail because undue attention will be given to the review in question. This will make customers stay away from your store more and bring your revenues down.

Businesses can earn more revenue with Yelp if there are more positive reviews than negative ones. What you can do to yieldpositive reviews is to continue providing reliable service and fine products for your customers.

 

References:

Mashable.com

Yelp FAQ