Yelp, founded by Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelmanin 2004 is one of the leading websites where people can go and write recommendations for small businesses across the USA. Yelp is still growing and welcomes more than 142 million unique visitors to its site every month. As a business owner if you consider that businesses registered on Yelp record an increase of $8000 in their annual revenues it might be time to reconsider signing up for Yelp yourself.
However, there are many others who are still not signing up for the service. Do they know something that we don’t? Can Yelp.com make or break your company?
Just Why Is Yelp that Important?
It gives a leveling platform for all SMEs. Yelp allows small and medium businesses to be registered on their site. It doesn’t matter if you run a hot dog stand or whether you want to list your restaurant or café. Yelp will help bring more attention to your business and market it to others who may not be aware of just how good your products or services are. Word of mouth marketing is the foremost marketing tool on this planet with 92% of people saying they trust recommendations made by their peers than ads they see on TV or in the newspapers. Jeremy Stoppelman puts it this way, ‘When you’re looking at a review on Yelp, there is all sorts of information you can find about each individual reviewer. Who are they? What do they look like? What other reviews have they written? On Yelp, you can tap into the word of mouth.’
Its vast client base is also not be ignored.90% of Yelp users are influenced to buy by the positive reviews they read about, and 98% of people who conduct research on review sites typically make purchases at the businesses for which they search. Not having a registered Yelp account is one sure fire way of breaking your own company when you consider these figures.
Yelp is so important that Google offered more than $500 million in 2009 to acquire the company. Google Maps and Yahoo are the two main companies that Yelp sees as rivals and competitors.
How People Look for Yelp
The largest age group in America (36.4% of total reviewers) that are on Yelp is aged between 35 – 54 years with 65% of these reviewers using a mobile device. If your business has a fantastic website but it is not mobile device friendly then you are probably missing out on the 70% of potential customers who access Yelp pages from their mobile phones. Each month Yelp reports that there are on average 78.9 unique mobile visitors to the Yelp website. These are all visitors you cannot afford to miss especially if you know you have a world class service or product to offer.
You can break your own company when you limit yourself with only a desktop friendly website. Your competition will be able to access more customers than you potentially.
Of posting reviews, the order of your reviews and fighting fake reviews
According to a 2014 Nielsen Survey on what consumers were saying about review sites like Yelp, Yelp scored the highest in terms of being the most influential, most trustworthy, and was seen as having the best quality website.
Leaving reviews on yelp is simple enough. However as with any system there are always those who wish to abuse it. To combat fake reviews, paid reviewers and other malpractices in terms of posting reviews Yelp has devised filters that aim to eliminate suspicious reviews that go against the company’s policies.
It is almost impossible to read through all the reviews that have been left on some businesses pages because there are hundreds of reviews. Most people only have time to read the first few reviews and the last three to four reviews. What this should tell you is that you need to make sure that your first and last reviews are good ones. As a business owner you can dispute bad reviews if you feel they are damaging to your institution and go against Yelp’s posting policies. In this way you can work hand in hand with Yelp to ensure that Yelp is helping you make your company instead of breaking it.
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