Yelp Reviews: Why Small Businesses Should Care

You’re probably familiar with Yelp if you’re a small business owner. The user-generated recommendation site – with over 115 million reviews and 145 million monthly users –has become the initial step for potential consumers seeking trusted information about a new retail store or service.

It is also the first place customers go to vent out about a business they perceive as not good enough.’

Many small businesses find it hard to ignore Yelp’s importance for marketing. Michael Luca, a Harvard University Professor, showed in a 2016 paper that a single star increase in Yelp’s rating led to a 5-9% increase in the overall revenue for Washington State’s independent restaurants.

It is a common misconception that Yelp is only for restaurants. Instead, categorically, restaurants are its second most viewed business category (18%), above home and local services (13%) and behind shopping (22%).

A successful Yelp tactic does not require you to spend money.The platform provides you a chance to represent your brand via your interactions with consumers positively.

Finnegan’s Marin – a local tavern

While searching for affordable restaurants in his new hometown, Shel Israel, CEO of SI Associates and a Yelp user, found Finnegan’sMarin – alocal tavern. The place had a4-star ratingand turned out to be almost exactly as Yelp reviewers had guided him to believe.

The following day, Israel wrote his first Yelp review. He considered himself on the tough side but gave the eatery four stars. A few hours later, the owner emailed him a thank you note.

Impressed by the gesture, Israel has since then used Yelp to find a car wash, plant nurseries,and a dentist. “I’m not as addicted to it as I am to Twitter, but I find it very useful in the same way I found Google Search, which recently bought a Yelp competitor,” he said.

Why you should care

A survey by BrightLocal revealed that 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Indeed, reviews influence customers’ buying decisions to a huge extent.

Simply put, when customers are searching for trusted local businesses, they look at what other people have to say. Yelp provides customers with confidence and sparkling online reputations to help them make buying decisions. Consumers are not going to give a local business attention or money if all they see is negativity surrounding its Yelp review pages.

So, if almost half of the consumer base is using Yelp, maybe it is time for small businesses to start integrating reviews into their work.

  • Building customer trust

Small businesses always look forward to building credibility. With Yelp reviews as an outlet, a company can develop that sense of trust with its community and customers.

Consumers are searching for brands that are trusted and reliable, instead of a business that fails to go beyond ‘one-star’ reviews.

Zach Anderson, National Client Partner with Yelp, believes the app provides users with the most helpful information available. Reviews may not be the only reason to visit Yelp. The platform is known to provide credibility to a business – ‘a trust signal for users.’

There is nothing worse than spending money on a retailer that provides terrible service and does not put their consumers on top of its priority list. Consumers check online reviews to reduce the risk of bad customer experience.

As a business owner, the higher your ratings on Yelp, the better your chances of attracting potential buyers.

  • Ideal for mobile browsing

Yelp listings have a concrete advantage over Google listings for small businesses. Since Apple and Google are both battling for top honors in mobile technology, a Google list may not show up as quickly on an iOS device, but Yelp listings will.

Instead of searching for senior living communities and filtering through dozens of website listings, users can head straight to Yelp and read reviews about various facilities at one place.This also boosts the opportunity for your brand to get noticed by influencers.

And there is always the Yelp mobile application; another way for people to locate your business while asking for recommendations online.

  • Increasing website views

Another important reason why small brick and mortar businesses maintain their Yelp listings is because it helps increase their website views. Yelp makes it easy to see how much impact a social media platform has on your website traffic.

Through the Yelp dashboard, you can see the number of visits your Yelp page receives. A brand can also refer to its site’s Google Analytics to understand referring traffic sources as well.

  • Advertising

Any small business can get a lot out of the Yelp platform by solely investing their time on itsfree page features. For companies in competitive spaces, it may be beneficial to test advertising and check if it can help drive traffic.

If you use Yelp advertising, don’t let them pressure you into spending more than you need to test the channel.Try to remain in contact with a member of the Yelp sales team as they can help you with any problems you face; for example, an incorrect address.

Final thoughts

Renowned review sites like Yelp offer a gigantic opportunity for small businesses since thecontemporarycustomer’s shopping decision is based on online testimonials.

Companies can make use of an outlet like Yelp and receive positive feedback and traffic on their sites. Not only that, but the chance to promote, solidify and rave about your brand is priceless.

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