Most local businesses are in constant need of more customers. If that’s you, Yelp is a great place to start your online marketing strategy. What makes Yelp so attractive is that it is incredibly popular, and you can gain a significant amount of leads 100% for free just by setting up your business’s Yelp profile in a smart way.
Another side benefit is that being on Yelp can help your Search Engine Optimization. Yelp has partnerships with Bing and Yahoo – they will sometimes display business information found on Yelp in their search results, and drive searchest to yelp. Even your Google ranking can be improved by yelp since the more places like Yelp that your business appears online, the more authority your business will have in Google’s ranking algorithms. In short, not only will you get more leads through yelp, but it also helps you get more traffic through regular search engine searches.
Yelp is the largest online search engine designed specifically for connecting users to local businesses. It has more online traction than yellow pages, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor combined. Sure, Google is by far more popular than Yelp, but in many cases when someone searches “best roofer in Philadelphia PA” yelp is one of the first 5 results pointing to their own page of local businesses listed on Yelp.
It’s a common misconception that Yelp is only used for restaurants. In reality all kinds of local businesses bring in tons of leads every month through yelp. In particular home service businesses like Tree Care, Roofing, Fencing, Landscaping, and similar businesses do really well on yelp. Customers who choose businesses like these are more and more often going to yelp and considering reviews as part of their decision making process. And 65% of hte users using Yelp have an income of >$50,000/year which means they are the same ones that have the type of money to spend on these sorts of businesses. It’s never been more important to be found on Yelp.
How To Get More Leads From Yelp
Yelp is all about building trust with the user. You need to increase your business’s “trust factor.” The higher the trust factor, the more likely someone is going to choose you over the other results on the yelp search page. Below are the things that build the most amount of trust on a yelp page. Each of these things, if accomplished, will increase your trust factor and therefore the number of leads coming through Yelp. We’ll walk through how to do each of these things effectively.
- Claim your Yelp Page For Free
- Increase the number and quality of reviews
- Add Quality photos
- Add Business information (like hours, address, website)
- Have a great website
1. Claim Your Yelp Page For Free
First things first: before you can do anything with yelp, you have to claim or create your business’s yelp page. Start by going to yelp.com and searching for your business. You’ll likely be greeted with a page like the one seen below.
To get started, click the big red “Claim This Business” button.
Note: In some cases (like in the case of newer businesses or businesses with absolutely no web presence, your business won’t be listed. In that case you’ll be looking for a box like this on the yelp search page.
You’ll need to create a business account. Tie it to your business email if you have one. Once you create an account you can begin adding content to your profile and optimizing your page to bring in more leads.
2. Increase the number and quality of reviews
This is the number one reason people go on Yelp. The businesses in a local area with the best reviews on yelp tend to get the most leads through Yelp. This also happens to be the hardest item on the list to optimize for maximum trust factor. Obviously, to get the most out Yelp, you want as many high rating reviews as possible. The question is how?
To get more, and better reviews, follow these steps:
- Do quality work
This might sound obvious, but it is the most important thing a business can do to ensure good reviews. Unfortunately, people are much more likely to review a bad experience than a good experience which can reduce your overall rating. To mitigate this risk, consistently do quality work.Sometimes customers are unhappy. It happens. It’s important to continue to communicate with the customer, however, and do whatever you can to rectify the situation – especially if you know that they heard about you through a service like Yelp, where a bad review is a possibility.
- Capture Contact information
You need a way to track the customers that come through your business so that you can follow up with them later. This will look different for every business so it’s hard to give a definitive guide here. Brick and mortar locations should consider a “check-in” process where you capture contact information. On-site service providers likely have the client’s contact information already, but could probably keep better track of how satisfied someone was with your service. The more satisfied a customer is, the more likely they are to leave you that coveted positive review.Consider using a database tool like Airtable or Fieldbook to keep track of your clients and information about them.
- Follow up with a request for review
If you have the contact information for a customer who you know is very satisfied with your work this is key: ASK FOR A REVIEW! So many businesses don’t take this incredibly important step! In my experience customers are significantly more likely to leave a review if simply asked.It’s important that you target customers who you know are satisfied. For some businesses, this is super easy and intuitive to know. For others, it can be difficult to know how satisfied a customer truly was. If it’s hard for your business to know the difference between the two, consider using a tool like Customer Guru, which can send your customers a quick survey, and based on the results direct them to different locations. Did they rate your business a 10? That person will automatically be asked to leave a review for yelp. Did another customer rate you a 2? They are asked for more feedback so you can improve your services. In both cases the customer has the chance to communicate their experience, keeping your social page less risky.Timing is key. Ask for a review when it’s relevant. Did you just finish the most amazing paint job? Did the customer just thank you profusely for the amazing work you did? That is the perfect time to ask for a review. Or at the very least within the next 24 hours. You can try to ask for a review months later, but don’t expect many results. Humans are fickle creatures, and we forget what was done for us easily. Following up in a timely manner will take the number of reviews you get to the next level.
Lastly, make it stupidly easy for them to leave a review. Whether or not you tell them in person to leave a review, follow up with a link right to your yelp page that lets them leave a review. This technique can also be utilized for facebook and google reviews, which also help in search engine rankings.
3. Add Quality Photos
Quality photos are important in so many areas in a business: on brochures, on your website, on your yelp page, pretty much everywhere you have a visual, photos can make or break your trust factor. That’s why I always recommend using a professional photographer for some seriously great photos of your business that you can use in all things digital.
Don’t have the budget for a professional photographer? Chances are you have a cousin, niece or friend that has an entry-level DSLR, and fancy’s themselve an amateur photographer – get them to take some photos that will likley look better than the ones you take
Don’t have any friends? That’s sad. But on the bright side, you probably have a ridiculously overpriced phone that takes decent pictures. Take some really careful, well planned, photos of parts of your business in good lighting.
The better the photo, the higher the trust factor. If you look like you’ve spent $5,000 on a pro photographer people will think your business is at a much more professional level than the crappy flip phone photo. Add these photos to your account by logging into your yelp for business account and clicking the big red button shown below
4. Add Business information
You want to add as much information as possible to your Yelp page. That means business hours, address, website, phone number, a description of what you do etc. The more information you have, the more active and professional your profile looks – all of which increases the trust factor, and drives more leads.
Also it’s important to note that Yelp’s search algorithms look at these factors when searching. So if you are a tree care provider, but also sell firewood, be sure to include long-tail keywords on your yelp page for tree care as well as firewood and any other services you offer. This will increase the chances you are found in a search for a service you provide. If you don’t include those keywords / phrases on your page, yelp has no way of knowing that you provide that particular service, which means you won’t come up for those searches.
5. Have A Great Website
Lots of budget minded small business owners spend a lot of time optimizing their facebook and yelp pages to bring in leads. Often times it works well and you will notice more customers just from these efforts, but more savvy shoppers know that anyone can set up a yelp or facebook page with little effort. These shoppers will be clicking through to your website to check even further on your business. If you have a fantastic Yelp and/or Facebook page that you’ve spend hours optimizing only to send a potential customer to an outdated unprofessional website you are losing lots of potential leads.
Consider creating a website or reworking your current one to meet the latest standards. Not only will that help you rank better in search engines, but it will build the trust factor your Yelp page is already working on.
Arguably one of the most important things to be sure of is that your website is mobile-friendly. Yelp and websites like it get a large percentage of users using mobile devices, if your website is not mobile friendly, users will disregard your business as outdated, and often times immediately leave your website.