We chatted with Partner Sales Director at Yelp Mo Sidique, and he told us this story:
“Growing up, my mother owned an African restaurant. It was great, we had lots of customers – but we never focused on marketing. Unfortunately, one day this caught up with us, and customers started to dwindle. Eventually, it got to the point where we had to close the business because the foot traffic we had wasn’t enough to sustain it.
“Nowadays, whenever I work with a business at Yelp, my initial outreach is always “what can we do to help this business?” I look at each business as if it were the store that I used to work in with my mother when I was young, and approach each with the same care and compassion. I think everyone at Yelp has that same mentality, and that’s the best part of working at Yelp – being able to help businesses grow and thrive.”
We regularly speak to many small and medium sized businesses and often there is an initial hesitancy towards incorporating Yelp into their online presence strategy. As a marketing agency, we take the time to educate our clients on the importance of Yelp. As part of that effort, we conducted this interview with Mo to get answers to some of the most common questions that we see SMBs asking us about Yelp.
What is the most important reason that small businesses should be on Yelp?
Yelp nurtures your business’ hyperlocal presence. The biggest reason to be on Yelp is to help your business be seen by the people around you and by your community. With the amount of searches that take place on Yelp, just being present on the platform puts you on the map to compete with larger businesses.
A lot of people see us as a review platform but at the end of the day, Yelp is a business directory that allows people to find local businesses. Customers today are doing more business research before making purchasing decisions than ever before and Yelp is a big part of that research.
I am busy running my business. Is claiming / optimizing my Yelp profile a large time commitment?
As a small business owner, I can only imagine how much weight you have on your shoulders! However, updating your business information in Yelp (and on other online listing platforms for that matter), should be seen as a priority. It’s extremely important to ensure accurate and up to date information on your business is available to customers at all times. This is the core to an online presence strategy.
Is there an advantage to regularly updating my Yelp profile? How often do I need to update it and what kinds of updates should I make?
Any time you’re changing something about your business – like your hours or contact information, you should be making those updates in Yelp. It’s beneficial to add promotions, events, new pictures, or any relevant content you have. These are all things that will make your profile more robust, connect you with your community, and help the public to better understand your business.
The bottom line is, the more content you have on your profile, the better! The more information you have, the more opportunities you will have to be found and chosen in searches.
What’s the most common reservation that small businesses have about getting involved with Yelp?
A lot of businesses might not understand how beneficial Yelp can be for local businesses which often leads to hesitation in setting up their profiles. Yelp has a very high value audience – we have countless users coming onto the platform every day. These users are looking to make a purchase decision right away. The contents of your Yelp profile can make or break that sale.
What are some of the most frequently asked questions that you get from small businesses?
With different businesses come different concerns and needs. So, if I had to choose one question that businesses of many categories love to ask, it’s “how do I succeed on Yelp?”
Businesses want to do well on Yelp, but sometimes aren’t so familiar with the ins and outs of the platform. That’s where agency partners like DSG come in, to help inform and coach businesses in the right direction. So really, it boils down to using the right strategies to get chosen and found on Yelp.
Why is it important to advertise?
For some businesses, advertising is necessary because at the end of the day, you do have competition. It’s important to intertwine your organic and performance marketing strategies, because they help each other in many ways. Yelp has seen very different types of results coming from different business verticals, so your need to advertise really depends on your business type.
It’s okay to start with a smaller budget in order to become more familiar with the platform. As you see results, you can refine your campaigns and add more budget, because more budget means more customers.
What is your favorite thing about Yelp?
Yelp gives smaller businesses the chance to put themselves out there and compete with bigger businesses. My favorite thing about Yelp is that everyone is on an even playing field – you can’t just pay your way to success, it’s all about the work that you put into your profile.
Additionally, nobody has any control over the reviews that come in on Yelp, so it’s really a great way for the community to voice their opinions. Yelp does a great job at allowing businesses to tell a full story, and be very transparent with their customers.
Do you have more questions on Yelp that you want answered? Reach out to us. We’d love to start a conversation.