Yelp is quickly becoming the Kleenex of the tissue world, or Google of the search engine world. That might not make sense at first, but consider the fact that searching for reviews of businesses and products online is literally referred to as “Yelping.” That signifies its impact on the world of online reviewing because its name has become synonymous with the entire industry it represents.
So, with power, comes great responsibility. That’s why it’s important to know about the ways in which Yelp has changed small businesses forever. Keep reading to learn about the top five ways it has impacted the world of business.
Rule by the people
Yelp has become so profoundly influential that businesses have actually had to take Yelp into account when it comes to marketing campaigns and getting the word out. Having a successful Yelp profile linked to your business can be just as if not more impactful than social media pages or print ads. Businesses can flourish for years if they are able to obtain and maintain high ratings on Yelp, that’s because their high rating will lead to more customers, which will likely lead to more high ratings.
The issue here is that if a business is just getting started and learning the ropes, a few bad reviews can sink them early. It could decrease their traffic noticeably before people even give it a chance. Still, Yelp hasn’t changed the fact that there is only one chance at a first impression.
Still, it does benefit the customer because it makes sure that even from the jump, businesses know that they must please their customers.
The impartial review
Reviews and business critiques have always existed, but a problem in the past was that it was never totally clear if the review was honest or if the person writing the review was receiving special treatment in order to promote a given business. People simply didn’t believe testimonials that were placed on the average ad or – later – website. This made them essentially useless.
Yelp on the other hand offers the rare benefit of being an impartial platform. Usually, there is no incentive for people to write very positive or very negative reviews other than to express their feelings on a given company. That means that reviews can be trusted in a different way that in previous years.
It helps customers most of all, but it can also help businesses who, if they play their cards right, can earn invaluable five-star reviews that can quickly shoot them to the top of the list of their respective business on Yelp.
Businesses can improve
Before Yelp, if businesses received a bad review they would simply have to weather the storm and move on. Now, with Yelp comes the opportunity – and in some cases the near obligation – to actually directly reach out to unhappy customers and ask for forgiveness.
Yelp gives businesses the option to face the customers they have let down and find ways to either rectify the issues, minimize a bad review’s impact, and more.
This does create added responsibility and risk. Businesses can find themselves accidentally making the matter worse if they try to defend themselves and get in an online fight with a customer. It is important for businesses to use tact in scenarios like these, but if they do, they can find a bad review either disappear or actually turn into a positive one!
It’s easier to get discovered
Before Yelp, a business’ search optimization was totally beholden to being in Google’s good graces, or at least taking advantage of knowing how they tend to rank certain sites and links. Since Yelp has generated such a high level of popularity, however, more and more customers are directing their search efforts there instead of Google.
In addition, because Yelp is dedicated towards business, it is easier to get noticed because you are not competing against the much broader SEO algorithm at Google.
The only issue that this can bring up is that you may have to compete against fake reviews. Like all review sites, paid for or fake reviews are an issue at Yelp, though they have made it a serious goal to manage to identify and remove fake positive or fake negative reviews.
A good online content marketing agency should have the experience to help you navigate how to respond and best prepare for reviews, both positive and negative, that your business obtains.
Yelp can dramatically increase revenue
Everyone knows that a potential customer’s purchasing decisions are based on what other people are saying about a company or product. Just like the review section on Amazon can convince you to buy to not buy a pair of headphones, Yelp can convince customers to try out a new ice cream shop, get their car looked at by a new mechanic, or head to a new music or theater venue.
Positive Yelp reviews truly does lead to money for small businesses and become a truly essential marketing platform. It is up for debate how much money can be attributed to Yelp, but there is no doubt that it has changed the small business industry forever.