Digital marketing can be a tricky proposition for businesses of all sizes and budgets. You may be on a tight budget. You are likely competing with bigger businesses who top search results. You may just be unclear how much time (and money) you should allocate for digital marketing and social media versus traditional methods.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine what you’re already doing, one of the best ways to reach customers online is to optimise your presence on review sites like Yelp.
That’s because review sites are an important part of a business’ online reputation. With 78% of people turning to review sites like Yelp to find all types of local businesses, many people find info about businesses on review sites and make purchasing decisions based on what they read. Review sites have made the consumer voice stronger than ever and also let businesses connect directly with customers, meaning a business gets the online exposure it needs in a cost-effective way.
So, if you’re ready to market your business using review sites, here are 5 tips to help get you started.
- Get the basics right.
Your number one priority should be to claim your business page or profile. You want to make sure consumers are seeing correct, up-to-date information about your business on all digital platforms. Things like opening hours, website, address, and contact numbers are especially important. On Yelp, you can claim your business page for free at biz.yelp.com.au.
- Make your photos count!
Yelp users stay 2.5 times longer on business pages with photos. So, upload high-quality images that show off your store or office, products or services and staff. Make sure your photos tell a story – don’t just upload your logo as it’s not that helpful for customers.
- Stand out by telling your story.
More and more consumers today want to know the origin of the products they buy and the story of the businesses they frequent. So, let customers know about your business online – its history, its specialties and a bit about the owner. This helps people relate to your business and including all this information will also optimise your profile and help with your search results.
- Nurture your customers online.
It’s important to make sure that you are engaging with the customers that talk about your business online and treat them like VIPs, even after they’ve left your business. You can do this by responding to reviews – on Yelp you can do this publicly or privately. Thank your customers for their feedback, respond to their reviews in a diplomatic and polite way, and let customers know when you’ve incorporated their feedback into your business. Doing all this instils confidence in consumers and builds rapport, signalling to potential customers that you have a vested interest in customer service and the experience they’ll have with your business.
- Let people know where to find you online.
Encourage customers to engage with your business online by including links to your review site profiles in your print and digital marketing materials. Instead of directly asking for reviews, focus on providing great customer service and just let people know where to find you on the web – this will organically grow your business’ online reputation, which is what consumers trust most. Don’t forget in-store signage – sometimes a simple visual reminder makes the biggest difference!
Nick Lembo is Yelp’s Manager of Local Business Outreach. He works with a wide variety of business owners across Australia and New Zealand to help them navigate the world of online reviews. He regularly speaks at conferences and writes about how business owners can use review sites, social media and Yelp’s free tools to reach customers online.
Yelp is a mobile app and website that connects people with local businesses in 32 international markets around the world. Yelp was founded in 2004 in San Francisco and launched in Australia in 2011. With over 89 million monthly unique visitors on mobile in Q3 2015 and 90 million reviews, Yelp is the leading source for real word of mouth online.