So I got a message on Facebook from KaSundra Anderson asking my opinion about advertising on Yelp. When she told me it was $300 per month my initial reaction was wow that seams high. I started a blog post a few months ago about Yelp and I also remembered that Vicki Peters raved about her salon start up success with Yelp and thought I need to give this a closer look. Yelp launched its namesake web site in October 2004 by a couple of former PayPal software engineers. Stats from their site state "Yelp had a monthly average of 84 million unique visitors in Q3 2012*. By the end of Q3 2012, Yelpers had written more than 33 million rich, local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists. Yelp's mobile application was used on 8.2 million unique mobile devices on a monthly average basis during Q3 2012." Every business owner can set up a free account to message their customers and post photos. Posting pictures is key for salons. Yelp knows that a picture is worth a thousand Yelps. Yelp searchers spend 2 and a half times as much time on a business page with photos as opposed to one without.
I called Vick today and asked her more about her Yelp success. Yelp, she says, is the new yellow pages of the decade. She was quick to offer up the name of her sales consultant Ashley Blok for my in-depth questions. Ashley called me back within 10 minutes and spoke with me for about 20 minutes in the middle of her day. She has been with Yelp for over two years and I couldn't help but notice she is still quite passionate about helping small businesses grow. She was eager to help with information and even sent out more informational emails right away when I told her it was for tonight's segment. She couldn't have been more accommodating. Yelp not only helps start ups it gives existing businesses more visibility and helps expand their market. I believe Yelps key advantage is a strategy I talked about last week. They direct customers to your business who are searching for you. Ashley shared with me their target audience is between 25 and 45, working adults that aren't necessarily looking for the cheapest but more quality businesses in their area. They have a need, they're searching after all, they have money to spend and they don't have a loyalty to another salon. Vicki contemplated a few other options before she went with Yelp and partnering with her sales consultant Ashley Blok has proven a winning strategy for driving new business to her salon. When researching Yelp Ashley encourages business owners to go through a phone appointment to see all the ways Yelp can help your business. You can always say no at the end, but at least you know all your options. Vicki recommends taking advantage of everything Yelp offers. When Ashley visited the salon for a manicure Vicki took the opportunity to grill her about Yelp. There is also a business blog on the Yelp site that has great pointers and offers a ton of business advice. Yelp also has some other fans, bigger fans like Apple and Bing.
Partnering with Apple and having their apps on I phones and Ipad has harnessed the power of Siri. Apple’s Siri default search engine is Yelp. Their SEO team, and I quote, " kicks butt. For most business name searches on major search engines, Yelp’s review is on page one. " It was a client that initially posted a review about the salon that got Vicki's attention. Love them or hate them reviews are the life blood of Yelp. They cannot be manipulated or controlled but they can be managed. While it is not recommended to solicit reviews you can encourage feedback. Negative reviews are inevitable, but the more positive reviews you have will push the negative ones further down the list. Yelp has an automated review filter, which is always on the lookout for suspicious reviewing activity (like those anonymous rants and raves you see on other sites). Getting started is easy. Claim your business listing, try and get more reviews and consider advertising on Yelp. And for Vicki's numbers? Polished Salon has had over 150 walk ins since opening this summer. She believes 99% of their clients found her salon on Yelp and her numbers shot up since advertising. Ashley shared with me that there are over 3000 nail related searches per month in her area. How many potential customers are out there searching for you?