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Why Service Businesses Should Sign Up for Yelp (Review Tips + How to Advertise on Yelp)

FieldPulse | July 17, 2016

Are you using Yelp for your service contractor business? 

Thousands of consumers use Yelp every day to find well-rated businesses and technicians. For service industry professionals, Yelp presents a great opportunity for easy reputation management and advertising at low (or no) cost. Yelp for small businesses promises less competition and more engagement than traditional advertising channels. If you haven’t set up a Yelp page for your service business, you’re missing out.

This guide will help you get the most out of Yelp. Including how to sign up for Yelp, set up a Yelp page and advice for managing reviews and content. It also includes some information about how much money businesses make using Yelp and how useful advertising on Yelp can be.

How Can Yelp Help Your Service Business?

According to a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group, service businesses that advertise on Yelp earn an extra $36,000 in annual revenue. That’s $13,000 more per year than the average business on Yelp. For budget-conscious businesses, the same study found that setting up a yelp profile without buying ads still increased annual revenue by an average of $8,000.

The site boasts over 100 million customer reviews, as of 2016, and over 100,000 monthly visitors. Traffic is split between mobile users and desktop users, however, Yelp’s mobile market share has been growing in recent quarters. According to their fact sheet, 70% of searches on Yelp came from mobile devices.

43% of Yelp’s user base earns over $100k annually, too, which is almost double the average income in America. This means that Yelp users are in a position to afford more expensive services than other user groups, making them an ideal group to reach out to.

All things considered, Yelp gives businesses access to a highly engaged, high-earning, review-conscious user base. These Yelp users rely on the website to pick which businesses to engage with, and trust the reviews they read. If you care about earnings, you should care about your Yelp business page.

Setting Up Your Yelp Page

Claim Your Business on Yelp

Yelp creates pages for businesses automatically so users can leave reviews. If a business isn’t active on Yelp, the review page will contain user-submitted information that might not be accurate. Claiming a business page is the first step in establishing a positive Yelp presence, as it helps the business manage their image and provide accurate information. Businesses can take over their pages by either using the business portal or by clicking the ‘claim this business’ button on the relevant page.

Yelp uses phone verification to validate business claims, so it’s important to verify that the correct number is listed for the business. Once you submit your business information, a Yelp representative will contact you through the listed number to give you a verification code for your business account. If a business cannot be claimed, due to a preexisting claim or other issues, the Yelp support team can be contacted for help.

Create A Detailed Business Profile

Creating a detailed business profile on Yelp is important. Customers are more likely to contact a business that has photos, posted hours, and an engaging description. But for businesses in the service industry, deciding what to show customers can be hard. Here are some suggestions for what kinds of pictures to include:

  • Branded service vehicles
  • Professional employee pictures
  • Completed Jobs (taken with customer consent)
  • Community engagement

In addition to pictures, it’s important to include the location, hours of operation, contact number, and website for the business. The purpose of a Yelp profile is to make a business accessible to potential customers. By including pertinent information like payment methods and appointment times, you’ll make it easier for customers to schedule an appointment.

If you’ve already created a Yelp profile but haven’t used it in a while, it’s important to add updated information, pictures, and descriptions to the page. Customers are more likely to engage with a page that is actively managed than they are an outdated business listing. It’s important to add seasonally relevant information and deals to keep them coming back.

How to Engage With Customers on Yelp

Handling Negative Yelp Reviews

Customers can be fickle on review sites, and it’s easy to fall into an oppositional mentality when faced with unfavorable reviews. Getting a 2-star review because the service technician was caught in traffic or because complications arose during installation hurts, but responding in anger is bad for business. Even bad situations can be turned into positive experiences if they’re handled well.

Companies that try to control their image through strict contracts don’t do well on Yelp. Some companies have even levied lawsuits against customers over bad reviews, only to see their pages branded with a prominent banner on Yelp informing customers of their practices.

Instead of condemning negative reviews or arguing with dissatisfied customers on Yelp, use the comment features and messaging features to create a professional and understanding image. Show customers that you’re working to improve the issues they’ve encountered through improved methods, technology, or hiring practices. That way, when potential customers read negative reviews, they’ll also see what the business has done to fix that issue.

Encouraging Positive Yelp Reviews

Soliciting positive reviews — that is, directly asking for or requiring positive reviews from customers in exchange for service — is against Yelp’s terms of service. On the other hand, adding Yelp badges to service vehicles and including the logo on business websites keeps customers in the loop without pressuring them to write a positive review.

An easy way to encourage reviews is to raise awareness with social media. By letting customers know that your business has a Yelp profile, businesses can increase the likelihood of receiving good reviews. Key phrases like ‘we value customer service’ and ‘we want your feedback’ have been shown to encourage customer engagement.

Yelp Deals are another way to encourage customers to use the site. By offering a discount for customers who use Yelp, businesses increase the odds of those customers leaving reviews. Yelp deals aren’t seen as solicitation because customers aren’t receiving the discount in exchange for the review.

How to Advertise On Yelp as a Service Business

In addition to the free business profile, Yelp also offers premium advertising features. These ads are a great way to access customers searching for related businesses in your area, or even lateral audiences who may be looking at restaurants, shopping centers, and other local businesses.

Studies show that focused advertising — ads that target narrow demographics with specific interests — produce the best results online. Ads placed on Yelp will appear at the top of search results for keywords related to your business as well as on the pages of competing businesses. Compared to Facebook ads or AdWords ads, which need complex configurations to be delivered to local customers from the right demographics, Yelp’s ads are more precisely targeted from the get-go.

For the service industries, this is a great feature. Where other industries rely on brand awareness and large advertising budgets to draw in customers from wide demographics, the customer base for service industry businesses is rather narrow. They’re only interested in services when they have a specific problem, which means you can’t sell plumbing the same way you sell pop. By serving ads only to customers that are specifically looking for certain kinds of service industry businesses the rate of engagement is significantly higher, producing better results at a lower cost.

One Pitfall of Yelp

No matter how much work a business puts into growing their Yelp business page, their results are dictated by one thing: quality of service. If a business is struggling with dispatch times or technician behavior, Yelp won’t fix that. If a business is charging well above market rate and can’t find repeat customers, Yelp can’t fix that either. If a business can’t handle its paperwork and invoicing, using Yelp won’t change that. Yelp can show the weaknesses in a business as easily as it can its strengths. It’s a tool, not a cure-all.

However, for a well-managed operation, Yelp for small businesses is an amazing tool. By highlighting customer reviews, photos, and even videos, Yelp helps businesses get the word out about what they’re doing right. Yelp offers an authentic way for businesses to advertise their services at low to no cost, and it does it so well that the average business on Yelp earns an extra $8,000 per year, just by doing the things described in this guide. Setting up a Yelp page is easier (and cheaper) than setting up a website, making it a great option for businesses that are looking to expand online.

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