Marketing Your Business on Yelp

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Marketing Your Business on Yelp

If you have a business with a physical location, you can strengthen your social media marketing by paying attention to location-based websites and apps that people use to find local businesses. One such app is Yelp, a locally-focused, searchable directory of restaurants, hotels, health care providers, and other service providers.

As a small business owner, you can create or access a business listing for your company. Once you do, Yelp lets you manage the information, images and conversations that take place there as people search for, find, and interact with your company. Here are some basic ways to leverage your Yelp listing.

Add or "Claim" your business

When you create a free Yelp Business Account, you can control the description of your business, upload images, post news, and provide or update other details such as business hours. If your company is already listed, you can claim it on by entering or correcting the business phone number. Once you do, you will be presented with a “Call Me Now” button that triggers and automated call from Yelp to your company phone. Enter the verification code that appears on your computer screen into your phone keypad to verify your business listing.

Message your customers.

Once you have access to your business listing, you can start posting messages or privately contact customers through direct messages. When someone leaves a review, you can respond to the reviewer and handle any issues related to the review. A word of advice: Don’t get emotional over negative Yelp reviews. Examine them and learn from them. Be respectful and courteous when you respond to someone publicly on Yelp. Others may be “listening” in on your conversation with another reviewer so remain professional at all times.

Note: You should not pay for reviews. If you do, Yelp might add a consumer alert to your Yelp listing warning consumers that you or someone else paid for reviews for your business. Yelp does not allow you to remove or edit negative reviews.

Offer Yelp Deals (Free)

Offer a discount through Yelp Deals, prepaid vouchers that let you offer Yelp users a discount such as $10 for $20 off of goods or services at your place of business. Deals provide incentives for someone to pick your business over a competitor’s when they are searching for a business like yours. There are no upfront costs with Yelp Deals. When customers buy your deal, Yelp collects payment from the purchaser and keeps 30% of the purchase. The remainder is paid to you on a monthly basis.

Offer Gift Certificates

Yelp lets you create Gift Certificates that Yelp users can give to others to refer them to your business. Yelp users can purchase your gift certificates directly through your business page using the Yelp website or mobile app. Like Deals, there are no upfront costs with Yelp Gift Certificates. When customers buy your gift certificates, Yelp collects payment from the purchaser and keeps 10%. The balance is paid to you each month.

Review your analytics

Yelp provides analytics to track how many people visit your Yelp business page and you’ll receive email alerts when people review your business. Access your page analytics from the Yelp website or on your mobile device on the go. Traffic to your Yelp business page can be measured over 30 days, 12 or 24 month periods. Use Yelp’s “Customer Leads” feature to learn how customers interact with your business on Yelp including when Yelp users call your business, map directions to your business, or click through to your company website.

Yelp is a useful marketing and customer service tool for location-based businesses. Integrate Yelp into your daily social media marketing activities to get the most out of it.