As Groupon and other Bulk-Buy sites lose favour with merchants, business owners are going back to basics to generate traffic and new business.
Yelp.com is a reviews website that allows members to post reviews (good and bad) about different types of business. The site is structured into geographical areas which is beneficial for both users of the site and for businesses.
Yelp.com provides an easy way to see what people are saying about a specific business of interest. Recent surveys report that review sites are very popular among consumers (especially 35 and under) who will frequently use these kinds of sites to search for a business, then decide whether or not to use a specific service or business.
Benefits for the Consumer
-Search for businesses by category or key words, in your specific area for hours, contact information, or website address.
-Yelp allows you to find smaller businesses that might not yet be indexed on Google Maps
-Browse what people are saying about a specific business or service, or add your own review.
-The "talk" element of the site allows for more detailed specifics on a business or service.
-Easily share your reviews on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
Benefits for the Business
-63 million people have visited yelp in the last 30 days – that is some kind of MASSIVE – FREE exposure for your local business. People who may never otherwise have heard of your business or perhaps forgotten about you, can get acquainted with you.
-Any local business with a physical presence can benefit from being listed at Yelp.
-Business owners can add their own business listing (if not already listed) to ensure that their contact information is accurate. They can also add photos and message customers.
-Business owners (or Managers) can reply publicly to reviews or comments posted about their business.
-Business owners can pay for premium advertising, called Yelp Ads.
-Business owners can see what people are saying about their business and pinpoint for correction, problem or services issues in their operation.
-Recently Yelp has added Events listings as well. So if you are organizing an event, submit it and get instant exposure. Visitors to Yelp, in your location will see your listing as Yelp will scan the geographical location of the member logging in, so events in their area show up.
-Yelp has integrated several social media sites (FaceBook, Twitter etc) into the site so when users access these, or refer friends to the site, business owners get the benefits of even more promotion.
Review of Yelp
For the most part, review sites like Yelp.com are GOOD for local business. The exposure for a business, is tremendous and difficult to not be seen as valuable. You get free exposure by reviews being posted, new customers are introduced to what you offer, former customers are reminded that you are still there. You as the owner or manager get come control over content, by adding your own business, then commenting often, posting pictures etc. Social media allows businesses to engage with their customers in a positive way.
Yes, there are some possible disadvantages. People can write negative reviews about your business. But if you run a solid operation these will be overshadowed by the good comments that people post. Some businesses have been known to pay people to write good reviews or offer other perks. Statistical averages will most often work in your favour if you are an honest business, doing your best to provide a quality service for your customers. Remember, negative reviews can be responded to by the business owner, or manager. Customers understand that no business is perfect. False, or off-the-wall reviews stand out as such and are often filtered, removed or rated lower in terms of helpfulness. What matters to consumers is that a business owner makes an effort to resolve problems.
For more details visit Yelp.com
What do you think of Review Sites? Helpful or not helpful? What Review sites do you like?
About the Author
Sandi Hunter is the Director of Website Development at Worldprofit Inc. Worldprofit provides a number of services for the small and home-based business community including hosting, design, webconferencing, traffic, advertising, SEO, safelists, traffic exchanges, training and resources. This year Worldprofit marks their 17th year in business.