Restaurants can see staggering growth with Yelp. Harness that energy and watch your revenue grow. Our first article provided an overview of Yelp - what it is and how the influential 5 star ratings can drive revenue for your restaurant. Let us delve a bit more into how to use Yelp as a marketing tool for your restaurant.
How Yelp Helps
As customers move through the buying cycle - from awareness to advocacy – Yelp provides a great platform for engagement. Each step of the cycle provides greater returns for you as a restaurant owner.
- 90% of Yelp users say positive reviews influence their buying choices. Don’t miss a beneficial opportunity for your restaurant and ignore Yelp as a marketing tool!
- A small business that is Yelp-active can seize a competitive advantage in the local market.
- 87% of small businesses don’t use Yelp and 22% never look at their pages.
- Independent restaurants see an 8-9% average increase in revenue in the first year leveraging Yelp.
This brings customers into the awareness phase, where they are discovering your business and what it can do for them.
Yelp continues to grow and attracted 135 million+ unique visitors in the final quarter of 2014 of which 72 million visits were made through a mobile device. Over 71 million reviews were posted in this timeframe. That is a lot of exposure just waiting for you!
Creating Engagement with Yelp
Claim your Yelp listing. It is relatively quick and easy to get going on Yelp. Put aside several hours and take the time to create a good first impression. Yelp searchers have high expectations. Treat your restaurant’s listing as a business card with added benefits.
Search your area competitors’ Yelp listings and raise the bar. Make your listing better! Quality over Quantity is the best course of action. Potential customers will move on to the next listing quickly if the information on your Yelp listing is not clear.
- Search for your business name on the Yelp.com homepage and click the Claim your Business button or the Add my Business to Yelp option.
- Yelp will guide you through the process and has protocols in place to ensure that you are the legitimate business owner.
- Consider adding Yelp’s reservation system or Open Table to the listing. Encouraging reservations is indisputably good business!
- Do not forget to post pictures of your restaurant, food, and, hopefully, a packed dining area. After all a picture is worth a thousand words – and they will generate far more interest than any other information you add to your Yelp listing. (Learn more about food photography and how it can benefit your restaurant)
Tip: Set up your options for take-out or delivery on your listing. This ads a clear flag to your listing to make it easy for customers to find delivery restaurants in their area.
Use Yelp Tools!
Yelp provides multiple ways and formats to assist restaurant owners to organize business information, convert visitors to your page into customers, respond to reviews, and measure activity.
- Use the fields and choices offered on the administration page to best share your information.
- Include a link to your Yelp listing in your email signature.
- Make special offers and announcements on a regular basis. This increases traffic to your Yelp listing.
- Yelp provides Badges for you to embed on your website or blog. Great for cross-promotion and drives users to your Yelp listing.
- Place a “Find us on Yelp” sign at your entrance.
- Tag certain descriptive keywords that help people search for you. (e.g. Seafood, steak, gluten-free)
The Skinny on the Protocol for Yelp Reviews
To quote the company itself, “Yelp exists to connect people with great local businesses”. Yelp works hard to promote impartiality and authenticity through its review system.
Yelp reviews adhere to concept of multiple views. So when a message is repeated, customers pay more attention to that message and establish belief and trust in that message.
Here are some basic tenets for recieving and responding to online reviews - especially on Yelp's platform.
Yelp Review Do's
- Encourage reviews from your customers through social media outlets and in-house marketing material and prompts.
- Create awareness of your business.
- Remind your customers of your Yelp online presence.
- Focus on customer service. Yelpers respond best to great customer service.
- Create a plan to respond to negative reviews. They do happen.
Yelp Review Don'ts
- Ask for reviews. Customers are customers and wish to be treated as such. They are not conduits for a marketing program.
- Post misinformation. Yelp is a platform based on trustworthy information. This is key to your restaurant’s great online reputation.
At the end of the day, the thing to remember about Yelp is its a great place for you and your customers to both have a voice. When your customers have a voice, specifically a positive one, they become your best advocates; bringing business, buzz, and enagement to your doorstep just because they had a good time. This conversation will resonate loudly for potential customers and aid your current and future restaurant growth.