Intro to Why you Must Claim a Business on Yelp
Yes, I get it, you’re busy and besides that, just the thought of Yelp, pisses you off. The less you have to do with them the better. Why would you want to spend valuable time to claim a business on Yelp?
Yelp has a reputation for two-bit opinions from cranky wannabe restaurant critics, fake reviews bought on Fiverr.com and even fraudulent reviews paid for by your competition.
As if that’s not bad enough, your good reviews get hidden and the negative ones all seem to show up (they’ve been accused of bullying and extortion in order to get businesses to sign up for paid Yelp advertising).
Even with all the negatives about Yelp, the fact is that it is dominant and authoritative force in consumer decision making. The number of people reading Yelp and similar review sites is incredible. Those sites they aren’t going anywhere and either are online reviews in general.
Ignoring Yelp, unless your business and your bank account are maxed out with customers and cash, is plain foolish. It isn’t that hard to steer clear of the rotten bits about Yelp and still get the benefits.
Read on and I’ll give you the the details of what you’ll be missing; and bet I can convince you that claiming your Yelp business listing is super savvy.
#1 – Miss the Chance for Critical Moment Influence
By a mile, this is the most important reason to get on Yelp and claim your page.
Since 92% of people use online reviews, let’s think about the process that they go through. Imagine yourself looking for a restaurant to take someone important out for a meal. Because it’s important, you do your research and end up reading some reviews on Yelp for the restaurant.
Now press pause.
What’s your mindset?
If we zoom in, the mindset of the review reader is at a very critical moment. The moment when they can be most influenced to either buy (visit the restaurant, or whatever the business might be) or not.
A negative impression on that review page, and you’ve lost them. A positive impression and you’ve won a new customer – maybe one that uses your business for years and years and tells all their friends.
The impression that your page on review sites like Yelp creates is of critical importance and, in my experience, the easiest marketing opportunity online right now.
Claiming your business and optimizing your listing on Yelp is easy and can result in a lot of new customers because you can tip the balance in consumer’s minds when they are most open to be influenced.
#2 – Leave $8,000 on the Table
“$8,000 – the average annual incremental revenue generated by a business claiming its free Yelp Business Page” ~Boston Consulting Group, March 2013
That’s $8,00o on average more revenue just for claiming a Yelp business listing. Nothing other than logging in an validating you are the owner.
The reason is, knowing that the business is claimed and verified gives a more positive impression to readers. One of the things that signals trust to Yelp visitors is that the owner of the business cares and is engaged in their brand.
Claiming your business’s listing is only a small, but important step.
#3 – The Chance to Respond Publicly to Reviews
The most powerful tool that becomes available to owners of businesses that have claimed their listing on Yelp is the ability to respond to reviews.
There are many benefits to responding to reviews, including:
- The chance to demonstrate empathy and caring for people who have had a bad experience at your business – this creates a positive sense of trust for everyone that reads your review page.
- The chance to correct any errors that reviewers have posted about your business. For example a reviewer states that you can’t handle special dietary meals, and you actually can – correcting this can make a big difference to future customers.
- The ability to thank people who leave glowing positive reviews and let them know they are appreciated.
All of these create trust and open communication between you and your customers – it’s good to remember that Yelp reviewers are YOUR CUSTOMERS and the more you respect them, the better you will do on Yelp.
#4 – The Ability to Respond Privately to Reviewers
Another important benefit of claiming a business on Yelp, is the you get to send private messages to anyone that has left a review for your business.
This comes in really handy in the case of negative reviews when you may want to offer someone who has had a legitimately bad experience a freebee to get them to come back and try your establishment again, but you don’t want the public to see it (you wouldn’t want people to start posting negative reviews in the hopes of getting a free meal).
It’s also a way to have a dialogue, since you can message back and forth. This allows you to ask for more information if a review is vague and to address the reviewer in a more personal manner if, for example, they are known to you.
#5 – Control your Business Listing by Uploading Photos
Yelp reviewers are able to, and do, post images of a business and their experiences there. Often these images are excellent, but sometimes, not so much.
If you don’t claim your page, you miss the opportunity to upload official business photos. These photos allow you to control the important first impression people get of your restaurant or business. It’s a great way to lead people into the experience of what you most what people to see and feel about your business.
The other benefit of in the photography department is the ability to “flag” any photos uploaded by reviewers that break Yelp’s guidelines, or are inappropriate. An important feature.
#6 – Reap SEO Benefits
Yelp is what’s known in the SEO business as an authority website. And that means that getting a link from them to your site is considered very beneficial to boost your rankings in Google.
When you claim a business on Yelp, you can add a link to your website.
Not only does this help with your Google rankings, but it provides a way for people to leave Yelp and come directly to your business’s website to make bookings or read more about your business.
#7 – Correct Any Errors in Your Yelp Listing
Many business listings on Yelp are first created by a reviewer and not the business owner. Therefore they can contain errors. Errors on your page can
If you claim a business on Yelp you also get the ability to correct items like:
- Your business hours
- Location – address
- Name of the business
- Business description
- Your business’s categories
These are all important aspects to have correct on your Yelp page listing. Consider that there could also have been another business at your location before you – so the inaccuracies on you page can be significant.
#8 – Get Notified of New Reviews
Hopefully you’re seeing by now how important the state of your Yelp page is to your business. One of the really nice features of claiming your business on Yelp is to be notified by email (or via the Yelp Business App) when someone posts a new review for your business.
This is critical for negative reviews. As I mentioned above, you get to respond to reviews as the business owner, and if someone posts a negative review, you’ll want to post a review response as quickly as possible to minimize the damage that the review can cause to your reputation on Yelp.
#9 – Get Access to Yelp Analytics
While not tremendously detailed, having access to Yelp’s “activity” information about your page can be important.
Especially if you are running a promotion, or trying a system to get more Yelp reviews, or tracking the difference it makes when you start actively managing your Yelp page once you claim it.
Yelp’s analytics page also include a cool feature called an “Activity Feed” that lists all the recent actions that Yelp users have taken on your page.
Here’s an example:
Yelp Activity Feed
- A Yelp user got directions to your business. Sunday, May 8, 2016, 7:53 pm via Yelp mobile site
- A Yelp user clicked on your website. Sunday, May 8, 2016, 12:56 am via Yelp iPad app
- A Yelp user clicked on your website. Friday, May 6, 2016, 8:24 pm via Yelp website
- A Yelp user viewed the map for your business. Friday, May 6, 2016, 2:54 pm via Yelp iPhone app
- A woman in her 20s from St. Albert, AB bookmarked your business. Thursday, May 5, 2016, 8:53 pm via Yelp website
- A woman in her 20s from St. Albert, AB clicked on your website. Thursday, May 5, 2016, 8:49 pm via Yelp website
- A woman in her 20s from Latham, NY, United States clicked on your website. Thursday, May 5, 2016, 6:46 pm via Yelp iPhone app
- A woman in her 20s from Latham, NY, United States got directions to your business. Thursday, May 5, 2016, 6:45 pm via Yelp iPhone app
- A Yelp user clicked on your website. Thursday, May 5, 2016, 6:01 pm via Yelp website
- A woman in her 20s from Fort McMurray, AB got directions to your business. Thursday, May 5, 2016, 10:48 am via Yelp iPhone app
- A Yelp user clicked to call your business. Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 5:57 pm via Yelp iPhone app
- A Yelp user clicked on your website. Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 9:33 am via Yelp website
- A Yelp user clicked to call your business. Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 5:20 pm via Yelp mobile site
It should be clear from looking at this feed how important it becomes to keep the information for your Yelp listing up to date.
#10 – Use the Yelp for Business App
Put the power of managing your Yelp page in your pocket with the Yelp Business Mobile app. This app if not the same app that reviewers and customers use to navigate Yelp. It’s a dedicated app for business owners that allows you to view your analytics, receive notifications of new reviews and to read and respond to reviews in real time.
#11 – Use Yelp Advertising
Although there are a lot of mixed opinions about the benefits of Yelp advertising. Once you claim a Yelp business, you have access to creating offers and using advertising services like: Yelp deals in which you offer discount coupons to be claimed by customers. These are worth experimenting with for some businesses. And Yelp does offer other advertising features like the ability to remove competitor ads from your listings.
Another form of of Yelp Ads that can be effective at check-in offers. This ad gives someone a discount when they use the Yelp public app to “check-in” when they are physically at your establishment.
When someone hits the “check-in” button on the Yelp app, a notification goes out to all their friends to tell them where they are. Offering someone 20% off their bill to tell 300 friends they are using your services can be a fantastic way to promote your business. This type of offer rewards loyal customers with discounts which is a great way to build loyalty.
#12 – Easily Share Your Business’s Reviews on Social Media
Once you claim your business on Yelp, you have access to easily share any reviews (obviously you’ll want to only share the great ones) for your business to your social media pages.
With a click from the admin “reviews’ page, you can open up social sharing links that will give you access to your Facebook page or Twitter account and transfer the review to those services.
Make promoting your business’s positive word of mouth a breeze and builds your reputation on these sites. Sharing reviews across social outlets is something that most businesses miss and it’s a very large wasted opportunity.
I spend a lot of time on Yelp as part of my review management business, and I can tell you what motivated me to write this article – it’s shocking how many Yelp pages are unclaimed. I scratch my head to figure out why a someone wouldn’t claim a business on Yelp.
Even businesses that have very high rating and many reviews… yet there’s a big fat “Claim this Business” sitting in red on their page screaming out, “the owner of this business doesn’t care!”
Don’t be that guy.
Hopefully I’ve given you 12 really convincing reasons to take 2 minutes and at least get started by verifying your ownership of your Yelp business listing.
If you’d like to keep in touch and learn how to craft compelling responses to reviews for your business, you can pick up my free guidebook: 10 Examples of Management Responses to Online Reviews.
What are your thoughts at this point?