by John Eberhard
Yelp.com is a web site that is mainly for local businesses, where you can create a listing for your business, and people can find you by searching for your category or type of business. Yelp gets a fair amount of traffic so having a good listing for your business there can be very valuable.
You can create a free listing on Yelp, but bear in mind that it may take a couple weeks for that listing to appear, because a human has to review it and apparently they are pretty backlogged.
You can put up various information about your business; text, contact information, photos, videos, etc. It is a good idea to put up a fair amount of information. People can write reviews about you on the site, and those reviews will of course have an impact on whether or not people call you from your Yelp listing.
Yelp has a pay per click advertising program, where if you pay a monthly flat fee, more people will see your listing and your listing will be moved up to the top in your category for a certain number of times per month. This fee varies depending on how much you want to spend and how much traffic you want. The bottom level program is in the $250-300 per month range.
If you do the pay per click program Yelp will also create a video for you if you do not have one, for a fee.
I have several clients who have done this pay per click advertising program and gotten very good results with it. One client who is a mortgage broker gets most of his clients from Yelp.
One of the factors in the success of your Yelp listing is the quality of reviews you get. One negative review can kill your results.
One important thing to know is that Yelp has a strict policy that you cannot offer your customers or clients anything in exchange for writing a review on Yelp. So you can ask your customers to write a review, but you can’t offer them a discount or free service or a Starbucks card or anything like that, which are all good incentives you can offer to people to write reviews on other sites. I have heard that they actually take your listing down completely if they find out you are offering something in exchange for a review.
Used properly a listing on Yelp can be very effective online marketing for a local business.