For many small business owners, Yelp has been a viable option to spread awareness of their business. This is because Yelp is a platform that allows business owners to post photos, contact information, and reviews of their business. Additionally, it is a free resource for customers who are looking for businesses in their area.
In addition to the free version of Yelp for business owners, the company also offers plenty of advertising options.
Using the Free Version of Yelp
With a free Yelp account, you can post pictures or video, add deals and events that might be happening soon, respond quickly to negative reviews with your side of the story and measure the impact of all your hard work with analytics tools. Businesses like Dirty Boy Laundry, a laundry delivery service in Sacramento, use Yelp to introduce their brand to new online customers and answer common questions.
Yelp has more than 100 million reviews of everything from the most popular restaurants, to nail salons, hair stylists and everything in between. More business owners are turning to Yelp for a free way to get an edge on their competition without blowing their budget.
Using the Paid Version of Yelp
Opting for the paid version of Yelp means a variety of advertising opportunities. Once you begin paying for Yelp ads, you’ll see placement in search results, be suggested as a business from other business pages similar to yours and be found in additional areas.
While Yelp gives its advertisers plenty of options for added visibility, there is limited reporting that is not much better than using a free account. Unfortunately, for advertisers spending hundreds of dollars to increase their awareness on the platform, there’s not enough reporting to confidently justify the cost.
Lack of Support
Once you pay for the advertising campaign, the salesperson who helped you and any support from Yelp will virtually disappear. This exact scenario has been reported by several small business owners time and time again, giving Yelp a bit of a bad name. Unless you have a marketing or IT specialist in-house for your business to help run the ads, just know that you are on your own.
Measuring a Return on Yelp Ads
Yelp is a branded advertising move. You should not expect to find direct customers on the platform; instead you need to know that your brand is getting more online visibility among people who could become customers down the road. With this being said, many advertisers ask “how do I know I am getting a good return on my Yelp ads?”
Before you can answer this question, you need to know how Yelp itself measures success.
Once you begin an advertising plan with Yelp, the system will count conversions as anyone who reaches out to you in Yelp, anyone who clicks on your website link (only a click, there is no measurement beyond that) or anyone who tries to call your business. Let’s say you invest $1,000 in Yelp ads and receive 10 clicks to your website – Yelp will count this as you converted 10 new customers and your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) was $100 per person. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately for Yelp, that is not a proper way to measure the effectiveness of advertising dollars. For this reason, many people abandon their Yelp campaigns just months after starting.
Should You Use Yelp?
No matter the type of business you operate, you should be using the free version of the platform. You can post photos, your business hours, a description of your business and collect reviews all without spending a dime. For many small businesses, this is ideal. The paid version of Yelp, however, is where you’ll have to really dig into your marketing budget for ad spend to decide if you’re willing to throw money at a campaign that won’t have direct results. If you have the budget, great. If not, you might want to try other types of digital advertising.