There have been many questions and controversy surrounding the online review service Yelp, and the impact that it has on small company internet marketing. There have been reports of everything from fake reviews to alleged extortion on Yelp with many businesses speaking out against the online review service not only on the internet, but also in the media and the courtroom as they question the company and its policies.
What it comes down to though, is the fact that a lot of businesses are finding success with Yelp with getting results for their small company internet marketing. Merchant Warehouse has released a report that shows that 90% of polled consumers for the report say positive reviews on Yelp increased their company buying choices and 72% stated that they trust those online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Some more numbers:
- 44% base their choices on going to businesses on text reviews
- 26% use business ratings
- 17% use the quantity of reviews
- 14% are influenced mainly by reviews from friends and family
Another influential stat is that 93% of people who conduct research on review sites usually make purchases at the businesses that they’re looking up. The businesses that are looked up the most are restaurants at 78% and beauty and spa businesses at 65%. For small companies, it’s important to note that 57% of yelp lookups are local services. This is important to note for your small company internet marketing.
This report also points to information from the Boston Consulting Group survey, which finds that those small businesses what take advantage of Yelp business accounts, see an increase in annual revenue. In addition to the increased revenue, 77% of small businesses with a Yelp business account say that the site has changed how they respond to customer issues and complaints. This allows small companies to gauge what their customers want for free and allows them to stay connected with them.
There are many businesses paying attention to Yelp and have many issues with how the company operates. Yelp has been trying to connect more with small businesses by going around the country and holding town hall meetings and trying to handle companies’ complaints.
While this is going on, Yelp is still maintaining a focus on closing the loop, meaning getting users who are looking at businesses to engage in transactions with those businesses. It’s a bit early, but Yelp has made acquisitions and created specific features in order to make that happen. This is good for your small company internet marketing as Yelp is trying to help generate traffic for you and your services.