Should I Advertise on Yelp?

Posted by David Chism | Sun, Apr 13, 2014

Yelp Shows Up Great on Search Results

Yelp is one of the fastest grow­ing and high­est rank­ing direc­to­ries on the web. Do a quick search, such as painters in Boston” and chances are you will see Yelp results towards the top (pic­ture below: #2 spot). 

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 3.02.23 PM

Because of the clout Yelp has with search engines and the num­ber of reviews, Yelp is far reach­ing, even to the mobile apps such as Apple Map and Siri results. Try using Siri on your iPhone to look for a local restau­rant. It will typ­i­cal­ly show you Yelp reviews. This all sounds good. So a con­struc­tion busi­ness should def­i­nite­ly be on Yelp, right?

When To Advertise

Depend­ing on your loca­tion, Yelp can be a good place to adver­tise your con­tract­ing busi­ness. It pro­vides good brand­ing for some com­pa­nies I know that start­ed ear­ly into Yelp or had a good amount of reviews already. The key real­ly does seem to be around the over­all reviews that are vis­i­ble (not fil­tered). Places like Boston, NYC, San Diego, Chica­go, and San Fran­cis­co tend to have a lot of active Yelp users. When a city has active users, Yelp can be very promis­ing for some con­trac­tors. If your busi­ness is will­ing to ride the wave and be very patient, Yelp can be a good option.

When To Not Advertise

I just men­tioned that Yelp could be a good place to adver­tise. Gen­er­al­ly, I am not a fan of steer­ing my clients to Yelp to get more leads. This is due to a few rea­sons. Main­ly it is because they are too late in the game. If they do not have any reviews and there are con­trac­tors on Yelp with 15 – 20, even 60+ reviews, one will have a very hard time get­ting leads off of Yelp. Yelp users rely heav­i­ly on reviews. If you don’t have reviews, you won’t get the calls. Oh you’ll get a cou­ple here and there, but the cost per lead will be expen­sive. Again, patience and a lot of mon­ey is the key! I will add that if you start with a neg­a­tive review, it is next to impos­si­ble to get calls when adver­tis­ing and try to get more pos­i­tive reviews. Why? It seems that most peo­ple will not write an online review unless 1) They real­ly hat­ed the expe­ri­ence or 2) Your ser­vice was bet­ter than they thought. If it was just Okay” peo­ple tend to not go out of their way to write a review. The prob­lem is that if you ask for a review from a Yelp user, Yelp is pret­ty good at fil­ter­ing those reviews out and they will not show in the search results. I have not been very hap­py with Yelp for con­trac­tors. The ones I see that have a lot of reviews were lucky” enough to get in ear­ly, when it was not as pop­u­lar. Oth­ers just seem to offer more dis­counts and deals and there­fore go after the cus­tomers who are not as con­cerned about hir­ing a con­trac­tor for oth­er rea­sons: ser­vice, qual­i­ty, and a long term rela­tion­ship. I will close with this: Some who read this may have had great expe­ri­ences on Yelp. I just have not seen it work very well for most in the home improve­ment indus­try, in my expe­ri­ence. I’d rather them work on spend­ing their resources on con­nect­ing with their exist­ing clients, com­mu­ni­ty activ­i­ties, and con­tent marketing.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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