Should you advertise on Yelp?
Yes, but wisely.
Most people are familiar with Yelp as a review site for restaurants and hotel/motels. At least that is how I've used them in the past. Or if interested in a local shop I might look at its Yelp reviews.
Yelp is a directory site and it is free for all businesses. You are able to have your basic information listed like NAP (Name, Address, Phone) and hours of service. I’ve listed below the questions that Yelp has you answer for your directory listing.
- Basic Information - NAP
- Categories & Services -Select from various categories
- Hours - Business operating hours
- Special Hours - Yes or no answers to holidays
- Specialties - Provide a brief description of what your business does
- History - Give a brief history of how/why you started your business
- Meet the Business Owner - A brief bio about yourself with photo
By completing these questions your business is now listed on Yelp. Anyone searching for your site on Google, Bing, Mozilla, etc will see your website if you have one and your listing on Yelp with any reviews. Also, if anyone searches on your industry, I.e. donut shops, there will be a Yelp ad that will have a list of all these local businesses.
Unfortunately, this could be a long list with your business not even being seen. However, like most businesses, Yelp wants to up-sell you on their premium services.
Expect to hear from a Yelp sales rep shortly after signing up with your directory information. Yelp’s premium service revolves around ranking you higher on their directory page. For example if a consumer is searching for donut shops a listing of donut shops will be displayed for the local area. Yelp will also have an ad site listing local donut shops and reviews. The premium service ensures that your site is listed on the first page along with a few others.
There are two pricing models on the internet. They are Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per Impression (PPM). In the PPC model you only pay if someone clicks on your link taking them to your site. Whereas the PPM model you pay based on the number of times your site’s link was exposed to a visitor whether or not the click on your link. Generally, in bulk amounts 1,000 impressions. There are pros and cons for both. See Arcalea article for a good description.
The advantage of Yelp’s service is that it is a PPC model, thus you are not charged unless someone clicks on your site info. Therefore, if you sign up with Yelp’s premium service Yelp will do its best to get your site seen. Your site will be listed on the first page. Remember, Yelp doesn’t make money unless someone clicks on your link, and they can’t click on your link unless a visitor sees it.
Additionally, your site’s link has a 2 - 3 sentence blurb about your business. This is what visitors read before investigating further. It is in Yelp’s best interest to help you craft a good summary line coaxing visitors to your site.
The cost of the actual click is on the high side per review sites. Check out this site on Search Engine Land. PPC is $22, Google Ads will be closer to $4 - $6 PPC.
I am not so hot on their PPC, but at the end of the day it comes down to how many people Yelp can deliver to my site.
You will sign up for a pricing plan based on a daily limit. The daily limit is misleading because you are charged based on monthly amount. Thus $10 a day is really $ 300 a month. They do this because your charge per click will exceed your daily rate. For example, in the marketing industry which I am in the rate I am charged per click is $22. At that price my $300 budget will only allow me 13 clicks. Thus my site is not going to get clicks everyday.
I really don't have a problem with this, it comes out the same at the end of the month. Besides I want people to visit my site. My philosophy with all advertising is that it is the advertiser’s job to get them to visit my site, it is my job to sell them on my services.
In addition to this sponsored service they have a few upgrade services that I find to be nefarious. Nefarious, in that I was not told upfront that these other services where additional and that they are charged daily regardless if anyone visits your site. Instead I was led down the rosy path of entering values and making selections to my site as if these additions were included. These extra services are charged on a daily basis regardless of visitors to your site. For example Yelp recommends adding a "Call to Action" (CTA) button to your site. This cost $ 1.00 a day regardless if anyone ever visits your site. Imagine no one visits your site, but you are still billed $30 for a button that was never seen. Besides, a CTA should be included in the basic package anyway.
Other upgrades to watch out for:
As stated at the beginning of this blog every business should list their business on free portion of the Yelp directory. As far as the upgraded sponsored version, we will see. I will run with it for a month or two and then report back the results.