Yelp is still the cornerstone of online business review directories. As a small business, your Yelp business profile gives you direct reach to consumers looking to buy what you sell.
Other business directories existed before Yelp, and many have arrived after filling niches, but Yelp remains the biggest and most used.
This article will help you create a great Yelp business profile. Your business rank in Yelp along with how customers react to your business relies on your profile.
Once you get an awesome profile set up, you’ll be ready to get your first reviews and use Yelp as another stream of business.
Before you do set up your Yelp profile, be ready to answer to Yelp salespeople because they will be calling. I’ve done a fair bit of trial and error with Yelp advertising both asking if it’s worth it and my 3-month trial and my Yelp advertising review.
I’m not going to cover the details of signing up for a Yelp business profile because it’s fairly straightforward. Not only that but Yelp provides help with the technical aspect. You can head over to biz.yelp.com and do the initial setup in mere minutes.
But first, why would you even want to set up a Yelp business profile?
Why A Yelp Business Profile?
Yelp is a great place to reach local customers. If you’re a company who does business locally then Yelp is a great place to be. Even if your company does business internationally but some locally, a Yelp profile will help connect you with the local customers.
If you’re a small business who only deals locally then you definitely need a Yelp profile to help local customers find your local business.Yelp is the gold standard for reaching local customers online. Click To Tweet
Yelp allows local customers to rate your business and leave a review also. It’s an awesome opportunity to collect customer testimonials and let potential customers see exactly how good you are at what you do.
Your Yelp business profile is the perfect place to showcase your work and build trust with your audience.
Tying up the why Yelp section, if you do any business locally then your company needs a Yelp profile. It’s completely free to set one up, you just have to be ready to tell Yelp salespeople you’re not interested in signing a contract or paying any money initially.
Set Up Your Basic Information
When you set up your account, in the Business Information section you’ll first set up your basic information. This part is important because it’s how people find you.
Yelp search is based mostly on location. You’ll want to fill in at least your companies city, state, and zip code. You’ll also want your complete business name for when people who know your company are looking you up.
Next up is your contact information. Make sure you have a phone number people can call you at immediately and your website if you have one. If you don’t have one then you can do things like put a link to a social media profile or even better, you can use it to build your email list.
Yelp also lets customers send you a message directly through Yelp. That means you want to be sure you are available to answer quickly. Download the Yelp business app on the iTunes store or Google Play so you’ll receive customer inquiries immediately and can answer faster.
Yelp even shows visitors the approximate time it takes to respond and the response rate. The faster you answer, the better you look to future customers.
Next up is choosing the categories for your Yelp business profile. You only get three categories to choose from so choose wisely.
The more specific you get with your categories, the better. You do still want to stay relevant to your business, though. If you ever choose to advertise on Yelp, your ad will be shown on other Yelp profiles in the categories you select.
When you add categories, Yelp makes it pretty simple by just typing in a keyword and it’ll come up with a list of suggested categories. You should avoid using any first level categories as these are too broad. Second level categories are more specific therefore will help customers find your Yelp profile better.
The specialties section of your Yelp business profile is your place to shine. You get to write up to 3000 characters for the specialties section plus history & meet the business owner. Yelp does combine all three of these in the 3000 character limit but you should use most of it in the specialties section.Set your Yelp business profile apart by showing why your special and what you specialize in. Click To Tweet
This is your chance to tell people what makes your business special. You can tell customers what makes your business special and what you specialize in.
Don’t Do This
According to the Yelp specialties section, a few things you’ll want to avoid in this section and the next two are:
- Keyword Stuffing – Use keywords but use them at a ratio that doesn’t affect the writing and make it unreadable.
- Include Incorrect Content – I’m the first to admit it’s sometimes hard to stay on topic. Analyze every sentence to make sure it fits in the specialties section and doesn’t belong in history or another section.
- Sell – This isn’t a place to sell products or services. It’s a place to make your company sound awesome and make people want to learn more. Never try to sell something or add a promotion here.
- Include Contact Info – There’s a section for contact information, use that and don’t try to put more here.
With all of that said and all those characters, it still has to be readable by potential customers. It’s unlikely anybody is going to read it all, but they may read the first few sentences. Not only that but this text is used by Yelp to rank your profile in search (along with many other factors).
Google will even index your Yelp profile and Google relies almost entirely on the text in your profile.
Next up is showcasing the rich history of your company and what’s behind the excellent work you do.
This section is a great place to share with potential customers the rich history of how your company got started. Not every company has been around a long time but that doesn’t matter. There’s usually more to a company than one day getting an idea and doing it.
Share the details of the history even before the company became official. This doesn’t have to be matter of fact either. Feel free to let some personality shine through.
The business history may blend with your personal history if you’re the owner and that’s okay. There’s a section for the business owner too which lets you tell your personal story and interests. The history and meet the business owner sections will blend a bit but they should mostly be different.
Meet The Business Owner
This section is all about you as the business owner or manager. It’s the one place of your Yelp business profile that’s all about you. You’ll even get to share a picture of yourself so people can see who they’re doing business with.People want to do business with a person, not a faceless business. Click To Tweet
The more you write about yourself and make yourself available, the more customers will want to do business with you. The more you make known about yourself, the more human your business becomes to your customers.
People do business with people, not companies. Write this section with that in mind.
Photos & Videos
This is your chance to showcase photos to customers who view your profile. The photo gallery begins with a contact card including the map of where you’re located. After, though, is the photo gallery which is randomly sorted. You can’t choose what shows first unless you pay for an upgrade so make sure all your pictures are equally awesome.
Be sure to use large beautiful photos for your Yelp profile. Each photo can have a unique caption but with a limited number of characters. Use as many characters you can to create a unique caption for every photo.
Text and photos are indexed by Yelp and Google. The more descriptive you are and more keywords you’re able to naturally include, the better off your profile will be.
Now that you have your Yelp business profile set up, it’s time to set it up for success with a review.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Once you get your profile completely set up, ask some of your previous customers to write you a review. Don’t push that they write anything specific, though. You want to leave them an out so they can say no. You also shouldn’t encourage them to write a specific type of review.
Ask a previous customer who you’re close with if they were happy with the service you provided if they could leave you a review on Yelp. Don’t ask for a positive review and don’t give them a pre-written review. Allow it to happen organically with just a bit of encouragement.
A review will get your Yelp business profile started by building trust with others looking at your profile. A Yelp business profile with no reviews will get much fewer views than a profile with even one review.
Negative reviews can happen but it’s not the end of your business profile. If you get a negative review, don’t get defensive and start arguing with the customer. Accept the negative review but make sure you answer it. Try to figure out the issue and work towards resolving it.Acknowledge negative Yelp reviews in public but work to resolve the problem. Click To Tweet
Even if you have a negative review, if you are publicly working to resolve it and make a happy customer, others will see that. If you diplomatically approach a negative review then it will take some of the negativity away from it. You’ll begin to put some of the attention on your ability to resolve customers problems.
Not only that, if you are able to resolve the issue for the customer then they may remove or improve their negative review.
Branding For Business
Every opportunity to brand your business is an opportunity to create a new stream of leads for your small business from Yelp to Google Business. Yelp gives you that opportunity.
While Yelp is an important factor in driving customers to your business, it doesn’t work alone. Customers often want to know more about your business than a Yelp business profile tells them. That means they’re looking for more information. It’s also impossible to predict where customers will find you which is why managing your business on multiple local directories is important.
To complete your small business branding, a website is an important part. If you don’t have a website then there are ways around that. Specifically, you can let potential customers learn more about you with an email list. Download my free eBook that will help you grow your email list without a website.
To make sure you’re going down the right path to market your small business. In a free consultation, I will help give you a good path to get customers. I will customize the report for your business and research how well your business is branded online.