If you still think your small business doesn’t need to be on Yelp!, you might have second thoughts after hearing the results of a new Nielsen study. More than half (51 percent) of Yelp users polled say they make decisions about what to buy in local stores or businesses after visiting Yelp.
These figures were even higher for users of Yelp’s mobile app, who now number more than 11 million per month. The study found mobile users’ visits to Yelp were more likely to result in either purchases, visits to the business or both, and they tended to make purchases sooner than did non-mobile Yelp users.
Specifically what do consumers do after visiting Yelp?
- 66 percent of users say they always, frequently or occasionally call a local business;
- 92 percent of users say they always, frequently or occasionally visit a local business in person; and
- 93 percent of users say they always, frequently or occasionally purchase from a local business
These results seem to suggest that Yelp is used fairly late in the path to purchase—not at the beginning research stage, but at a point when customers are fairly set on a purchase and simply deciding where to make it.
If you’re still not on Yelp but your business relies on attracting lots of local customers, clearly you need to make a change. It’s simple to get listed on the review site. Just visit Yelp for Business Owners to set up an account and make sure your business information, such as location, hours, phone number and directions, is all up to date. Lots of small business owners worry about negative reviews, but Yelp offers lots of guidelines on how to manage and respond to reviews, both positive and negative.
A separate study by Nielsen says 70 percent of consumers think online reviews are somewhat or completely trustworthy. If customers don’t find any reviews of your business on Yelp, might they start to think your business isn’t legitimate? Consider this: Nielsen says 85 percent of consumers now go online when they’re trying to find a business, instead of referring to a phone book. With consumers relying so heavily on Yelp to find local businesses, it seems a listing on the online review site is becoming almost as essential as having your own business website.
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