The Complete Guide to Yelp

Part 1: Creating and Optimizing Your Yelp Profile
Part 2: Yelp Ads, Deals, and Dashboard
Part 3: Responding to Yelp Reviews
Part 4: Updating Your Yelp Business Page

Your Yelp profile isn’t one of those things you can just set and forget. Making the most of Yelp means finding out what is working and learning how to fix what isn’t. You can do this with the Yelp’s  free analytical tools in your dashboard and Yelp ads options.

Yelp Dashboard

If you’re the kind of business owner who salivates at the sight of customer data, the Yelp dashboard was made for you. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of key performance indicators showing of how your business is faring on Yelp’s platform. To help you digest all the information, Yelp segments the dashboard into three categories: User Views graph, the Customer Leads feature, and the Revenue Estimate Tool.

User Views Graph

Use the User Views graph to track traffic to your Yelp page. You will be able to see recent user specific activity, for example, when a Yelp user clicks to call your business. Yelp also shares user demographic information with you to provide even deeper insights, such as when a woman in her 20’s using the Yelp Android app viewed the map for your business.

Customer Leads Feature

Customer leads are tracked to show you exactly what customers do while browsing your yelp page. Yelp measures leads using the following user interactions with your restaurant:

  • Mobile Check-ins
  • Mobile calls
  • User uploaded photos
  • Directions & Map Views
  • Clicks/Taps to your website
  • Yelp Bookmarks
  • Deals sold

Revenue Estimate Tool

The Estimate Tool makes it easier for you to determine just how much revenue Yelp is serving up to your business. Here’s how that bit works. When someone uses Yelp to check-in or get directions, for example, that action is recorded as a lead. Those leads are then multiplied by a preset dollar value—a figure determined by a recent Boston Consulting Group study—to arrive at a monthly revenue estimate. For more accurate estimates you have the ability to change how much each lead generates.

Why is all of this important? Not only can you see how much money you’re potentially making from Yelp, but you can use the data to make strategic decisions about your restaurant growth. For example, if you notice an increase in the amount of check-ins over the past 30 days, you may decide to incentivize this kind of user engagement and  gauge if these leads impact your revenue generation from Yelp.

Yelp Deals, Check-in Offers, and Gift Certificates

You might be familiar with sites such as Groupon and Living Social, Yelp deals are similar. When you offer a Yelp deal, you’re essentially incentivizing  Yelp users to come in and see what your restaurant is all about. For example, you might offer a deal where customers receive $10 off their meal if they check-in at your business on the Yelp app.

Once you launch the deal, Yelp will then pin the deal to your restaurant’s profile and collect the purchases. While there’s no up-front cost  for you, Yelp will retain 30% of the purchases and pay you the remainder, each month.

Of course, the downside of running a deal is that you’re giving customers a discount and also paying Yelp its cut. Meaning you may have to put in a bit more effort to make that deal worthwhile for your business. But if you’re looking to gain visibility on Yelp or increase your customer base, deals are a good way to go.

Another promotional option is to offer Yelp Gift Certificates. Unlike deals, gift certificates aren’t discounted. Similar to Yelp deals, there is no upfront cost and Yelp gets  10% of every gift certificate sold.

Yelp deals are popular promotional options because, well, what customer wouldn’t want a discount? But if you’re going to offer a Yelp deal, you must be willing to honor it 100%. The last thing you want is a reviewer telling the world how you ripped them off.

Yelp Ads Program

Yelp encourages restaurant owners to invest in the advertising program, and for good reason—curious users are more likely to convert into customers with a gentle push from targeted ads and an upgraded business profile. Here’s how Yelp ads works:

Targeted Yelp Ads

When a Yelp users search for a restaurant your area, your targeted ad will appear at the top of of the search results, rendering your restaurant the most relevant result of their search. The targeted ad drives more users to your upgraded profile by appearing above organic search results and on competitor pages across both mobile and desktop platforms.

There are two ways to invest in the Yelp Ads Program:

  • Pay per click
  • Pay per view

Generally, you’ll be asked to set a budget for how much you’re willing to spend, and then you’ll be charged every time a user clicks on or views your listing.

If you’re familiar with Google AdWords, the Yelp Ads pay per click model is similar. The price you’ll pay varies based on a number of factors—namely, how much competition you’re dealing with in your local area.

The benefit of the per-click pricing option is that if no one clicks on your Yelp ads, you don’t get charged. On the other hand, with pay-per-view advertising, you pay each time your ad appears in front of a user, regardless of what happens next.

Upgraded Profiles

An upgraded profile completes the ad program, designed to convert users after they’ve engaged your targeted ad. You have a choice between an Enhanced Profile or a Branded Profile.

Branded Profile: Includes photo slideshow, video, and a Call To Action (CTA) feature

Enhanced Profile: Includes all the features of a Branded Profile, including the removal of competitor ads

It’s All About Visibility

The key is to constantly monitor your profile and see how many views and leads you’re getting. Then you can take the necessary steps to make those numbers go up. Once they do, that’s when you’ll start making more money. Yelp Ads gets your business in front of more eyes. If enough of those leads turn into paying customers, your ad dollars will end up being more than worth the investment.

The Complete Guide to Yelp

Part 1: Creating and Optimizing Your Yelp Profile
Part 2: Yelp Ads, Deals, and Dashboard
Part 3: Responding to Yelp Reviews
Part 4: Updating Your Yelp Business Page