Paid advertising alone does not work for marketing

Is Yelp’s advertising worse than their sales tactics?

Savvy business owners know they need a profile on major website directories such as Yelp in order to attract more customers online. Unfortunately, once a Yelp directory listing is set up, the pestering phone calls begin. Yelp has a tendency to call business owners repeatedly to sell advertising and to verify information about a particular business.

Last week alone, I encountered two business owners who spent their precious time speaking with a Yelp salesperson. These business owners were intrigued with the benefits of showing up in the top tier Yelp search results but they were immediately dismayed with the gauging costs and 12-month commitment.

One business owner told me that his own buying behavior stopped him from pulling the trigger. He immediately dismisses listings that are marked as “sponsored” or “ad” because he wants to find truly helpful companies, not the ones who pay the most.

Is Yelp still relevant?

A large number of consumers turn to the Internet before making a buying decision in the real world. They want to know what others have to say to figure out if the product or service makes sense for their own lives. This is the buying behavior Yelp is counting on for their own business model.

However, marketing statistics and trends for 2019 show that pay per click advertising alone isn’t working for businesses.

33% of inbound marketers and 31% of outbound marketers rank outbound marketing practices, such as paid advertising, as the top waste of time and resources. Organic marketing methods — including content marketing, social media and email marketing — continue to generate more leads than paid advertising.

That’s not to say having a free listing on Yelp isn’t vital for your business. It’s great for your website’s search engine optimization and a tool to communicate with your customers. Business owners have found that Yelp reviews can make or break their business. Yelp’s digital presence is so powerful that they fought and won a legal battle in California’s Supreme Court that says businesses can’t sue Yelp to get defamatory reviews removed.

Make Yelp part of your social media marketing

A good way to work within Yelp parameters is to respond to every review that you receive on the website. That helps Yelp’s algorithm decide which reviews they will highlight and which they will bury.

Reputation management is a necessary part of social media marketing strategy. Focus on responding to all reviews, both good and bad, in a constructive and useful way. Don’t launch into a negative tirade with someone who leaves a less than delightful review about your company. At the same time, you should promote all positive reviews as much as possible and encourage your customers to leave a Yelp review.

Is Yelp advertising going to help your bottom line?

I have had several conversations with clients past and present who have tried Yelp’s advertising only to be let down by the results. Every single business owner I have spoken to (summed up well in this blog) complained of spending too much money for under-performing ads. They also said that Yelp sales representatives talk a good talk — making it seem like there aren’t any other digital advertising methods that rival its success.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Paid advertising has its place in marketing when combined with other marketing efforts. There are so many digital places to allocate your marketing budget for any industry — including Google pay per click ads and Facebook — why bother paying for Yelp?

If Yelp keeps calling you, be firm but polite. Explain that you are not interested in advertising or that you do not have the budget to do so. Expect that Yelp’s salespeople be pushy. But if Yelp advertising worked well, why do their sales tactics have to be so aggressive?

If you have the budget for Yelp advertising, consider talking to a marketing agency first. Contact Bragg Media to get a meeting scheduled.

About this Blogger: Heather Bragg

About this Blogger: Heather Bragg

Before Heather entered the world of marketing, she was a newspaper journalist. Today, she is best known for developing well-rounded marketing plans that focus on the long-term.

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