Recently, our business was contacted by a Yelp associate to talk about our free business listing. We were contacted several times by the salesperson, who was very friendly and eager to help. After several missed calls and emails, we decided to schedule a phone call to see what Yelp could offer us.
After a lengthy phone meeting filled with fabulous graphics, articles and before-and-after snapshots of happy Yelp-advertising businesses, we were met with the question on every business owner’s mind: how much does all of this cost? That’s where the enchantment ended. The advertisement packages started with the most basic package at $600 per month, to the most advanced being $2,175 per month. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 70% of small businesses report spending less than $500 a month on all their marketing activities. That would mean that if a business bought into Yelp’s paid advertising, they would be spending the majority, if not the entirety of their advertising budgets, to put all their eggs in Yelp’s basket.
And for what?
Yelp’s advertising program works on charging a regular monthly fee, plus pay-per-click views on your page. The main problem with this is that there’s no way to guarantee that each view to your Yelp profile is going to be a sale. After a quick Google search, you can find several accounts where people reported receiving calls from solicitors and salespeople through their Yelp profile. The Yelp advertising program may be helpful for businesses whose business relies on quick sales, such as restaurants and basic repair services. But for professional services, such as us, who target specific customers and rely on long-term sales, it seems like a waste of money.
While the Yelp advertisement program definitely did not seem worth it to us, do your own search and see if this is the right move for you and your business. This experience with Yelp was not a total loss, though. Since our meeting, we’ve been implementing the same techniques used by Yelp to sell to us, to sell ourselves to future customers. So if you have a small business, take the time to listen to what those pesky salespeople on the phone have to say. While the product may not what’s best for you, you can learn a lot from their pitch.