Study Says Review Sites Get More Conversions Than Search or Social
When it comes to local SEO and marketing, many small businesses simply don't have the time or resources to devote to every potential strategy. A company concentrating on content production and social media promotion, for example, may not be able to devote the time needed run an AdWords campaign in an effective way.
Any business that's trying to weigh the potential ROI of search engine marketing, social media, email marketing and other local marketing tactics may want to consider the results of a new study and focus their efforts on review sites instead.
92% of Consumers Show Purchase Intent after Visiting Yelp
The Nielsen study, commissioned by Yelp, surveyed 2,007 adult consumers who searched for local businesses online during August and September of 2016. A whopping 92 percent of respondents indicated they made a purchase after visiting Yelp "at least sometimes, frequently or almost always." Twenty-five percent said they make that purchase within a few hours, which is a 212 percent improvement from a similar Nielsen study conducted in 2014.
Other interesting stats from the study include:
- 74 percent of consumers searching for a local business visit review sites at least once per month
- 79 percent of Yelp users are looking for businesses they can visit multiple times
- 85 percent of Yelp users either frequently or occasionally share businesses found on Yelp with friends
Of course, because the study is commissioned by Yelp, it's good to take these stats with a grain of salt. At the same time, there are other, more independent studies that show just how powerful reviews are for small businesses, driving better traffic that's more likely to convert than traffic from search engines or even targeted social media ads.
Getting More Yelp Reviews
Encouraging customers to review your business on Yelp can be tricky. Yelp's official policy is that businesses should never solicit for reviews. This means you should avoid:
- Asking anyone directly for reviews, including customers, friends, family, employees or mailing list recipients
- Having your staff compete to collect reviews
- Offering discounts in exchange for positive reviews
- Purchasing positive reviews from a shady SEO or reputation management agency
It's best to grow your Yelp profile as naturally as possible. Think of it this way: don't force - facilitate. Instead of directly asking for reviews, place a Yelp sign in your physical location encouraging customers to "find us on Yelp." You can order an official sticker here. Next, place a Yelp review badge on your website, and make sure you have links to your Yelp profile across all your internet properties such as social profiles and email signatures.
Finally, make sure you're sharing your good reviews. When you get a review on Yelp, simply posting it to your Facebook page can encourage and remind your followers to do the same. You could even use a good Yelp review as a testimonial on your site, provided you post the review verbatim with permission from the reviewer and attribute the review to Yelp.
Of course, Yelp also provides paid advertising options, but many businesses have found these to be an expensive gamble. Again, naturally building your Yelp presence is the best way to leverage the warm leads and ready-to-convert traffic that Yelp can bring to your site.