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The Power of Yelp July 24, 2007

Posted by David Dirks in Building Foot Traffic, Buzz Marketing: Lowest Cost/Highest Payoff.

dirksphoto.jpgProbably the greatest trend and potential friend for small business are the web-based social networks. The growing trend is for localized data about businesses in almost every geographic area. Google and Yahoo are certainly on the front end of providing local business information in a strictly data-only format. They give good directions, link you to websites, etc. Having your business found on the web in very localized way is just the next step in the non-stop expansion of e-commerce. It’s all good.

The latest trendsetters are those sites that give reviews of local businesses by the people who frequent them the most: customers. Yelp.com is one of the most noteworthy of this trend.

Yelp.com is an online guide to local businesses of all types. I went on the site and looked up ‘salons’ in my local town and found that more than a half-dozen were listed and…reviewed! All of the shops were within a five-mile radius of my home. With a simple click, I could read the reviews of customers who have had their hair done in each shop.

Fortune magazine recently had a feature article on the founders of Yelp. Interestingly, the article noted an example of how a site like Yelp is helping small businesses. A hair salon owner in Los Angeles had received reviews from customers. Those reviews led to more and more business. The fellow who owns the salon has to pack his hands in ice each weekend because he’s so busy and his hands swell! Ouch.

Yelp is the e-commerce version of ‘word of mouth’ advertising. You might want to check to see if someone on Yelp has already reviewed your business. Go check it out for yourself at http://www.yelp.com



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