UBL (Universal Business Listing)
Yelp: A Focal Point for Listing Management For Franchises
For service providers and popular retail categories, Yelp has proven itself to be an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is clear: millions of American consumers look to Yelp for recommendations from fellow consumers, and a well-reviewed business on Yelp stands a much greater chance of attracting new customers. A 2012 study conducted by two Berkeley economists concluded that a half-star improvement in a restaurant’s Yelp rating caused the restaurant to sell out 49 percent more frequently. What’s more, Yelp is a lynchpin in establishing strong mobile presence for your business locations, given that Yelp-rated businesses appear prominently in Apple Maps’ search results and in Yelp’s own mobile app.
A new study by Merchant Warehouse confirms the importance of Yelp and other review sites, showing that 93 percent of consumers who research local businesses on review sites make purchases from those businesses. Consumers are looking on sites like Yelp for a broad range of businesses, including restaurants, beauty and spa, nightlife, home services, professional services, pets, hotels and travel, auto, health and medical, and financial services. Many businesses are experiencing high rates of increased revenue. Amazingly, just having a Yelp account is shown to increase the revenue of the average
business by $8,000 per year.
Yelp takes its place among several other prominent sites and apps with a similar effect on mobile visibility and consumer behavior, among them Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo, Mapquest and Facebook. The challenge is to find a way to manage franchise listings effectively across multiple locations and capitalize on the importance of Yelp and other prominent sites. According to our studies, as many as 40 percent of business listings are inaccurate or missing from top sites, meaning a huge missed opportunity for franchises whose competitors may be found where they are not.
Fortunately, services like UBL’s listing management service help to make this challenge a manageable one. The return on investment (ROI) from listing management campaigns such as those conducted by UBL is demonstrably much higher than that of most online marketing and advertising.
UBL recommends a three-tiered approach to listings management.
- Distribute listings for all your franchise locations to such data providers as Infogroup, companies that produce massive databases of U.S. business data that are licensed by hundreds of online and mobile publishers including Yelp, Google, Yahoo, Bing and several other prominent companies.
- Create online listings on directory sites used by Google and other search engines to confirm the validity of their listings.
- Create owner verified listings on such sites as Yelp for every location, helping to ensure that listing content is locked down to prevent changes and that franchisees have the ability to connect directly with consumers on these popular sites.
Because local listings management makes use of low-cost distribution channels, campaigns can be conducted for a fraction of the typical marketing budget. The return on this relatively modest investment is realized in the form of prominent, informative business listings that connect you with online consumers who are actively searching for businesses like yours.
Tom Stevens, Vice President of National Accounts
6701 Carmel Road
Charlotte, NC 28226