Love it or hate it, nearly every contractor has a business page on Yelp. With 142 million unique users per month, Yelp is the 44th most visited site in the United States. It’s also one of the best tools for social proof next to your Google Business listing.
Yelp isn’t bad at driving sales, either. In fact, four out of five Yelp users visit the website when they’re prepared to make a purchase—and 55 percent of users take action with a local business. Instead of casually browsing for their next contractor, homeowners directly engage with businesses after finding their Yelp business listing.
So, should you advertise on Yelp? There’s no denying that it’s an amazing tool for exposure. But if you’re not careful, the platform’s premium features can burn a hole in your budget.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should avoid the site completely. If you’re on the fence, here’s what you need to know before promoting your business on Yelp.
Pro: Yelp Boosts Your Online Visibility
If you’re like most businesses, you’re thinking about using Yelp to boost your online visibility, build brand awareness, and (ultimately) increase sales.
Wondering how Yelp can boost your visibility? First, it helps your business rank for keywords you’d normally have a hard time ranking for. Local homeowners visit Yelp from Google searches (or directly), so you can get noticed online without making a major investment in local SEO.
Yelp sits at the end of the purchase funnel, meaning most searchers already have a need for your services and they’re prepared to spend money. Now, they’re searching “HVAC near me” to find the right service provider to seal the deal.
Con: It’s Another Line on Your “To Do” List
Our clients sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears to build a business, keep their contractors busy, and achieve their goals. They don’t have hours to devote to updating their Yelp listing.
Time is money. And at the end of the day, Yelp is another platform that takes time to manage. While you might be able to take a “set it and forget it” approach to some of your business listings, you should skip this strategy with Yelp. Just like social media, you’ll want to spend time maintaining your profile, responding to reviews and inquiries, and keeping your Yelp listing current.
Pro: Online Reviews = Social Proof
The main reason people use Yelp? To research businesses as part of their decision-making process. That means positive, high-quality reviews can help guide your prospects down the sales funnel, increase your conversions, and keep the phone ringing.
Think about it: Online reviews give your existing customers an opportunity to tell their side of the story, showing prospects that you’re a credible choice for their next job. At the same time, having positive Yelp reviews can boost your rankings. According to HubSpot, if you sort Yelp search results by ‘Highest Rated,’ 99.2 percent of businesses would be hidden.
What’s the best way to gather online reviews? Make it convenient. Try sending an email with a clickthrough link to your Yelp business page. It might be tempting to offer a discount voucher on your customers’ next power washing job, but skip the incentive. Yelp strictly prohibits incentivized reviews, and you could risk account suspension if you violate the platform’s policies.
Con: Negative Reviews Can Take a Toll
You already know that positive reviews serve as social proof, establishing trust in your business. Bad reviews do the opposite, convincing leads to hit the back button and head straight to the competition.
If you have negative reviews on Yelp, you don’t want them to be the first thing prospects see. Of course, you might experience this problem even if you’re not using Yelp for business. After all, customers can leave bad reviews anywhere on the Internet, from your Facebook business page to your Google Business listing.
So, how should you handle negative reviews? Our clients have the best results when they learn how to respond professionally instead of pushing back against criticism.
Pro: It’s Free to Get Started
You can pay for premium business page features and Yelp Ads to boost your online visibility, but you don’t have to. Whether you’re working with a limited budget or trying Yelp for the first time, you don’t have to spend anything to create and manage your business page.
Con: It Can Get Expensive Fast
It’s free to create your Yelp business page, making it a clear choice for local contractors. But to get the most out of your profile, you’ll need to invest in premium features and Yelp Ads. Each page upgrade costs $1 per day, and Yelp offers a la carte or bundled upgrades to promote your business.
Yelp also offers PPC advertising. When you invest in Yelp Ads, your page will rank higher in search results, boosting your exposure. However, the platform’s cost-per-click (CPC) ranges anywhere from $0.30 to $40+, which is higher than Google Ads for most contractors.
So, Should You Use Yelp?
Despite Yelp’s potential cons, it can be a powerful marketing tool for contractors. Some cons, such as negative reviews, can even serve as opportunities to improve your business. Plus, you can use Yelp for free to capture new leads—as long as you’re willing to invest time into optimizing your Yelp business page.
But should you pay to advertise on Yelp? It depends. If you have a limited budget, Yelp might not be worth it for your business. Advertising on Yelp costs $150/month, at minimum, to have your business sponsored on search listings. That means it’s 1,000x more expensive than traditional PPC.
With that said, you’re paying to advertise in the context of Yelp’s unique online space. And if you have a high lifetime value per customer, turning searchers on Yelp into loyal customers can make all the difference in your ROI.
Be There When They Need You
Yelp can help you win new business, but it’s only one piece of the marketing puzzle. You need a holistic, long-term strategy to get noticed by the right people at the right time—complete with PPC, SEO, social media, and more.
Want to get predictable leads without pinching pennies? Contact us today to grow your business with proven digital marketing solutions.