Why Local Businesses Should Pay Attention to Yelp…And Other Hot Topics

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Happy 4th of July! I hope you’ll be enjoying this week’s marketing news roundup from a nearby beach or BBQ. Nonetheless, here’s everything you’ll need to stay up-to-date over the long weekend.

Why are sites like Yelp important for local businesses?

Word-of-mouth recommendations will always be one of the most powerful forms of marketing for small businesses. In large thanks to sites like Yelp, these word-of-mouth referrals are now going digital, better yet, mobile.

With 8 in 10 people saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, Yelp has become an important resource that all small business owners should take advantage of. In this week’s news roundup, we’ll take a deeper look at new data from Nielsen that proves just how influential Yelp can be.

Plus, did you know Google has officially shut down Google Reader?

Read about these top stories and more in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. Yelp Visits are Often Followed by Purchases from Local Businesses

According to new data from Nielsen, about half of Yelp users make their purchase decisions after visiting the site, with that number being slightly higher among those who visit Yelp from a mobile device. These decisions often include a call or visit to a local business frequently resulting in a purchase.

Here’s the breakdown:
•    44 percent of Yelp users visit a local business after stopping by the site
•    24 percent call a business after visiting the site
•    41 percent will purchase from a local business after visiting the site

Bottom line: Positive reviews and ratings on Yelp are influential when it comes to customer conversions. These reviews can often times be the difference between a follow-up phone call or an in-store purchase. The reason being is that customers feel less hesitant and more comfortable picking up the phone or making a purchase from a new business knowing that their peers rank that business highly.

Also, it shouldn’t come as a surprise either that in a recent survey from SinglePlatform, 85 percent of small businesses said that they believe it is important to be seen on major search sites like Google, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.

Find out how SinglePlatform can help.

2. Google has officially shut down Google Reader

This past Monday, Google shut down Google Reader as part of their “Spring Cleaning.” Google stated in a recent post, that although Google Reader has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined and they want to focus their efforts on other things.

Users have until July 15th to download a copy of their Google Reader using Google Takeout to ensure that their information is not lost.

Bottom line: If you’re someone who relies on Google Reader for your daily dose of news, there’s no need to panic. There are plenty of other RSS feeds out there that are just as good if not better than Google Reader.

Some alternative RSS feeds include Feedly, a site that creates a magazine-like experience and also easily connects with your social media or Flipboard. Flipboard uses a highly visual layout so that you can flip through news in a beautiful way.

3. Email is Enough, Say 43% of Small Biz Social Holdouts

According to recent findings from a Constant Contact study, 43 percent of small business owners say email marketing is enough for them.

The study also shows that 82 percent of small businesses are using social media for marketing today and 88 percent are very likely to use social media in the next year.

Bottom line: Email is the most commonly used digital marketing channel among small business owners. Some even rely solely on it for their marketing purposes because of its power and reach.

But, email and social marketing go hand-in-hand. Social enhances engagement and can reach new and existing customers in a relevant way. Working together, both email and social marketing are an incredibly powerful duo for increased sales and customer retention.

4. Mobile Strategies Geared Towards Branding, Not Sales

A new study by EPiServer shows that businesses are seeing improved customer loyalty and personalization rather than sales conversion on mobile.

46 percent of retailers who have a mobile strategy in place and three-quarters of those who are planning to implement a mobile strategy in the coming year are using mobile primarily to increase customer loyalty and provide a more personalized experience for consumers.

35 percent of businesses surveyed will place the majority of their resources into new mobile strategies.

Bottom line: Mobile is not just about increasing sales, it’s about creating relationships. Increased sales will likely happen because of the mindset customers are in when they are searching on their mobile device, but mobile creates even deeper opportunities.

Engaging your customers in a personal way creates loyalty and strong relationships. This is priceless. Instead of getting one-off sales, which are great too, you’ll be getting life-long customers who are engaged with your business.

5. LinkedIn Brings Beefed Up Search to Mobile App

LinkedIn will now incorporate its smarter search functionality, originally designed for desktop, to their mobile app. Before, users were only able to search for people on their mobile app. Now, users can search for job openings, company pages, and groups right from their mobile device.

LinkedIn called this addition the “top requested feature.”

Bottom line: LinkedIn’s new update to its mobile app proves how important mobile is. This addition will help create yet another way for customers to find and interact with your business.

As more and more customers search for businesses using their mobile device, it’s incredibly important that you are visible on all major social networks. If you weren’t sure about setting up a LinkedIn profile for your business before, this should give you a good reason to get going.

Do you use Yelp for your small businesses? Tell us about it below.

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