Yelp Introduces Free Reservation Tool for Restaurants…And Other Hot Topics

If you’ve gone out to dinner in the last decade, chances are you’ve visited Yelp to help you find a place to eat.

With 57 million user-generated reviews, Yelp has been a go-to place for people to learn about local restaurants and businesses in their area.

This week, Yelp introduced an entirely new reason to visit its site — adding a free reservation tool for restaurants.

Learn more about Yelp’s new reservation feature, and get caught up on other stories you may have missed in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. Yelp adds free reservation tool for restaurants

Yelp introduced a new tool for restaurants this week that will give them the ability to collect reservations directly from their Yelp listing.

The new feature, called Yelp Reservations, will be available on both mobile and desktop. When a customer books a reservation through Yelp, they will be able to receive a reminder and be given the option to cancel or update their reservations via text message.

Yelp is also giving businesses the option to add a widget to their website to encourage visitors to book a reservation through Yelp.

Business owners interested in setting the free Yelp Reservation feature can do so through their Yelp Business Owner account.

Bottom Line: While Yelp is best known as a platform for reading and sharing reviews, it is also one of the most valuable listing platforms available to small businesses today.

When potential customers visit Yelp, they aren’t just looking to see what other people have to say about your business, they also want to see things like hours, location, and other important details about your business. With a tool like SinglePlatform, you can also add a link to your menu — which potential customers can easily view on any device.

For restaurants looking for a convenient option for accepting reservations online, Yelp Reservations could be a great place to start.

2. [New Data] Small businesses continue to do more with less

This week, Constant Contact released new data looking at the state of small business.

The survey, which included responses from 1,300 business owners, found that almost 40 percent of small businesses saw revenue increases last year over 2012, and more than half expect revenues to increase in 2014. Despite this positive outlook, 65 percent say they’ve had to make some concessions to economic pressures, from reducing operating budgets to putting hiring plans on hold.

When it comes to their marketing efforts, respondents reported that two employees (including themselves) spend 20 hours per week focusing on marketing activities.  Additionally, almost half (49 percent) work with three to four marketing vendors.

82 percent of respondents also reported using multiple marketing channels — like email, social media, and mobile — to market their business. This has resulted in more customer engagement (73 percent), new customers (57 percent), more website traffic (54 percent), and more revenue (40 percent).

Read the full results here.

Bottom Line: Doing more with less is something small business owners understand better than anyone. To help make your marketing dollars go further, it’s important to focus on the channels that deliver the best return when promoting your campaigns and getting the word out about your business.

This approach has already delivered impressive results for other small businesses, and could be exactly what you need to do more business in 2014.

Need help getting started? Here are some valuable lessons to help you put this strategy into action from an unlikely source — Game of Thrones.

3. Twitter now lets you mute other users

Twitter has introduced a new feature called mute, which lets users hide tweets and activity from other users, without having to unfollow them completely.

Similar to the hide function on Facebook, mute can be used to hide another users updates permanently, without the threat of having them see you unfollowed them, or can use the function to temporarily mute users for a short period of time.

Twitter explained the new feature in a recent blog post:

Muting a user on Twitter means their Tweets and Retweets will no longer be visible in your home timeline, and you will no longer receive push or SMS notifications from that user. The muted user will still be able to fave, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline. The muted user will not know that you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.

The new feature will be rolling out to all Twitter users in the coming weeks.

Bottom Line: Whether you’re posting on a site like Twitter or Facebook, or creating an email campaign to send to your list of contacts, you need to make sure you’re providing an experience that’s interesting and relevant to the people you’re trying to reach.

With so much competition across these different channels, brands can’t afford to ignore the needs of their audience. Even if people don’t mute or unfollow you, if you’re not paying attention to what your audience wants, they could start to tune you out.

Instead, focus on creating and sharing content that your audience would thank you for.

4.  [Infographic] The State of Small Business Content Marketing in 2014

Web optimization company, Boostsuite published a new infographic this week, showing the results of a recent survey on how small businesses are using content marketing to their advantage.

One of the key findings from the survey is that 89 percent of small businesses publish new web content on a weekly basis.

The survey, which included data from more than 16,000 small businesses, also found that more than half of business owners are spending at least two hours creating each piece of marketing content.

Other findings from the study include:

  • 81 percent of small businesses are creating different content for each marketing channel.
  • 86 percent are not using data to guide content decisions.
  • 65 percent of small businesses use email to promote their content

Bottom Line: Creating engaging content is one of the biggest marketing challenges facing small businesses today.

But what most people don’t realize is that there are great sources of content all around you. With the right plan and a little bit of help you could soon be on your way to creating content that engages your audience and helps you do more business.

We compiled a list of resources to help you get started:

 What top stories caught your eye this week? Let us know in the comments below. 

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