Why it’s vital your tire shop is on Yelp
It’s no secret that a large number of consumers tend to view tire shops in a negative light. They constantly expect to be “taken” by the shop operator, whether it’s from a price perspective or quality.
Genuine, hardworking and ethical shop owners continuously fight an uphill battle to differentiate themselves and convey their positive reputation to perspective customers.
Consumers increasingly rely on crowd-sourced views
Consumers often rely on crowd-sourced review sites as a source of referral. Yelp helps millions of consumers find local businesses every day. In fact, according to the company website, there was “a monthly average of 89 million unique visitors who visited Yelp via their mobile device in Q3 2015.”
We understand and acknowledge that not all tire shop owners are fans of Yelp. In the words of Bloomberg Business: “Yelp has always had a complicated relationship with small businesses”. The platform is sometimes criticized for questioning the legitimacy of some reviews and removing them, and for manipulating reviews to increase the site’s own revenue streams.
However, since Yelp is among the most popular review platforms on the Internet today, it is our opinion that Yelp shouldn’t be ignored or neglected for the following reasons:
High rankings on Google (and other search engines)
Most of you already understand the importance of your business ranking highly on Google. There are many factors that go into achieving a high business ranking on Page 1 of Google, including volume of traffic to a website. This is why websites of small businesses are sometimes at a disadvantage.
However, even a free business profile on Yelp consistently appears high in search results. So, with a properly constructed, SEO-friendly (that is, search engine optimized) Yelp profile, a tire shop can have their business rank highly for a variety of important search phrases.
This is especially important in cases where the tire shop’s own website may not rank as highly. Here’s an example of a search we conducted on January 20 for “tire shop reviews Arlington, VA.”
As you can see, Yelp dominated the search results with the first 4 of 5 results being Yelp related.
Leverage Yelp’s community
Yelp has been able to develop a large user base (more than 30 million people) that often visits their website to search for reputable local businesses and those who value the community. These are consumers who are generally ready to buy, rather than those who are still in research phase.
Highlighting your tire shop and its good reputation in front of these prospective buyers can not only lead to an immediate increase in new customers but also growth through a higher than average referral rate.
Take advantage of Yelp’s growth
The Yelp app is now accessible from many vehicle dashboard programs. BMW was the first automaker to implement the feature in 2011, but it is becoming more common as Wi-Fi becomes a popular feature in new vehicles. Now, no matter where a driver is, they will have access to all Yelp features.
Imagine if a family were out of town, had car trouble and needed to find a reputable auto shop in an area they were unfamiliar with. At the touch of a button they will have access to:
- Category Search – search by category for nearby auto shops
- Results Overview – results are sorted by distance and star ratings
- Details – once a user selects a specific place, more information is provided about that business, including rating, address, distance and phone number
Yelp is also going mobile in a big way through Apple’s iWatch.
That’s pretty impressive and impactful information, huh?
Now is your opportunity to differentiate your reputable and forward-thinking tire shop from competition and harness the digital growth that is being experienced in the automotive industry.
Take advantage of Yelp advertising
Another feature of Yelp that we suggest leveraging is its advertising.
Yelp allows businesses to proactively advertise themselves within the profiles of other non-paying businesses. This feature is specifically beneficial to shops that have a positive rating (three stars or higher).
So, imagine if a user could see your shop’s five-star rating while they are on the profile of one of your competitors who has only a 2.5 star rating. There’s a high likelihood you could catch the attention of that user and gain their business. Here’s an example of such an opportunity:
However, it is important to note that we don’t recommend Yelp advertising for every business.
It is vital to understand and analyze the metrics provided by Yelp and understand when it’s actually beneficial to advertise your business and when it’s simply leading to awareness without generating new business for your shop.
So, here are Conceptual Minds’ recommendations for using Yelp
- Make sure that your business profile is complete and includes the address, city, state and zip code
- Make sure your tire shop is categorized properly
- Make sure that the profile includes keywords that are valuable to your business
- Ensure that the content in your profile is accurate and up to date
- Respond to negative reviews quickly, appropriately and without being confrontational
- Use cost/click advertising versus cost/impression advertising
Clearly, it’s important to monitor the Yelp profile of your business on an ongoing basis for a variety of reasons. If you find yourself needing help with creating an SEO-friendly profile, developing and/or executing a well-thought-out Yelp advertising strategy or ongoing monitoring of your online reputation, Conceptual Minds’ marketing experts with solid tire industry focus are here to help!
Taran Sodhi is the chief executive of Conceptual Minds, a marketing firm specializing in the tire and auto industry. Conceptual Minds has helped single- and multi-location shops improve their online reputations while achieving a measurable return on investment. To learn more, visit the website or call 877-524-7696.