Lesson 1: Don’t EVER Let Yelp Control Your Brand Again!
Most of you have visited RBS due to problems with branding your restaurant and the negative impact of Yelp on being able to do that successfully. Due to this very common struggle, we’re giving you your first lesson in a series of many. Throughout this time, RBS will become your best friend, your most trusted advisor and strategist. Learn why by reading more below.
Lesson 1: Stop Thinking You Must Play Nice with Yelp!
We need to have an intervention. The first problem I’ve noticed when helping other Independent Restaurants, is that they feel obligated to work with Yelp. They feel obligated because they feel powerless. You must immediately stop this toxic way of thinking. That defeated way of thinking will only overthrow your ability to overcome. You need to accept and conquer the fact you are losing your brand control to a company that has proven time and time again they do not care about your business. If you fail, someone other business will pop up and pay them, a death spiral that keeps funneling marketing dollars to them out of ignorance. You can do it all by yourself, we will teach you!
If you already know you shouldn’t work with Yelp, you can scroll down to Lesson 1A, otherwise, I will now spend time explaining the experiences of many businesses. These businesses learned the hard way that they made a bad decision in working with Yelp.
The simple fact is this. Yelp is your COMPETITOR to online marketing. They don’t want you to learn how to market your brand else you will realize how useless they really are. On the other hand, Facebook is willing to be a partner to you (for the right amount of money that is, but still an asset rather than a competitor to you). You must learn the difference between Yelp’s platform and Facebook’s platform if you want to succeed with online marketing and ultimately building a strong online brand. To compete in today’s technological world, a world of convenience ordering, you will need Facebook to continue to grow your brand.
Again, Yelp is your enemy, not your friend. If you have been foolishly sucked into wasting money on Yelp ads (ads that are considered some of the least effective and highest cost to target: Google for more if you don’t believe me), hopefully it’s not too late to fix the damage done to your brand. You want customers to come directly to you. You don’t want them to go to Yelp just to reach you or learn more about you. Yelp owns your Yelp business page, you don’t have any control!
Let’s simplify, Yelp took your name. Yes, they took your name (legally) and they are using your name to make profit for themselves. They put your name on their site with or without your consent (they don’t appear to care if you consent, you are just a number to them). Then, they create a page for you and you don’t actually have any control over any of it! Do you realize how crazy it is to play by a set of rules that Yelp controls and then pay them advertising dollars on top of it? Did you really become a business owner to play by someone else’s set of rules?
Let’s do the math on how one bad review can ruin your entire Yelp page and brand. First, you must realize that Yelp has such a tiny fraction of users compared to the global powerhouse of Facebook. That is one of the biggest reasons Yelp will never succeed at becoming a fair review system. If one person puts an exaggerated or fake 1-star review of your business, it takes 3 x 5-star reviews to offset it to be a standard 4-star restaurant! Yes, it takes at least 3 amazing 5-star reviews just to offset that 1 bad review. (1 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 16. 16 / 4 total reviews = 4 star average in total).
What if you only get 4-star reviews though? The average successful business usually deserves a 4-star. If you’re not getting 5-star reviews to offset that 1-star, it’s going to take forever to offset it with only 4-star reviews! That single bad review can have that much of an impact on your brand rating. You also realize that by advertising yourself online, you open yourself up for more fake reviews, right? That is a huge reason why playing nice with Yelp is like trying to competitively swim with weights on your ankles. Yelp will weigh you down!
The fact is, most people just don’t Yelp or ever care to Yelp. Using Yelp’s own numbers, very few actually review. Most people just return to a business if they are happy because they don’t have the time or motivation to write reviews. (Notice in the link above, Yelp actually advises you to give discounts or promotions to help use Yelp to its fullest). Hopefully you have realized by now that discounting your way to success won’t work for you. You must build value. That is exactly why YOU must learn to control your brand instead of Yelp!
While you’re clicking around, just look at Yelp’s own Yelp page. Yelp has one of the lowest rated pages on Yelp! That’s almost too good to be true and proves how flawed their own system is (or they have to accept that their business is really a terrible business according to their own system). Go find a Yelp ad on Facebook (funny that I have yet to see a Facebook ad on Yelp) and read the comment section (which will usually be filled with people blasting Yelp for all the damage they do to hard working people like yourself). It’s a business model that makes most people scratch their heads. Have you compared Yelp to Facebook? You won’t understand what we do at RBS if you think Yelp and Facebook are in any way the same thing.
Lesson 1A (the most important part): To understand everything you need to know about what is terrible about Yelp, all you need to do is learn about Facebook. By seeing how amazing Facebook is, you further realize how terrible Yelp is. In comparison, Facebook, which has the strongest online marketing platform in the history of online marketing, utilizes its massive network to help you gain more customers. They actually provide a system that allows you to build a brand that others identify with/stay in contact with. That’s what you need! You actually gain a healthy brand awareness on Facebook that you can control the image of (assuming you learn how to properly use FB to its fullest without wasting money and time trying to figure it out…that’s where RBS comes in). In contrast to Facebook, Yelp completely controls your brand on your Yelp page, so you must play by their rules. Which sounds better? If you are not convinced by now, you should stop reading. If you are convinced that Facebook (including Instagram, Twitter, etc…) are a million times better than Yelp, its’ time to move onto Chapter 1.