Yelp is probably here to stay. Though the company lost an estimated $5.3 million, or $0.08 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2012, that’s less than the net loss of $9.1 million, or $0.56 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011. At the same time, revenue for the quarter was $41.2 million, up 65 percent from earnings in 2011.
Meanwhile, Yelp managed to reach a significant milestone last month. The company’s blog reported hitting 100 million unique visitors in January for the first time since the site’s inception. What does this mean for your business? If you have a Yelp page, you’re more likely to receive customer feedback than ever before. And if you haven’t visited Yelp, it may be time to discover whether a page has already been created for your business and what people are saying about you there.
For those not familiar with the site, Yelp provides the opportunity to gain customer feedback and to market your company, especially a local business, to local consumers or other businesses interested in working with you. To get an idea of how the site works and how to get up and running using it, check out Getting Your Small Business Started on Yelp from TJ McCue.
Yelp Faces Competition
Not everyone is sold on the site’s importance as a location-based marketing tool, however. First of all, there are plenty of competitors in the space. Some reports point to the possibility that Facebook’s Graph Search could replace other location-based rivals with new ways to locate local business information and reviews. The Next Web
Adam Gottlieb advises against business owners buying into the location-based marketing hype. Reasons to avoid investing too heavily include steep cost, high learning curve, no guarantee of return, and a highly specialized group of customers. The Frugal Entrepreneur
Customer Review Trend Grows
On the other hand, Gottlieb agrees, it’s important to keep up with what your customers are saying about you. In fact, one study suggests that customer reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List might be more important than professional reviews to many customers. PR Intelligence Blog
The study by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research shows how customer reviews trump professional opinions of consumer products like smartphones, PCs, and printers, and how consumers find them. The study also shows how interested customers are in the authenticity of the reviews they are reading. eMarketer
Editor’s Note: the above article was corrected to note the correct number of visitors. An earlier version said 1 million.