I was just on Facebook and saw a sponsored post for Yellow Pages and their NetSync product. Being that I deem YellowPages a competitor of ours, I clicked the ad to find out more as I wanted to review the service.
YP has really gotten their stuff together. Their website looks way better and they are heavily marketing their services to business owners like yourself. I still believe their online marketing services are expensive for the customer service they provide. Over the last couple of years I’ve received plenty of emails from business owners who are not pleased with the cost of YP online marketing services.
What is Yellow Pages NetSync?
Upon clicking the NetSync link, you’ll see a couple of boxes where you can add your business name and phone number. I used my company and business as a trial. After less then a minute you are greeted with a score and a few websites/business directories where your business may or may not be listed.
Effectively, NetSync is a tool to track down mentions of your business name on business directories to see how your business contact information is displayed. It’s also able to see which of the top directories you are or are not listed in.
YP is pitching NetSync like this:
“Errors are costly. 3 out of 4 people lose trust in a business with wrong information and won’t search for that business again.”
Also, when anyone searches for a business name online, you’ll see that business’ website, their Google listing and contact details, then perhaps a Yelp and YellowPages listing. It should be a given that you have the correct contact information on all four of those platforms. Very rarely, if ever, will someone be on directory like Weblocal looking for a business.
Within 5 minutes of me filling out my business details I received a call from a local number. Turns out it was a YP sales rep.
I started chatting with them and they are basically Yext in Canada. Yext is a company out of the US who provides the same business listing clean up service. They have taken control of many business directories in Canada and how they collect and update business date like name, address & phone numbers. So when someone signs up with NetSync, you plugin in your correct business contact details and then they update all of their directories they control.
It’s a really great idea and it saves the business owner money.
Our Google My Business package is $500 but we offer 25 more business listings, a review strategy for YellowPages, Yelp, and Google, and we make website recommendations to increase your local search performance.
I think the two services are quiet similar. Obviously I’d like to work with you but can understand choosing YP and NetSync. I’ve been critical of YP but having seen how Yext has offered this service, it’s a solid choice.
Yelp is clearly ramping up their sales teams as lot of our clients have been getting calls from sales reps. It’s probably due to the fact they didn’t meet their sales estimates recently. Regardless, this Yelp advertising review will help you determine if it makes sense for your business to advertise with them.
A few of our clients and yourself wants to know, is advertising with Yelp worth it? The answer depends on a few factors.
But before I list the four questions you need to ask yourself to determine if Yelp advertising is worth it, here is how their advertising works.
Yelp Advertising Cost
Since I’ve been in contact with a few Yelp sales reps, I’ve been able to acquire a link to their pricing and packages. Keep in mind that this link is for Canadian businesses.
Another thing to keep in mind is that those prices are based on a 12 month contract. Now that you have an idea of costs, where your ads will be displayed?
Three Display Options
Yelp offers three areas where your ad will be displayed. You can see in the screenshot below that it’s pretty straightforward except for the “search results page”.
The search results page is their “directory” of service providers or storefronts for specific search terms. We have one client who is advertising with Yelp and they’re an auto repair shop. So their ad gets displayed on the Yelp directory for “auto repair shops in Victoria BC“. Since they also offer a few different services, their ad would be displayed on other search results pages for those other services.
The competitors pages advertising is quite interesting and useful. People will find out about your competitors anyways. So if someone is viewing their Yelp listing, why not have your ad displayed there as well?
Now that you know where the ads are displayed, you might wonder how your budget or PPC is determined.
Yelp PPC Ad Budget
Each of the packages has click budget per month. How that budget gets divided is something I am unaware of. But within your business owners dashboard there is a section called “Yelp Ads” which allows you to see your CPC breakdown, amount of impressions and clicks. You can’t see how CPC is determined either. But for this client, a $2.46 CPC is pretty cheap.
That covers how Yelp advertising works. Here are four questions you need to answer to determine if it works for your business.
Four Questions To Ask Yourself
1) Do any Yelp directory pages show up in the search results ahead of your website?
Yelp has done a good job with their SEO and trying to rank all of their directory pages. When you search for your targeted search terms in Google or Bing does a Yelp listing show up ahead of your website?
In the screenshot above, it might worth it for our client who is listed two spots below the Yelp directory listing for “auto repair Victoria BC”.
When you search for your products or services, where does the Yelp listings show in the search rankings compared to your website? If it’s quite few or even two spots ahead, it might be worth going with Yelp.
2) Do you have a lot of competition?
This question is related to the last one. If you have a lot of competition and you’re not ranking very high in the search results, then you can leverage the traffic from the Yelp directory listing that ranks high.
The money spent on local SEO and trying to get better rankings might be better spent on Yelp advertising as you will see more traffic directly. This is especially true if you have a lot of competitors and your website is ranking on the fourth page and beyond.
But this money could also be spent on Google Adwords. I’ll cover Adwords vs Yelp in a bit.
3) How many views does your Yelp listing receive right now?
“User Views is a measure of how many times your Yelp page was accessed or viewed on the Yelp website, mobile website, and mobile apps. The forecasted value on the current month is an estimate and will change as the month progresses. Yelp may occasionally correct historical metrics to improve accuracy.”
So a view can come from someone seeing your listing in a directory and viewing your actual listing page. It would be really nice for Yelp to separate the two, as someone viewing your listing directly is far more valuable.
If your listing is getting a fair amount of user views, that number would increase significantly if lots of people are searching through a search engine for your product and landing on a few different Yelp directories. It would also increase if people bypass Bing and Google and head to Yelp and do their searching there.
Unfortunately Yelp doesn’t have stats for how many users view a directory like their “auto repair shops in Victoria BC“. This would make the decision much easier. So for now we’ll have to go off how many user views your listing gets.
4) How many products or services do you offer?
The more products or services offer, the more Yelp directories there will be. If you are an auto repair shop, you most likely offer brake repair, oil changes, tires & suspensions and more. In this case Yelp will have a directory for each service. This would then increase the amount of views your listing has.
You would have to ask the question to your Sales rep how a budget gets divided if you offer different services.
In the case of the auto repair shop I’ve mentioned, this screenshot below shows the increase in user views since we signed up with Yelp a few months back.
On the other side of this is if you’re a massage therapist that only offers that one service, you will only have one Yelp directory. This would mean your listing might not have as many views.
Answering the questions above will you decide. But I want to toss another option at you that you probably are already aware of, if not using right now.
Yelp Vs Adwords
The first question I asked above had to do with the Yelp directory listing and it’s search rankings. The idea of levering Yelp’s SEO and search rankings is an easier way to get targeted traffic to your Yelp listing.
The 65-80% could then come across a Yelp directory for your business’ products or services in the organic results. This coupled with the fact the Google Adwords CPC is going to be higher then the Yelp Ads might make Yelp a better option.
With that being said, if you do advertise with Google Adwords people are directly visiting your site. I’m a big believer in driving people to your website as you can control the flow of the visitors and see the Google Analytics stats and track things better.
If you advertise with Yelp, they want to drive people to your Yelp listing. You then have to rely on people clicking on your website link to see your website. It seems to be the case from analyzing a few clients’ Yelp ads that most people call the business rather then visit the website.
This is good, however, as you want people to call you after they reach your website anyways. They just miss out on learning more about your business. But they’ve called and that’s a major goal in any business.
So Is Yelp Advertising Worth It?
After all this it comes down to answering the four questions above. At that point you should have a good idea if it’s worthwhile to spend the money and advertise with Yelp. Obviously I would be cautious of the 12 month contract, but thankfully you can jump in between packages.
If you do decided to advertise with Yelp, it will be a far better option than going with Yellow Pages Online. YP is very expensive compared to Yelp, but Yelp’s SEO and local search rankings are just as good as YP’s for their directories.
If you have any questions regarding Yelp or online marketing, contact us today and we’d be happy to consult with you.
For the longest time I avoided Reddit. The main reason is the design of the website. I’m a design snob in some ways and viewing Reddit feels like it’s 1999.
But I’m always looking for local online discussion groups to engage with and to find backlink opportunities. Surely enough I found a subreddit for Victoria BC. A subreddit is a fancy name for a group. In that subreddit I found that there were a lot of on-going discussions about everything local.
What I also found is that many people use the Victoria subreddit for business recommendations. And this is your chance to use Reddit as a means to get local SEO backlinks for your website.
Before I explain how, DO NOT spam your local subreddit with a bunch of backlinks to your site. Engage in other discussions and add value to the community. You’ll get kicked out fairly quick by moderators if they notice you only post backlinks.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s help you find a local subreddit.
Search For A Subreddit
The first step is to search for a subreddit. By far the easiest way is to do a Google site search. If I was going to search for a Victoria BC subreddit, I would Google:
“site:reddit.com Victoria BC”
You can also use Reddit search bar located at the top right on the front page.
Now that you have found your subreddit, go ahead and search some terms that people use to describe your business. Use the same search bar within Reddit, but make sure you are in the subreddit before you do your search.
Otherwise, feel free to do a Google site search again. If I was looking for mentions of SEO, I would Google this:
What happens when you do find a thread where someone is looking for your service or business?
How To Link & Two Benefits Of Reddit Backlinks
When you happen to find a thread where someone asks for a recommendation or is looking for your business, be sure to state you are the business owner and give your elevator pitch. Don’t oversell yourself.
When you do comment, make sure to link back to your website. Follow the formatting for links in the image below.
If I was to link back to this site, I would format the link like this:
By engaging with your local subreddit, you are in a way networking. The more active you become, the more trust and credibility you build. This is the first benefit.
The second benefit is that you get a high quality dofollow backlink. Backlinks aren’t the top factor when it comes to local SEO and better rankings. But it’s still important.
I’m sure hardcore Redditors might get annoyed about me posting this. But again, be sure to engage with your local subreddit. Heck, even keep an eye out for opportunities to recommend friends. Just DON’T spam!
Jordan Caron: Hey everyone, It’s Jordan Caron from Meaningful Marketing. I’m sitting down with one of our clients, Adam Sullivan, who’s a co-managing partner at Victoria Transmission & Auto Care. Adam, please say hi to everyone.
Adam Sullivan: Hello, everybody.
Jordan Caron: Adam, we’re going to get right into it here with a few questions about your partnership with Meaningful Marketing. A little bit of background about yourself and Victoria Transmission. How long ago did you take over the business?
Adam Sullivan: Peter and I purchased the business in 2010 from my dad, and he’d actually bought it from his dad. We’re a third-generation business now that’s been fixing cars in Victoria since 1964, so I think that’s puts us at 54 years in town. Peter and I both worked at the company for many, many years. Peter had been here 25 years before we bought it, and I’d been here 15. And, we got wind that the owners wanted to sell. We really liked the direction the company was going and decided to make it a career for both of us.
Jordan Caron: And, when you took over the business, they were just strictly doing transmission repair, correct?
Yeah. Probably all of 90% of the work that we did was just transmissions, clutches, driveline things. And, the general repair side of stuff, like the break jobs and oil changes. If a customer asked us to do that, we’d do it. But, it was not something that we ever advertised or put out to the city at all.
Jordan Caron: Okay. So, you guys decided to switch that and become like, an all-care auto repair shop, then?
Adam Sullivan: Well yeah, because the transmission industry had been declining. It peaked at around 1999, and then what started to happen was the manufacturers started to build better product that would last longer, and then they’d warranty it longer. And so, we were seeing a steady decline from transmission sales. So, you look down the road 10 years and think, well if we’re declining at 10% year over year, in 10 years we wouldn’t be left with almost anything. So, we had to make the decision to branch out, offer and advertise general repair just to stay alive, or the future looked really bleak.
Jordan Caron: Ok, that brings up an interesting question. Before, they were just doing transmission repair. And, when you guys took it over, you obviously are doing all types of auto care repair. What types of marketing and advertising methods were being used when you took over the business?
Adam Sullivan: Pretty old school stuff. Our biggest thing was the Yellow Pages. The Yellow Pages were king; we’d spend $50,000, $60,000 a year to be the category leader in transmissions, and even a two-page, full-color ad, it was a ridiculous amount of money. The previous ownership would do the odd, three-month radio ad. The Q, or local stations like that. We put the odd thing out in Times Colonist or in the black press. But, all old school kinds of marketing, and we were seeing a big drop-off on how effective it was being. The ROI coming from those forms of media – they couldn’t justify themselves, not even a little bit.
Jordan Caron: Ok, so then, fast-forward to a couple of years after you purchased the business. You partner up with ourselves here at Meaningful Marketing. What made you focus on Internet marketing?
Adam Sullivan: Well, Peter and I sat down and were looking at our advertising budget, which was about 6% to 7% of our revenue which, in our industry, is too high. We were finding that we were doing a great job of keeping existing customers and getting referrals, but as far as new customers, if they were coming in, we spent a few months analyzing, where did they come from? What made them choose us? And, what we were finding was, mostly word-of-mouth, which we already knew was good. And, almost none of it was coming from our massive advertising and marketing budget.
So, we sat down and thought, how do you decide which restaurant to go to? Because we both really like food. And he says, well I’ll go online and type in, if I’m in Seattle, Seattle’s best restaurants. Or, if I’m in Los Angeles and I want to go do something with my family, what’s the best family stuff that we can do in Los Angeles? You get a lot of information from that, and you get a lot of online reviews. What we found for ourselves personally is, we make most of our decisions based on – at first, a google search, and then reading reviews from other people that have been there and have done it.
And at that point, if someone has 20 or 30 reviews, some will be positive and some will be negative. But, at least you kind of get almost an insight of that business. And we thought, hey, for our business, if someone’s never been to us, and they have lots of decisions and options when it comes to getting your car repaired, there are a million auto shops out there. If we could have the Internet presence and get our reviews going, that’s what we used. That’s why we decided to really focus on the Internet-based marketing.
Jordan Caron: So, you’ve kind of answered this question. But, how important are customer reviews for an auto repair shop like yours?
Adam Sullivan: Honestly, we found that online customer reviews are probably the single biggest generator of new clients that we talk to. They’re able to find us organically through our web presence, or they’ll find us through some of our ads. But, we find that they make a final purchase decision based on the reviews that they’ve read about the company. That makes them feel that they can know us and they can trust us. I’m sure other industries vary a lot but really if you’re looking for a new mechanic in a town, reviews are going to be worth their weight in gold, and they have been. It automatically allows the customer to get an insight into your business that just your own website, because that will be biased most times – if they can read reviews, I think it just brings a lot more credibility to everything that we do.
Jordan Caron: So, as of this interview, you have 59 google reviews, which is great because the competitors in the marketplace only have about 15 or 20 max.
Adam Sullivan: If that, yeah.
Jordan Caron: Now, what are you guys doing to get more reviews?
Adam Sullivan: Well, that’s the toughest part. I’m sure we’ve all been there: we’ve been to a restaurant, or we’ve been to a business and we’ve had just great service, and we loved it. And, we’ve probably said the words, oh I’m going to write a review for you guys. Or, you’ve talked to a waiter and the waiter’s done an exceptional job, and you say, hey you know what? Thanks, I thought that was just incredible. And he’ll say, hey, can you write a review? Because this will help me when I’m talking to my boss about my next review. And at the time, you’ve maybe had a glass of wine and the dinner’s been great, and the lobster was perfect, or whatever it may be. And you say yeah, yeah. I’m going to do it.
But invariably, you never write that review. You go home, life gets in the way. You think, oh maybe I said that, but what difference will it make? We’re trying very, very hard to make it as easy as possible for our customers to review us online. We’ll ask questions like, do you have a Gmail account? And, if they say yes, well then great. You can just go to our site, sign in and make a review. It will take less than a minute. Or, if they say, well I don’t have a Gmail account; I don’t even know what you’re talking about, you say, hey, it’s getting an email address to start with Google, with Gmail. And then what we’re going to do is, we’re going to send you a follow-up, kind of how to get set up, how to create that Gmail if you don’t already have one, and really, make it as easy and as fast as possible for the customer to do it.
One thing that some other businesses in town in our industry do is, they pay for reviews. Or, they’ll give credit off or stuff like that. We’ve never done that, and I don’t think we ever want to do that. Morally, it just feels kind of wrong to pay people for reviews. So for us, it’s just doing a really, really good job. And then, the follow-up with the customer. Calling them a week later after they’ve been in and saying, hey, Mister Smith. We’ve worked on your car. How’s it still working? Were you happy with everything we did in the service? And they’ll say yeah. And then, you can kind of just remind them, we’d really like it if you could make that google review for us. We appreciate your business and we’d like to have you back. And at that point, at least it gives us a second chance to remind them about the Google reviews, and we’re finding that that’s what’s really started to increase the reviews that we’re getting.
Jordan Caron: Perfect. One thing that Adam hasn’t mentioned here; in the follow-up email, what we do is send out a link to this person that goes to our website, which has a page that discusses and shows step-by-step instructions on how to write the reviews. So it makes it really easy for the person, if they’ve never written one, to go to that page and learn how to. And then, we also have a link that helps them find out how to sign up for a Google account, which obviously makes it easier for them to write a review.
So, that’s all of our time. I want to thank Adam for sitting down with us here, and hopefully everybody out there listening has gotten some knowledge on how to get reviews, and how important reviews are for each of their businesses. So yeah, Thanks, Adam.