Yelp Helps Small Businesses Turn Visitors Into Buyers, for a Fee
Yelp has introduced a new feature that could help business owners increase sales. The Call to Action ad tool allows entrepreneurs whose businesses are listed on Yelp to promote their products or services through their Yelp pages.
For instance, a hotel could offer a discounted room if the customer books immediately, or a storage business could allow users to reserve a unit at a special rate. Yelp attracts more than 100 million unique visitors each month with its search-friendly web listings and reviews of local businesses. With this new feature, Yelp is moving from simply giving businesses visibility -- and potentially credibility -- to helping them actually transact with customers.
Once the consumer clicks on the Call to Action button, they are taken from the Yelp listing directly to the business's website where the transaction can be made, says Vivek Patel, the company's vice president of business products. What's more, the feature can promote actions beyond ecommerce. Businesses can also drive consumers to book an appointment or print a coupon, he says.
According to Yelp, Ticketmaster is already using the new feature on its Yelp pages, which highlight the more than 2,000 entertainment venues that sell its tickets.
The Call to Action feature works across all platforms, from desktop to mobile web browser to the Yelp mobile app. Yelp is selling the new feature to businesses as a form of advertising. Yelp's local business advertising packages typically cost between $300 and $1,000 per month. Each business can customize the products or services it wants to promote.
Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.