Berkeley Salon: ‘80% of New Biz from Yelp’

This is hearsay; I wasn’t in the room at the Xmas party where it was said. However a close friend’s wife is a hair stylist (also a recipient of a Google Favorite Places decal) and he reported to me that the salon’s owners estimated that roughly 80% of internet-based new business was driven by Yelp.

Admittedly this is the Bay Area where Yelp is strongest but that’s a massive number and illustrates the site’s power.

Meanwhile Google has added more reviews/sentiment analysis to Place Pages:

This is helpful but not as useful for example as Yelp’s review summary capsule, which does a better job of providing at-a-glance information:

Nonetheless Google’s move to make Place Pages more useful does step up pressure on Yelp and others.

9 Responses to “Berkeley Salon: ‘80% of New Biz from Yelp’”

  1. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    Google will always have an advantage over Yelp (and similar sites) because they can offer the same functionality (if they choose to build it) on top of broader content (ie Yelp + Citysearch + TripAdvisor). I like Yelp, but I find I use Google Maps more now because of the broader content. I’m surprised they are not being more aggressive. I do like what sites like Yelp are doing with content analysis and summarization. Along with trusted filters, I think it’s the way forward as we start drowning in content.

  2. Mike Stewart Says:

    Yelp is a great site. They need stronger community leaders and branding in Dallas to become a major player here. Time will tell. I am impressed with the SEO and social media work on the site. Very forward thinking indeed.

  3. Earlpearl Says:

    I agree w/ Mike. Yelp is a great site. Its fun, it has promoted and created community. Its fun to be a Yelper. They communicate a lot to members and to the businesses that claim a listing.

    As Mike referenced their SEO is strong…far better IMHO than any of the directories. I know they see lots more traffic for our smbs than any directory…and they end up delivering more traffic.

    Get good reviews in Yelp, get good SEO, get good communications and bingo I could see how it would be a wonderful source of new business. Congrats to that hairstylist.

    Yeah, Yelp can’t compete with Google. Big deal, its not trying to be Google right now. In the meantime it kicks the bejeebers out of the sites that are similar w/ communities and kicks the bejeebers out of the directories and those pitiful IYP’s.

    As an smb w/ a claimed listing(s) in yelp I was disappointed in their sales pitch, though. Its the same old story as w/ the directories, the IYP’s and the like. Pay us something and we’ll highlight your business w/in our own traffic.

    Look yelp, as wonderful and strong as your traffic is (relative to the directories)…its a pittance compared to search. Do something more and you’d be worth a monthly payment.

    In the meantime, good job. Keep it up.

  4. Dick Larkin Says:

    1. This is what the salon owners believe, that 80% of their internet based leads come from Yelp.

    More often than not, perception does not equal reality. Ask a salesperson to list the top 10 best selling items, and 7 will be something that they recently sold vs. the facts on the register receipt.

    2. Any reputation based marketing is highly risky because a few vocal dissatisfied customers can totally tank the free ride they’re receiving. Unless they are doing serious marketing like the salon I wrote about here they are casting their fate to the winds.

    3. They are far better developing loyalty programs for existing customers and developing their neighborhood presence.

    I’m a big fan of Yelp as a consumer, but as a marketing tool, I find that the power given to consumers is in direct conflict with the business owner’s need to control the message.

    The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:


    Yes: perception and reality are different. I don’t know whether they were actually counting or if this was just a ‘seat of the pants” theory. Again I also wasn’t in the room. I may try and talk to my friend’s wife.

    Agree that loyalty is key after new business acquired.

  6. Google To Buy Yelp For $500 Million? Says:

    […] Yelp brand is stronger than Google in the local market in many respects (see my post: Berkeley Salon: ‘80% of New Biz from Yelp’). And this would be the closest Google has gotten to buying a “sales force” with a big […]

  7. Is Yelp a Key to Google’s Grand Mobile Plans? : Mobile Marketing Watch - The Pulse Of The Mobile Marketing Community Says:

    […] be acquiring a local salesforce, writes Greg Sterling of search engine land. Yelp has become so successful in promoting local businesses that those same local businesses are willing to pay for listings. Google can’t just ignore […]

  8. Google To Buy Yelp For $500 Million? « Sean Supplee Business Marketing Says:

    […] Yelp brand is stronger than Google in the local market in many respects (see my post:Berkeley Salon: ‘80% of New Biz from Yelp’). And this would be the closest Google has gotten to buying a “sales force” with a meaningful […]

  9. Claude Clubbs Says:

    Thanks for a great post. I think Yelp can be a great resource, though it’s important not to lose sight of other methods, since Yelp’s effectiveness varies from area to area. Social networking is another strong one. A good Facebook page for your business (pointing to your website) with lots of strong content will hopefully give your clients a tool that they can use to promote your business for you. And they will! If your clients enjoy visiting your salon then they will tell people about it, and what’s more these people will often be geographically close to your salon since they are friends of your clients. I’ve also heard of people using twitter, but I’m really on the fence about it.

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