If your business is not utilizing Yelp for its wealth of easy publicity and marketing opportunities, then you are severely hindering your company’s potential for growth. By the end of 2011, more than 600,000 businesses had officially claimed their listing on Yelp’s website, consequently enjoying reviews and ratings spreading like wildfire amongst their clients’ friends and random “Yelpers”, as the site’s users are called. Throughout history, businesses could rely on word-of-mouth to gain clients and revenue: friends telling friends, family telling family and so forth. But with the help of the internet, the speed at which such news spreads today is staggering, and people are now getting their leads on good businesses from total strangers.

These “strangers” have posted over 25 million reviews on the site, which are seen by roughly 65.8 million unique visitors per month. Yelpers are not your typical idle web browsers either. In fact, a whopping 64% of its registered users make six figure salaries or more. Why are they on Yelp? Their goal is simply to find the best service or product to spend their money on.

The fantastic thing about Yelp is that it manages 71 local markets, which means its users can zero in on their own neighborhood to locate the best businesses minutes away from their home. The trick is to be the best rated business and consequently the top of the Yelp search when potential clients are looking for what you sell. This is accomplished by having a ton of great reviews. This isn’t as hard as one might think.

Restaurants are reviewed far more often than any other industry, while auto related businesses make up less than 10% of the total reviews. We can get that number higher by encouraging clients to go home and review the auto repair they just purchased. The more positive reviews about your company, the more others will be calling to enjoy that same service they’ve heard so much about. We can encourage positive reviews with reminders and by offering incentives like discounts or deals for clients that take the time to write one. Everyone wins and your client base grows.