yelp_helps hair salons
Local hair salon business owners have certainly been preached to about the importance of Yelp for their business. Other than Google, Yelp is likely the most important Web property for local hair salon businesses around today.

If you’re new to local search optimization, or are just now getting to the party, you may be wondering why your hair salon business should even care about Yelp at all. Fair question. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you absolutely need to have a presence on Yelp now.

Why Yelp is important for your hair salon business

Some 90 percent of Yelp users say positive reviews impact their buying decisions – Yelp users have come to regard reviews posted on the site as worthy of their trust. Since consulting online reviews is now part and parcel of the shopping experience, this puts Yelp in a most enviable position.

Yelp is the most trusted review site – Yelp has maintained a policy of a clean site, regularly policing reviews to ensure the best sampling available, and keeping their reviews pure. This has led to an enormous amount of trust placed on them.

Yelp favors small business over big – While large chain restaurants and retailers may lament this fact, it wasn’t necessarily by design. It is merely that most chain stores will be markedly similar, and the public isn’t terribly interested in the differences in a McDonalds from one suburb to the next.

Each star in a review leads to a 5-9 percent bump in revenue – A study by the Harvard Business School showed a dramatic difference in revenues when an establishment is reviewed positively on Yelp.

Yelp means money to small business – A survey by the Boston Consulting group showed that the average small business with a Yelp account reaped an $8,000 increase in revenues, and that jumped to $23,000 for those who chose to advertise on Yelp.

Yelp’s mobile app – Yelp is moving to make mobile reviews a reality. At the moment it can be used for tips and for draft reviews, but clearly the intent is there to make Yelp as mobile-useful as possible given the vast numbers of mobile users.

Using Yelp proactively leads to better customer awareness – A full 77 percent of small businesses that utilize Yelp have found that the site has changed the way they view and handle customer service.

Your competitors are using it! – Don’t look now, but all of your competition is jumping aboard Yelp, to take advantage of the many valuable options that can be found there. With the proliferation of local business directories and merchant sites, Yelp has established itself firmly in the first tier, and is going anywhere anytime soon.

Yelp is clearly the big dog in this space, rivaling Google+ Local. We say it’s time to let the big dog hunt!