Last week I talked about Zillow and its effect on real estate marketing. Today, I’d like to discuss a similar site that is deceptively important to today’s Realtors: Yelp. Yelp is an incredibly ubiquitous website that allows anyone to review and locate local businesses. It is so commonly used as a barometer for the quality of a business that “Yelping” is a perfectly accepted verb in the American lexicon. It’s user-friendly and easily provides searchable recommendations based on reviews that range from short and to-the-point to lengthy and detailed about everything from restaurants to auto mechanics to thrift stores.
Yet in some ways it seems a strange website to associate with a real estate agent. The process of buying or selling a home is often one of the most involved, important, stressful experiences of one’s life…so why should anyone look for a good agent to help them with that in the same way they would look for dinner?
This is perhaps the wrong way of looking at things, though. Yelp’s influence should not be diminished by looking at it as anything other than a very powerful tool for consumers. As I mentioned, Yelp is ubiquitous, and any service that gets used as often as Yelp does instills users with a certain level of comfort that motivates them to use it to find recommendations for any regional services they may be looking for, much like they might use Google to search for information about anything they want, regardless of topic. So, in that sense, why wouldn’t people use Yelp to locate a good realtor? If they’ve grown accustomed to using Yelp as an indicator of quality local businesses, why wouldn’t they turn to it to find a highly regarded Realtor in their area? After all, in a sense, a real estate agent is the quintessential local business, an individual or small team with knowledge of the neighborhoods they work in, facilitating those who wish to enter, exit, and move about within the community. Sounds pretty local to me!
And this is why Yelp is so important as a real estate marketing tool: it is what many people turn to in order to find quality examples of local services of all kinds, up to and including home buying and selling. To regard it as anything less than a localized trendsetter and tastemaker is to underrate it. As such, Yelp reviews are absolutely critical to agents like myself in our efforts to grow our business. And if any of you that I have worked with in the past could take a moment to write me a review, I would appreciate it greatly. I have always been proud of the level of service I provide, and I would like nothing more than for those whom I have aided in the past to recommend my services to their neighbors, through perhaps the ultimate neighborhood guide website. The link to my Yelp page is below:
Yelp does have its flaws. Unlike Zillow and its contemporaries, it is not optimized for real estate, so it lacks some of the specific details that enhance an agent’s appeal. It also can be wide open to strange, crude or even outright fraudulent reviews at times. But these are fairly minor concerns when considering the scope and influence of the site, and Yelp certainly deserves the time, attention and respect of any agent, old and new. You never know when a lucrative new lead might come from a simple Yelping.
While Yelp and Zillow may be two of the big dogs in online agent reviews, though, there are many other significant examples of sites to keep your eye on and encourage clients to visit. Up next, I have a perfect example of one such site that is growing in recognition, and which has a very fitting and simple name…
TO BE CONTINUED…