Is your agency optimized for Yelp?
Yelp is a website and mobile phone app used by hundreds of millions of people to review, compare and find local businesses like yours.
If you ignore Yelp, sometime soon a disgruntled customer will write a damning review about your agency and you won’t even know!
It will be the only impression thousands in your community get about your business and will be on the first page of Google for any customer or prospect who searches for your agency!
But it doesn’t have to be that way…
You can actually use Yelp to grow your business and brand by:
- Creating an optimized and robust agency profile.
- Encouraging happy clients to write positive reviews.
- Openly addressing your good and bad reviews in a positive light.
And since iPhones and iPads are now getting most of their business information from Yelp, taking control of your Yelp profile is not only smart, it’s an absolute necessity!
I want to get you started – this guide will help you setup the perfect insurance agency Yelp profile.
Getting Started: Claim Your Yelp Profile
Yelp does a pretty good job of walking you through the process of claiming your profile, so I’m not going to explain every step. Basically you’ll want to follow the instructions here:
I’ve broken down the different elements of your agency profile and provided tips about every element of your profile below.
Elements of a Perfect Insurance Agency Yelp Profile
1. Business Contact Information
Within this section there are several fields you’ll need to complete. At first glance it doesn’t appear too challenging, but like everything with online marketing and SEO, the difference between doing it and doing it well can have a huge impact on your visibility.
a) Business Name
Yelp is very particular about the business name they’ll use for you on their site so you have to be careful.
Don’t stuff your business name with a bunch of insurance keywords and locations. Go with your simple agency name or DBA.
If you’re a captive agent for one of the bigger carriers, Yelp probably already has an established way of displaying the agents with your carrier. You can try to set yours up differently, but I’ve often seen Yelp just change it back. I’d recommend you just copy the style of all the other agents with your carrier.
b) Business Category
The most obvious category for insurance agents is:
Category: Financial Services —> Subcategory: Insurance
Yelp will allow you to choose up to 3 categories. To save you some time, here are all the categories that I thought might also apply to an insurance agency. If any of these legitimately apply to your services I would recommend adding them (but make sure “Insurance” is #1)
Category: Financial Services —> Subcategory: Financial Advising
Category: Local Services —> Subcategory: Notary
Category: Financial Services —> Subcategory: Investing
Category: Hotels & Travel —> Subcategory: Travel Services
Category: Real Estate —> Subcategory: Real Estate Services
Category: Financial Services —> Subcategory: Tax Services
For search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, it’s important that your business address is as consistent as possible across all your online business listings.
I recommend using the official USPS address for all online business listings, including Yelp.
This is because many business listing websites will adjust your address using the USPS database. By using that address yourself, you’re limiting the possibilities of being listed all over the web with inconsistent addresses.
Different Addresses = Google Confused = Bad Rankings
d) Phone number
There’s two important points regarding phone numbers:
1 – Always use the same number - Don’t use tracking numbers or anything other than your one primary agency phone number.
2 – Local numbers are preferred - Yelp is all about the local businesses, so using an 800 number can make you look less like a local.
e) Website URL
It’s helpful if all your agency’s contact information is written somewhere on the page you link to here.
Contact information in the footer of your website is an easy way to accomplish this although if people can’t find your contact information on your homepage quickly, you have a problem.
f) Hours of Operation
Use your actual hours of operation. Don’t say you’re open on Sundays hoping people will still call for a quote and leave you a message.
It’s a far worse customer service situation if you say you’re open and someone comes to your agency than if you had just been honest to begin with.
Yelp will use the first picture you upload as the official business picture so its important to make it look good. Some people recommend using a logo but I personally think a headshot works better.
Yelp will also crop your first image to the shape of a square so you don’t want to use an image that is very long and thin or tall and skinny.
Yelp uses the oldest picture that has been uploaded as the picture representing the business so if you delete your main picture you may need to delete all the other ones and reupload in the correct order.
When it comes to Yelp, the best pictures you can upload are real actual pictures of the agency. I wouldn’t recommending using stock photos.
Most of the business pictures on Yelp are taken by customers with their phones so you don’t have to have something professional taken.
Upload a picture of the front of the building for recognition, happy pictures of your staff, smiling pictures of customers, and don’t forget to take one of you holding a puppy while you kiss a baby.
After you input your address, the map should do all the work for you.
However, it is very important that you double-check the location that the map is showing.
People use Yelp on their smartphones to track you down on the map and if your location displays on the wrong side of the road, it’s only another tap to find the next closest insurance agency!
While you can click and drag the map to the correct location, I would only do so if the automatically determined location is far off enough that it could reasonably cause someone frustration finding it with a map.
Don’t change the location just to move it a few millimeters.
Yelp is all about the reviews.
The most important thing you can do on Yelp to improve your ranking and optimization is to get more positive reviews.
How to get more reviews is outside the scope of this material, but here’s a few pointers about Yelp reviews:
- Don’t Fake Reviews - Yelp lives and dies on the trust and reliability of its reviews so their ability to identify a fake one is good and getting better. If you absolutely must make some fake ones, setup new accounts from different computers in different locations, use those accounts to review lots of other businesses in town at random times and don’t post a bunch of reviews about your business in too short of a time span. Oops, I guess I just told you how to fake them… I’m still not recommending it.
- Respond to Every Review - Yelp lets you respond to your reviews. This is an AMAZING opportunity to show everyone the type of person you are. Apologize for mistakes, thank praise, and remember that a negative review can actually give you more opportunity to shine than a positive one.
- Establish an Agency Process for Getting More Reviews - Unless you take the time to establish a process within the agency to ask happy clients for reviews, it’s not going to happen. Sit down and come up with a plan to go after those reviews. This article will help.
Yelp gives you 1000 characters to explain your specialties. I recommend you use as many of those characters as you can without getting too repetitive.
The specialties box is an opportunity to mention the different lines of insurance you sell along with the different services like insurance quotes, claim administration, and payment processing.
I’m pretty sure they’ll allow a bulleted list, (you may need to use dashes) which should be good for getting your keywords in there without a really long run-on sentence with every type of policy you’ve ever sold.
Don’t forget to mention state-to-state transfers and people who just moved to the area. That’s easy money, right?
Like specialties, this content box is an opportunity to include valuable keywords that help Yelp better understand what your agency is about.
This may be a good spot to mention locations. Write about where your office has been in the past and where your staff grew up and went to high school.
7. Meet the Business Owner
Finally, it’s time to talk about you.
You may choose to write this in third person, (John/he instead of I/me) so you can gloat a bit more without sounding arrogant.
Include your philosophy about customer service, where you went to school, licenses and certifications you have and anything else you can think of.
Don’t forget to mention local organizations and charities you are a part of, where your kids go to school, and explain how when all the other kids wanted to be astronauts and firemen, you wanted to sell insurance.
Yelp presents a huge opportunity for insurance agents who are willing to embrace it. I hope this article helps you get the ball rolling.
If you know any other agents who aren’t afraid of being reviewed would you kindly do both them and me a favor and email a link to this article?
If there’s no one you could send this article to, you can also show me you appreciated it by clicking the “Like” button!