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With all the recent buzz about Apple's new Siri application, which is part of the latest Apple iOS operating system update, is it time to reconsider the value propositions that Yelp offers to car dealers with products such as their "Enhanced Profile" package?
Since 2008 I have designed several Automotive Reputation Management solutions for the auto industry, and have been in a position to monitor and review what components, strategies and tactics seem to work, and to what degree of effectiveness. Because of several factors, including the fast growing size of the Yelp Community and the ever increasing impact of consumer reviews posted within the Yelp network, each package or strategy I have designed since 2008 has included the Yelp Enhanced Dealership Profile... Along with DealerRater Certification and a strong recommendation that participating dealers use an on-site customer posted ratings and reviews process that includes dealer-owned reputation management websites and content syndication systems from either PrestoReviews or BusinessRater.
Despite the very cool reception that the Yelp team received at the 11th Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas last month, I have always found the Yelp team to be responsive to their actual customers... Advertisers such as dealers who purchase any of their fee based services or ad packages. Yes, like everybody else, Yelp tends to have their hand out for money every time you want them to do work for you, but you know what? So do I, and so does everyone who works in this business...
So let's take a look at why the Apple iOS 5 System and the Siri voice operated app has changed the automotive marketing landscape in a way that may merit reconsidering Yelp as part of your dealership's Reputation Management strategy.
While unveiling the new iPhone 4S, the SVP of iOS Software at Apple, Scott Forstall, also shared one of its newest features, a voice-activated personal assistant: Siri.
Among other tasks, Siri will take advantage of Yelp reviews to show you the businesses nearby -- and she'll even read them aloud for you automatically! How does it work? Perhaps you’re strolling down Madison Avenue and break a heel. Besides cursing Christian Louboutin (or in my case, Nine West), pull out your iPhone 4S, tell Siri you need a cobbler and voila! She’ll pull up a list of nearby shoe repair shops via Yelp -- helpfully sorted by rating. (She’s also a sassy thing so be careful what you ask her...)
Photo Credit: Engadget
Since launching with the iTunes store way back in 2008, Yelp has long been an Apple supporter. In fact, James Temple of The San Francisco Chronicle recently asked Yelp CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman: “How Apple has affected the business of Yelp... The iPhone in particular must have had a huge impact on the way that people use the service over mobile devices.”
Jeremy responded: “The iPhone launch and the subsequent opening of the App Store was a bit of an atomic bomb in our space. It really changed the landscape forever. We always thought mobile would be a big part of what we did, but until the iPhone there was no mainstream mobile web browsing experience. We, of course, are all Apple fan boys and in 2008, most of the engineering staff had iPhones. So we were very excited about having an app that would marry this content with the user on the go. It just changed the game. I find the search experience on Yelp when using an app is just far more intuitive than on the web.”
Since then, mobile has, in fact, become a big part of what we do -- including a recent (and very fancy!) upgrade to our mobile site: m.yelp.com. One thing’s for sure: whether at their desk or on the go, consumers are relying on Yelp to help them spend their hard-earned money -- and starting today, now it will be even easier with an iPhone 4S (and Siri!).
Yelp Mobile Metrics, August 2011:
Ralph Paglia Recommends
So with so many people now discovering how useful that the Apple Siri app is in finding the right business, and looking up what customers have to say about those businesses (Yelp Reviews), what do I recommend? After setting up several hundred dealers with Yelp Enhanced Profiles, I would recommend that this relatively inexpensive upgrade package be the first and most minimal action item a car dealer takes to deal with the Siri integration of Yelp business reviews and ratings... Once a dealership gets signed up with the Yelp Enhanced Profile package, a knowledgeable resource will need to be assigned the tasks that must be completed with setting up the dealership's account within Yelp and then flushing it out with the appropriate dealership information, points of contact while using the features that Yelp provides with their Enhanced Profiles.
So let's take a look at what Yelp says they include for car dealers in their Enhanced Profile business upgrade package.
Enhanced Profiles help convert viewers into paying customers, project your brand message to prospects, and correctly list contact information for each of your locations. Competitor ads are removed from enhanced listings so consumers focus on your message alone.
Your business will get an unlimited number of rotating photos and the ability to arrange them in any order you choose.
We will remove local and display advertising to keep consumers' attention on your business.
Add specialties, history, and other relevant information to enhance your business profile.
Yelp will ensure that your business name, address, phone, website, and hours are listed correctly. For businesses with large numbers of locations, your location data can be matched and updated in a bulk update operation.
Monitor all locations in a single business account with real-time traffic analytics. Messaging capability allows you to respond to reviews privately or publicly. Unique access is provided for different employees/users in your business.
Your Account Manager will help update offers/announcements, upload photos, assign access to different users, provide feedback on how best to respond to reviews, and provide expert advice for marketing your business on Yelp.
Your Account Manager will also report on performance, broken down by individual location, so you can measure the program's effectiveness.
Siri on iPhone 4S lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. Siri is so easy to use and does so much, you’ll keep finding more and more ways to use it.
Talk to Siri as you would to a person. Say something like “Tell my wife I’m running late.” “Remind me to call the vet.” “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri does what you say, finds the information you need, then answers you. It’s like you’re having a conversation with your iPhone.
Siri not only understands what you say, it’s smart enough to know what you mean. So when you ask “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri will reply “I found a number of burger restaurants near you.” Then you can say “Hmm. How about tacos?” Siri remembers that you just asked about restaurants, so it will look for Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. And Siri is proactive, so it will question you until it finds what you’re looking for.
Ask Siri to text your dad, remind you to call the dentist, or find directions, and it figures out which apps to use and who you’re talking about. It finds answers for you from the web through sources like Yelp and WolframAlpha. Using Location Services, it looks up where you live, where you work, and where you are. Then it gives you information and the best options based on your current location. From the details in your contacts, it knows your friends, family, boss, and coworkers. So you can tell Siri things like “Text Ryan I’m on my way” or “Remind me to make a dentist appointment when I get to work” or “Call a taxi” and it knows exactly what you mean and what to do.
When there’s something you need to do, just ask Siri to help you do it. Siri uses almost all the built-in apps on iPhone 4S. It writes and sends email messages and texts. It searches the web for anything you need to know. It plays the songs you want to hear. It gives you directions and shows you around. It places calls, schedules meetings, helps you remember, and wakes you up. In fact, ask Siri what it can do — it even speaks for itself.
Here's a convenient link to the Apple Siri Frequently Asked Questions web page
Shown below are several descriptions and links from Yelp of listing products and advertising resources they offer to car dealers: