In April, we covered Yelp’s launch of a suite of marketing tools that let small businesses manage their listings. This is essentially a back-end tool that allows any business with a Yelp listing to claim his or her profile, add basic business info, and view analytics.
Today it launched the next extension of this tool, which lets SMBs write about themselves in a more freeform and public facing way (accessible here). This takes the form of a new tab on the business profile titled “about this business.” It is adjacent to the reviews tab and provides merchant-generated information about the business. On the back end it also allows businesses to recommend other businesses.
“By allowing small-business owners to describe their business in their own words, they’re able to set expectations with consumers up front and ultimately connect with not just any customers, but the right ones,” Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman told us.
The tool basically has a two-fold purpose. It is a user-centric feature that provides more content for users of the site. In other words it adds a dimension of context for those who have come to frequent the site and trust its user-generated reviews. It also has a clear SMB-centric angle. It’s a free tool, but the thought is that it can also entice more engagement among SMBs, which in turn leads to more paid advertisers through the site’s various upsells.
Yelp has generally been on a strong push to monetize the site, given the tremendous user traction and online branding it’s been able to achieve over the past four years. This has included putting some of its recent funding in play toward direct sales expansion (including the opening of a New York office), as well as more self-serve tools like this. Expect more developments on this front.