I have seen a lot of online trainers asking if they should be using Thumbtack and Yelp in their business so today we are diving into these two platforms and whether or not to use them in your own business. Before I jump in, just a little reminder that if you find this episode helpful, be sure to share it on social media and tag me @JessCreatives or leave a review on iTunes. This helps me know when you really resonate with certain topics and what you want to hear more of.

If you’re not familiar, Thumbtack is a website that helps people hire local business owners of all sorts; plumbers, painters, personal trainers, the list goes on and on. Basically, people don’t have to call 15 different plumbers and ask their availability and their pricing, Thumbtack will do all that work for you. You just tell Thumbtack what you’re looking for and you’ll get free estimates from local professionals who are interested in that particular job and fit your criteria. Then, you can compare all the quotes and hire whichever one you want.

Now from the professional side, if you have a Thumbtack profile, your picture, your profile and name will show up in the search results as people are looking to hire for that particular job, in this case, a personal trainer. If someone is interested specifically in having you send them a quote, they can actually select your profile and that will send you an email saying, “Hey, Emily wants a quote for your personal training services,” but of course there’s a catch, you have to pay as the professional.

As the professional, you always pay for new leads that match your preferences and services that you promote. You also pay for new leads that you select from the jobs tab. You can choose to pay to reply to customers who reach out with jobs similar to your preferences. If you get an inquiry but it doesn’t really fit your preferences, you don’t have to respond and pay, basically, you can choose to respond to who you want to.

Some trainers have had success with Thumbtack, some haven’t. I tried it for my own design business five or six years ago and really didn’t have any luck. I’ve heard it’s gotten a lot more expensive to pay to play on Thumbtack. When I was doing it, it was, like, $299 or something to respond to people. It was a couple of buck here and there but it adds up if you start responding to lots of people. In general, what I experienced and what I hear from a lot of people, is that people on there are just price shopping. They’re looking for the cheapest, not necessarily always the best or someone who’s going to provide the most value.

I will say though, I don’t think it hurts just to have a profile on there so people can see your business name and your logo in the search results because, who knows, they could look you up outside of Thumbtack and Yelp as well. A few things to keep in mind if you’re interested in trying Thumbtack. First, I would say keep asking open-ended conversations. Have a conversation. Follow up, keep talking to them until you have confirmation that they want to work with you. Be sure you’re choosy about who you’re quoting. Make sure your profile on there is really thoroughly filled out, and as soon as you receive a quote, you’re interested, or an inquiry you’re interested in, respond immediately because some people are just taking the first person who responds.

Now, the other platform I wanted to talk about today is Yelp. This is a platform that I think has helped trainers more than Thumbtack but still may not be the best platform. On Yelp you can create a free business profile which allows you to respond to reviews with either a direct message or a public comment. You can track user views and customer leads that come from Yelp. You can add photos and a link to your website and you can also have important information on there like your business hours and your phone number, that kind of stuff.

Again, I think this is another place where it can’t just to have the free profile and just get more eyes coming across your business name. I think where people get really frustrated with using Yelp as a professional, is when they try and ads on Yelp. I’ve not ever done Yelp ads but from what I could find when I was researching, targeting for Yelp ads is incredibly limited. It’s based entirely on the profile settings for category in your service area. It even uses a section of the profile if you don’t have enough reviews to use for ad content. The only thing you can really set just for ads is a daily budget and that’s it.

To be honest, I don’t think running ads are really a necessary part of business. I know it’s something that people turn to because they want more leads, they want more clients or followers but I don’t think it’s a crucial part. I think they can be beneficial, don’t get me wrong, especially if you are launching something but, again, not an absolute. If you do want to run ads, I would always, always, always, recommend putting your money over in Instagram or Facebook ads instead of spending money on ads inside Thumbtack and Yelp.

Really, you should focus your energies on making sure your website is a solid foundation, instead of focusing too much energy on Thumbtack and Yelp. Then, creating the right kind of content and promoting that online. I have never had ads be a big part of my online business strategy and I’ve been able to be on over 50 podcasts and blogs. I’ve worked with Pat Flynn and Chick-fil-A, and I’ve been able to have a consistent client wait list for four or five years. And I can teach you how to do the same inside Content to Clients.