How to Get More Clients for Your Therapy Practice on Yelp!

Are you a newly-licensed therapist with a budding practice and you’re looking to bring on new patients? Maybe you’re an established therapist that’s looking for a new way to get patients through the door. Either way, this article is for you

For many years Yelp has been the go-to for service businesses to shine in the online space, displaying positive reviews and encouraging eager folks to book their services.

With the recent public criticism of Yelp, including a documentary called Billion Dollar Bully, don’t be fooled. As unfortunate as some of the claims that have been made against Yelp are, they are still the go to resource for many clients as it relates to assessing the online reputation of retail, restaurant, and service businesses. 

It would be a mistake to think that Yelp is no longer a viable source of new patients for your practice.

In fact, Yelp is still used by tens of millions of consumers to make wise decisions as far as which service business to give their hard-earned money to in exchange for top-notch services.

This does include therapy practices, so it makes sense to know the exact, practical steps you can take in order to make the most of your profile on the platform.

Not that you have a choice – businesses famously can’t opt out of their listing being displayed by Yelp.

It’s because of this that it is not a choice, but more of a necessity to put your best foot forward on Yelp. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can do just that with the least amount of pain and frustration possible.

Think of the upside – many businesses get the majority of their new clients from Yelp, and you can build your profile up to the point where the majority of your new patients will be finding your practice on Yelp as well!

Let’s walk through how exactly to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable feat…

Source: The Daily Beast

HOW TO DOMINATE YELP WITH YOUR THERAPY PRACTICE

There are a few key ingredients to an effective Yelp profile.

One is to build a steady stream of new 5-star reviews

Now you may be wondering, is there a way to cheat the system and either pay for or somehow manufacture fake 5-star reviews?

The answer to this is a flat out – no.

Yelp has famously punished businesses for attempting to defraud their review system, even going so far as to plaster a warning to consumers on your profile. 

If you flat-out offer discounts or extra perks in exchange for positive reviews, you may be hit with a Consumer Alert on your Yelp profile, such as the one pictured below.

Another way to get more patients for your therapy practice on Yelp is to encourage happy patients to review you.

“Sure, but how do I find and isolate the happy patients,” you cheerfully inquire, “if I don’t know which ones are actually happy with my practice?”

The simple answer is, of course, to ask them

Send out an automated email or text message (which is proven to have a higher response rate) after every therapy session (or at the very least, the first one) asking customers what they thought about your service.

For the patients that responded positively, send out a follow-up email asking those specific patients to leave an honest review on Yelp.

Provide a link to your Yelp profile in the email – you can even go a step further and find the link that directs them to write a review (just right-click on the ‘Write a review’ button on your profile and insert that link into the email).

In this way, you are pre-selecting the patients that are already happy with your service, and encouraging those folks to leave a review, which will inevitably results in more 5-star reviews on your profile.

Another technique includes calling the patients directly and soliciting their feedback and then asking the happy ones to leave a review.

Either way, you’re not technically violating any of Yelp’s terms since you’re not providing any kind of incentive for patients to leave a review – simply asking the right people

As a happy side-effect, you’ll also be able to deal with any qualms or frustrations that your patients have with your practice on the spot, before they’ve had a chance to run to online platforms such as Yelp and Google to voice their concerns.

As the mini cherry on top, you’ll also be privy to feedback that you can then use to change your practice for the better.

Another possible strategy would be to fight against the allegedly unfair algorithm that filters your positive reviews on Yelp.

You may even try intentionally asking for 1-star reviews, as a restaurant owner famously did in the Bay Area, which led him to receive overwhelming praise from business owners and a massive uptick in new business.

However, this strategy is reserved for those with thick skin and a determination to stick it to the man (or in this case, the platform)

Additionally, if you don’t reach critical mass to the point where publications like The Hustle are writing articles about you, this plan may backfire drastically and leave you with a downtrodden, 1-star review plagued Yelp listing.

Given this high risk / high reward, scenario, let’s talk about some techniques that don’t involve potentially flushing your Yelp listing down the toilet (and with that, the trust of thousands of potential new patients).

HOW TO RUN YOUR THERAPY PRACTICE BETTE

Being dependent on a single platform to spoon-feed you with clients is inherently dangerous.

What if Yelp changes their algorithm or decides to mark some of your positive reviews as ‘Not Recommended

Let’s delve into the nuances of how to grow your therapy practice without having to rely on Yelp to provide you with the majority of your new patients or patient leads.

BE VISIBLE ONLINE

As the internet gobbles up more and more brick-and-mortar businesses, you can ensure your small business is successful in the future by putting yourself everywhere a potential client might be looking.

I’ve said before that leads and sales are like oxygen for a business and without this your business will suffocate and eventually die.

So take heed and take some time to build a solid pipeline of new leads coming in.

MAKE SURE YOUR LEAD FUNNEL IS IN PLACE

The main reason you created a profile on Yelp is because you are looking for more patients for your therapy practice.

So without your own source of new clients, it can be tough to break free and build your small business from the ground up.

How do you build an evergreen pipeline of new clients, you ask

We’ve covered this before in our article on how to generate online leads for your service business, but let’s break it down specifically for your Therapy practice.

  • Build your online presence on sites like Google, Yelp, Thumbtack, and Online Directories
  • Advertise on the websites of local businesses
  • Ask your current clients for referrals
  • Run Google Ads (PocketSuite has a partnership with Google that allows you to easily market your business and send leads right to an online chat widget that you can receive messages from and respond to via text)
  • Create a partnerships with local clinics, private clinicians, attorneys, and accountants that are great trusted referral source

For more information on how PocketSuite can help you run your practice, check out our article on How to Run your Private Practice with PocketSuite.

From business messaging to scheduling, online booking to accepting payments, and a generous amount of other useful tools, check out PocketSuite’s Premium plan to help you run your entire practice from a single app

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2020, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to Become a Psychotherapist

People drawn to a career in psychotherapy typically care deeply about the well being of others.

Perhaps you have a talent for guiding friends through dark times in their lives. Maybe you have fought victoriously in your own battles and now want to help others.

We all face questions about the meaning of life. Some people are better equipped to handle life than others. Do you know anyone who truly lives a perfect existence? How well do you really know them?

How to become a psychotherapist

To be a psychotherapist is to guide other people along their journey toward self-awareness to living more authentic and happy lives.

Training to become a psychotherapist will enable you to focus compassion, empathy, care and support into scientific techniques for penetrating the mysteries of the mind to relieve the mental and emotional suffering of your clients. That’s a noble calling.

As a psychotherapist, you provide a safe space and the professional skills for helping clients reflect positively on their lives and develop their own skills to empower and heal themselves.

In short, you get to help people evolve into the best version of themselves. With training and certification, you’ll also make a good living as a psychotherapist while enjoying all of the personal and professional satisfactions that come from helping people through life’s greatest challenges.

We’re excited to share the ins and outs of the psychotherapy professional path. Here’s what you’ll learn in this chapter on becoming a Psychotherapist:

  • How Much Can You Make
  • Training and Certifications
  • Professional Groups to Join
  • Career Options for Psychotherapists
  • Finding Clients
  • Plus Helpful Tips for New Psychotherapists

How Much Can You Make?

Psychotherapists can make an annual salary from the low $40,000s to over $100,000. The average annual salary in the United States is currently $56,837. The average applies to a mid-career psychotherapist with 5-9 years of experience. Salaried positions involve employment at public and private mental health facilities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those with a master’s degree earn $12,000 more in average annual salary than individuals with a bachelor’s degree.

A psychotherapist working independently in a private practice can make as much money as desired, depending on a steady stream of clients receiving regular counseling and treatment. Working independently does come with some expenses, including leasing office space and insurance.

how much can you make as a psychotherapist

Training and Certifications

A bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology, is required before you can begin training for a career in psychotherapy. You may be able to find employment as a counselor or social worker with a bachelor’s degree, but in most cases the education requirement is a master’s degree in psychotherapy or a related field. Earning a doctoral degree in psychotherapy is also an exciting option, but not necessary to begin a practice in psychotherapy.

Degree requirements depend on what type of counseling you wish to practice. For example, to become a counselor in substance abuse therapy you would take specialized courses on the psychological and physiological aspects of substance abuse.

Here is a full list of schools, training, and certification programs for psychotherapists.

Psychology Degree Guide.org maintains a searchable website of accredited U.S. colleges and universities where you can study to become a psychotherapist. Keep in mind that by attending a program as an in-state student, your tuition expense will be a fraction of the cost to complete a degree at an out-of-state school. Currently, the average tuition costs for a master’s degree at a public school are as follows:

In-state residents: $8,640

Non-residents: Just below $20,000

Psychotherapist training and certification

Fundamentally, psychotherapists during their training and education learn how to help people overcome their problems. These can include behavioral disorders, interpersonal problems with family or co-workers, substance abuse problems with drugs or alcohol and behavioral disorders.

If you have any questions about psychotherapist licensing requirements, this state by state directory is a great resource..

Professional Groups to Join

There are many professional groups that support psychotherapists and their profession. The prominent organizations in the United States are listed alphabetically below with links to their respective websites. You may wish to join more than one, depending on your area of specialization. The average cost of annual membership dues in these organizations is around $200. All offer continuing education opportunities and the ability to network and exchange ideas with other members.

For more resources, check out this listing of psychotherapist industry associations and psychotherapist Facebook groups.

Career Options

Healthcare systems employ psychotherapists for departments devoted to mental health. There are also any number of private therapy practices that have available openings. You can also find job openings for psychotherapists at private mental health facilities, public school systems, and state and local government agencies. If you are in the military or have a military background, psychotherapy opportunities can be found in the branches of the armed forces as well as the Veterans Administration.

Finding Clients

If you’re running your own private practice, it’s up to you to find clients.

Because of the broad spectrum of counseling services a psychotherapist can offer, focusing on a specialty can help you build your book of business rather than trying to serve everyone. While it might seem counterintuitive to concentrate on a niche, when you identify the specialty that most interests you then you will be able to find the ideal clients for your practice. 

finding clients as a psychotherapist

Use your memberships in professional organizations to build a social network. Connecting with other professionals enables you to share marketing tips and ideas.

Many professional organizations also offer online directories of their members so potential clients can find a therapist in their area. If directories are available, be sure your practice is listed.

Let other professionals in the community know you’re available for referrals. Clergy, doctors, and even other therapists (who may have full caseloads) can be good for referrals.

You’ll also need a website with good information about you, your services, and your approach. List your business name, address, city, state and phone number on every page at the top. Claim your Google My Business listing, search engines such as Google will recognize your website as a match for people searching for a therapist in a specific area of the city. Run a search for “psychotherapists” and the name of your city, then check the results. See who’s listed at the top, then visit their websites to determine what they’re doing. If they’re coming up at the top of search results (but not in a paid advertisement), whatever they’re doing, it’s working.

Website content should focus on what clients can expect to gain from therapy. It’s okay to highlight your achievements and education – and you should, because this establishes your credentials – but the website shouldn’t be all about you. Fundamentally, anyone shopping for a product or service is seeking an answer to one question: “What’s in it for me?” Answering that question successfully puts you in a better position to attract more clients.

If you accept insurance, say so on your website. If you don’t, make it clear that clients are responsible for services (or you can go over your fees during an initial consultation).

Finally, your marketing and your website should include a clear call to action, to get your audience to do what you want them to do, which is get in touch with you. Here’s one approach to a call to action: “Contact me today. I can help.” Make sure to include either an online lead form and/or an online booking button to ensure you capture prospective client information and make it easy for them to see your availability to book you.

At some point in your private practice, you’ll want to decide whether to accept insurance. Some therapists do, others do not. There are tradeoffs with either decision. By accepting insurance, you are likely going to increase the pool of available clients you can service. On the downside, you may have to accept a lower fee for insurance companies to work with you. Plus, there’s paperwork. Therapists who do not accept insurance get paid on the spot; there’s no waiting for an insurance company to cut a check.

helpful tips for psychotherapists

Helpful Tips for New Psychotherapists:

Psychology Today offers a list of 11 constructive tips that help psychotherapy clients get the most out of each session. Suggestions include making a list of issues to discuss in advance of the appointment. You can adapt this list for your own practice and distribute it to your clients so they’ll be ready to get started and be productive right from the beginning of each session.