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 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!