PocketSuite For Pet Professionals

One of the things that we hear most from pet professionals, dog trainers, dog walkers, pet groomers, and pet sitters is that managing the “business-side” of their work is actually the hardest part of being an independent business owner. Some have even partnered with larger organizations or partnered with another pro because it was just too exhausting managing everything on their own.

That won’t be your story! We’re going to share how you can continue to “be your own boss” without the stress. 

Pet professionals handle everything from finding new clients, scheduling, taking deposits, working “behavior training”, “dog walking”, “pet sitting”, or “pet grooming” magic with pets, collecting final payment and a whole lot more. For dog trainers, you have the added job of organizing, marketing, enrolling clients in classes and keeping track of all vaccinations and behavioral profiles. For dog walkers and pet sitters, you are mapping your walks and sharing lots of “meme-worthy” pics of your furry wards. For groomers, you are keeping track of cut and fluff preferences and staying mindful of who smells like they need a good scrub. Phew, I get tired just thinking about all of the odds and ends that pet professionals are managing while delighting clients. To better understand all of the things that they do on a day to day basis, we interviewed some successful, dog trainers, walkers, and sitters who actively use PocketSuite.

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They highlighted 5 common challenges:

1. Getting New Clients: Pet professionals, depending on the services offered, may have a long or short time serving clients. For dog trainers who don’t also do boarding, your time with clients can be as short as the enrollment period of your behavioral training classes. For dog walkers, you have a client for life unless and until your pet parent moves or has kids who can take over walking duties (at least for a while). However long your service period is with clients, you always need to build relationships with new clients.

2. Payment Processing: With the exception of a few clients who are old school, most clients prefer to pay with plastic. They don’t carry around cash and it is super inconvenient to make trips to the ATM or worse yet to find their check book to pay you. Without a system of your own, you have been subject to clients paying so many different ways. Some will pay via PayPal on your site. Others will send you the money via Venmo. Even more give you their card in person and wait while you swipe them out using Square. Yikes! That’s already 3 different payment tools that clients are using to pay you. It makes it really difficult for you to know how much you are making in total because the money is in so many different places. It’s also really hard to see which of your clients have paid you for appointments or classes that they have booked. You are constantly having to look in 5 different places to fully get control of your calendar and income.

3. Service Packages: We understand you’re busy working with your pet parents & their pet babies every day… the last thing you want to do is to spend the day reaching out to clients about scheduling and rebooking. It takes a lot of visits to achieve the goal of behavioral training. For dog walkers and pet groomers, the visits are so often…it is hard to keep track of the rebooking and follow-ups.

4. Completing Contracts & Forms: It’s important for new clients to complete all of the liability waivers, vaccination forms, pet profiles, and other intake materials, but it’s not always clear to them why. It takes time and patience to walk them through the documents and explain the significance so they really understand what they are signing and getting into.

5. Too Many Apps to Deal With: Many Pet professionals use a scheduling system, a payment platform, a note taking app, excel/google sheets, and text messaging to stay organized… it truly is a juggling act.

Did any of that sound familiar? If so, we totally understand. We are going to walk you through how PocketSuite seamlessly addresses those issues. It makes it easy and efficient for Pros to get booked and paid by existing clients as well as find new clients.



Solutions to these Pesky Problems

“Once I started serving more than 5 or 6 clients a week, keeping track of schedules, deposits, products, and messages became way too much… I knew I needed help.” – Jake P.

  • Getting New Clients & Growing your Business

    • As long as you are actively posting about your work with pets and pet parents, you will have no problem getting a stead stream of new clients. Your pet parents will proudly share YouTube videos of their pup doing a trick with friends and family. There is literally noone who doesn’t love sending memes, starring their cuddly kitten. If you are actively telling your stories online, PocketSuite will do the rest. We have three powerful online marketing features that help you convert all of those likes, follows, shares, tweets, retweets, (re)grams, etc. into bookings and payment: (1) Online chat, (2) Suite link, and (3) Online booking. With Online chat client leads can easily chat with you anywhere online, including on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or your website. The chat message from clients is sent directly to you via the PocketSuite app. You also get the contact information of every new pet parent lead … so you can follow up with them easily. You also have your very own Suite link . A Suite link can be added to your website or Instagram and Facebook. You can use it to share your marketing links with your service information/packages/classes/subscriptions/other items, social media, pictures of clients that you have served. A Suite link can also be used by client leads to book and chat with you… the options are endless. Your Online booking site makes it possible for new and existing clients to schedule and buy anything from you. You can offer a free consult as a way to build your email marketing list and begin building a healthy, long term relationship with new pet parents leads.
  • Automated Payments

    • There are over 10 ways to process a payment on PocketSuite. Depending on the services you provide, different pet parents prefer different payment tools:
      • Dog trainers – Prefer selling packages, which involves paying for a bundle of appointments upfront that you can track as you use them.
      • Dog walkers – Are all about scheduled invoices. They have recurring appointments for picking up and walking your dog. Scheduled invoices regularly sends their clients invoices with recurring appointments automatically added & itemized.
      • Pet sitters – They take reservations. Yup, just like the Airbnb kind. You can book and check into and out of “overnight or multi-day” appointments. A deposit is typically required for these bookings. Alternatively, some schedule a customized series of repeat appointments for regular clients.
      • Pet groomers – It’s a jump ball between invoicing depending on whether clients are regulars or processing them using PocketSuite’s POS checkout system with all of the products that they buy.
    • There is literally something for every kind of Pet professional. The PocketSuite system encrypts and stores client payment information and their card can be charged after each appointment. No awkwardness. No payment delays. No kidding. 
  • Service Packages

    • Many pet pros offer packages which are essentially a bundle of appointments that clients buy upfront, which are automatically updated and tracked as client’s book their pre-paid appointments. With the ability to offer different types of packages. Packages are popular with Dog trainers and Pet groomers who like to pair different offerings for their clients. For Dog trainers, they will include a mix of behavioral training and puppy training classes and private appointments in their packages. For Pet groomers, it may be a mix of wash and cut services with some products like a chew toy and collar.
  • Contracts & Forms

    • With Pocketsuite, Pet professionals can import client forms & contracts. When clients book an appointment, they are prompted to sign a contract and/or complete a vaccination and pet profile form about their pet. They can do all of this online from a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop. All completed client contracts and forms are saved in their PocketSuite profile for you to access whenever you need. Client’s typically complete and sign contracts and forms within 1 business day of receiving them on PocketSuite. Now before clients show up for their first appointment, they have already completed all of the intake materials. Most Pet professionals love this feature because it saves them hours of time that they would otherwise spend emailing, faxing, printing, and filing paperwork.
  • Multiple Apps & Software

    • For all your essential business needs, PocketSuite has everything a Pet professional needs for their business. Pocketsuite offers a simple data export to support Pet professionals come tax time. They or their accountants can easily import that data into Quickbooks. PocketSuite has so much more to offer Pet professionals, including extensive appointment and notes features that is automatically, securely saved within client profiles; a dedicated business line; repeat appointments to make scheduling even easier; income and client reports to track performance; options for Pet professionals with a team; and much, much more! Check out the dozens of other features that we offer you, your business and your clients.

PocketSuite has thousands of Pet professionals who all started where you are right now. Our community of Pet professionals are always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any Pet professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300

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


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).


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.


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.


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 get more clients as an Esthetician on Yelp!

Source: Trader Education

Are you an Esthetician solopreneur or possibly a small business owner with an Esthetics or Beauty business, and you’re interested in getting more clients from Yelp? Yelp has been under some major scrutiny following allegations and even multiple lawsuits claiming they were unfairly punishing businesses for choosing not to pay for advertising – i.e. extortion. However, as explored in this extensive article we’ve written on this topic, Yelp is still conclusively a great place for small business owners to find more clients, especially in the skincare and personal grooming industry.

For this reason, we will be covering some important tips today that will help you as an Esthetician get more business from Yelp.

Before we begin, let me preface this by saying that Yelp has been underfire for quite some time, but still has a large volume of consumers using its platform to find Beauticians and Estheticians such as yourself.

So even though you may disagree with their alleged business practices, we can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

Given that tens of millions of consumers are still searching for services on Yelp, how can we use that reality to our advantage and come out on top and profitable?

Let’s get right to it – how do you win on Yelp as an Esthetician?

Source: Elegant Themes


Maybe you’ve heard of the new documentary, Billion Dollar Bully.

Or perhaps you’ve read articles regarding Yelp’s alleged mafia-like business practices.

Either way, it’s no excuse for you not to take the time to investigate this challenge of a business and attempt to use it to your advantage.

If you were able to opt out of being featured on Yelp, this article would definitely have a different tone to it.

But as the situation stands, there is no way for businesses to opt out of having their listing (and public reviews) displayed for the world to see.

That being the case, let’s see if we can turn lemons into lemonade on this situation. If you’re already in the belly of the beast, you might as well make the most of it!

Let’s get to the practical aspects of how to win on Yelp as an Esthetician.

Source: Yelp


Make sure your pictures are on point, including pictures of you holding up your Esthetician license, as we mentioned in our article on How to Run your Esthetician Business on PocketSuite.

One tip is to make sure you have plenty of pictures of smiling, overjoyed clients that received a facial or other beauty treatment from you.

Secondly, make sure that you have a Yelp Deal set up.

It doesn’t have to be a huge discount (something like $15 for $10), but it will make it so there is a green ‘Yelp Offer’ button next to your profile in the listings, which will draw consumers’ attention to your profile and distinguish it from the litany of other Estheticians on the platform

Make sure you input all of your business information, such as:

  • Hours of operation
  • Location (Physical Address)
  • Phone Number
  • Website
  • Services offered
  • Women-operated business (a new Yelp feature)
  • A description of your business

In the description, try to speak from the heart and write about what made you decide to get into the Beauty and Esthetics field.

You’d also be wise to include information such as how long you’ve been in business, what product lines you carry, and your PocketSuite online booking link (so folks can book your services directly from Yelp).

Additionally, keep an eye on your email or Yelp app, as that’s where you’ll get notifications that you have a new message in the Yelp Messaging center.

Your customers will be reaching out to you via the ‘Contact this Business’ button, and when they do, Yelp will offer to automatically send their message to other businesses.

For this reason, it’s absolutely imperative to follow up quickly, so other Estheticians don’t gobble up your potential clients by booking them before you have a chance to!

This is another reason to have the PocketSuite online booking functionality as you can include your booking link in your follow-up messages to the folks that reach out to you through Yelp.

This cuts down on the friction of forcing them to call you and instead allows them to self book your services with a single tap or click.

Now that we’ve covered some practical ways to improve your Yelp profile, let’s talk about how you can get more 5 star reviews as this is the fuel that will propel your profile into the top ranks of Yelp where you will be discovered by more clients and get more views – and more bookings!


An easy way to get more 5 star reviews is to ask your happy clients to post reviews on your Yelp profile.

“But how do I distinguish my happy clients from the disgruntled ones,” you ask.

Easily – by surveying each client post-service to find out their opinion on the quality of the treatment they received.

For example – let’s say you recently performed a stellar facial for your client Lisa.

You should contact Lisa via email, phone, or text message the day after her appointment, and ask something like this:

“Hey Lisa! It’s [Your name] with [Your business name]. I wanted to thank you for choosing us for your facial treatment yesterday. I wanted to get your feedback on what you thought about your service as this does help us to improve.”

Wait for the client to give you the feedback. If it’s negative, thank them for their feedback and try to make the changes requested or mentioned in the clients’ message.

If the feedback is positive, immediately follow up with something to this effect:

“Thank you Lisa. We do strive to provide amazing service, and I’m happy you’re impressed! I was wondering if you would be willing to share your experience by posting a review on our Yelp page? It would really help us out.”

You can also offer to text or email the happy client a link to your Yelp profile, which will make the process easier for them and improve the chances that they’ll actually post a review.

As a bonus pro-tip, you can repeat this process for other review platforms like Google or Facebook.

Side bar: You can actually automate the entire process of asking for an internal review and then a Yelp review in PocketSuite. Check out “Smart Campaigns” in PocketSuite to learn more.

So now that you’ve built up a respectable Yelp profile with good information, a sharp follow up system, and lots of 5 star reviews, you should see new business rolling in.

The next question is, how do you manage all of the scheduling, payments, messaging, and the rest of the routine tasks that typically come with running your own small business?

Here’s where PocketSuite steps in to help – you can book clients online, accept payments, take deposits, sell products, manage your inventory, and a whole lot more – all from a single app.

Try the Premium FREE trial and see why the ASCP (Association of Skin Care Professionals) specifically recommends using PocketSuite to all of their Estheticians!

If you’re already using PocketSuite, here’s how to set it up for your Esthetics business.

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How to get more dog training clients on yelp!

Are you an up-and-coming Dog Trainer looking to make a splash in the world by building up your Dog Training business? Maybe you have an established Dog Training business and you’re looking to take it to the next level, so you’re eyeing Yelp as a potential source of new clients. Which ever is the case, you’ll want to sit and pay attention, as we are about to untangle the often confusing and definitely tricky world of optimizing your Yelp profile, as well as getting more 5 star reviews.

Despite recent criticism and even lawsuits against Yelp, the online marketplace is still visited more than 178M times per month, according to ReviewTrackers.

These statistics make it a no-brainer to try and make the most of the platform, especially since there’s no way to opt out of having your business profile and public reviews displayed for the world to see (and judge).

That being the case, coupled with the well-known fact that two-thirds of consumers tend to check online reviews before making purchasing decisions, brings us to some important facts that you as a business owner should definitely consider.

If you’re going to operate a Dog Training business, it would be wise to make the most of your Yelp profile, since the upside involves getting more clients for your small business and potentially even making it your biggest source of new clients!

Source: The Advocate


There are several key factors you’ll want to understand before creating a rockstar profile on Yelp.

First, we’ll discuss how to get the details just right on your profile so the highest percentage of clients who see it end up booking your services. 

After we cover that, we’ll shed light on how you can get more 5-star reviews for your Yelp profile so you look more professional and show up higher in the Yelp rankings.

The competition is fierce on Yelp, with a wide variety of Dog Trainers occupying top spots and collecting all of the clients for themselves. Starting today, we’re going to help you grab your fair share of business by following these simple steps.


Let’s start off with the basics. One thing we repeatedly see successful Dog Trainers do is put pictures of their clients on their Yelp profile – both humans and dogs!

If you’re just starting out and don’t have any actual pictures of happy clients or dogs, at the very least use stock images of happy folks and maybe include pictures of your own dog for social proof reasons.

You’ll also want to consider including a picture of you holding up your Dog Training license. This generates immense social proof, instills immediate trust into your potential clients by positioning you as an expert in your field, and leads to a higher conversion rate of folks booking your services.

For more info about this as well as a practical step-by-step licensing guide, read our article on Why You Should Get Your Dog Training License.

The next step is to write a stellar description to share your mission with potential clients.

You want to come across as genuine and willing to go the extra mile and the best way to do that is to communicate your passion for being a rockstar Dog Trainer!

Also, make sure to update the technical aspects of your profile with the correct information about your business. This includes:

  • NAP (Name, Address, Phone number)
  • Website address
  • Description

You should also consider offering a Yelp Deal on your page. You can offer a small discount ($15 for $10 for example) and this will, in turn, place a conspicuous green ‘Yelp Deal’ badge on your Yelp listing. We’ve seen multiple Dog Trainers (as well as businesses in other industries) do this to bring more attention to their listing.

You’ll also want to include your PocketSuite online booking link on your profile, so potential clients can book your Dog Training services straight from Yelp.

This also communicates that you are a professional, established business. That goes a long way, especially if you’re a new, fresh-faced Dog Trainer, ready to tackle and win business from established companies like Wag or Rover as well as other solopreneur Dog Trainers!

Now let’s talk about how to get more 5-star reviews, so clients trust your business even more.


It’s a well-known fact that more 5-star reviews on Yelp means more business.

You should aim to get your first 10 reviews as quickly as possible – let’s discuss the easiest and best ways to do so with limited effort on your part.

The first step is to ask for them – but don’t ask every client after you complete their dog training.

Instead, ask them for feedback about their experience first. Send a quick email, text, or make a phone call and ask them how their dog is doing, and the difference that your training program made in their dog’s behavior.

Once you’ve collected this valuable feedback, ask your happy clients to leave a review.

This will help to self-select the best possible clients to leave a review on your profile – the satisfied ones.

Remember, you shouldn’t ever promise compensation of any kind in exchange for a review – this is frowned upon by Yelp and can even result in them putting a nasty Consumer Notice on your profile warning folks that you tried to manipulate their algorithm or submit fraudulent reviews.

Another benefit of this strategy is that you collect invaluable feedback from your unhappy clients, which helps you improve your training program and also dissuades clients from leaving bad online reviews on Yelp and other sites to try and ‘get back at you.’

Another tip is to mark your ‘Not Recommended’ reviews as Useful, which will help to bump them out of the ‘Not Recommended’ category.

Use this method with caution, and maybe from a different computer or IP address to avoid any kind of trouble with your Yelp profile.


It can be a difficult journey starting your own business, especially when you’re battling for business against entrenched competitors in a crowded market.

Hopefully, the fable below will inspire you to take on the challenge and charge forward confidently:

Two mice fell into a bucket of cream. One mouse gave up and drowned. The second mouse kept swimming, and eventually churned that cream into butter, and walked out.

You are that second mouse! Now go fetch some new clients and let’s build your business!


Now that you’re crushing it on Yelp, how are you going to manage your payments, let your customers create online bookings, manage your classes and schedules, respond to business messages, or collect deposits?

Thousands of successful Dog Trainers are using PocketSuite to do all of this, and making 6 figures as well.

The free plan is yours to play with, so you have nothing to lose (except the hours of time you spend on back office admin tasks).

If you’re already using PocketSuite, learn how you can set it up specifically for Dog Training.

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Directories & Free Listings

Why are online directories helpful? For one – they’re free. An important way to leverage these listing is to make sure your business profile and contact info are on as many of these free directories as possible. Reason being – many clients clients do some sort of research about your business before they reach out about a job request. So the more your business is present across all these listings online, the more comfortable clients get that you’re a legit business.

In addition, as your business presence increases across many of these sites then this builds up your SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”), so that your business name has the higher likelihood of popping up high on Google search results when a client is doing a search for [service industry] in [city, state].

In addition, free listings give you a helpful platform on which to build public customer reviews and content, which will in turn help your business go viral.

What’s the deal?

Yelp is one of the more well-known websites when it comes to people searching for services.

Yelp has built a highly engaged community of consumers who are passionate about writing reviews on businesses. As a result, Yelp is very useful in terms of asking your own clients write glowing reviews to help you grow…that’s the magic here.

Once you set up a Yelp account, first – send every single client you’ve done business with in the past a link to leave a review on your profile. And don’t worry how your clients will react to this – this is not an abnormal request. Your clients won’t hate you for asking them for a review. Most customers know how helpful Yelp can be and just need to be asked directly to leave you a review. Your customers are busy with their own lives as well, so send follow up emails if clients don’t review you right off the bat. Send one, then another 1 week later, then one more 3 weeks later. Then stop. You want to remind clients to review you but 2-3 follow up emails is a good amount until emailed requests start becoming “spammy”.

Adding reviews to your profile is crucial because the more reviews you build on your Yelp profile, the higher up you show on Yelp’s search results. Essentially you’re leveraging your clients to help with marketing.

Yelp gives your current clients a voice to express their opinion of you, which puts you more prominently in front of new clients searching for services in your industry and location. Put some upfront effort in to really get clients to leave you reviews. Heck, even ask a few friends to leave you positive reviews to get the ball rolling. It depends on your industry and location, but the global rule is the more positive reviews the more likely you will reach that #1 listing…

The secondary effect in building up a Yelp profile is that many other (smaller) directories use the ratings data on Yelp as their own reviews. Yelp allows other platforms to tap into business reviews, and display Yelp reviews all over the web. So building up your brand and quality rating profile on Yelp will indeed pay dividends for you across the web.

How do I set it up?

Make sure to “claim” your business profile here: https://biz.yelp.com/  Search for your business – just so you know, sometimes Yelp will auto-add businesses to their site or clients will add businesses even without being asked by the business owner. If you do not see your business listed, then just tap on the “Add your business” link towards the bottom of the page…

Setup takes just a couple minutes, and then you are free and clear to share your business profile link to all your current clients!

What are the risks?

Yelp has been known for its sketchy “fake review” strategies. That is, if you don’t pay to advertise on Yelp (we’ll cover that in the “Paid” section of this Handbook), then they’ve been known to sick fake 1-star reviews on your account to penalize you. This topic has been widely covered and has been consistently denied by Yelp management: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/yelp-extortion/

There’s no real way to fight this risk. The one thing I will say is to make sure you have your profile on other platforms (as discussed below) as well so in case the “review-extortion” happens to you, clients can see more legitimate reviews of your business elsewhere.

What’s the deal?

Google’s basic search platform has enabled local professionals to get discovered easily online. Local and Google My Business allows you to get listed and show up on Google search results in a more relevant fashion.

Google processes over 40k search queries every second, so it makes sense that your profile should show up in search results. Adding your business profile on Google will ensure you show up in the major search engine’s results list. Similar to previous free listing sites, fill up your profile with client reviews so your business can show up as close to the top of search results as possible.

Google is always a great place to appear because it’s just a box that can be checked – in the client’s mind – about your business’s legitimacy. Not to mention, setting up your business account will allow you to delve into other Google advertising products (as discussed herein) to evaluate their usefulness in terms of growth.

How do I set it up?

Set up your business to be listed on Google: https://www.google.com/business/  You’ll be able to find your business (if it’s already listed somewhere on Google), or add it yourself. In a matter of minutes you’ll have your profile live, and it’s up to you to start sharing it with clients to update reviews!

What are the risks?

Just like with many Google products, Google My Business has not seen a lot of active investment from Google (so it seems). That means the amount of information a client can find on your Google profile is rather limited. A screenshot below is an example of what your business will look like – not as content-rich as other listing platforms.

In addition (and the sad reality), your business is always listed next to competing professionals so the client can never really get a focused view on just you with a bit of distraction.

What’s the deal?

Facebook (“FB”) is typically known as a place to simply share photos and comments with friends, but the FB team has spent a considerable amount of time and money building up its business ecosystem – specifically for small business and service providers.

Facebook just recently launched it Facebook Services search product: https://www.facebook.com/services. FB users can now search, browse and book local service professionals direcly on Facebook (albeit they are in the early stages of this search directory). Translation: you want your business to have a Facebook Business page ASAP.

Similar to Yelp, once you set up your FB business page, start filling it up with content. First off that means reviews. Send your FB page to clients and friends (either email them your link or message them your link through FB messenger) and ask them to post reviews on your page. That not only will make you look like a higher quality business to prospective clients, but will now boost your ranking on the new FB services search…

Other “content” (as I mentioned above) means photos and posts. Show off your personality, build your brand – post pictures and any relevant articles or announcements that are relevant to your business.  Even post deals or coupons. Show visiting clients that there is indeed activity and engagement going on on your FB page. Let prospective clients know that there’s a person behind that business name.

The great thing about FB is that clients can like, comment and message you – loads of ways to engage with current clients and show off engagement to leads. Not to mention – the average American spend 40 minutes a day on Facebook, so you’ll be showing activity where your future customers are spending tons of time.

How do I set it up?

Setting up is easy and free. Just go to “Create a Page” FB. Choose “Local Business or Place” as your entity, and then choose the correct “category” and sub categories…these and also your location are important so that you show up on the relevant search results when FB users are searching for service professionals around them.

One other crucial setup piece is to make sure – once your FB page is live – is to give clients a CALL-TO-ACTION on your page. That means giving them something to do once they arrive on your page, read your content, and are ready to reach out. FB added a “Book Now” call-to-action. You can link to your website or any nifty booking tool you have already set up (e.g., like an FB booking link).

What are the risks?

Facebook requires a good amount of time to keep investing in. If you set it up and don’t continue to post status updates, announcements, photos, etc., then your business can look a bit dull and inactive. That might reflect on your very brand – inactive, not particularly caring, unresponsive even. Now, that’s probably not true (since we know that most professionals like you are simply busy), but with so many professionals to choose from and so many platforms to search through, prospective clients have the ability to be picky and jump to conclusions.

Get in the habit of posting at least 2-3 times a week some sort of relevant content to make your clients feel comfortable that you are the man or woman for the job!

What’s the deal?

Craigslist used to be one of the highest trafficked sites across the internet. It was the place to go if you want to buy or list any services, products, etc.

It still is highly trafficked although not as “professional” (per se) in terms of purchasing and offering local services as its peers. But don’t get me wrong – interested clients are still on the platform.

Clients can go on and search the Services section of Craigslist:

So depending on the industry they are searching for, prospect clients can search in an industry section and browse the postings of those people who offer the requisite services. Searching for a music lessons? The choices are plentiful of local folks willing to help – each posting can be clicked on with your – the professional’s – details.

As you can probably see for yourself, the marketplaces and directories today are enhanced versions of this type of model with better design and offerings. But at the end of the day, this is commerce at in its most basic form, and a place where you can absolutely meet interested customers.

How do I set it up?

Go to the account creation page on Craigslist, and all you need is an email to set up an account. No one can browse your profile – people can only browse classifieds (that’s what Craigslist calls job posts) that you post. So go create one.

Go to your home screen and tap on the top left where it says “Post to classifieds”. Choose the “Service offered” option so your post fits in the proper category.

There you’ll be able to fill out the specifics of your skills and offerings. You can post as much or as little detail as to the services you provide in each posting. I would try to appear as legitimate and detailed as you can. Especially since Craigslist doesn’t have reviews or other types of fancy content ability as others. You can share your business information where potential leads can research more information about you.

What are the risks?

Craigslist unfortunately can be known for some sketchy dealings. There’s limited oversight so posting can definitely filter into the “adult services” bracket, which generally attracts sketchier types of folks.

Due to this risk, some people advise hiding your contact details on the postings on Craigslist at the risk of you getting low quality or sketchy people calling you. Craigslist supports hidden email addresses so clients can reach out to you via the job posting, but they can’t see your actual email address.

The site is declining in overall traffic so you can attract some potential clients on it today. Three years from now I’m guessing this won’t be part of your overall lead generation strategy.

Overall Free Business Listing Platform Thoughts

Yelp, Facebook and Google really are the “Big 3” when it comes to listing your business online to get consumers to find you.

Some other directories include Yellow Pages, Porch.com, Manta, Merchant Circle, and the Better Business Bureau. A good resource if you want to dig deep into online directories can be found here.

If you have the time, set up profiles on all these websites – it can build your SEO as you can link back to your website or Facebook Business page. Meaning you will show up organically when people Google for specific services near you.

The goal here is to just attack that low hanging fruit. You’re doing your business a disservice actually by not being listed on these directory platforms. They provide many potential clients with the easiest ways to find you. Don’t make that step difficult – you’ve already got enough things to worry about!

Cost Per Click

The “cost per click” model was coined by Google, and is ideal to capture those potential clients who are at the brink of consumption – a product, a service, etc. As explained in the “Free Listings” part of our Growth Blog, the ideal is to have your profile or website pop up organically under Google search. But Google and other search engines allow you to pay to be put in front of consumers and even pay only if consumers click on your ad.

What’s the deal?

Google Adwords allows you to present any advertisement (about your company) at the top of Google whenever someone is searching for certain keywords. And those keywords can be chosen (or “purchased”) by you. Even the ranking of your ad can be purchased by you.

If you are – for example – a personal trainer in Des Moines, Iowa, you can purchase keywords like “personal trainer” and “Des Moines, Iowa”, so that when people are searching for those very keywords in Google, you can set a short advertisement with a link to your website where “clickers” will get sent to. Ads will appear either at the top of search results or the side.

Google Adwords are great if you want to pay to drive traffic to your website. And not just random traffic, but traffic of those people who were actively searching for topics or needs that are related to you and your business. You’ll be able to set bid prices on these keywords in your Adwords account, set daily budget limits, and choose any number of keywords or combinations of keywords.

How do I set it up?

Setting it up is pretty easy. In fact, I personally like the very clean “How It Works” page to help you get a sense before you get started.

You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Google account (if you don’t have one, then you can set one up for free), and you’ll be guided through how to set up your first campaign. Free tip of advice: call the Adwords Setup Support team at the # (1-800-848-9256), and ask for free Adwords credits…they are pretty generous in giving you $100 in credits to start things off.

What are the risks?

Conversion is the key thing to look out for with Adwords. That is, you need to make sure that when those people click on your ad on Google, they are sent to a place (like your website) that has helpful content with a clear call-to-action (to book you, or call you, or email you).

Conversion is key to look out for on the Adwords platform for a couple reasons:

(1) It’s very easy to spend a lot of money with absolutely no results. Be careful setting up those daily budgets and cost per clicks. Don’t be tempted to chase up cost per click bids. Constantly analyze your clicks and traffic and see if that’s turning into real bookings. It’s easy to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on Adwords after a few months without seeing any real results.

(2) If you do not convert a click to at least collecting client’s contact information (through a sign up flow, for example), then there is no way to re-market to these potentially interested clients. On other platforms, when someone engages with your ad or profile, you can see who they are (take Facebook for instance) and follow up with them or re-market to them. But on Adwords, you don’t know who is engaging with your ad unless the person emails you or calls you or takes up some effort to reach out to you.

What’s the deal?

Most people don’t think about Yelp in the “cost per click” type of way, but they released a relatively new advertising product/platform to drive people to your Yelp profile and engage in specific ways. And you can pay only if they engage in ways you want the profile visitors to.

You’ll be able to pay to drive people on Yelp to:

·         Click on your profile

·         Click on message the business (that’s you!)

·         Click on request quote

·         Click on your website

·         Click to call you

Those are some more popular ones. You’ll also be able to set up deals/discounts and have Yelp promote them and then pay Yelp a fee if that promotion is booked through Yelp. Some visuals (always helps give you some context) of how potential leads will be directed to take certain actions can be seen below:

Also, a pretty cool dashboard is set up for you to view the trends of how effecting your advertising has been:

How do I set it up?

Simply go to the Call-to-Action landing page on Yelp: https://biz.yelp.com/support/call_to_action

If you’ve already claimed your business listing, then it should be pretty straight forward. If you haven’t, then sign up and create or claim your business – then you can get going.

What are the risks?

Unlike other ad platforms where there is no minimum spend, on Yelp you need to commit to a minimum budget amount and timeframe. The average spend per advertising business on Yelp is $5,500 per year (sourced from recent earnings) – so that can be a sizeable budget if you’re just getting started with your business.

For ad packages Yelp forces to you sign contracts so you can find yourself stuck in ad deals even if you aren’t seeing good returns.

There’s also a lot of chatter from folks who have spent money on Yelp, and then withdrew advertising because they weren’t getting enough business. As a result, their Yelp profiles all of a sudden became filled with 1- and 2-star reviews out of a no where. You can Google more stories such as this one about Yelp extorting its business for not advertising or for pulling advertising on its site.

Mitigating this risk goes back to getting as many clients and friends to give you legitimate 5-star reviews and building up content on your profile. Just be weary of the large budget requirements and the sketchy dealings that are widely reported with Yelp.


There are other platforms that offer pay/cost per click ads – like Yellow Pages and the Yahoo! Bing Network – but Google and Yelp are probably the most well-known. However I would urge you to check out a number of them. Check out this good comparison piece

Cost per click can be both time and capital intensive. It can take up a lot of your time to monitor different keyword campaigns and make sure your cost per click is low enough where the spend makes sense, and to make sure you’re experimenting with different keywords based on the business you run and where you operate. In addition, budget minimums can be a hurdle for businesses if you’re just starting out and don’t have such a large marketing budget.

The interesting thing about platforms like these though is (in theory) you’re getting yourself in front of the right customer. That customer who is searching for a specific business or service type, will see your name at a time when they are prime for consumption. Not only that but they are given clear calls to actions to continue – click or buy or call, etc.