Section 3: How we suggest you use it
This is the final post in our Practice Edge series about Yelp in which we explore how we suggest you utilize Yelp to benefit your practice. You should definitely check out our 2 other posts:
We know the folks over at Yelp are calling your practice and soliciting advertising spend on a regular basis. There are a lot of factors that figure into whether or not that is a good use of your practice’s marketing dollars, and the suggestions below should help you decide if Yelp’s advertising spend is right for you, or at least nudge you in the right direction. Remember, increased online presence equals increased traffic to your website and increased phone calls, which can lead to increased revenue.
- Claim your page
- Let’s hope your practice has already done this, but just in case you haven’t done so already, you do need to claim your Yelp page in order to have any control over it. Once you’ve claimed your Yelp page, you’ll have the freedom to update essential information like your business hours, phone number, history, and more. Once you do this, it will also let you add photos, link up your website, and respond to comments/direct messages from current and/or potential new clients.
- Spruce it up a bit
- Even if you don’t want to spend any money on advertising, potential clients are seeing your page so you’ll want to put your best foot forward. Those professional photos you had taken a few years back? Upload them to your Yelp page! Having more than just grainy client photos can go a long way toward making your hospital look like a place potential clients might want to bring their beloved family pets.
- Get a baseline
- Before you do anything with advertising, get a baseline for how many calls are coming in through your Yelp page. Honestly, you’ll be shocked. Services like CallRail allow you to generate a local phone number that you can track. This way, you’ll at least have an understanding of how many people are going to your Yelp page, not your webpage, before calling and inquiring. You’ll likely find that even longtime clients are going through your Yelp page to get in touch with you.
- ABT: Always be Testing
- Okay, so now you know how much traffic is flowing through your Yelp page. Consider throwing one of those beleaguered Yelp salespeople a bone and try out some advertising for 4-8 weeks. Measure the increases in calls to your tracking phone number, your Yelp user views, new client appointments, and more. If you’re seeing gains, maybe you keep it going for a little longer, or if your data isn’t making your socks go up and down, maybe you nix it. Regardless, at least now you’ll know whether it’s a viable option for your practice (and you’ll know for sure, without just taking our word for it, that it doesn’t affect filtered reviews.)
- Proceed with caution: Discounts
- With regard to what type of advertising you conduct with Yelp, our only word of caution is to be careful of discounts or Groupon-like advertisements. $50 for $100 worth of services is an enticing deal, but the clients who take advantage of that sort of deal are NOT likely to be returning customers, and it could ultimately be way more time and money than it’s worth. Options like “competitor ad removal”, which removes competitor ads from your Yelp page, or ads that push your business to the top of search results and within your competitors’ pages are probably a much better bet.
A word about Yelp quote requests…
Some of our practices, especially in urban areas, are struggling trying to keep up with quote requests that are coming in via Yelp. Going back to our point just above, these are likely not a good use of your time. People who are shopping for quotes on services are likely not going to be long-term returning customers, and you can end up spending hours interacting with people who will likely never become your clients. If you stop responding to these all together, Yelp will turn the feature off within 30 days, or you can go in and manually turn messaging off.
We hope you found this series of articles on how to leverage Yelp for your veterinary practice helpful and found a few tips and tricks you can put into action in your own practice. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.