If you're not familiar with Yelp, it's time to learn. Yelp is an online review site that helps consumers connect with local (mostly small) businesses. It's been around since 2004, largely collecting reviews of the restaurant scene, but has seen major growth in all business venues for the last several years. You may have even visited it, looking for the best burger joint in the neighborhood near you. Well now, your potential clients are doing the same thing- so your clinic needs to be represented!
With more than 83 MILLION unique visitors looking at Yelp from a mobile device in 2015's second quarter alone, Yelp also allows users to call or map directly to your business from within the app. They can also leave reviews, post photos of your business, and if your clinic chooses to offer them, collect discounts.
The important fact to note here is that Yelp is FREE for both the business and the reviewers. Sure, there are opportunities for paid ads, but you can beef up your profile (making sure all your info is correct, and not just the auto-created content courtesy of the interwebs), respond to your feedback, access the insights and more without a single cent. Let's walk through claiming your page.
1: Find & Claim Your Page
The most important thing to note here is NOT to go to www.yelp.com. You need to access the specific "Yelp For Business Owners" site, available at https://biz.yelp.com/ to claim or edit your listing.
On this site, you'll type in your business name and location, and your clinic name will undoubtedly come up (thanks to the wonders of Google, other third party databases, and people who may have tried to review your practice previously). You'll see one of two options next to the practice name: 1) Claim This Listing or 2) Already Claimed.
If you see the "Claim This Listing" Option, your clinic profile hasn't been touched and is an open book for you to claim and make amazing! Click to claim your page and move ahead to the next step. See, this is easy!
If your page has already been claimed, you're going to need the password. It's also possible that a previous owner, practice manager, etc has established a page for you but you have no idea how to access it.
2: Create a Business Account for Your Practice
Next, you'll be prompted to create a business account. Unfortunately, you'll have to create this in a person's name, not just the clinic name. I would recommend either the practice owner or the practice manager- whomever you want it to look like is responding to your reviews, etc. For instance, if your practice is owned by Dr. John Doe, when you respond to reviews, it will appear as "John D." responded. Similarly, this person will also be the "owner" of the page, and you'll also need to share a bio and photo for this person. Run this by your practice owner if you're not sure who should be the face of your practice's Yelp page.
In addition to the first and last name, you'll need to input an email address and a password for your Yelp login. Use the email address that you want all notifications about new reviews, etc to be sent to. Typically I would recommend either the practice manager or general office account, so that new reviews are seen by the practice quickly. Make sure to record this email address (username) and password so you can find them in the future.
3: Verify Your Business
You'll need to be at your actual place of business to complete this step. Set yourself up by the phone, or let your receptionist know a call will be coming. The Yelp screen you will see states that "To protect you and your business, we need you to answer a quick phone call." It will show show the business number it has on file, and you'll be able to actually trigger the call by clicking on the "Call Me Now" button. The screen will also show you a four digit code that you will be prompted to enter . This proves you're actually a human answering the phone at the business you say you're at, and not just some robot or disgruntled customer. The whole ordeal should take less than 30 seconds. If successful, you'll see a new screen that says "Your Business is Claimed!" and offering Yelp ads. Skip this part by clicking the "No thanks, continue to my business" phrase in the bottom left hand of the screen.
3b: Remove previous users, if necessary
If your page was previously claimed/owned, you'll see the first name and last initial of previous owners, as well as a portion of the previous user email addresses. If you don't recognize the name and/or they're not a trusted employee, delete them by clicking the "Remove From Business" button.
4. Download the Yelp app, if you'd like.
The next screen gives you the option to have a link for the iOS or Android app texted right to your phone, so you can download the Yelp app and be able to read and respond to your reviews. This step is OPTIONAL, but if you're interested in monitoring on the go, this is a good app to have. If you're not interested, click "Skip."
5. Edit Your Business Information
After skipping or saving your info about the Yelp app, the next screen will look almost identical, but ask you for general business information. This is where many office managers may get stuck, since this information will most likely come from the veterinarian/owner. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
Enter the info as prompted. If you don't have all the details when you're first setting up your profile, you can skip certain questions, but it's best to just get it all done at once!
7. Upload Photos
After you've completed the information, add some photos to personalize your profile, and draw attention during a search. Without adding your own photos, your profile will: a) look dull and boring b) customers will think it's an autocreated profile and less likely to visit/review your profile and c) potentially showcase photos OTHER people have uploaded of your business. Therefore, it's best to add your own and have control over your profile!
I would recommend not only the typical photos of the building outside, your practice logo, the reception area and the exam room, but be sure to showcase photos of what animal lovers want to see- your veterinarians interacting with animals! I typically try to add 5-10 photos, and ALWAYS am sure to add photos of the veterinary team doing what they do best-- helping animals.
If you want to go all out, you can also add captions to the photos. I have even used a few PlaceIt photos (see my previous blog) to showcase features that some of clinics offer, like a clinic app or online appointment requests, etc.
You can access your photos from the left hand menu. Unfortunately, Yelp randomizes the photos so there is no way to pick which one is first viewed, so make sure they're all good photos :-)
8. Admire Your Work and Share with Your Followers!
You're done! Go back to regular 'ol Yelp.com and search for your business to see how it will look to your customers! Check out your site and if you're happy with it, share the link on your social media pages and ask your web designer to add a link from your website. Your clients will be able to easily find you and hopefully leave great reviews!
Have questions? Need help? I'm just an email or click away. Good luck!