5 Reasons Your Therapy Practice Is Starving for Reviews

Update: This post has been updated to address the issue of ethics in getting reviews. You need to take responsibility for knowing your own state licensure laws and ethics guidelines, however, for most of us in a therapist-client relationship, asking clients for reviews is unethical.

Lately, I’ve been doing marketing analysis for quite a few therapists who know that their marketing isn’t working, but they are at a loss as to why.

What I study…

As part of this in-depth process, I look at everything including the therapist’s current website visitors, where they’re coming from, and whether they’re quality visitors or not. (Some online directories deliver quite a bit of traffic that is horrible!)

I study how the therapist is treating the site visitors when they come — is the site professional, navigable, effective in meeting the visitor’s pain and giving them hope?  Is the content on the site educational, easy to find, and inviting engagement?

And what about the therapist’s Google Places listing?  Is it targeting the right keywords? Is it FULLY optimized? And, one of the big questions… how many REVIEWS does it have?

Most therapy practices barely have any reviews!

One of the things I’m still finding is that most therapists don’t have enough reviews! This is baffling.

If you’re in this camp, I hope that this post will light a fire under you!

Why you want to get reviews

  1. People are proactively seeking out reviews online: In December, visits to Yelp.com were up 15% over last year, according to Compete.com. And traffic to Angie’s List jumped a whopping 80% in the same period.
  2. The trust factor for reviews is growing: Nielson reported that 70% of consumers say they trust online reviews. While trust factors for most things have decreased over the years, this is a 15% increase from 2009!  What this means is that online reviews are second only to recommendations from close friends and family members as a trusted source for referral advice.
  3. Reviews change minds: A 2013 study from Weber Shandwick found that, as a result of consumer reviews, 65% of shoppers picked a brand they weren’t already considering.
  4. Good reviews make clients like you more: Satisfaction with a decision to see a specific professional is strongly influenced by what others say about that person. Reviews flavor client experience!
  5. Google will reward you! If you want to increase your chances of ranking in Google Local, you need to have at least 5 reviews. Just 5. Not a million. Just 5!

Where Should You Get Reviews?

Since it’s unethical to solicit testimonials from your clients (see ACA Ethics Guidelines below…

ACAEthicsTestimonials

ACA Ethics Guidelines re Testimonials

… your best sources for reviews will be from

  • Colleagues
  • Other professionals familiar with your work

Ask for reviews, regularly, and offer a review in return.

Most Effective Reviews

The most effective reviews are those that have some level of detail in them, and perhaps a before/after story.  In my course on developing a marketing message from your practice, we cover a great process for getting really effective testimonials and reviews from your colleagues.

Don’t drag your feet on this…

Get reviews.

Get reviews.

Get reviews.

Posted in: Marketing For Therapists

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2 Comments

  1. Kat Mindenhall, LCSW March 23, 2013

    Great article, Becky! I think one barrier to reviews is that therapists, myself included, sort of fear a bad review popping up. You cannot respond to it online the way a plumber would write, “called, no answer, offered refund, shined his shoes, he still hates me.” To do so would be a violation of confidentiality if that person were a client. So seeking professional testimonials is great, but having them up there may invite your disgruntled client to sound off. I’m not saying this is a legitimate barrier, just one thing I see stopping me from going hogwild. I have recommendations from colleagues on my site, but don’t know how to get the desire to “go public!”

    reply
    • Becky March 25, 2013

      Hey Kat,

      Thanks for chiming in! I’m glad that you brought that up, and you’re right — you can’t respond, ethically, to a negative review. So, since public reviews (in google, mainly) are the only reliable way to get your Google Places listing to rank well, if you get a negative review, you simply bury it with more reviews. Most people never read beyond the first couple of reviews, but Google counts them. The magic number for it to really start helping seems to be 5 based on some intense research some guys did on google places. (How do people have time for all this?) 🙂

      Thanks again for bringing up a concern I hadn’t thought of!

      Becky

      reply

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