Yelp Case Study – Drs. Tom & Onruang
Clients: Dr. Tom & Dr. Onruang
Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars, 371 reviews – https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-perfect-smile-alhambra
This is a case study of Dr. Tom & Dr. Onruang of Alhambra, California (perfectsmiledentist.com). They started their Yelp page about 14 years ago. Per Annie (the Office Manager), Yelp was new and they wanted reviews. 3 years ago, they started a campaign to get REALLY boost reviews. They offer $100 credit towards whatever procedure/service the patient needs if the patient leaves a review on Yelp (can’t ask for a “positive review” but can only ask for an “honest review”). This is very little for them since most of this goes towards a pricey service/procedure.
Their view is that $100 credit for a great review is more than worth it is they get so much residual return for these reviews. WARNING: Yelp would view this as a violation of their Terms of Service, so careful here. Anyone directly remunerated for a review could get you in trouble with Yelp!
Their main internal policy: ONLY ask uptone patients for the review!
Advertising with Yelp: They DO advertise and feel it’s well worth it. They pay $875 per month for YELP PPC & unlimited photo/videos.
Return: They get 20-30 new patients a month from Yelp. This is about 1/3 of their total new patients.
INTERVIEW WITH THE OFFICE MANAGER, ANNIE
Tell us about your experience with Yelp.
“Yelp is like a double-edged sword. It can help you but it can also hurt you tremendously. We didn’t want to give in to advertising with Yelp but we got dropped to second page a couple years go even with our 4.5+ review rating. Since 1/3rd of our patients come from Yelp we had to start advertising with them.”
How long has the practice been using Yelp?
“We started our office in 2006 and the first Yelp review was written by our former office manager, Tiffany on 11/11/2007 (was filtered by Yelp of course after Yelp discovered Tiff was an employee at our office). After that, we got a review here and there (maybe one every few months), but we didn’t actively ask for reviews at that time and we didn’t respond to any reviews either.”
When did you start buying promotion with Yelp? And what level did you start at?
“We started advertising with Yelp April 1,2012 and we started at $500. In June of 2013 we dropped it to $300 (can’t remember why we did that), and then in December 2015 we changed to pay-per-click which is a $50 monthly fee and then allocated $825 for ad budget. It has been $875/month since then. I had a phone conference with our new Yelp rep, Logan, in July of this year. He approached me because he wanted to “restructure” our pay-per-click program by increasing our monthly fee to $1000. I told him no way. He then said he can waive the $50 monthly fee and make it part of the pay-per-click budget (so instead of $825 we get the full $875), but we will have to sign a contract for another year. I told him no. We are at $875 still.”
When did you start seeing results in new patients coming in from Yelp?
“We saw a drop of our new patient numbers from Yelp referrals in 2012 when Yelp started ‘hiding’ our office and pushed us to the second page, which is why we decided to start doing Yelp Ads because the $300 would at least get us to the front page. After we switched to $875 we got about 20-30 new patients from Yelp consistently.
After you signed up with them (I know it was a LONG time ago) how fast do you start seeing the reviews after buying some promotion?
“I’m not so sure about this, our reviews still randomly get filtered out, doesn’t matter if it is positive or negative review. The number of reviews always change and sometimes some reviews disappear for a while then come back again. We stopped paying attention to it (unless we get a one-star review) and just focus on procuring positive reviews.”
Are there other important things to do with Yelp that we and others should know? Navigating it, etc
Be proactive! Ask patient to write reviews and have a reward program for both staff and patients. Don’t be stingy with the reward. Positive reviews are advertisements that keep giving and promoting as long as people use Yelp. When there’s a game for staff, staff are more motivated to talk to patients.”
What do you think based off of your experience, is the minimum amount to spend with Yelp and why?
“Every office is different. The $875 pay per click budget was suggested by our Yelp rep at that time. She asked us how many new patients we want and she set the budget bases on that. I think it’s probably the same formula Blumberg digital uses to set up pay per click budget. $875 gives us around 30 new patients from Yelp every month and it has been consistent for two years. We are not looking into changing the budget.”
Did you find a Yelp rep that you like? If so, who is that?
“Nope! Our current guy Logan (not sure if he is still with them, he claims he has been with Yelp for 10 years and recently got moved into Sales which I don’t believe) is terrible! He was unprofessional (missed the phone conference once and reschedule the meeting again once after that) and he sounded like a sleazy salesperson when he talks. I was not impressed.”