Chiropractors and Patients from YelpChiropractors: Don’t Put All Your Eggs in the Yelp Basket

Everyday millions of patients find chiropractors online, but if you ask them “how’d you find us?” their answers aren’t as accurate as you’d hope.

Marketers are always looking over statistics and flow patterns to determine the best bang for their clients’ buck. Finding out where a patient actually comes from can certainly determine where the spending dollars should be focused on. But it’s not as simple as that.

Where do patients come from when searching for a chiropractor? Yelp… Facebook… Instagram, random review sites… Google AdWords… organic search results… if you guessed “all of the above” you’re absolutely right.

Just remember… as humans, we are wired to remember the last point of contact, or the latest in a series of events that led us to the promise land. So unfortunately most answers you get from patients are somewhat inaccurate or misleading.

My dentist in Orange County asked me “how did you find me?” and I told him that I found him on Yelp. He checked a box on his intake form, and proceeded to walk me to the exam room. As he was putting the blue bib around my neck and talking about the Laker’s untimely exit from the playoffs, I started to think if my answer to his question was actually accurate. It turned out it really wasn’t.

Not that I intentionally lied to him, but I too fell in the same trap most patients fall into. In that we only recollect the last piece of the puzzle that led us to choosing one doctor over another.

As I sat in his chair with my mouth wide open, I started to think about the first time I set out to find a new dentist. I realized that Yelp was only the icing on the cake, and that a lot of other things went into my decision making process.

I remember three weeks prior, I asked my wife, my brother, and my mom to give me recommendations. I remember “Googling” each person, to see if they had a website. Then I checked out their website. The one person that didn’t have a site (or that if it looked outdated), didn’t make the cut. Then I looked at Google Reviews… then their social media profile pages – and probably passed judgement on how often they post, and what type of photos or videos they post.

A few days later after drinking an ice cold bottle of water and experiencing a sharp pain in my tooth, I again visited their websites, read their bios, looked at some staff and equipment photos, and passed judgement on how young or old, experienced or novice they looked. I then pulled up their addresses to see if they were in a good or average part of town… and how the parking situation (and commute) would look like… all this was done subconsciously within a few minutes of research.

Finally, I Yelped them. I read their reviews, looked at some Yelper submitted photos, glanced at their office hours, and booked an appointment with the first dentist who picked up their phone and could fit me in the next day.

There is so much that goes into finding a chiropractor, too. The “legit-ness” of their brand and website. Their ranking on organic searches. How many Google Reviews they have… whether or not their social media is hip or antiquated, whether they look the part, and finally what Yelpers say about them.

If you were a cupcake shop or a pop-up food truck, I would understand that Yelp is the end-all, be-all to getting new customers. But it would be detrimental to your longevity as a business to believe for a second that Yelp was the sole referral source, when in reality it was only the last piece of the puzzle. Just because your patient doesn’t remember the other 9 steps, doesn’t mean you should dismiss or devalue them.

And in the unlikely event that Yelp folds one day, or more likely decides to hide your stellar reviews, or move your listing down the search results because  you said “No Thanks” to their pushy salesperson’s attempts for continued advertising, you’ll quickly find out that putting all your eggs in the Yelp basket is the worst marketing strategy for you and your practice.