How can Google My Business help your practice expand exponentially? What free resources are available to you through Google My Business that you can utilize for your practice’s benefit? Which parts of Google My Business should you focus on for the best results?
In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks with Craig Alsup on how to optimize your Google My Business Profile.
Craig is a Group Practice co-owner, therapy practice growth coach, and local therapy practice marketing specialist. He helps practice owners grow their practices through Google My Business optimization, search engine optimization, Google ads, and growth coaching.
Craig has seen his practice grow month over month over the last several years and wanted to share that knowledge with other practice owners. During coaching, Craig focuses on growth mindset, motivation, accountability, and helping with tips and tricks around the marketing space.
In This Podcast
- Claim your listing
- Add posts
- Optimize and publish your Google My Business website
Claim your Google listing
It is a free listing; you claim it in a matter of minutes. Once you have signed up you’ll receive a postcard with a verification code. It helps you to get listed in Google Maps, which is important for putting your business well ahead of your competitors by making it easier for your potential clients to find you.
Ensure your information is accurate, comprehensive, and up to date. Make sure your business name, contact details, and address are exactly correct and update this information any time it changes.
What I usually suggest is that we don’t ask our clients to give us a Google review, that’s considered unethical so we don’t do that but if a client does happen to find you and give you a review, that’s not your fault. You do not have to ignore it and pretend it’s not there. (Craig Alsup)
Google rewards you for replying to your reviews within 24 hours. You can request that colleagues who know your work give you a review, and of course, reply to those too. Even if you miss the 24-hour window period, you should still reply to the reviews because it will still assist you.
You can send your Google My Business share link to your friends or colleagues for them to leave an encouraging review about your practice for your future potential clients to see. Even if these reviews are not read by clients, these reviews still contain keywords that will help to boost your practice on Google searches.
Bring over posts to your Google My Business listing from your other social media sites, as this will help to boost your business. Add blog posts, features, any information about your niche, add a video of yourself talking about the practice, whenever you hire a new staff person, and so forth.
You can see customer insights in your Google My Business listing, and it will show you which pages they go to often and what information they generally seek.
If you have a special upcoming event, you can add these events and other functions you have or do to your Google My Business listing.
Add photographs of both inside and outside your building, your signage, your coffee bar, and your amenities. Google will pick this up and further add this information to your Google My Business listing page. Make sure to visually locate your practice in photographs because Google can geo-locate your business in relation to the buildings around you.
Optimize and publish your Google My Business website
There is a ‘website’ tab on the left at the bottom of your Google My Business listing. When you open that up, Google My Business will create a free website for you to use. You can fully customize it, add a description, and list out all of your primary services as well as links to your primary websites.
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Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
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Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host, Whitney Owens, recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner, and private practice consultant. Each week, through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow, and scale your private practice from a faith-based perspective. I’m going to show you how to have an awesome, faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.
We are opening the doors again to Group Practice Boss. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a practice group owner Facebook community to help you learn how to work less and make more money. It’s specifically for people who have established group practices. So you need to have at least three clinicians in your practice including yourself to join this community. Every month we dive into topics related to group practice ownership, such as how do I delegate? How do I manage my money? And how do I hire the right clinicians? If you’re needing some extra help on your group practice, or maybe you’re just looking for a community to be a part of, please head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss, join our email list so you can get all the information especially when the doors open. We look forward to working with you.
On today’s episode, I have interviewed Craig. And I loved this interview because he provided tons of information on Google Business. In fact, since the interview, I’ve been waiting on the podcast to come out because I need to have the show notes so I can write things down and be ready to make some changes because he gave so many tips on really marketing and utilizing your Google Business account. What’s also cool is I was talking to him after the show about how we connected and he actually connected with me through Facebook. So he saw that I hosted a group called Faith in Practice and he makes faith a part of the work that he does so he joined that group and that’s how we met. And so Facebook is just such an awesome way to connect with other practice owners and take your practice to the next level. So I want to encourage you to check out the Facebook page, facebook group really, if you haven’t already, so that we can connect with you as well. But I loved having him on the show. So let’s start the interview with Craig on utilizing your Google Business.
Today on the Faith in Practice podcast, I have Craig Alsup. He’s a group practice owner, co owner, and therapy practice growth coach, and a local therapy practice marketing specialist. He helps practice owners grow their practices through Google My Business optimization, search engine optimization, Google Ads and growth coaching. Craig has seen his practice grow month over month over the last several years and wanted to share this knowledge with us today and other practice owners. During coaching, Craig focuses on growth mindset, motivation, accountability, and helping with tips and tricks around the marketing space. Thanks for taking the time to be on the show today. [CRAIG]:
Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s awesome. So why don’t you go ahead and share with our audience a little bit about yourself, kind of how you got into the clinical space? [CRAIG]:
Yeah, so my wife and I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I have done clinical work over the last 10 years or so in both agency as well as private practice, and launched our private practice a few years ago in North Fort Worth, Texas, where we see kind of a mix of Christian counseling for adults, as well as some teenagers. And we do mostly couples counseling, have two kids and yeah, just living the dream. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, yeah. How old are your children? [CRAIG]:
So we have kids that are nine and six currently. [WHITNEY]:
The sweet spot. That’s what I hear. [CRAIG]:
Not too bad. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah. So when you say we, is your wife involved in your practice with you, or…? [CRAIG]:
Yeah, so my wife has a masters in Public Health Administration and so she handles kind of the administrative side of things. I handle kind of a little bit of oversight of our five therapists, as well as doing some coaching for therapists and then do the marketing side of things for our practice. [WHITNEY]:
Awesome. So when did you make the transition, or if you’d even call it that, from like managing the group practice then deciding to do more coaching and less work at the practice? How did you make that decision? [CRAIG]:
So it was a bit of an accidental… Actually, about a year ago, I was posting on one of the many Facebook groups and just kind of posted some helpful advice when somebody asked a marketing question. And the person responded back and said, hey, can I hire you to do this instead of just following your advice? And so I kind of made up a number and she said, okay, and so I went to work. And then she started referring me to other people. And it has just sort of grown from there. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, I love it. I feel like that’s so much of how life is. And even with our own practices, it’s like, so many people say, oh, I started a practice because it just kind of happened. Like, or, at least for me here in Savannah, I moved here and I couldn’t find a job. Like, all the places that I really thought would have hired me did not. I was like, okay, I guess I’ll just make my own job and start a practice. [CRAIG]:
Right. There you go. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah. So how do you balance out your time with how much time you spend coaching and how much time you spend at the practice and maybe how much time you spend in actually working with clients? [CRAIG]:
Yeah, so it’s kind of a side hustle, side hustle. I do a lot of work for a nonprofit, Christian organization and so that takes up a lot of my time. So I kind of… My wife and I run the practice pretty remotely. We are actually, currently in New Hampshire. But we kind of travel all over the world with the nonprofit and that’s kind of our first thing. And the group practice started out as a way to give more, and it’s grown. And now I’m doing the helping other therapy practice owners to grow their practices. And it’s cool, because I can do that from wherever. So I’ve been, you know, several hours a week talking with and doing coaching with therapists, and then several more hours doing actually Google My Business optimization and all the other things. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, so what kind of things do you specialize with your coaching? [CRAIG]:
So yeah, I like to work around mindset. I know a lot of therapists, me included, came out of school with this mindset, that like we can’t make money if we’re helping people and that the two are kind of mutually exclusive. And they aren’t. And so I like working with therapists who are struggling with, you know, charging too much, charging too little, trying to figure out where that sweet spot is, trying to get their heads wrapped around the idea that they don’t have to speak to everybody. They can speak to a targeted market who they work with best and that’s actually what’s best for their clients. And so some mindset stuff around that. But then also, I’m pretty tips and tricks and tools oriented. So I like to work with people who like to learn exactly how to do all these different marketing tasks. And so I have some people that hire me to coach them through the marketing tasks, to teach them how to do the things I do. And then I have some people that hire me to just do it for them. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, that’s nice. Wonderful. I love that you get to travel and kind of do your thing with your family and do side work with your nonprofit. That’s awesome. [CRAIG]:
Yeah. Okay, so let’s get into the meat here. We were going to talk today about how to optimize your Google Business. So how do we do that? [CRAIG]:
Yeah, so I definitely have some tips, some advice around that. What I found in working with therapy practice owners is that many therapy practice owners have not claimed their Google My Business listing. So I want to tell you that you need to go out and do that. It’s a free listing, it’s something that you can claim in a matter of just a few minutes, they’ll send you a postcard and then you just type in the verification code that they send you. And you will be live. And what that means is it helps you to get listed in the Google Maps pack, which now for most of us, if anybody’s searching for our niche, wherever we are like couples counseling Fort Worth, Texas, the Google Maps pack is going to show at least three listings right there at the top of their Google search. And so you want to be in there. If you want, if you want your practice to be seen, you want to be in there. And so the first tip I always tell people is just go ahead and do it. Like it takes a few minutes to go ahead and claim it. But don’t stop there. There’s a lot that we can do with it. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I love that you bring that up. I can totally attest to the fact that once we started doing more on our Google Business, it made a huge difference for our practice. [CRAIG]:
Yeah. Yeah, it kind of makes everything work better. So I do a lot of search engine optimization stuff for websites, and your Google My Business will help that along. I do a lot of stuff with Google Ads and Facebook ads and stuff like that, and especially Google Ads, the more your Google My Business is filled out and optimized, the cheaper your ads are gonna be. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, I didn’t know that. Some good advice there. [CRAIG]:
Everything kind of ties in together within the Google system. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah. All right. So once somebody has claimed their Google Business profile, what do they do after that? [CRAIG]:
So you want to ensure that your information is accurate, you want to make sure that it’s comprehensive, and that it’s up to date. So things like your business name, you want to make sure that matches exactly what the name says on your website of your business, you want to make sure that your address matches exactly. I can’t tell you how many times I get on somebody’s Google My Business and their address is just a little tiny bit different from their website. And it matters. And so I edit those things all the time, your phone number, your web address, most people, a lot of people, if they claimed their Google My Business prior to upgrading to a secure version, they don’t remember to go back and update their website secure version on the Google My Business. So you want to go back and update your website, you want to add in your booking link, you want to have a description. Really, it gives you I think 750 characters and you want to use those characters to fully describe who you see, where you are, and who you are. And so you want to do that. You want to update categories, attributes, really, this tip is all about ensuring that your information is fully filled out, and that it’s accurate. [WHITNEY]:
That’s good. It’s funny to think that we probably just assume all that’s done correctly, when it really isn’t. [CRAIG]:
Yeah, we can, you know, you can miss things, if you just fill out the basic information that they ask you when you claim it you’re missing the boat, because you’re missing out on a whole lot of traffic that could be coming your way, if you add in some more of these different features. [WHITNEY]:
Okay, great. All right. And so where do we go next after we’ve kind of fully done our profile? [CRAIG]:
Yeah. So once you’ve fully done your profile, hopefully, eventually, you’re going to get some reviews on there. Now, I know that reviews are a touchy subject with the therapy community. And I get this question all the time from people that I help with their Google My Business optimization. But what I usually suggest is that we don’t ask our clients to give us a Google review. That’s considered unethical. So we don’t do that. But if a client does happen to find you and give you a review, that’s not your fault. Like you don’t have to ignore it and pretend it’s not there. Google rewards you for replying to all reviews within 24 hours, if possible. So jump on there and every review you get, go ahead and reply to it and say, hey, thanks, Alex, or whatever their name is. You don’t have to give out any BHI or anything like that. But just say thanks. The other thing that you can do is you can request colleagues who know your work to give you a review. And then, of course, reply to those and thank them and tell them how great they are. [WHITNEY]:
I love that. So I actually did not know the 24 hour tip. So you’re giving me tons of good stuff today. And so if it’s been more than 24 hours, like, I’ve got reviews up there right now, should I go in and say thank you to those even though they’re old, or just let it go? [CRAIG]:
Yeah, you want to signal to Google that you’re trying, you know what I mean? Like you want to signal to Google that you are a business that is out to help the customer or the client. And so anything you could do along those lines, replying to people, things like that, will help you. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah. When I was early in my practice, I really wanted to get those stars because I knew that would help and I have clients call all the time for a new appointment and say, oh, I just read your reviews. So one of the ways I got reviews in the beginning was from people that knew me at church because even though it wasn’t completely clinical, some of them knew me somewhat in that way. Like I was a mentor to teenagers and other adults and so those people went in there and wrote reviews and they didn’t say that I was a therapist or anything like that to them specifically but just like Whitney gives great advice. Whitney is always listening. You know, I find comfort in being around her. And so that’s another way that people can get in there and get some reviews pretty easily. I just send people the link, like, people won’t go on there. You got to send them the link, make it super clear how to do it. [CRAIG]:
Right. Yeah, you can pull up your Google My Business listing and just click the Share button, and it’ll give you that link. So then just copy it, send it out to your friends in messenger or text or email or whatever. And, yeah, have them go on there. If they mention something about, like you said, giving advice or helping you with your, you know, with this or that problem, that even is better. Because obviously, you know, if somebody does read the review, it’s going to be like, oh, great. But even if somebody doesn’t read the review, it has some keywords in there that Google is going to be able to see. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, that’s good. I like that. [CRAIG]:
Yeah. So the more keywords you have in the review that’s given and in your response, the better. But don’t go, like, you know, stuffing them in there and making it read weird. But, yeah, it all helps. [WHITNEY]:
Nice, nice. Any other advice on optimizing the Google Business? [CRAIG]:
Yeah, a few more, a few more things. So a lot of therapists that do claim their Google My Business listing, they claim it and then they kind of forget about it. But what I would suggest is that you try to add posts pretty often; I try to add posts a couple times a week in my practice. And, you know, that may sound like a lot to do. But if you’re already adding a post to Facebook, or to Instagram or something like that, just copy it over, bring it over to your Google My Business listing. The other thing is, if you’ve got a blog post that’s going live on your website, cut out an excerpt from that blog post, drop it in with a picture and link to that blog post from your Google My Business listing, that’s going to help your blog to get extra traction there as well.
And so, yeah, adding those types of things. I mean, you can add blog posts, you can add features, and amenities, you can add anything about your niche. I usually ask everybody I work with to do at least one video of themselves, that’s about a minute long, and post it, that sort of tells about their practice. Anytime you hire a new staff person, that’s another opportunity to post. And then some of the other stuff is pretty interesting. Like you can look and see customer insights within your Google My Business listing. And when you jump into those insights, in the insights tab, you’ll be able to know where your customers are coming from, a little bit about things that they’re searching for to find you. And also what they’re doing once they do find you like, what pages they’re going to and things like that; you can see a little bit of that information.[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I’m already like going on and looking at my Google Business while we talk. I didn’t know you could post things in there. Like I knew you could post pictures, but I didn’t know that you could post things that you’re putting on Instagram. So that’s cool. [CRAIG]:
Yeah. So you can, I think it’s under posts, when you log in on your laptop. On the left side, there’ll be a tab labeled posts, you get on there. And you can add, I think right now it’s asking for a COVID-19 update. So I would suggest posting, you know, that, hey, we’re still open, we’re doing telehealth or whatever, and give a link to where somebody can see your teletherapy information on your website. You can also add, you know, like just all those different updates I talked about. If you have a special event, like an open house or some sort of support group or some sort of, you know, therapy group that you’re hosting, you can actually add those events to Google My Business as well. [WHITNEY]:
Nice. And when people are searching ‘counselor near me’, is that relevant to how Google Business reads that and posts you up there? I feel like a lot of people put that in, ‘who is a marital counselor near me?’ [CRAIG]:
Yeah, it is. So what Google My Business does, because it’s so connected with Google Maps, is it basically gives you a geo relevance, geographic relevance, so that if the person is fairly close to your practice, you’re going to rank higher than if they were 10 miles away on Google My Business and you know, within Google Maps. And so to some extent, you can build out your Google My Business listing, and you can optimize that in order to show up better, but realistically, you’re going to show up best for the people that are right around you. But you can extend that distance a little bit and you can improve how you show up for people, even nearby or a little further out, if you optimize it. [WHITNEY]:
That’s great. All right, anything else that we haven’t covered? [CRAIG]:
Yeah. So I always say add a bunch of photos; you can’t really add too many photos. Inside your building, outside your building, there’s different tabs within the photos section on Google My Business. And I say to have something in every tab. So there’s inside your practice, you can take pictures of amenities, you could take pictures of the lobby, the offices, you know, your sign on the door, you can take pictures of your coffee bar, whatever your amenities are, because Google can read that stuff, like, Google can see that and know what it is, and push that information to the people that are going to be searching for you. You also want to take, you know, have pictures of your staff, obviously on there under the staff section, the outside of the building, this is one that most people don’t do. But take pictures around the outside of your building, how to get into your building, where your entry is. Our entry is behind a fountain to our building and we constantly have to tell people that, well, we just add a picture of that fountain, and those double doors that you go in, things like that. We’re across the road from Central High School. So we can take a picture from our building of Central High School, Google can recognize exactly where that is. And it helps us with that geo relevance. [WHITNEY]:
Hmm, yeah, yeah, I just looked at all that. Yeah, I never even knew there were different, I knew photos were on there but I had not noticed all the different tabs within that. So that’s another great tip. [CRAIG]:
Any more? [CRAIG]:
And then for kind of the last thing is to optimize and publish your Google My Business website. So there is a website option at the very bottom of your Google My Business listing. On the left side, there’s a tab that says website. And when you open that up, Google My Business will create for you basically a free Google My Business website. Now, we don’t want that to be our primary website, probably because we want to have more depth. It turns into just basically a one page site. And so you want to click on that, you want to optimize that and edit what it looks like. You want to edit and add in a description on there. And it will allow you a little bit longer description on this one. So I always say list out all of your primary services, and link to your primary website service pages from that Google My Business website. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, something else I totally didn’t know about. [CRAIG]:
Yeah, it gives you a link through and just another way to describe your services. [WHITNEY]:
That’s great. Yeah, some of the things I do optimize, but there’s a lot of things I don’t, and you mentioned the insights that you can go to – that’s definitely something I do to see how many people are looking at it. And it’s so… I find the managing a practice fun when you make a change on something, and then you go look at the insights and see if it worked. And so you can definitely do that with Google Business. [CRAIG]:
Yeah, for sure. [WHITNEY]:
Awesome. Well, this has been super helpful. I have an assistant that does all this for me. So I’m going to get her on it when we get off this podcast interview. But we’d love for you to kind of share with people about your website. As far as if someone wants to get in touch with you about coaching, how could they get in touch with you for that? [CRAIG]:
Yeah, so they can shoot me a text, or they can go to my website which is just livebeyondcounseling.com. And there, they can just go to our contact page and shoot me a message and I will get that and then I’ll be able to respond to them. They can also get on Facebook, and I have a Facebook page for my coaching. And so it’s just… I’m trying to remember the actual Facebook link. [WHITNEY]:
We’ll have it in the show notes but it’s m.facebook.com/livebeyondgrowthcoach. [CRAIG]:
Yeah, Live Beyond Growth Coach. That’s what it is. So yeah, just facebook.com/livebeyondgrowthcoach. So yeah, shoot me a message. And I’d love to connect and see if I can help. And definitely either way, I’ll give you some advice and tips and you know, some ideas on how to help yours grow, whether or not you hire me. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, that’s great. And Craig’s been generous enough to offer y’all a discount today, so he’s offering $50 off. If you want to get in touch with him to help you optimize your Google My Business, then just let him know that you heard about this on the podcast interview, and you’ll get that $50 off. So thank you for doing that. [CRAIG]:
Yeah, for sure. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah. So I want to come back to the question I asked everyone when they come on the show, what do you believe every Christian counselor needs to know? [CRAIG]:
I believe every Christian counselor needs to know that connecting with the clients who they can fit best with who they can help the most, is the most important thing. It’s the thing that is going to allow their practice to grow, because they’re going to get great referrals, and they’re going to build a great relationship with clients, and they’re going to be able to really help people. And so there are ways that you can work with your marketing to be able to reach exactly the people that you should be seeing and to not reach the people that you shouldn’t be seeing. So yeah. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, well, great advice. Well, thank you so much for taking your time today to come on the show. And I think people are really going to benefit from this episode. I know I did. [CRAIG]:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much.
Thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. If you love this podcast, please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player. If you liked this episode and want to know more, check out the Practice of the Practice website. Also, there you can learn more about me, options for working together, such as individual and group consulting, or just shoot me an email email@example.com. Would love to hear from you.
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