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It’s been some time since I’ve heard anyone complain about Yodle. This article was originally published in 2013 and the complaints continued for many months after publication. Other businesses have come along operating in similar ways so this article remains here as a reference and a case study in the book of things therapists in private practice need to be aware of.
It appears that Yodle is heavily targeting mental health practitioners for new business. In addition to receiving the cold calls myself, I’ve received multiple reports from others who have received them as well. They typically start their pitch with, “I’m so and so from Yodle Health and we’re wanting to find out if you’re accepting new clients…” If you’ve not heard of Yodle before, this may provide the mistaken impression that they are another provider or program looking to refer clients to you. Yodle actually is an online marketing service aimed at increasing the local Internet presence of a business. In other words, their aim is to make your business come up more often in search engine searches, thus sending more potential clients your way.
What’s Really Going On?
Of course, the two sales representatives that have called me didn’t approach it that way. In fact, the one was taken aback when I recognized what she was doing early on in the call. When I asked, “Hmm.. I’ve not heard of Yodel Health, do you have a web site?” her reply was, “uh.. well, we do, but it’s not very clear what we do from that. But if you have 30 minutes, I can give you a full tour of what we do.” My number is in the national do not call registry, so I have little tolerance for cold sales calls, especially when they aren’t up front about why they are calling. I said, “I see from your web site that you focus on local online marketing. I already have a strong Internet marketing plan in place so I’m not interested.” She again insisted that, if I were to give her 30 minutes she could show me how they could help me.
I ended it there, but I heard more and more from colleagues and consulting clients that they had received similar calls. Further, I received yet another voice mail from a different Yodle sales rep with the same pitch. I decided to look around to see what others have experienced with this company.
You Are Not Alone
I quickly found a plethora of feedback and opinions on Yodle, both objective and not. Much of it supported my intuition and experience in this area. What I didn’t find was any significant number of positive reviews of the service, especially not in the mental health field. It’s my impression that “Yodle Health”, or at least its sales reps, don’t have a solid understanding of our market. They especially don’t appear to have a basic understanding of the budget of most private practices, or what Return on Investment (ROI) would be beneficial for us. Here are some links that might help you determine if Yodle is worthy of your consideration. Please note that I have no affiliation or experience with any of the authors of the following links or their associated comments:
- A YouTube video explaining what Yodle is selling and why it may or may not be beneficial to you
- A large number of reviews of the service One of the few places you’ll find information on pricing, from those who have experienced it.
- One of many individual reviews you can find on the Internet that sound the same. Things weren’t explained clearly up front. Charges ended up being much higher than expected. What was promised wasn’t delivered. What’s interesting about this review is that it is one of few where Yodle hasn’t replied directly. One thing they do seem to do well is damage control.
- This post even points out that someone they know met with some success in using Yodle, yet didn’t continue the service. Once again, the comments are very telling.
- Want to see more? Perform a search on Google like this one
As far as what you can do to increase your local Internet presence, much of what Yodle offers can be done on your own. The benefit of having someone else do it, however, is that it frees up your time and energy for other endeavors. My recommendation, should you employ a professional or service for help with this is to find someone with experience in our field and make sure the following is very clear up front:
- The cost of the service
- Exactly what you get for that cost
- Whether there are any hidden, setup, ongoing, or other charges not covered above
- Are there any guarantees? If not, what recourse do you have if you feel you didn’t get what you paid for?
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About the Author
Rob has been covering technology and business news for mental health professionals since 2011. His extensive experience in IT, business, and private practice allow him to synthesize information in a friendly, digestible manner. He also enjoys time with his family, ultimate frisbee, and board gaming.