As powerful as reviews and testimonials can be, there’s still so much untapped potential out there. Potential to expand their reach and visibility—to relate with patients and get them over the finish line. Here are a few ideas to get as much out of your online reviews as possible.
Healthcare consumers care a heck of a lot about reviews. Consulting online Google reviews of a particular practice, for example, or writing down a directory for a particular surgeon is now an essential part of the decision-making process.
I know that, as with many people, bad reviews are a bad sign. Whether these poor reviews are reliable indicators is beside the point. They send a strong signal. According to an NRC Health Study:
- Almost 60% of patients have avoided a doctor based on the negative reviews that they read online.
- More than ⅓ of patients look at reviews as the first step in finding a healthcare provider online.
- 83% trust online ratings and reviews more than personal recommendations and referrals!
- Nearly 75% want to see seven or more reviews before deciding to trust a brand.
While reviews are certainly a core part of your Google My Business (GMB), and other listings, you can do more with the positive reviews you’ve already generated. Here are a few ideas about using your existing reviews to increase visibility and enhance your brand image and reputation.
Questions I’ll Answer in this Article
- How important are healthcare reviews?
- How do I improve people’s perception of my brand?
- How can I encourage people to choose my healthcare organization?
- How do I put my reviews onto my website?
- How do I take all the reviews I have and turn them into marketing material (ad copy, graphics, etc.)?
TALK TO THE PAGE: Before you do anything with reviews or testimonials, you need to get the person’s permission. This is a big deal in the medical world, fraught with potential responsibilities. So make sure to get their written consent and always follow the relevant HIPAA regulations.
Promote Your Reviews on Social Media
You can significantly extend the reach of your reviews by giving a publicly visible shout-out to people who leave good reviews. Share a quote directly from their review. Tag them, if possible. And take the opportunity to ask others to share their experiences.
Many review sites offer an integration option to share reviews with your connected social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). You can also do it manually. Here’s a great example from Google My Business:
Google My Business offers embed codes on reviews so you can manually add reviews to your website or social media channels. Sharing your positive reviews across multiple channels allows you to reach more potential patients.
Add Those Positive Reviews to Your Website
I want to remind our healthcare clients of one simple thing: adding a review to your site is not bragging. It’s a good user experience! For example, most people who come to your site through Google search probably don’t know about your reputation. In fact, it might be the first thing they want to see. You know, what is this brand and where can I find reviews?
Don’t force your healthcare consumers to seek out this information! A few clicks – MAX – if available. Instead, here are a few ways to thread these important reputation indicators (reviews, ratings, etc.) throughout your entire site:
- Create branded graphics that highlight your overall five-star rating. You can add five-star graphics to your about page, footer, service pages, appointment scheduling page, etc.
- Consider embedding reviews directly from your review platforms using embed codes, review platform tools, or site customizations. What’s nice about these embeds is that they’re often automatically updated and refreshed.
- Add a scrolling banner section that features quotes from your testimonials and reviews (include names and photographs where possible). I like the homepage—near the top—as a nice spot for these.
- Create a dedicated reviews and testimonials page that presents your most impactful reviews in an engaging way (your “trophy case,” so to speak). However, give this page some structure and context (supporting headers and copy), instead of just providing a flat list of reviews for a patient to sort through.
- Consider putting together video testimonials, one of the most potent reviews you can get (more on this later).
While it may seem overwhelming to include your reviews and ratings on your site, along with a dedicated testimonials page, remember this: Potential patients find and arrive at your site from many different places. The homepage is not always the point of entry! But wherever your patients visit your website, they should immediately see that you are an experienced and reputable provider to choose from.
Add Your Composite Star Rating to Patient-facing Communications
This tip takes up a page straight from Branding 101. Would we recommend printing a beer box and keychain with your logo and a five-star rating on it? Not entirely suitable for healthcare consumers. But you may want to consider adding your composite ratings, especially official “five-star” recognition from companies like Google and Yelp, to your communication with patients, partners, and customers.
You may have seen these badges on the web. Here’s a prime example of a review badge on Yelp:
Google and Facebook Business publish similar items, badges, and graphics. We find them great for email signatures, invoices, and receipts. On their own, these measures may not lead to a measurable outcome. When implemented in conjunction with other reputation-building activities, like the ones we’ve listed above, they can help build your brand’s reputation as a five-star supplier. Not only will people begin to associate your brand with a great digital reputation, but it can also encourage more people to leave their own reviews.
Build Marketing Campaigns Around Your Testimonials
While powerful, testimonials take a lot of time and resources. Volunteer patients can also be hard to find! Start by sifting through candidates for testimonial content. They are often the “champion” of your service, people, or brand. People who have had positive results from experience, therapy, or even surgery. Assign the scope of testimony to an internal stakeholder (marketing or customer relations, generally) and contact these people directly. Encourage their participation, where appropriate.
Ideas here to get the most out of your case studies. So when you enter into an approval deal, put procedures in place to be as efficient as possible. This includes all of the required agreements and signatures upfront and the interview questions and interviews that help tell the right story. Ideally, your video session will also produce images and audio recordings that can replace “testimonial graphics”, perfect for use on social media. In particular, videos allow you to tell a more compelling story that connects with potential customers.
Once you have your core testimonial content, reuse it in the documentation mentioned above so that it can be chained throughout the ad campaign, social media, and/or email marketing. For example, a push around a newly introduced plastic surgery procedure. Or a new awareness campaign for the senior citizen demographic
Bonus: Make it Easy to Leave a Review “In the Flow”
Once your organization is established on various review sites, you’ll get access to your own unique shareable review link. Here’s an example from Google My Business:
Provide a direct link to your review form on different social channels so your patients can easily leave a review.
In this example alone, we see four channels (Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, and Email) that you can share this “Request review” link in a click or two. Indeed, clicking a link and going straight to the review form is a lot easier for patients than tracking your review form down on their own.
Capture the Holy Grail of Patient Reviews
Previously, the number of reviews was the most important thing – the holy grail of digital reputation management. Now, this is one of the most important factors. While a high volume of frequent reviews is still quite important, patients have shifted their focus. Authenticity and relativity are the most important. People – especially healthcare consumers —can smell fake or manufactured reviews from a mile away.
Your review is an opportunity to demonstrate the strength and integrity of your staff. These are the people who run healthcare organizations and create positive patient experiences. This is what we were looking for and the kind of advice we wanted to present and share.
Patients who view reviews online, they envision what it would be like if they left their important health care decisions to you.