With information readily at our fingertips, most people nowadays rely heavily on reviews and testimonials to make the most informed decision about products and services before they make a purchase. This practice is no different when making a decision about their healthcare or medical needs. One area of marketing that is underutilized by the healthcare community is the use of patient reviews and testimonials.
In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of using testimonials to better market your practice and we’ll give you specific steps and tips on how to implement them into your marketing plan to gain new patients.
Why have Testimonials
Show the value of what your practice has to offer
Nothing conveys value better than when patients talk about how happy they were with your practice or the great care they received from your providers.
Photos can speak louder than words
In the fields of aesthetics such as cosmetic surgery or dermatology, before and after photos are the first things prospective patients look at when considering the skill and quality of a physician. When searching for realistic representations of what they can expect following physically altering procedures, pictures speak louder than words.
Create more content
By adding or creating a new website page that features patient testimonials AND provider services information using medically-relevant buzzwords, you’ll be creating more indexed pages for your website around those terms.
Boost your credibility
Patient testimonials can provide instant credibility. Perspective patients are much more comfortable when they hear honest opinions from real people, who had real results.
Expand your Referral Base
Testimonials are essentially like word-of-mouth referrals. But instead of solely relying on current patients to make direct referrals to family and friends, testimonials have a much farther reach and the collective opinion of many patients can be much more impactful.
How to get Testimonials
If you have an existing Facebook page set up as a local business, you can utilize the built-in Reviews tab.
Simply slide this tab over into your visible tabs and encourage your patients to first, “Like” your page and then write comments and reviews.
LinkedIn can be a great, legitimate source for reviews via the Recommendations section. While there is no option to write reviews on a company profile, you can ask for recommendation statements on individual profiles. This option works well for doctors or other healthcare providers who have individual profiles set up.
For practices with multiple providers, encourage each individual to have an active profile on LinkedIn. This could lead to individual providers receiving recommendations from their patients on behalf of the whole office or practice. Additionally, with permission, these recommendations can be used on your website’s testimonials section to boost your reach.
Rewarding patients who review
Offer your patients incentives for writing reviews. A couple easy ways to do this include using special coding on Facebook to share offers with fans or local search directories, which allow you to share coupons or discounts on their sites.
If relevant, incentives can be directly related to the services you provide, such as a discount on specific cosmetic procedures or products. Other incentives might include coupons to local restaurants or vendors that your patients might find valuable. When offered a reward, people are much more motivated to take the time to write a review.
Google Alerts and Social Mentions
Patient testimonials about your business or practice can often be written without solicitation on other review sites or personal blogs. It’s important to keep track of these reviews by setting up daily notifications via email on Google Alerts and Social Mention.
Use alerts to find reviews and get patients’ permission to feature their comments on your testimonials page. People will generally agree to this, especially if you offer them in turn, a link from your site.
Compiling Your Testimonials Page
Once you have located and received permission to use external reviews, add them to the testimonials section of your webpage. Don’t forget to credit the sites where the reviews came from (such as linking to your Yelp profile).
Dealing with Bad Reviews
Despite best efforts, it’s not possible to please everyone and you may come across some negative reviews. When this happens, it is essential that you provide a response. In doing so, make sure your response does not take on a defensive tone, instead, focus on providing an explanation and possible solutions for patient complaints. This will convey the message that you value patient satisfaction and may lead to a positive impression after all.
Where applicable, Before/After pictures can showcase a physician’s skills and give potential patients a realistic view of what to expect
Ask for Detailed Comments
Testimonials that are vague or only make blanket comments such as, “I highly recommend Dr. Jones”, are not convincing. Instead, ask patients to expound on why they were happy with the provider or care they received.
Put Them Everywhere
Put a link to your testimonials page in as many places as possible. This includes blogs, email signatures, and social media profiles. The key is maximum exposure.
Create Trust by Having Traceable Testimonials
When you provide sources or backlinks to the reviewers, the option to verify the authenticity of those testimonials will automatically make them more credible.
Feature Likable Patients
Patients look for others who are similar to them or who they can relate to. Identify your target patient demographic and highlight testimonials provided by those reviewers who will have the most impact on your potential patients.