There is something about patient psychology. Most patients would love to see social proof of your practice’s credibility before they schedule an appointment. According to a study by Nielsen, nearly 92 percent of potential customers trust a recommendation from a friend, and almost 70 percent of potential customers will trust a recommendation from someone they do not even know. That’s the power of reviews, recommendations and customer testimonials. This is the reason an increasing number of healthcare practice owners and marketers are focused on building a positive brand experience by displaying and promoting positive reviews.
Online reviews are both exciting and intimidating. While a positive review is a strong form of social proof, a negative review can leave you fighting negative publicity. Today’s patients are tech-savvy and resourceful. When researching online for a healthcare practice or provider, they reference all of the information they have at their disposal. However, there is one thing most searchers pay more attention to than the rest: online reviews. Here are some stats to prove this point:
- 88 percent of potential customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Customers spend 31 percent more with a brand with “excellent” reviews.
- Four out of 20 potential customers form an opinion about a brand after reading up to three reviews.
Customer reviews matter because they are considered a solid and unbiased piece of information in a world that is characterized by biased and paid forms of media. And with over 85 percent of customers relying on online reviews and testimonials when researching local businesses, it is important to include social proof in your healthcare marketing strategy. By including online patient reviews in your marketing strategy, you will be able to use storytelling techniques through your own patients’ experiences.
In addition, merely telling potential patients that your practice is the best will not make them visit your office. However, hearing the same feedback from your existing patients might make potential patients consider your practice. So if you have not been thinking of incorporating patient reviews into your healthcare marketing strategy, now is your chance. You must strategically utilize patient reviews and show the potential patient how great your practice is.
Ways to Promote Patient Reviews
If you think patient testimonials are only meant to be shown on the homepage of your practice website, you are losing the competitive edge. A lot of healthcare practices these days are using patient reviews and testimonials in the most unconventional places to strengthen their marketing efforts.
Sharing your patients’ positive experiences on your website, blogs, case studies and social media posts will help prove how you deliver on your promises to your patients. A positive review might bring to you what other marketing activities will not.
Patient reviews can provide value in the different stages of the patient journey. Here are some ways healthcare marketers can leverage patient reviews to draw interest from potential patients and grow their practice:
In email campaigns: Emails are often the first line of marketing strategy and are a great opportunity to use patient reviews to ease potentials into the buying cycle. This can be done by including a link to a third-party review website at the end of the message or including words from the review in the subject title. Some healthcare marketers may choose to utilize links to patient reviews in their email signatures so that the recipient can read those reviews. You can send targeted emails with relevant reviews that focus on specific services. Patient reviews and testimonials are the perfect tools you need to drive your return on investment.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Host third-party reviews on your practice website: You can add links to patient reviews and testimonials that are appearing on third-party review sites on your practice website. Choose the reviews that talk about the benefits of your staff and services. Embedding review quotes is an easy way of proving that your services are liked by your patients. And if the review mentions how your brand measures up against your competitors, you have hit gold. Such reviews must be placed prominently on your website.
Create case studies: Another great use of customer reviews is in case studies. Case studies with patient reviews can help your practice immensely by highlighting your success. You can depict how your products or services assisted a patient in turning his life around. While writing a case study, focus on one patient problem that your service solved uniquely. Marketing teams create most case studies, and handpicking patients to highlight your success can be a challenge. However, by asking those who have already written positive reviews of your practice, you can easily get patients for a case study. Case studies are powerful weapons in every healthcare marketer’s arsenal. Considering the gradual transition of a potential patient in a buyer’s journey, case studies can be highly effective in influencing those on the fence and brand building.
Use in infographics: Infographics are one of the most effective pieces of marketing collateral because they quickly highlight key areas of a solution for your potential patients. You can try mixing in quotes from reviews that emphasize your skills or products to drive home the point that your marketing team is making. Aside from facts, figures, charts and statistics, incorporating patient reviews in infographics can empower your marketing team by adding credence to your claims and may help potential patients make the right decision.
Incorporate reviews in blogs: Blog posts and positive patient reviews make a super-effective combination. Imagine a first-time prospect who lands on your practice website through your blog. If your blog is resonating enough for your visitors, the patient testimonials can act as icing on the cake. However, respect patient experience and do not be intrusive. In order to create a good patient experience, you can place the reviews on the sidebar rather than in the middle of content. In addition, if you want to display multiple reviews, use a carousel widget to display more than one review.
On social media posts: Using the power of patient reviews should not be limited to your website or email campaigns alone. You can also use reviews for your social media campaign to promote your brand and services. Many healthcare brands have used patient reviews on their social networking pages to drive traction and generate quality leads. If social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are relevant to your practice, you must share the testimonials with your followers. This will not only improve your reputation but will also help you attract new patients. However, while sharing patient reviews, keep HIPAA guidelines in mind.
On your website’s landing pages: About Us, Home, Services and Contact Us are some of the most prominent pages on your website that drive sales and boost conversions. In fact, by placing positive reviews directly on your website strategically, you could tilt the prospect’s decision in your favor. However, do not add patient testimonials to just about every page. Be very precise in picking the right page to showcase testimonials. When used in the right manner, testimonials can make your Contact Us page powerful and may help you generate a higher number of inquiries.
Next to calls to action (CTAs): CTAs are arguably the most effective tool in your marketing mix. They prompt a prospect to take the desired action and help you strengthen your lead-generation campaign. While CATs are a tried-and-tested winning formula, they can work even better when combined with patient testimonials. For instance, if you want to encourage your visitors to download an ebook or white paper, you can place reviews of those who may already have done so and benefited from the contents. All you have to do is make sure the testimonial is contextually relevant to your CTAs.
Patient testimonials are the most valuable marketing assets a brand can have. When used correctly, you can achieve optimum ROI, drive sales and improve conversion rates. Just remember to use them intelligently, not to go overboard with them and combine them smartly in the right context.