Reviews are important for any small business. However, they’re especially valuable for physicians. Why? Because patients need to trust their doctors, and a growing body of evidence shows that patients view peer reviews as the biggest indicator of a healthcare provider’s trustworthiness.
The takeaway is clear for dermatology offices and other medical practices looking to attract more patients. A solid dermatology marketing strategy to increase patient reviews online is one of the most efficient ways of attracting new clients and growing your business. And it begs the question: How can you get more patient reviews for your dermatology practice… and make the most of them?
Read on for a closer look at why online reviews matter so much, how you can get more of them, and best practices for engaging with current and potential patients through online reviews.
Why Patient Reviews Matter
According to survey data shared by HealthLeaders, nearly 75 percent of patients have used the internet to research doctors, dentists, and medical care. Meanwhile, 70 percent of respondents said positive online reputation was a “very or extremely important” factor in choosing between healthcare providers.
But it’s not just about the numbers. Patient reviews offer direct insight into the patient experience. This gives you the opportunity to make informed changes that improve upon it. For example, if long wait times are a recurring theme in your online reviews, you can take corrective action to mitigate the issue.
And then there’s the fact that patients are more engaged when they feel like their feedback is being welcome and heard.
Furthermore, if patient leakage is a concern, online reviews are a chance to assess gaps in care that might be detrimentally impacting patient retention.
On the flip side, positive patient reviews can be a strong indicator that you’re doing things right. According to one study, higher star ratings are associated with better patient outcomes.
Wondering how you’re stacking up against the competition? Patient reviews offer the opportunity to compare your reviews against other practices in your area.
First-party patient reviews — AKA those that appear on your website — are also invaluable from an SEO marketing perspective. Why? Because the Google algorithm rewards sites that contain robust patient reviews with higher results page rankings. If you want your medical practice to score a top ranking — and you should, because this correlates directly with click-throughs and conversations — a top ranking for local search is critical.
Five Ways to Increase Patient Reviews
Now that we’ve established why patient reviews matter so much, let’s take a look at five ways to get more of them for your dermatology practice.
Ask them to
This may sound simple. That’s because it is. According to one survey, 70 percent of patients will provide online reviews when asked to. Factor in that just 30 percent of people have been asked by businesses to leave reviews, and the lost opportunities are clear.
When a patient is leaving an appointment, reminding them that their feedback is welcome and valuable can vastly improve their chances of writing a review.
Send a follow-up email or snail mail
Email and snail mail are both effective ways to request followup after a patient visits your practice. Be sure to include a link to either your website or a third-party online review site to make it easy for them.
Post a video on your website
Video is pleasing to people and SEO alike. Posting a heartfelt video on your website that thanks your patients for their business and asks them for their feedback can go a long way toward getting them to leave reviews.
Utilize social media
Social media is incredibly popular with today’s consumers. It’s also an opportunity for two-way engagement. Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms are excellent forums for connecting with patients, soliciting their feedback and sharing it.
Enlist your staff
Sure, your staff is busy attending to mission-critical imperatives like delivering top-quality patient care. However, they can also be partners in soliciting feedback. Make asking for reviews part of your practice culture and training. It’s also another way to show your staff that the patient experience matters for everyone.
Best Practices for Online Reviews
If you want to get the most out of your online reviews, you need a strategic approach. In addition to soliciting reviews, this means:
Responding to reviews
Sharing reviews to social media
Using your reviews to improve your patient care
Maintaining current information on review sites
Including photos on review sites
Monitoring your SERP ranking
Of course, you’re probably wondering how to get positive reviews online. There’s a relatively straightforward answer to this question: deliver patient-first care. This also means recognizing areas where you’re falling short and adjusting what you’re doing to fix it. Then, make sure to let your patients know that you heard them and you responded.
Afraid of negative online reviews? Don’t be. Research indicates that people prefer businesses that have some negative feedback because they believe this makes them more authentic. As with positive reviews, it’s essential that you respond to them. This is no better demonstrated than by data indicating that patient satisfaction actually doubles when a doctor’s office addresses a negative online review.
When it comes to getting the best reviews for your dermatology practice, it comes down to one thing above all else: providing the best possible care to your patients. However, this may not leave you with time to understand and successfully implement the more logistical aspects involved with making the most of patient reviews.
That’s where a dermatology marketing agency comes in.
In addition to helping you with everything from dermatology SEO to email marketing, a digital marketing agency can also help you implement and manage a comprehensive online review strategy. By letting qualified experts who specialize in digital marketing for the healthcare industry handle this aspect of running a successful dermatology office, you free up yourself and your staff to focus on what matters most: delivering high-quality dermatological care.