Here’s the inspiring story of how a 5-office practice went from being allergic to the idea of getting online reviews to positively RELISHING the process. It all started in 2018 when I was asked to come in and consult with a world-renowned medical practice. They knew their stuff. They were beyond experts in their field. But, they had a problem. Through their intern program they had literally created their own competition around the world, and they needed help with their digital presence to cut through the noise.
To prepare for the meeting, I did some preliminary research, and I found something interesting. These doctors were internationally renowned, but I wouldn’t have ever known that from their online presence, and this was largely due to the nature of their reviews, which simply didn’t reflect their medical prowess. Of the five offices, only one Google Business Page had been above a 4.0 average. While their Facebook business pages were somewhat better, they were still sorely lacking the reviews (now called “recommendations”) that are so persuasive and attractive to prospective patients.
Mind you, they hadn’t called me in to discuss reviews. They called me in to discuss social media, which we did. But whenever you do social media in a vacuum, isolated from the rest of your marketing and customer experience, you are simply not getting the full value from or harnessing the complete power of digital marketing, and this is costing you valuable opportunities and sales.
When we suggested our initial idea of guiding a digital marketing strategy for them, they accepted it, but with the caveat that we not do a survey of current and past patients, which is a typical fixture of our process. While it’s not how we usually work, we recognized this was a sensitive area for them, so we said “no problem!”, and instead, did considerable research of the other big names in their area of expertise. I wanted to see what they all had to offer and how they were promoting digitally.
I discovered a pattern I often see in the medical field. Their competing doctors had the power of a great digital presence, and not because they owned it, but because of their hospital affiliations, which gives you automatic and reliable juice for your online credibility. The practice that asked for my help was independent and didn’t have the advantage of being marketed through affiliates, so we needed to get really creative in order to catch up with the big guys, and one of the main ways to do it was to change their reputation management online.
It took a while to convince the office that was the best way to go. During that process we fixed everything we could about their social media and website. We wrote blogs, posted consistently, shared about their history, and much more. And…it worked! Growth and visibility was increasing. As they trusted us more and more, they became comfortable with the idea of working on reputation management, and so we moved to that next.
And here are the results of just one of the five offices (they are all just as good, but this blog would go on forever if we added all the results for each office here.):
As of March 2019, before the overhaul, the office had a total of 14 Google reviews. Now, you may think this is a decent number of reviews, but the office has been open for almost 60 years and their first Google review came only five years ago! Here’s how they broke down:
- 3 one-star reviews – 2 of those gave no reason
- 2 two-star reviews – Only 1 gave a reason
- 2 four-star reviews – Neither gave a reason
- 7 five-star reviews – 4 of those gave no reason
Do you see the issue?
So, where are they now, after just a brief period of time with us managing their online reputation?
They currently have 69 reviews, an almost 500% increase!
To boot, 42 of them (more than 60%!) are five-star reviews (a 600% increase!), and 28 of those give glowing reasons for their excellent evaluation.
I can hear you now. You are asking “How did we do it?! Were these reviews bought or bribed? Are they authentic and honest?” I assure you they are 100% real. The big secret? We simply asked for them! Well, it’s not quite that simple, and the success of a campaign like this is in the system. We devised a plan to ask obviously happy patients for a review and, to follow up, included a link in their post-appointment email to make it easy for them. Also, and this part is important, we gave them ideas of what to write about so that their reviews would have better ranking on Google. We can help give you similar ideas to help your Google reviews increase your SEO so that you get found online more often.
In addition to Google reviews, we let the happy patients know that, if they preferred, they could leave a recommendation on Facebook too.
Here’s the difference that made: between 2013 and February of 2019 they had received 5 Facebook reviews, all negative. Since working with us they have received 16 new reviews and only 3 of those are negative! What made the difference? Simply asking the question, and not waiting for patients to randomly leave a review when they decided to, which often leads to a preponderance of negative feedback.
Reviews are powerful, and a crucial part of your online marketing presence, especially in this era of transparent social proof driven by the social nature of companies like Facebook and Google. Don’t be scared! If you are intentional about your approach, you can embrace reviews and use their great persuasive power to exponentially increase the effectiveness of your digital presence. But, you need to ask the question, and you need to make a system. Not sure how? Not sure you want to? Give us a call – it happens to be one of our specialties!
Next time…6 awesome benefits of asking for more online reviews!