Part One: Patient Reviews

An Easy and Clear Battle Plan

This month, we are going to send out two newsletters about two different subjects. This first newsletter is about patient reviews online. It is very important for your practice to both pay attention to them and also do all you can to increase them. Here is a clear plan on what you can do to both protect your reputation online and increase your overall amount of reviews.

The first part of the plan is to develop a clear strategy and make it easy to implement so it is easy for your staff to inform patients on how to leave reviews online and also easy for your patients to do it. I highly recommend having an easy-to-read one-page print-off or PDF that you can either hand to your patients or email to them. The review sheet should have clear instructions on where you suggest them to leave reviews, exactly how to find it and the qualifying questions to be sure that each specific patient is leaving a review on the “best” review site.

#1 Natural Path

It is important for you to make sure that patients find your review sites through a natural path. This means that you should not send patients a direct link to the website you are requesting them to leave a review on or have a direct link to it from your website, give them a PDF or instructions on how to find it. Specifically, let’s say you want a patient to leave a review on Yelp for you. Do not send a direct link to your Yelp profile to that patient. Instead, give them instructions on how to find the profile. The majority of the review sites heavily weigh if “reviewers” found you naturally or if they were “incentivized ” to leave a review. The reviews left for you through a direct link have a much higher probability of either being “filtered” or not showing up on that particular review site because they want “real” reviews, not reviews that were incentivized.

A great example of these are the filtered reviews on Yelp. Have you seen these? Here is a video on Yelp that helps clarify the “filtered reviews” – Yelp Filter Explained – Kind of. It is important that when you give patients direction on reviews, you make it clear on how they should do it – they appreciate this as well. The most agitating thing for them is taking the time to write a review, going to the site, posting the review and then it not showing up. Make sure you do not send direct links to your review profiles. This will increase reviews for your practice online and also make it easier and less stressful for patients to leave reviews for you.

#2 Yelp

Yelp 5 Star ReviewDaily we hear complaints about Yelp and how hard it is to get reviews. It is very difficult to get good Yelp reviews and paying a company to do it for you is a mistake and can harm you both in the short and long term. We have all heard the stories of bad reviews on Yelp and then the call to spend money with them “which will help remove the bad reviews.” The first recommendation we have is to stay away from Yelp unless you need to enhance your profile to push down bad reviews. If you are in the position of having bad reviews, you must be smart in fighting this. First and most important, do not create fake accounts and start leaving reviews. They can track IP addresses and will not count multiple reviews from the same IP address. Also, as mentioned above the reviews will likely be filtered. Next, ask patients to leave you reviews ONLY if they are active on Yelp. The other important note is to be sure the path is natural, as mentioned above. Do not send patients links to your yelp profile or ask them through Facebook – the reviews will not show and will not help your cause. The most effective thing you can do is find patients that are active on Yelp and ask them to help you out. We have a few more ideas on this so if this in particular is a struggle for you give us a call and we can discuss.

#3 What review site should you focus on?

Easy answer – Google+. Smart Answer – Google+. Most difficult answer – Google+.

The best place, hardest place and smartest place hands down you should focus on is Google+. Why? It helps your placement on the search engines organically, it helps your map locations on the map results and helps your social presence through their social site – ie. Google+. However, the most important thing to note is that it will help your SEO and also your map placement. The more reviews you have, the more it helps your website both in the short and long term. The biggest negative is there are no longer anonymous reviews. Patient privacy is obviously a big deal and many don’t want it public when it comes to plastic surgery. However, if you are clear and upfront with your patients, you will be surprised how many do not mind. They respect this and many will still be happy to leave the reviews. Google+ should be a vital part of your reviews strategy (because it is the stars that show up on maps which is very visible) and it helps your SEO. This should be your primary focus when it comes to reviews. You should also have them add your business to their Google circle – this will help your site show up better on the search engines as well.

#4 Just Ask!

Many practices forget to do the simple thing – ASK! How many patients do you see at follow up that are delighted with their results? What percentage of those patients do you ask if they mind sharing their experience? Studies suggest that number is about 30%, but there really is no way to know an exact number. However, I am pretty confident that you are not asking every single patient. Patients are tech savvy usually and understand the importance of reviews and will not have a problem helping you the way you helped them. Think about what percentage of your business is word of mouth – probably very high. If they are willing to share their happiness with friends and family, don’t you think they will be okay telling random people by leaving a written review? Also, even if they are not willing to leave reviews on review sites, they may be willing to leave them on your website, which is equally important. Also, we have developed a new way to get your website “stars” on searches if you have enough reviews. This is being implemented now for all of our current clients, but feel free to call and ask about it as well if you would like.

Reviews are important and play a vital part of your online rankings and reputation. We feel it is a bad idea to pay a company for “reputation management” because it can hurt you more than help you. We also feel that by implementing easy steps, you have no need for it and you can generate real reviews without having to pay a service to do it for you. There are some review companies out there we like for sure because they do work and generate great reviews for your website, but when it comes to reviews on external sites like Yelp, Google Plus, Ratemd’s etc., it is never a good idea to pay for good reviews.

Please keep your eye out for our next newsletter on the hot subject of CONTENT. Also, if you will be at ASPS San Diego, be sure to stop by my presentation on the Internet marketing panel or visit our booth.

If you are interested in a free website evaluation or help in generating new business for your practice, be sure to visit and contact us, or just reply to this email. As always, feel free to email me with any questions or comments.

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