By: Faiza Akbar
Today, more than ever, online reviews have become just as important
as word of mouth, making it critical to maintain a positive online presence. Online reviews are often the first point of contact for many of your potential patients. They are an authentic and reliable way for potential patients to make a quick decision about whether or not they want to visit your healthcare practice. 90% of consumers state
that they read less than 10 reviews to form their opinion of a business, giving you only a brief window to convince them why they should visit your healthcare practice. There is no doubt that finding a practice with stellar reviews and 5-star ratings would be a clear, convincing factor for most, but how do you get there? With countless platforms for online reviews, managing them can seem like a daunting task. However, as with any other facet of marketing, managing this diligently and proactively is an asset to your practice's reputation.
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The first step is figuring out which review websites you need to focus on. Not all reviews hold the same weight. Google Reviews are the most frequently read, and what patients are most likely to be familiar with
. Before a potential patient even gets to your website, the first things they see (if you have excellent SEO rankings [How to improve your SEO
]) when they Google you, along with your contact information, are the reviews people have left.
After Google, your next two focal points might be a social media platform like Facebook and a general review platform like Yelp. Collectively, these three sites account for 80% of online reviews
. Only after considering these should you turn your focus on industry specific review sites. Whether RateMDs or HealthGrades, you should focus on the one with the largest engagement in your area, which you might determine by searching "Best (Dentist) in (your area)", for example.
Once you have decided which websites are best aligned with the interests of your patients and practice, it's time to get to work. Managing online reviews is not a one time project. It is something that requires your ongoing attention. 73% of consumers find reviews older than 3 months to be outdated and irrelevant
, so it's important to ensure you have new and updated ones. Monitoring your reviews is the first step to achieve this. If you notice a streak of reviews that simply leave star ratings and no comments, you can encourage your patients to leave more detailed reviews. Try gently suggesting patients who give you positive feedback in person, to also leave an online comment. You can also ask for reviews in your monthly newsletter, on a section on the homepage of your website, through email reminders, or at the end of each appointment. This way, you can keep your reviews updated so that they appear more trustworthy and relevant to potential and returning patients.