Gaining a top spot in online search results is one of the biggest possible marketing wins for your podiatry practice. And increasing your online reviews is one of the quickest ways to improve your online presence.
While some folks call reviews “free podiatry advertising,” the truth is that they do take some time and effort to generate. (In marketing, this is known as “earned media”—you have to work for it, but you don’t have to pay to play.) Many practices have found that a small investment in the right review-gathering tools is a no-brainer, as they can save tons of time and yield huge results.
Whether you decide to walk the path alone or team up with a podiatry practice growth partner, this article will help you understand how to use reviews to make your practice more visible online. We’ll cover:
– Why reviews matter
– Why you should embrace a few negative reviews
– An intro to gathering more reviews
Let’s jump in.
Why do Reviews Matter in Your Podiatry Marketing Plan?
Reviews determine whether or not someone will choose your podiatry practice. It’s that simple. Odds are you’re a frequent reader of reviews—when hiring a plumber, choosing a brunch spot, buying a new pair of running shoes, etc. Most people are. Here’s an eye-opening stat:
Reviews = Appointments
A report by BIA/Kelsey and ConStat revealed that 97 percent of people read reviews for local businesses before working with them. 90% of people who read online reviews before purchasing said that positive reviews helped sway their decision.
Low Review Scores = No New Podiatry Patients
This isn’t just about having reviews. Your overall review score must be solid. According to SearchEngineLand, 87% of people won’t work with a business that has a 1 or 2-star rating. (If your score is that low, keep reading.)
More Stars = More Revenue
Harvard Business School reports that improving your review score by a single star can increase your revenue by 5-9%. (But as you’ll read next, there is such a thing as too many 5-star reviews.)
Your reviews are your reputation and your search ranking. Don’t let your happy patients walk away without adding their proverbial two cents to your marketing machine. Before we look at how, let’s bust a few review myths.
According to a study by Spiegel Research Center, people are skeptical of businesses that have a full 5-star-rating. Patients actually see practices with a few negative reviews as more trustworthy (it’s evidence that you’re not suppressing reviews or gaming the system), and 82% of people will read them, according to research by Power Reviews.
Not only is the occasional bad review a sign of authenticity, it’s an opportunity for you to show off your bedside manner with a compassionate and diplomatic response. 89% of consumers will read your practice’s response to reviews according to BrightLocal. Providing excellent service goes a long way to boost a prospective patient’s perception of you.
Of Course, Sometimes Bad Reviews Are Just… Bad
There will always be cases where customers leave bad reviews about insignificant things, and there are rare cases where people use reviews to attack a business based on politics or misinformation. These things happen. But that 82% of people who are reading your negative reviews? They’re likely to see these reviews for what they are. And more often, negative reviews are actually good insight into ways you can improve your practice.
The best thing to do with negative reviews once you’ve responded? Bury them with a sea of positive ones. by 1. Gathering more reviews. 2. Targeting specific review platforms. And 3. Requesting reviews, the right way. Want the details on doing this? Join us next month for The 3 Steps of Review-Based Marketing for Podiatry Practices.