Reviews are everywhere and they’re a driving force in today’s physical therapy marketing. They function as an on line method of word-of-mouth advertising. It’s critical for practitioners to understand that potential patients do pay attention to them and learn how to generate more positive reviews.
Much of the information about a physical therapy business may be representative of comments or feedback left on blogs, in forums and social media platforms. There are a number of ways to provide greater focus and obtain more 5 star on line reviews to promote a clinician, the physical therapy business, and services offered.
While practitioners may be tempted to place less emphasis on reviews, according to Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar, the most important thing to remember is that people do care about reviews. Named one of the top 10 on line marketers by Forbes, Patel reminds business owners that 30 percent of Internet users look up reviews on Amazon before purchasing a product and 13 percent use Google.
Individuals seeking a physical therapist and new patients who have been referred often look for more information about the clinician and reviews will have a decisive influence on how they approach their first appointment. Capterra director of marketing, Katie Hollar, reported that software companies that included reviews for their products experienced a significant increase in conversion rates.
Obtaining reviews isn’t easy and patients are more likely to leave a review when their experience is negative. Once a patient has obtained the needed services, they see little or no benefit in taking the time to provide a review, but they’re often willing to provide an assessment if they’re approached in the right way.
It’s not an imposition to ask patients to leave a review and it’s essential in today’s digital era. Clinicians often feel uncomfortable asking patients to leave a review, but those that don’t ask won’t receive and aren’t doing all they can toward their physical therapy business plan. Some patients may not have even considered leaving a review or don’t know where to go to do so.
It’s not underhanded or unethical to ask patients to leave a review and the best time to ask is before they leave the clinic after treatment. An even better strategy is to call the patient the day after treatment to see how they’re feeling and if they’re satisfied with the services before asking for a review.
Clinicians would do well to take a page from Amazon’s play book. Send a friendly email a few days after their treatment and requesting patient feedback. It also serves as a way to keep the clinic’s name in front of the patient. Practitioners should be appreciative and let patients know the review is important to them. Use phrases such as “love for you to share your experience” or “help others make informed decisions.”
Keep It Simple
Obtaining a review from patients for physical therapy marketing is difficult enough – don’t ask them to jump through hoops. Make leaving a review as easy as possible. If the review will appear on a third-party site, provide them with a link that they can click on.
Another strategic technique is having the patient click on a star rating in the email. Virtually everyone on line knows what a star represents and what’s expected of them by clicking on it. Be clear what the practice is seeking. Providing a simple review form with specific questions about services, why they visited the clinic, the overall result and would they use the clinic again should be included.
Don’t offer incentives for providing reviews. The recent Amazon controversy over paid and fraudulent reviews provides a valuable lesson for marketing a physical therapy business. As reported by Sky News, sellers were paying for reviews and using multiple accounts in an effort to manipulate their ratings. In the U.S., clinicians could incur fines from the FTC for those practices.
To maximize the number of reviews, nothing can beat an automatic system of the kind offered with the In Touch EMR™. It’s an integrated system that provides clinicians with the ability to automatically email, text or leave voice messages for patients, and offers sophisticated marketing analytics. The In Touch EMR™ enables practitioners to customize their message, perform the after treatment call, and tender a request for the review.
Whether the clinician has an established practice and is just beginning to accrue reviews or it’s a new clinic, the biggest challenge will be obtaining those first patient reviews. No one wants to be the first to post a review and risk looking uninformed or foolish.
Patients would rather peruse other reviews and get an idea of what other people are saying, making it imperative to begin the process with positive reviews. Paid advertising offers an avenue for getting first reviews utilizing pay-per-click ads.
Pick a Site
Clinicians have a wealth of third-party sites from which to choose for patients to provide reviews. Pick one review site for marketing efforts and focus on that, especially when starting out. Other sites can be utilized once the clinic has gained some reviews and established a positive reputation.
Pay attention to Existing Reviews
If there’s an issue at the clinic, patients generally won’t hesitate to make their dissatisfaction known even if it’s only a perceived deficit on the part of the clinic. Rectify any problems that clients have named before seeking further reviews.
Leverage Social Media
Specific age groups respond differently to a request for reviews. Patients under the age of 30 tend to communicate more on social media platforms and register their opinions there. Those patients may be reached more effectively via Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with YouTube videos and LinkedIn recommendations.
An article published by Neilson reported that on line reviews are the second most trusted source of information, with 70 percent of a global audience that was surveyed indicating that they trusted information provided through social media platforms.
A testimonial is a review that’s performing double duty on the clinic website. With the permission of the reviewer, their feedback can be placed on the clinic’s website as a testimonial. It provides proof from others about the effectiveness of the practice and its services.
Positive reviews can be leveraged on the practice’s site to generate more reviews. Practitioners can link their primary website to the third-party review site for directing potential patients to see what others have said and how they’ve been helped.
It’s essential for physical therapy marketing to monitor social media and the chosen review site closely and respond quickly to any negative feedback. The temptation to confront the reviewer is great, but it only makes the situation worse. Effective reputation management for a physical therapy business means thanking the patient if a bad review was appropriate and apologize. The patient may go back and change their review.
Nothing is Perfect
Clinicians should remember that no matter how efficient the clinic or effective the treatment, there will always be patients who complain, even if it’s unwarranted. Patients know this, too and even with a negative review, a preponderance of positive feedback will make an impression.
A physical therapy marketing plan makes use of every asset, tool and resource available.
Five star reviews are an effective way to reach potential patients, especially younger individuals with whom long-term relationships can be established for greater lifetime value.
For more information about In Touch EMR™ or to schedule a free demo, call (800)-421-8442.