July 26, 2013
Mobile Device With Online Review

Why Online Reviews Are Important

Online reviews have become one of the most powerful marketing strategies. And guess what? They are also a free way to boost your SEO. Studies show that 25% of organic search results return content from review sites, blogs and social media sites. The quality and quantity of reviews are also important factors in local search rankings.

A lot of businesses I’ve worked with always say the same thing, “We rely on word-of-mouth”. Well, online reviews are exactly what word-of-mouth advertising has become. Instead of asking around about a business, consumers are relying heavily on reviews.  Statistics show that 70% of Americans read and rely on reviews before making a purchase.

How Do You Acquire More Reviews

Now that we have established that online reviews are a word-of-mouth way to generate new patients, let’s discuss strategies on how to successfully accumulate more reviews. Most people will look at between 2-10 reviews before making a decision (so have at least 2). Also, the more reviews you have, the more legitimate your businesses reviews are to consumers. Here are a few ways to boost your online reviews:

1-      Ask your best patients to write a review for you.

2-      Provide convenient ways for customers to easily access the review sites where you would like your patients to write reviews. Example: Post a sign in your office with QR codes that link directly to specific review pages.

3-      Include plug-ins to your website that link to your review pages and add links on your social media sites, too (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  

4-      In the signature of your outgoing emails, ask for reviews and provide links. Don’t forget to include links in your Newsletters too.

5-      Keep an iPad in your office. While patients are waiting for their appointments, encourage them to go to your review profiles and write a review.

6-      Have a drawing or contest for patients who write positive reviews for you.  Names could be entered to win a gift card (Starbucks anyone?), you could offer a discount off frames (or whatever you decide) or you could create a Google Offer or Yelp Deal.

Google, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo and Bing are examples of the top search engines for writing reviews. They bring in the most traffic, so, focus your efforts on optimizing those profiles.

Tip: If your patients have specific email addresses, such as @gmail or @yahoo, have them write a review on that particular review page (Google Local or Yahoo! Local). Same goes for patients that already have a Yelp account; have them write a review on your Yelp page. It makes writing a review less of a hassle for the reviewer.

You Have Reviews, Now What?

Once you start garnering reviews, start engaging with the reviewer. Simply thank them for taking the time to write a review and tell them that you are looking forward to their next visit. When visitors to your review sites see that you are interacting, they know that your business legitimately cares about what their patients think.  

When people view your review sites and see that your practice has taken the time to respond to customer feedback, it will be evident that your practice values your patients and their feedback.

How to Handle Negative Reviews

Every so often you will receive a negative review. It happens and there’s not much you can do about it (unless it’s derogatory). Not everyone will be happy with the service they received and that’s OK. Everyone has good and bad days. How you react is what is important.

1-      Don’t argue or retaliate. It makes you look unprofessional.

2-      Do examine the situation. Find out when they came in and talk to your staff about what occurred.

3-      Do reach out to the reviewer publicly AND privately. Try to understand what happened from their point of view. Tell them you are open for suggestions and that you want to resolve the issue quickly.

4-      Do apologize. A simply apology goes a long way. In a private message, offer a refund or a discount next time they come in.

5-      Don’t let negative reviews turn you off from having a review profile. You’re not perfect so handle the criticism professionally. Listen to your patients on what they feel needs to change and what should stay the same. 

The important thing to remember is that, good or bad, reviews are not only an important way to evaluate what you need to change or improve on, but they also help boost your SEO rankings!

 

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optometry marketing