There are many different ways to market your practice, from your website to advertising to social media. However, the best results don’t always come directly from these efforts. Sometimes, the best marketing for your practice is word of mouth from current patients.
Patient stories can really impact your practice, regardless of your marketing efforts. It’s one thing for you to show patients that you are an expert, but it’s quite another to have actual patients vouch for your expertise. Patient stories resonate with people in similar situations because they can relate.
According to Pew Research, 34% of internet users, or 25% of adults, have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website, or blog. When patients have positive stories to share about your practice, it helps to reassure other patients who are considering scheduling an appointment.
For this reason, we recommend that practices embrace patient reviews, stories, and testimonials. Positive comments about your practice from current patients can help influence other patients to make an appointment. Sometimes, that positive word of mouth from an objective person is just the “push” patients need to choose your practice.
Here are some of the ways patients can share their stories.
As you are probably well aware, patient review sites are only growing in popularity. You can’t Google a practice or physician’s name without seeing several review sites show up in the search results. Potential new patients will see these reviews if they research your practice. Even though patient ratings can be unpredictable, we have found that the vast majority of practices that encourage patient reviews have mostly positive reviews.
Although you can’t control how patients rate you online, you can take steps to gather more reviews from your patients. Solutions like our Reputation Marketing service allow you to quickly and easily collect reviews from patients in your office and post those reviews to Google, Healthgrades, and other popular physician review sites.
If this type of solution doesn’t fit into your practice’s budget or workflow, you can also set up profiles on popular review sites and email your patients links to reviews post-appointment. Start with the review sites that show up on the first page of Google search results for your practice, and work your way out from there. Whichever approach you take, being proactive about patient reviews can really make a positive impact on your practice’s reputation.
Testimonials on Your Website
If your practice doesn’t have the time or budget to use a reputation marketing service or manage online review profiles, patient testimonials may be an option. By collecting patient testimonials, your practice can share positive experiences and outcomes from patients you have helped. If a patient is very satisfied with your practice and the outcome of the treatment, you’ll find that many are happy to write up a testimonial for your practice. Often, all you have to do is ask.
If your practice’s website doesn’t already have a testimonial submission feature, it should be fairly simple to add one. On our P3 Inbound websites, the Patient Testimonials feature allows for comments as well as photos. Once you have your testimonial submission capability set up on your website, all you have to do is direct patients to the link.
Social media is another popular place for patients to discuss healthcare. According to a report by PWC, patients seek the following health-related information on social media:
- 42% look for health-related consumer reviews
- 32% read about their friends’ and families’ health experiences
- 29% read about other patients’ experiences with the disease they have
- 24% look at health-related images or videos posted by other patients
As you can see, patient experience has a lot to do with the health information patients discuss on social media. By having a social media presence, your practice can participate in health discussions, encourage patients to share experiences, and connect your patients with others going through the same health issues.
The sense of community fostered by social can be very helpful for your practice, particularly if you treat chronic conditions. When people experience ongoing, long-term health issues, it can be very impactful to share experiences with others. It shows patients that they are not alone in their struggle. If your practice can help to foster that communication, it may be a very positive thing for your practice.
In this changing medical landscape, it is becoming more important than ever to market your practice. If you have the patient stories to back up your marketing messages, then you have the opportunity to really make an impact in your local community.