If your practice has ever gotten negative press or negative ratings on patient review sites, you’ve probably heard a lot about reputation management. Even if your practice hasn’t had to worry about reputation management, you’re probably at least familiar with the concept.
Reputation management focuses on restoring a positive reputation for your practice after you’ve gotten negative reviews or negative press. It’s certainly a position no practice wants to be in. However, with the growing popularity of patient review sites, it can also be an opportunity to show off the positives about your practice. If your patients are satisfied, they are probably already telling their family and friends about your practice. This is an opportunity to take those positive comments online as another avenue to market your practice.
That’s where reputation marketing comes in. The concept is very similar to reputation management, but you’re focusing on taking control of your reputation to better showcase your strengths.
Reputation Marketing to Promote Your Practice
Take a moment to Google your practice’s name, and all of the doctors in your practice. You’ll probably see a Google listing in the search results, as well as listings from review sites like Healthgrades and Vitals. These sites will show individual reviews, as well as an overall average of all of the scores. Unless your practice is already working on getting reviews from patients, or you are located in an active market, it’s not uncommon to see fewer than 10 reviews on each review site.
The problem is, most patients don’t think about posting reviews of your practice unless they’re really upset, or they feel you’ve gone above and beyond. So, the numbers can get fairly skewed if you aren’t paying attention. This may eventually create an inaccurate representation of your practice, and patients searching online may find low average scores concerning. You know the vast majority of your patients are happy, and this is a real opportunity for you to show that off.
With reputation marketing, you can work on building up a stronger online reputation so that patients in your area always see an accurate representation of your practice when they search online. The idea is to collect as many reviews as possible from your satisfied patients so that you can show off those positive comments to other patients. Even if your practice has never had a patient make a negative comment, you can still benefit from reputation marketing.
How Does Reputation Marketing Work?
Reputation marketing is all about showing off your patients’ positive comments about your practice. This can in turn help to build up your practice’s reputation in search results and catch the attention of patients searching for a physician.
It’s not about trying to cheat the system or scam your way into more reviews. You’ll get real comments from real patients. Potential patients will see these reviews when searching for your practice online, and they’ll have a good idea of what to expect if they choose your practice.
There are a couple of ways you can approach reputation marketing for your practice. One option is to claim your profiles on review sites like Healthgrades and Vitals, then ask patients to go there to leave reviews. You could hand out a card with the URLs at the end of the appointment, or send an email with links to your listings on these sites. However, the problem with this approach is that your patients may forget or be too busy to go to each site and fill out a survey, so it may take quite awhile to build up the amount of reviews you want.
The solution? Collect reviews from patients at the end of their appointments, while they are still in your office. They only have to fill out one survey, and if patients grant permission, you can then post those reviews to a number of online review sites. We’ve partnered with eMerit to offer this type of service to our clients. With our Reputation Marketing service, all you have to do is hand your patients an iPad at the end of their appointments and ask them to fill out a survey. It’s a very simple way to quickly build up your number of reviews online.
Beyond providing a positive representation of your practice online, reputation marketing can provide another benefit. As they begin to build up positive online reviews, most practices find that their ranking in local search results increases, and they begin to dominate search results over time. Google looks for these factors when determining how it will rank websites in search results. The more positive and current reviews you have, the more likely you are to have a favorable presence in relevant local searches.
In contrast to the reactive nature of reputation management, reputation marketing is about being proactive about your practice’s reputation. With reputation marketing, you’re showing off the positives, rather than trying to hide the negatives.