Now’s a Good Time to Beef Up Your Online Reviews

Now’s a Good Time to Beef Up Your Online Reviews

724 400 The RealSelf Team

In the wake of COVID-19, ninety-eight percent of people who use RealSelf told us they’re still interested in having a procedure done at some point in the future. Every day, we see them continue to read doctors’ profile content and sign up for virtual consultations.

You already know how important reviews are for consumers as they search for their doctor, but you’ve probably also found it hard to carve out time to get a good system in place. If you’re looking for ways to spend your time right now that will actually move your business forward, getting more reviews is an excellent way to invest hours.

The number one habit you can adopt that will get you more reviews is to ask every patient. Seventy-six percent of U.S. consumers who are asked to leave a review will do so. But you should also remember that it matters when you get them and how many there are: volume and recency increase consumers’ confidence in reviews and result in exponentially more contacts to you.

Have you looked up your reviews on RealSelf lately? It’s a great way to appreciate what they look like from a consumer point of view. Let’s dive into how you can use this downtime to get more reviews rolling in.

Step 1. Set a Goal

If you don’t have any reviews yet, or if your last review is months old, focus on getting your first ten reviews in the door. RealSelf data reveals that profiles with up to ten reviews get 8X more contacts than profiles that have none.

Boosting the number of reviews on your profile from that baseline will only amplify their impact on conversions: increasing reviews from 10 to 25 results in 20X more contacts, and at 50 it rises again to 70X more.

Step 2. Ask the Right Question

The primary motivator for aesthetic patients to leave a great review isn’t making their doctor happy (sorry)—it’s helping others like them.

Your patients remember what it was like when they were feeling their way in the dark, researching procedures and casting about for just the right doctor. Many of those patients want to help light the way for those who are following behind. To tap into that ethos, replace a question like “Will you leave me a review?” with something more like “Have you read our reviews?” This reframing accomplishes a few things:

  • It makes it more likely that their answer to this initial “closed question” (a question that elicits a yes-or-no answer) will be “yes.” Loads of research concludes that this is a great way to overcome resistance.
  • It leverages their existing eagerness to help other aesthetic patients.
  • If asking your patient for something gives you a little anxiety, you’ll find that asking the question this way is much easier.
Step 3. Be Strategic About Where You Send Patients

Not all review sites are created equal, but the value of a single review when published in the right place could be in the many thousands of dollars.

There’s a simple set of rules that can help you understand whether a site will return the value of your patient’s review back to you. Don’t send patients to that destination to write reviews if:

  • You don’t get any traffic from a review site.
  • It’s not on page one of Google when you search for your own name.
  • You never hear anyone say they read your reviews there.

In March, Google My Business announced that new reviews, review replies, and new Q&A would be unavailable during this time. By early April, review replies had been restored, but it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next or when regular reviews will be accepted again. So don’t send people there unless you’re absolutely sure this restriction has been lifted.

Step 4. Show Your Patients How to Do It

Our practice development team laid out a tested formula for acquiring patient reviews on RealSelf University (it’s an even deeper dive and very much worth watching).

We usually advise staff to show patients in person, but of course, that’s not an option right now. But if you’re seeing patients virtually, the special secret step that helps successful practices ramp their reviews is showing patients how to do it. It’s critical—patients who have to spin their wheels are more likely to defect from the process. We’ve developed a handy one-pager that you can send to patients to illustrate the process, step by step.

During normal times, we recommend the post-op appointment as a great time to request a review from your surgical patients. This is a recommendation you can apply now. If you’re having virtual post-op appointments with patients, take that as an opportunity to discuss reviews.

Related: Need help getting started with virtual consultations? We have education for that.

We typically advise doctors who have provided medaesthetic treatments to ask for reviews during followup appointments. If you’re providing virtual at-home followup care and tips to medaesthetic patients via video or email, use that as your opportunity to discuss reviews.

Step 5. Establish Habits Now That Will Pay Dividends When the Crisis is Over

In addition to asking virtually, now is the time to establish a process of asking by email that continues once you’re back in the office. If you haven’t made a habit of asking every patient to leave a review in the past, reach out to previous patients and ask them to leave one now. Our recommendation to lead with a “pay it forward”-style question still applies.

  1. Start with personal email appeals directly from you. Schedule a time for yourself to send 5 to 10 emails to patients one day each week.
  2. Set up small waves of email requests: don’t send more than 200 per week!
  3. Use your social media channels to ask for reviews.

You should locate the custom link to your RealSelf review form in your RealSelf dashboard (it’s near the bottom of the Request Reviews page in both the doctor and business page dashboards). It’s a quick way to take patients directly to your review page from email or social media in just one click.

Why limit the requests? If you were to fish with dynamite and ask everyone on the same day, you’d get a flood of reviews with the same date, and that might look suspicious. Spacing them out allows you to perfect your process and prevents the reviews you acquire from looking unusual to future readers.

If you need help with the messaging, use the review request email template below to get started.

Hi [Patient],

If you found my former patients’ reviews helpful during your doctor search, I have a favor to ask on behalf of others like you: please take a few minutes to review your experience with me on RealSelf, where so many are now looking for credible information to help them make a hugely important decision.

The best way to approach the review is to think about the information you would have found helpful early on:

  • What should they know about my approach and why you selected me as your doctor?
  • How can they prepare for the ups and downs of surgery and post-op, and how did I help you through them?
  • How has your procedure changed your life?

Even now, people are continuing to research doctors so they can be a few significant steps closer to having their procedure when it’s safe to operate again. You can do so much to help them make a choice they feel confident in. Here’s a link directly to my review page [find this link in the Request Reviews page of your dashboard] so that you can get started and step-by-step instructions if you need more help.

On behalf of all the patients you’ll help, thanks so much for taking the time!

All the best,

Dr. YourName

Amplify Your Reviews to Increase Conversions

Put your reviews front and center on your website—people love to see their own review turn back up there! Reviews on your own website also increase conversions by delivering that critical social proof needed to build trust with potential patients researching your practice. Additionally:

  • Add the RealSelf reviews widget to your website (click the “Widgets” link in your dashboard).
  • Don’t forget to say “thank you.”
  • If you know who they are, thank them personally.
  • Respond directly to the review online if you can.
Seed Future Reviews Now

If you’ve been tuned into the RealSelf Insights Center, RealSelf University or our new Instagram account (@RealSelfDrCommunity) in the past few weeks, then you’ve already heard the refrain: now is the time to think ahead and plan for when things return to normal.

Part of our review success formula entails seeding reviews during your initial consultation. This is a practice that you can apply to your virtual appointments. If they haven’t already, encourage potential patients to join RealSelf to read your reviews, browse your before-and-after photos, and view your answers.

Secondly, this is a great time to focus on processes and systems. Doctors and staff will benefit from the full RealSelf University curriculum on reviews. Sign up for free to learn more about:

  • Why reviews matter
  • The formula for getting reviews consistently
  • How to deal with negative reviews

You can also grab more than a dozen assets, tools and offers (with instructions!) to kick off your review strategy.