What does it take to get a return on your investment in RealSelf? In this series, we’ll walk you through the approaches your peers have taken in order to get peak performance from their profiles.
Six years ago, a colleague who was getting good results on RealSelf suggested to Dr. Jae Pak that he give the platform a try.
“And it worked,” says Dr. Pak.
There are two primary reasons why he can say so with such confidence. First, Dr. Pak, who is a Los Angeles-based hair restoration surgeon, has a great handle on its effectiveness because he tracks how all of his direct-from-RealSelf leads engage with his practice.
And second, Dr. Pak took his destiny into his own hands: RealSelf works because he takes specific steps to get the most value from the platform. Here’s how.
RealSelf Profile By the Numbers
Specialty: Hair Restoration Surgeon
Years in practice: 15
Joined RealSelf: 2015
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Patient reviews: 195
Star rating: 4.9
B&A photos: 291
His profile, and his processes, are built for patients who are ready to book.
Dr. Pak notes that, as a whole, potential patients who come to him from RealSelf are more ready to make a decision than those coming from other sources.
“RealSelf is a vetting venue. When those leads come to me, they’re not at the beginning of their search, they’re towards the end,” says Dr. Pak. “They’re trying to narrow down which doctor to go to.”
When patients are ready to decide, practices need to be ready as well. Dr. Pak trains his staff to stay on top of RealSelf inquiries; they usually reply to incoming leads within 30 minutes. “And if email doesn’t work, and the phone doesn’t work, we text them now,” he says.
Dr. Pak knows that potential patients are studying his profile closely because many ask him detailed questions about specific content in his reviews. Knowing that his profile is a gateway to serious patients is why he focuses so intently on courting reviews from patients. Here’s what he told us:
- Establish a bond, then ask them yourself. “The quality reviews—every single one of them are me talking to patients and being personable,” says Dr. Pak. “I have a one-on-one bond with my patients, and by the time I ask for a review I have established a really, really close rapport with them.”
- Remind them they’re helping others. Dr. Pak lets his patients know how much reviews will help others like them. “I tell them, ‘I know that you were nervous when you were first starting out on this journey. If you could write an honest review about what your experience was, that will help out other patients in the future.’”
This personalized approach has led to a high response rate for reviews (“Ninety to ninety-five percent of the people I ask will write a review for me,” he says) resulting in nearly 200 of them, many of them highly detailed and offering close-to-decision patients a compelling window into what it’s like to be treated by Dr. Pak.
He tracks every inquiry.
Dr. Pak tracks all of his incoming leads in Excel, something he has done since the very beginning of this engagement with RealSelf.
This practice doesn’t capture the behavior of every lead that is influenced by RealSelf (some leave his RealSelf profile and contact his office through other means). But it does give Dr. Pak a much clearer view of the value that RealSelf is bringing to his business by revealing the bottom-line impact of patients who contact him directly through his RealSelf profile.
Dr. Pak’s busy surgical schedule doesn’t make it feasible for him to do this work daily. Instead, he takes time every couple of weeks to process RealSelf contacts. Here’s what “tracking his incoming leads in Excel” looks like:
- First, Dr. Pak goes through emails from RealSelf to add patients who were referred from the platform to an Excel spreadsheet. “RealSelf makes it easy because I can copy and paste that data directly into Excel,” he says.
- Second, he adds their name, the date they submitted their inquiry, and the surgical category they selected to a row in his Excel spreadsheet.
- Over time, Dr. Pak adds more information about each patient’s ongoing engagement with his practice, including when his office was able to contact them, when they came in for their consultation, and when they had a procedure done.
This regular tracking gives Dr. Pak the information he needs to understand how many RealSelf leads are ultimately becoming consultations and undergoing surgeries. It’s information that helps him quantify what RealSelf is adding to his business, and to detect trends over time.
|Pro tip. Create an email filter to group all RealSelf patient inquiries together into a single location in your inbox.|
He makes decisions based on data.
The result of tracking all of his leads’ journey with his practice? “Over the last six years, I have every single data point of how many RealSelf patients came to me or not,” he says. Dr. Pak occasionally creates graphs to help him identify trends. It’s data that informs the decisions he makes for his practice.
For example, Dr. Pak uses his patient data to predict which days of the week he’ll see the highest number of inquiries, and even to make staffing decisions based on when inquiries are likely to be heaviest.
|Accounting for “indirect” leads. While Dr. Pak is diligent about tracking the leads identified as coming from RealSelf, he knows that RealSelf can also influence incoming inquiries that come from other sources. “‘Google’ is a generic term for ‘searching’ for people,” says Dr. Pak. “Some of them found me on RealSelf but will say, ‘I found you on Google,’ or ‘I found you through Yelp.’”|
Dr. Pak also uses this data to understand how much money he should be spending. “There’s a certain dollar amount where each extra dollar doesn’t get me more patients,” he says. Tracking his patients gives him insight into what that figure is. “These things are difficult to assess just from being in the field,” he says. “But when you have every single data point, you can know.”
One crisp takeaway
Tap previous patients to start strong. “RealSelf works well for me because I’m vested in the product. I didn’t sign up and expect people to just walk through the door,” says Dr. Pak. “It’s a good platform, but it’s as good as how much you’re willing to put into it.”
For those just starting out with RealSelf, he advises creating a complete profile and tapping your previous patients for that first crop of reviews. “For the initial reviews, it was just me picking up the phone and telling patients, ‘Hey, I just signed up with RealSelf. Can you add a review for me?’ And they’re like, ‘Sure.’” He then followed up with an email to reiterate the ask. In fact, Dr. Pak says his first 20 to 30 reviews on RealSelf came from a backlog of previous patients.
Want to learn more about how RealSelf can drive growth to your practice? Visit here to request time with a RealSelf Advisor.