Six Tips for Building & Maintaining a Stellar Online Reputation

We live in an age when a business’s online reputation can either be one of its strongest assets or a major liability. The modern patient has more options than ever when it comes to their healthcare, not to mention a plethora of information at their fingertips at all times. And you can bet they are doing their due diligence before choosing a new doctor.

Not only are prospective patients reading your online reviews (8 out of 10), but they’re reading more than just one or two (more like 10+), and an overwhelming majority (85 percent) trust them as much as personal recommendations.

We all want healthcare providers we can trust. And in 2021, nothing is more powerful in building that trust than positive online word-of-mouth. If your practice has a poor overall review score, it could be driving away hundreds of leads a year into the arms of your competitor.

Aside from attracting new patients, online reviews can also help your practice retain more existing patients, increase patient satisfaction, and improve your Google search rank. Google uses more than 15 percent of review “signals” (i.e., review quantity, velocity, diversity, positive vs. negative sentiment, etc.) as one of the most important local organic search ranking factors. It also displays review information in its listing when someone searches for a specific provider.

So, how do you build and maintain a stellar online reputation? Below are six tips guaranteed to help you obtain more five-star reviews as well as boost the overall credibility and visibility of your brand online.

1. Ask patients for online reviews.

Soliciting patients for reviews makes many healthcare providers uncomfortable. Being open to feedback is essential to building a loyal and satisfied patient base. Patients can provide tremendous insight about your practice and the level of care and service provided. As for the different ways to ask patients to review your practice…

  • Automated emails and/or text messages: In 2021, sending review requests via text or email through your marketing automation software is a must. Not only does it require very little work from you, but it simplifies the process for patients. It’s best to personalize these requests with the patient’s name and send them one to three days following their appointment. Thank them for their visit, let them know how much you value patient feedback, then ask them to share their experience and include a link to one or more of your review websites. To comply with HIPPA when asking patients for reviews, be sure to let them know they can post anonymously and don’t need to include any personal health information or details about their visit.
  • Marketing collateral: Essentially, any materials your practice is already giving or sending patients following appointments are ideal places to ask them for reviews—appointment cards, after-care instructions, letters, postcards, etc. Include instructions on how and where they can review your practice and a link or use a QR code they can scan with their smartphone. Two other great places to request reviews: your newsletter and on flyers throughout your office.
  • On your website: While you want prospects to find your practice on the top review websites they might be checking (more on that later), it’s worth noting that you don’t own any reviews that are posted through a third-party site. Having a landing page on your own website dedicated to patient reviews will ensure you have plenty of great testimonials to use for marketing purposes. You do, however, want to include links to your third-party review sites on that page.
  • On social media: Social media is perfect for sharing all the amazing reviews you receive as well as asking for new ones. You can post the link to your website’s reviews/testimonials page or ask followers to leave a review right there on your Facebook page.
  • Ask during appointments: Over 70 percent of consumers say they’ll leave a business a review when asked. So, directly asking patients face-to-face while they’re in the office could very well be the best strategy if you want your number of online reviews to soar. Have your front office staff mention it to patients on their way out, perhaps while handing them a postcard with instructions. There’s also plenty of ways providers can bring it up casually as they’re wrapping up with patients. Here are two examples:
    • “It was great seeing you today, Suzie! When you get a chance, would you mind leaving the practice a review on our website or Google? A lot of people look at online reviews nowadays and I want to help as many great patients like you as possible.”
    • “In a day or so, you’ll be receiving an email with instructions on how to leave us a review online and I’d appreciate it if you could take a minute to do that because I really value the feedback I receive from patients.”

7 out of 10 people will provide an online review if they are asked

2. Make it easy for patients to leave reviews.

The more options you can give patients on how and where to leave your practice reviews online, the more likely they are to follow through. It should be easy for them to review your practice whenever it’s convenient for them, on any device (smartphone, tablet, or desktop), and on whichever platform they prefer and can easily access at that moment. To decide which of the many review sites you should be on, check which ones your competitors use and ask patients which ones they visit most often. While your website, Google, Facebook, and Healthy Hearing are the top platforms we recommend, others may also be worthwhile—Yelp, Healthgrades, YellowPages, ZocDoc, etc. Google’s algorithm favors businesses that have reviews on multiple, credible third-party sites but looks at the number and quality of the reviews on your Google My Business profile first.

88% of patients use a Google search to find a physician or treatment center while only 30% search directly on a review site

3. Respond to every review—positive or negative.

If a patient takes the time to sing your praises, the polite thing to do is to acknowledge it and thank them. It gives patients the instant gratification of being “seen” and heard online and, more importantly, shows them you value their time and opinion. Your response doesn’t need to be lengthy—a simple, “Thank you for your feedback” or “We’re so happy to hear you had a positive experience at our practice,” will do.

So, what do you do when you receive the dreaded one-star review? Before you respond, take a moment to think back to that patient’s appointment. Maybe even share the review with your staff and have them collectively reflect on every touchpoint they had with that patient. Think about why he/she could have felt compelled to leave such a review. Don’t react right away but do try to respond within 24-48 hours. Also, avoid a generic response that doesn’t address any of the specific complaints/issues raised in the review. When possible, it’s best to personalize your responses by including the person’s name and details about their experience. Apologize then thank them for their feedback and communicate that you plan to make improvements based on their interaction. For example:

  • “We set a high standard for our practice, and we are so sorry that this was not met in your interaction with us.”
  • “We always aim to deliver a great experience, and we are gutted when we don’t meet expectations. Thanks for taking the time to bring this to our attention. We will use your feedback to improve our procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Will your response be enough to convince that dissatisfied reviewer to give you a second chance? Maybe. At the very least, it leaves room for the possibility. Whereas an aggressive or insincere response or no response at all almost certainly ensures they’ll be getting their hearing health needs met elsewhere in the future (not to mention potentially turning other potential patients away). Lastly, try not to dwell too much on negative reviews—no business can expect to receive five stars every time. Instead, use them as a learning opportunity and focus on getting more positive reviews.

53% of customers expect businesses to respond to their online review within 7 days and 20% expect a response within 24 hours

4. Share your successes and positive reviews.

Highlighting your expertise and achievements as well as the positive experiences of your patients can do wonders to set your practice apart online. Share rave reviews regularly on your social media pages in addition to displaying them on your website. The same goes for the rest of your successes. Recently received an award or made a local “Best Of” list? Featured in an article or local news broadcast? Celebrating an anniversary or expanding to a new location? Involved in a local organization or cause? Shout it from the rooftops! Don’t be so modest. We all expect businesses to brag from time to time and are instinctively more trusting of businesses with accolades worth bragging about.

94% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

5. Make sure your website is up-to-date and user-friendly.

Simply put: people (as well as Google) are less trusting of businesses that have outdated, messy, and/or poor-performing websites. Today’s consumers expect and demand a seamless browsing experience. That said, you should periodically check to make sure the links on your site work, its pages load fast (under 3 seconds), and the information most visitors are seeking (your contact info, hearing aid information, hearing health tips, etc.) can be found quickly and easily. One of the most important characteristics of a user-friendly website is mobile compatibility/responsiveness. If your practice uses postcards or flyers with QR codes to request and collect online reviews, that means patients will be writing reviews on their mobile devices. Thus, your site needs to be as easy to access and use via smartphone as it is on a desktop.  

60% of consumers read online reviews on their mobile device in 2020

6. Be consistent.

Just because you’ve amassed hundreds of reviews and have a perfect, five-star rating, that doesn’t mean you should take your foot off the gas. While top-rated reviews are great, consumers only look at a business’s most recent reviews. If your best review is from five years ago, it’s not going to be as relevant in their mind (a lot can change in five years!). You want to make sure you always have a consistent flow of fresh reviews coming in. Fresh reviews provide new content for the search engines to discover, thus helping more potential patients find you. Updating your website and social media pages frequently with new reviews can also increase the number of reviews you receive.

73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month

In conclusion, your practice’s online reviews have a direct impact on its bottom line. The easiest and most effective way to gain more reviews and manage your online reputation is to use a review generation tool like Consult’s Online Review Builder. This simple software add-on sends automated review requests and reminders to patients, flags, and filters out negative responses (allowing you to respond to them discreetly), gathers reviews from several popular websites, and displays them on your website’s reviews page. Talk to your digital partner—even if it’s not us, chances are they have a similar service that will integrate seamlessly with your existing software and systems. Lastly, make sure you know what people are saying about your practice online. It only takes a few minutes but by ignoring your reviews, you could be missing out on hundreds of new patients every year.

Find out how Consult’s in-house marketing agency can take your digital marketing to the next level!

About the Author

Genevieve Amabile joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Coordinator. Prior to Consult YHN, she worked as a Social Media Coordinator for a staffing agency and interned with Seven Mile Publishing & Creative in Avalon, NJ. Genevieve graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and listening to her favorite true crime podcasts.

Is Your Website Ready for the Surge in Digital Traffic and Leads?

It’s no surprise that the digital world and its role in communication has changed dramatically since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of us have adjusted to working from home and relying more heavily on technology to communicate with coworkers, friends, and family.
According to The New York Times, website usage for sites like Facebook and YouTube have skyrocketed since February 29. Video chatting platforms like Google Duo and popular remote work apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have also reported record usage spikes.

People look to connect and entertain themselves

This trend isn’t going away anytime soon. While the days of social distancing and continuous handwashing will eventually fade – the need for a strong digital presence will not.

Your website is your most valuable digital asset; therefore, the time is now to assess its performance. In other words, does your website have what it takes to engage and convert the influx of people seeking help with their hearing loss?

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Nearly 90% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase, which includes visiting a business’s website

Hopefully, your site is updated to reflect the safety precautions your practice is implementing to protect patients and staff, as well as pertinent information on any Telehealth or curbside services being provided. Patients care about and want to know how your practice is responding to COVID-19 and adhering to CDC guidelines. This information should be posted prominently on your homepage and any social media profiles, like Facebook and Healthy Hearing. Don’t forget to update your Google My Business profile to reflect any changes or updates you make to your services or hours.

Now, let’s discuss the specific items you should focus on when evaluating the performance and success of your website:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Check whether your website dominates the first page of Google for the top hearing healthcare keywords. There are free online tools that will show you top competitive SEO metrics. Ultimately, your website provider/digital partner should manage your site’s SEO performance regularly and make the necessary updates. This is vital to maintaining a prominent rank in search results, which drives more quality leads, appointments, and sales.

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55% of search engine clicks come from the top 3 listings

Content:

Good SEO and good content go hand-in-hand. Fresh, relevant, and engaging content on your site will boost its SEO. It will also increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site and, in turn, your conversion rate (the percentage of unique site visitors who “convert” to leads by calling your office or filling out an online form). Adding unique content like videos, infographics, and weekly or monthly blog posts will help differentiate your brand from the competition. Timely articles about the effects of untreated hearing loss are great, but they’re even better when mixed with more personable and creative posts that will resonate with readers—tips for summer hearing aid care, how to choose the right hearing aid for your lifestyle, etc.

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52% of consumers say blogs have impacted purchasing decisions

Upgrades:

Features like click-to-call, online scheduling, chatbots, contact forms, and mobile-responsiveness are no longer optional—they’re essential.

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additional leads
On average, online scheduling tools generate 4 additional leads per month for hearing healthcare providers

User Experience (UX):

Users’ experience with a website is determined by how easy or difficult it is for them to navigate and interact with it. One broken link or slow-to-load page can create a bad experience for users. Your site needs to fulfill visitors’ needs, wants, and expectations both quickly and easily. While UX testing is a complex process, there are several simple things you can do yourself to enhance your site’s usability, including:

  • Check every link and app/widget to ensure they work.
  • Add internal links between relevant content and pages.
  • Shorten long paragraphs of text and/or break them up.
  • Create more white space around text and titles.
  • Use strong CTAs (Call-To-Actions) to guide users to convert.
  • Make sure all images and pages load quickly.

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Better UX design could raise your website’s conversion rate by 400%

Design & Layout:

Your website is most often your patients’ first impression of your brand. If it looks outdated or unappealing, visitors will have a negative perception of your practice. Everything from your fonts and spacing to your colors and design elements needs to be clean and cohesive across your entire site. There should be a consistent header and footer on every page that includes your logo, practice information, and social icons.

Of course, you want your website to stand out from your competitors. But that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to its layout and design. Despite a common misconception, “templated” websites are not “basic” and are not going to make your site look exactly like other audiology websites. To start, they’re 100 percent customizable – using your brand, color schemes, unique assets (logo, photos, videos, more). Second, website “templates” exist for a reason: they work! Keep in mind, website site design is part art – but primarily science. Most developers use behavioral science and best practices to design websites for optimal usability and most importantly – conversion. Some tools developers use to test the merit of a website include:

  • User Testing: A platform for obtaining rapid customer feedback on any customer experience, including websites, mobile apps, and real-world experiences.
  • Heat Mapping: A graphical representation of data that uses a system of color-coding to represent different values. While used in various forms of analytics, most often they’re used to show user behavior on specific webpages and determine where the most important content should be placed on a page.
  • Conversion Tracking: A powerful tool in Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) that lets you identify how well your ad campaign is generating leads, sales, downloads, email sign-ups, and other key actions.

Through these methods, developers know what the target demographic expects to see and how they can best be encouraged to convert. For example, most websites have a horizontal top navigation, left-aligned logo, and right-aligned contact information because heat mapping shows this is the best structure for usability and entices users to travel deeper into the site.

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People form 75% of their judgment on a website’s credibility purely on its aesthetics

Website Provider/Digital Partner:

If your internet-savvy nephew is managing your site, it may be time to consider making a change. A reliable and highly-skilled digital partner will make all the difference—a partner you can hold accountable to manage all your online marketing needs, not just your website. Your digital partner should oversee ongoing website maintenance, performance, results, and provide you ownership over your domain and other digital properties. Click here to find out the most important questions to ask your website provider or reach out to your Consult Marketing Account Executive for assistance. The Consult Digital Program offers engaged Associates a comprehensive digital solution proven to drive leads and sales.

Questioning if your website delivers the results it should? Consult YHN’s in-house experts will conduct a personalized website and digital marketing assessment, including a geographic and competitive analysis.

Increase your digital traffic and drive more patient appointments –
contact Consult Marketing today!

About the Author

Genevieve Amabile joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Coordinator. Prior to Consult YHN, she worked as a Social Media Coordinator for a staffing agency and interned with Seven Mile Publishing & Creative in Avalon, NJ. Genevieve graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and listening to her favorite true crime podcasts.

Facebook Ads: Top 5 Benefits & Tips for Getting Started

Over the last several years, businesses have seen a steep decline in the reach of their organic content on Facebook. This is because Facebook made changes to its algorithm to prioritize content shared by friends and family over marketers and businesses. Not surprisingly, the amount of paid advertisements on the platform has skyrocketed as a result.

So, why should your practice join them?

#1. Your target audience is on Facebook.

Facebook has billions of users around the world, most of whom check their Facebook page multiple times a day. Your patients are no exception. In fact, 75 percent of Baby Boomers use the platform.

#2. Facebook ads are inconspicuous, yet effective.

There’s a reason native advertising has become so popular—it works! Facebook ads look almost like any other post in a person’s News Feed except that they have small, discreet “sponsored” or “suggested” labels.

#3. Targeting on Facebook is precise.

The level of granularity you can achieve with Facebook’s targeting is exceptional. Facebook allows you to decide exactly who will see your ad, when they see it, and how they see it. You can target audiences by several customizable characteristics—behaviors, interests, age, location, language, and more.

#4. It’s affordable!

Facebook ads can cost a fraction of what other online marketing channels cost. In fact, you could spend $100 on a campaign and still reach over 20,000 people, depending on location. If you take advantage of Facebook’s audience targeting features, a small budget can go a long way and deliver results.

#5. You can achieve immediate, real-time results.

Unlike print ads or commercials, Facebook allows you to monitor your campaign performance in real-time, so if an ad is underperforming, you can adjust it at any time.

Before you start advertising on Facebook, there are two components you should understand first.

1. Boosted Posts vs. Facebook Ads

Facebook offers two types of advertising: boosted posts and ads. Deciding which ad is best for your practice is directly tied to your business goals. If your goal is to build brand awareness and increase your audience on Facebook, then you’ll want to boost a post. Boosting a post on Facebook places your post in the Newsfeed of relevant users outside of your current Facebook audience. This option helps promote your Facebook page and increase page likes and followers.

boosts vs  facebook ads

2. Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads

In general, marketing experts would recommend a practice have a solid Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign in place and then add Facebook advertising. It’s important to remember that individuals using Google and other search engines are actively searching for local services online via keywords whereas Facebook users are passive observers who are scanning posts and looking for photos of their grandchildren—not you. So, while Facebook ads might be less expensive, Google users are more likely to take action after clicking an ad.

So now that you know why your practice should advertise on Facebook and the key things to consider, let’s talk about how to create your first ad campaign.

How To Run a Facebook Ad

Step 1: Create a Facebook Business Manager account.
Facebook Business Manager is the central hub where businesses and marketers manage their Facebook pages, ad campaigns, and accounts. Through Business Manager you have access to Facebook Ads Manager, which is the platform you use to create, manage, and track your Facebook marketing campaigns.

INSIDER TIP: Facebook Business Manager is a complex labyrinth that wasn’t designed for the average small business owner. So, before you run your first campaign, be sure to explore the tabs in Business Manager and Ads Manager. Be prepared to do a little homework. Facebook Blueprint offers free mini courses to help you get started. Or, a better alternative: sign up for the Consult Digital Program and leave the heavy lifting to our experienced pros.
Step 2: Choose the objective of your campaign.
In Facebook Ads Manager, there are 11 marketing objectives, but let’s focus on the most relevant:

  • Traffic: Send ad-viewers to another destination, like your website. This is a good option if you utilize online appointment scheduling.
  •  Brand awareness: Reach potential patients who would be interested in your brand, service, or product. This is a good option if you’re new to Facebook and looking to attract more page followers.
  • Engagement: Increase engagement on your Facebook page by encouraging current followers to like, share, and comment on your content while also attracting new followers.
  • Lead Generation: Drive leads by requesting users’ email addresses in exchange for more information, like downloading a guide or signing up for an event. Ideal for building your database!
INSIDER TIP: If you run ads that send users to your website, make sure the Facebook pixel is installed on your website first. What could that be? The Facebook pixel is a snippet of code that can be easily added to your website to track lead conversions from Facebook and gain more insight into user behavior to help optimize future ad campaigns. Talk to your website provider and/or social media manager—they’ll know what to do.
Step 3: Target your ad.

In this section, there are three key areas of focus:

  • Location: Simply enter your practice’s zip code or drop a pin on the map. Then, decide within what radius you want to target users. For example, a 2-mile radius or 10-mile radius.
  • Placement: We suggest choosing: Automatic Ad Placement. This way, Facebook places your ad where it will be seen most by your target audience and perform best according to its algorithm.
  • Demographics/Audience: Use filters to create a custom audience and/or upload a list of emails from your database to target Facebook profiles that may be associated with those emails. Once you’ve created an audience that performs well, you can clone it (this is a dream come true in the advertising world!). The feature, “lookalike audiences,” allows you to take a custom audience and find similar users.

The “Detailed Targeting” section narrows down your audience to the individuals most likely to be interested in your services. If you’re specifically looking to reach private pay patients, choose a “Household Income” in the higher percentage of your selected zip code(s). To target current hearing aid wearers, select the filter for individuals who are interested in hearing aid manufacturers. Other interests/demographics to consider: Baby Boomers, grandparents/grandparenting, technology/tech, health/fitness/exercise, retired/retirement, and the list goes on.

INSIDER TIP: Depending on your location, the max radiuses we’d recommend targeting include: Metro: 10 miles | Suburb: 15 miles | Rural: 20 miles.
Step 4: Set your budget and schedule.

You have two budget options: daily or lifetime. By selecting daily, you dictate the budget spend for each day. By selecting lifetime budget, you select a price cap for the duration of your ad campaign, a date range, and the time of day you’d like your campaign to run, for example, 9am to 5pm.

How much should you spend?
That’s a great conversation for you and your Consult YHN Marketing Account Executive. Facebook ads have an average cost-per-click (CPC) of $1.86 and cost-per-thousand-views (CPM) of $11.20 across all industries. In other words, for every $10 you spend, you can expect 17 clicks. The average small business advertising spend on Facebook is between $1,000–$2,000 per month.

How long should you run your ad?
Another great question! There isn’t one specific strategy —it depends on the budget and goal of the campaign, for example brand awareness versus signing up for an event. In general, it takes 3-7 days to know if an ad is working.  

INSIDER TIP: Facebook user engagement increases by 18 percent on Thursdays and Fridays as well as on weekdays between 1- 4pm.
Step 5: Create your ad.

Format:
Facebook gives you three different format options: multiple images (carousel), a single image or video, or a collection of photos that will create a full-screen experience for viewers. For most practices, the single image or video option will be the most useful.

Media:
The media section is where you choose the media asset for the post, including images or videos. You can choose previously posted photos/videos or upload new ones directly from your computer. Remember: your ad needs to stand out from the other posts and if you decide to include text on your image, keep it to a minimum.

Facebook ads that contain images are 75-90 percent more effective.

Text and Links:
This section is for ad copy, including headline, call to action, and website link. Your headline should be short and sweet, for example: “Hear better today!” and your call to action should match your goal, for example “book now,” or “learn more.”

On the right side of the page is a live preview, including an option to “View More Versions” and check the format of your ad from a mobile device or desktop view.

Finally, your ad is ready for Facebook approval or you can choose to “Save As Draft” and come back to it later. Once your ad is running, you can review campaign performance in your Ads Manager dashboard.

INSIDER TIP: Our Associates see the most success boosting a post and/or running an ad tied to a Facebook event, for example, educational seminars, Lunch & Learns, etc. Once you create an event on Facebook, a “Boost Event” button appears at the top of the page. Follow the steps to set up. For the best results, boost and/or advertise the event for at least two weeks leading up to the event.

About the Author

Genevieve Amabile joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Coordinator. Prior to Consult YHN, she worked as a Social Media Coordinator for a staffing agency and interned with Seven Mile Publishing & Creative in Avalon, NJ. Genevieve graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and listening to her favorite true crime podcasts.