The Ultimate Ophthalmic Marketing Guide
Chapter 1: Reputation
CHAPTER ONE - REPUTATION
There’s a reason why Reputation is at the bottom of our pyramid: it is the foundation for any effective marketing program. But this is a very underserved focus for most practices today. A good reputation leads to the pinnacle of marketing which is referral, or word-of-mouth. (see Chapter 7).
We believe that Reputation and Reviews, which we will discuss in the next chapter, are similar but not equal strategies. For the purpose of our discussion, Reputation is strictly focused on the reputation of the practice itself, the entity, and separate from the reputations of your individual physicians, which are discussed in the next chapter on Reviews.
The first thing that's important about practice reputation is what's called your “digital footprint.” This is where all of the information about your practice lives: listings that point to your website in online directories (often offering reviews) called “citations”. Your practice probably has listings in Facebook, Google My Business, YP.com, Yelp or Foursquare as well as local directories like Chamber of Commerce or “Best Lists”. It is critical that this information is consistent no matter which directory or listing site you appear in.
The reason is if you have even a minor difference in information from one location to the next, the robots on the internet (that perform much of the search engine and directory propagation) may not realize that those small differences in your listing practice locations are all you.
Second, your name, address, and phone number must be absolutely consistent. Focus on and do forensics on variance in your digital footprint. Is the name exactly the same from place to place? Is it followed by PA or LLC or is it just the practice name by itself? Is the word ‘suite’ spelled out, or is it abbreviated as ‘ste.’?
Both your practice and your physicians will have reviews that influence whether a prospective patient decides to pursue an inquiry with you. Your practice needs to have a local footprint that is distinct from that of your physicians. It needs to have links from other businesses or other directories to the practice home page.
After you’ve standardized your reputation,
then it’s time to nurture it:
1. Build your practice reputation: That requires you to focus on how you get great reviews (for both the practice AND the doctors) on sites where your practice is listed. More on that in the next chapter.
2. Manage your practice reputation: As you’ve begun building your practice reputation, you can’t stop there. You need to monitor and manage it. In order to do that, you need to have a way of knowing when practice reviews appear. If you have reviews that are less than, say, three-stars, you need to manage a response to these comments or some way of counteracting a negative impression that an unhappy patient or experience might elicit. Often physicians or other staff members are aware of a patient having issues early on - that's the time to nip things in the bud - before a bad experience can turn into a bad review. Monitoring and managing is ongoing oversight once you've begun building a steady stream of patient reviews.
3. Market your practice reputation: Now that you’re building and managing your reputation you need to put it to work for you. You need to market this great rep in as many marketing communications channels as possible. You need to be able to announce, for example, “Another satisfied patient just finished LASIK,” or “We just had our 300th new premium cataract patient last week, and they gave us five stars on their experience at our practice.” You need to let your patients (and their family, and friends, if possible) know how well others hold you in their regard. Marketing your reputation means publishing notices in emails, on your social media pages (on your Twitter feeds and Facebook pages), and in other marketing assets such as your newsletter or a display ad or even as Point of Care posters, banners or digital ads on waiting room videos.
In summary, Reputation requires four key actions:
Putting Reputation into Action
The foundation of a great Reputation is best served with Scientific Marketing. Begin by doing a practice reputation audit. Research as many of your listings as you can find. A good audit typically identifies issues and inconsistencies and any corrections needed.
Next, Build, Monitor, Market and then Manage your reputation by using some sort of technology-enabled approach for capturing positive reviews and addressing ones that are less positive (three stars or less).
Ideally, as mentioned above, you want to have a system in place for identifying problems that patients are having BEFORE they post a review. This is a strategy that very few people really understand. They often just start blindly asking their patients to give reviews, not knowing whether they're going to get a good one or a bad one. Many website-building companies will even recommend placing a widget on your website for patients to conveniently post their reviews. Without a method for overseeing this process, you may be deprived of resolving issues before patients vent online. No process can prevent 100% of low reviews but a “smart” process can give you a way to address a lot of them. A popular rule of thumb says that a happy consumer tells 2 friends. An unhappy patient tells ten friends.
One simple way of marketing practice reviews is to take screenshots of the great reviews that you have and turn them into a video. Just build a powerpoint presentation, maybe hire talent to read the reviews and sync the audio to it and publish it as a video. You can hire someone to produce the video or do it yourself with video-editing software.
Once you have a video it can be published on your YouTube channel and embedded directly to your website. Next you can send out an email announcing the new video and publicly thanking the reviewer.
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