Episode 23

Why Are Reviews Important for Physicians?

Many doctors know deep down that reviews are important…and yet they fail to pay as much attention to reviews as they ought to. In this episode, we’ll answer the question so many people are asking: why are reviews important for physicians?

Episode Transcript: Why Are Reviews Important for Physicians?

Think about the last time you were researching a local business. If you’re like most people, one of the first things you did was check their reviews to see if other people had a good experience there. Deep down, we all know that reviews are important for our businesses…and yet so many small business owners fail to actually pay attention to their online reviews. So today on the Medical Marketing Podcast, we’ll answer the question so many people are asking: why are reviews important for physicians?

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Medical Marketing Podcast from Messenger – the show where we give physicians and practice marketing managers like you actionable tips and advice to help improve your marketing, grow your revenue, and take patient experience to the next level.

I’m your host, Crawford Ifland, and today we’re going to be discussing the importance of getting more patient reviews for your practice. 

First up, let’s take a look at how patients use reviews…

Why Are Reviews So Important?

Reviews are important for local businesses. But they’re especially important for businesses like private practices. When your health and well-being is at stake, you want to make sure you’re in good hands.

And that’s exactly what patients do. Just consider these stats:

  • Reviews are important to have: 15% of users don’t trust businesses without reviews.
  • In fact, nearly 3 out of 4 customers won’t take any action unless they have read some reviews first.
  • Unsurprisingly, Google is the most popular source for reviews. 63.6% of consumers visit Google first to look at the reviews of a business.
  • And yet, only 44% of local businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing, which is a prerequisite for actually collecting those reviews. If you’re one of those businesses without a Google My Business listing, your customers are likely going elsewhere….
  • If you’re marketing to younger crowds, reviews could be even more important: 9 out of 10 Millennials trust online reviews as much as they would trust a recommendation from friends or family.
  • And it’s not just the number of reviews that matters, either – more than half of patients won’t visit a practice if it has less than a 4-star rating.

Those are some pretty telling numbers. If you don’t have any reviews – or if your patients don’t speak very positively about your practice – I guarantee that you’re missing out on patients. Few reviews, no reviews, or bad reviews all mean one thing: lost revenue. 

But why are reviews so powerful? To answer that question, we’ll turn to the field of psychology. Let’s take a look at what reviews do to our brain, thanks to a little effect called social proof.

Social Proof: What Reviews Do to Our Brains

The statistics we just talked about clearly demonstrate that reviews are important…and for good reason. When we read the reviews of the experiences that others have had at a business, it literally does something to our brains.

Reviews work so well because of a concept called social proof, and the psychology behind it is fascinating. 

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect the “correct” behavior in a given situation.

Basically, whenever there’s any uncertainty regarding a choice we’re about to make, we look to others to help guide our behavior and help us decide what to do. Social proof is a mental shortcut that we can use to reduce the strain on our brains. And being a shortcut, the most interesting thing is that we often don’t even realize we’re doing it. 

Reviews leverage this concept of social proof by showing us that other people have had a good experience. 

And if others have had a good experience, that must be the norm, right? We assume that we’ll probably have a good experience, too. If we’re on the fence, a few positive reviews might just be the thing that’s needed to tip the scales.

In an instant, we go from unsure and guarded to confident and intentional in our decision. That’s why social proof is so powerful – it acts as a “quality assurance” of sorts, helping us navigate uncharted territory.

And the numbers don’t lie: 92% of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising , so honest reviews from other patients can go a long way.

A study by OptinMonster found that testimonials can increase conversions on sales pages by 34%…so ensuring your patients’ voices are visible can really help with your bottom line.

So if you want to boost your revenue, leverage the concept of social proof to help patients make the obvious decision to choose you.

How Patient Reviews Can Help Your SEO

So now we can see why patient reviews are an important part of social proof. But the fun doesn’t stop there, because reviews are an important signal for local SEO – they play a major part in how well your practice ranks on Google.

A study by Moz found that reviews are the third most influential ranking factor for Google’s local pack. According to their research, review signals (such as quantity, recency, and star average) make up somewhere around 15% of Google’s algorithm for local ranking.

When it comes to local ranking, only Google My Business signals and link signals are more important than reviews. If you want to learn more about the Map Pack, listen to last week’s episode – there’s lots of great content there to help you rank better locally.

Recommended Resource

Podcast Episode 23: Harness the Power of the Map Pack and Google My Business

Everyone knows that if you want to reach more patients, you’ve got to be visible on Google…but what about Google Maps? This week, we’ll show you how to win the Map Pack and why Google My Business is such a powerful tool for growing your practice.

Listen to the Episode

Not only are reviews great for local SEO, but they can drive more traffic to your website as well, simply because they are more appealing.

A study by BrightLocal found that going from a 3-star rating to a 5-star rating gets a business 25% more clicks from the Google Local Pack, and star ratings displayed in the Local Pack results generate higher Click-Through Rates than organic search results.

Reviews are especially important for E-A-T as well, a major signal in Google’s ranking algorithm. When people say they had a good experience at your practice, other people (and Google) will trust that your practice is reputable and trustworthy. 

Recap

Before we go, let’s quickly recap what we’ve learned about reviews today:

  • Reviews are incredibly important because nearly everyone uses them and trusts them. If there’s an easy way to enhance your online reputation, it’s to work on improving your review profile.
  • Reviews literally change our brains. Social proof is an important psychological concept that can influence decision-making, so you want it to work in your favor.
  • Reviews are great for SEO. The better your review profile, the more likely your practice is to appear high in Google’s Map Pack, and the more appealing your search results will be. This will boost your click-through rates and lead to more traffic on your website.

So if you want to attract more patients, influence their buying behavior, or outrank your competitors on Google, I’ve got one word for you: reviews.

Next Week…

Well, that’s all for this week’s episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast – thanks for tuning in. Next week, we’ll discuss actionable strategies for actually getting more patient reviews, and how you can put your review generation system on autopilot to grow your practice.

If you liked this episode, you can subscribe to The Medical Marketing Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

And whether you’re new to the show or have been listening for a long time, check out our website at www.messenger.md. We’re always adding more resources to help you improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take your patient experience to the next level.

That’s all for today’s episode – I’m Crawford Ifland. See you next week.

Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

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