The USA Today recently published a good article summarizing the phenomenon of online reviews. As we’ve highlighted before, traffic to local business maps and reviews sites is growing at an incredible rate, and most local search properties now offer the ability for users to rate and review local businesses, including dental, chiropractic, podiatric and other medical practices. The number of reviews online is also growing fast, with some sites claiming hundreds of thousands of reviews.
Thus, managing and soliciting reviews is a critical part of the online marketing mix that also includes creating an effective practice web site, driving traffic to your web site, measuring and tracking results, and managing online listings. Studies have shown that a majority of searchers for local businesses will read reviews about a business before making a decision, and many consumers’ decisions on providers are affected by reviews. We’ve also seen evidence that having many reviews from a large variety of sources can also help a practice web site or practice directory listing rank highly in search engines’ local category searches, which increases visibility of the practice and helps to drive traffic and ultimately patients.
Actively managing your review profile should include actively soliciting good customers to write reviews of your practice online, paying attention to reviews that are written about your practice on the various directories, and responding to both positive and negative reviews that are out there. Doing this properly can take some time, but in the end it can have big payoffs in terms of a positive online reputation for your practice, greater visibility on the web, and ultimately more traffic to your website and patients in your office. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, this is a service that BAC Medical Marketing offers to our physician, dental and chiropractic clients.