If you aren’t already aware, reviews matter. Now more than ever, with information and internet access so readily available, people are turning to their peers for feedback about doctors and medical practices. Not only do potential patients find them valuable, search engines do as well. Having reviews will help boost your Google Places ranking. So how do you generate more reviews? Here are some tips:

1) Promote your review sites at your practice: Seems like a no-brainer, but so many practices do not do this. For starters you should have signage with information about Facebook & Twitter, as well as your review sites. Even better is if you can hand each patient, on their way out of the office, a document with information on how to become a Fan and how to review the practice online. Make sure there are thorough directions and links provided.

Also, the doctor should ask patients directly for reviews. Here’s some advice for bringing this up with a patient, “Have I answered all your questions and addressed all of your concerns?” If the patient says, “yes” then you should then say, “Great. Would you mind taking 5 min of your time to review me online? I have a document with all the steps listed on how to do this. I would really appreciate it.

2) Promote your review sites on your website: It helps to have a Yelp icon right next to your Facebook, Twitter and Youtube icons. Write a blog article about reviews and how patients can review you. You can take it a step further by implementing Rate Point, or something similar, onto your website. Rate Point allows you to add a little banner to each page of your website, that when clicked, brings up a pop up window where people can write you a review. It’s quick and easy, and it integrates with Yelp, Google Places, as well as Yahoo & Bing.

3) Utilize an automated patient follow up: I wrote a blog article a few weeks ago called ‘Automating Your Patient Follow Up.’ Services such as Doctor Base allow practices to automatically send emails to patients 24-48 hours after their visit. These emails not only promote the practice’s social networks, but also make it very easy for a patient to leave a review, and like Rate Point, these reviews integrate with Yelp, Google and more.

4) Shoot video testimonials of your patients: I wrote an article about a month ago titled ‘Using YouTube for Your Medical Practice.’ In the article I discuss the importance of video testimonials and how you can go about getting them. Unlike the examples mentioned above, these videos will not only rank on their own, but they can also be added to your Google Places page. Just like having written reviews can help boost your Google Places listing, having videos  can help improve the listing of your page as well. Here’s a good example of what a finished, edited video should look like:

5) Email your patients: This is very self-explanatory. Just like handing out forms to patients leaving the office, send an occasional email or newsletter mentioning the steps to review you. Doing this every few months is perfectly fine, and it’ll likely lead to more reviews.

6) Offer discounts off services for reviews: This is probably the most controversial of all the tips on this page, and I certainly don’t recommend it for all doctors. I don’t belive it is unethical to give people an incentive to review you; however, if you’re not comfortable doing this then I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. If you fall into this category then I would place even more importance on example #1 above, especially the doctor/patient dialogue mentioned in that example.

Patients are doing research on you and your practice right now. What are they finding? If you are afraid of or dislike Yelp, or you ignore this fact altogether, then your practice will suffer. It doesn’t matter how much work-of-mouth-marketing your practice does. You need online reviews, and in order to get them you need to be active. Even following just a few of the examples above will get you more reviews. Guaranteed.

If you have any questions about generating reviews online for your medical practice I encourage you to contact Turbo Social Media, or simply call us at 877-673-7096 x2.