You’ve dedicated years of your adult life to honing your skills as a doctor and developing a thriving, successful medical practice. You have a long line of satisfied patients who are more than willing to sing your praises to their friends and families. Word-of-mouth referrals to your practice are fairly common, but perhaps not steady enough for your liking. You want to grow your practice, and in order to do that, you need to reach more potential patients.
A satisfied patient can be your best marketing asset. When shared with friends, family and co-workers, their praises and positive testimonials about your practice can have an enormous impact on your ability to secure new patient referrals and consultations. Likewise, a frustrated patient can be your worst enemy, as one outraged review can reach hundreds of computer screens in a matter of seconds.
By strategically embedding patient testimonials into your website and other promotional materials, you can harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing and direct it toward a larger audience. Especially in the age of social media, compelling patient testimonials can expand your base of prospective patients exponentially. If executed properly, an Internet medical marketing strategy can be centered on the words of your patients, providing you with a low-cost, highly effective method of spreading your reputation.
Video Testimonials Work. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners, 30% learn by hearing and the remaining 5% learn by doing. Video covers 95% of learning styles because it combines visual and audible learning.
Today’s healthcare patient wants confirmation that they are making the right decision and they trust the opinions of other consumers, especially those who have had personal experiences with a doctor. But an anonymous quote on a website is quite different than seeing a person on screen saying how great they think your vein practice is.
Video testimonials are far more influential because they show the viewer real people with real facial expressions, demographics and body language. Video testimonials create a connection. Video testimonials have the power to swing a consumer buying decision like no other marketing technique. They are persuasive, direct and offer so much more authenticity than a print ad ever could.
Remember that some of your prospective patients may visit your website several times over the course of months or even years, unsure of whether to contact your practice. If they encounter fresh testimonials during this time, it could help to influence them to schedule that first appointment.
Video testimonials help put potential new patients at ease. Watching an actual patient passionately talk about your facility, staff and the exceptional care they received is far more powerful, and will carry a lot more weight, than anything you could say about your practice in print media.
Although you may be tempted to display as many positive testimonials as you can gather on your website, you will want to be careful not to dilute the power of your best, most engagingly testimonials with those of lesser value. The testimonials with the greatest value to your practice will not simply proclaim how great you are. They will give prospective patients a clear idea of the benefits they can expect by turning to your practice, while maintaining an honest, balanced perspective.
What makes a good video testimonial? Sincerity, relatability and directness are three of the most important elements of an effective video testimonial. The most effective video testimonial is casual and conversational, rather than formal and scripted.
An effective video testimonial is based on planning topics to be discussed to ensure your patient is at ease with the questions and their answers. The most effective videos are short and to the point, no longer than 90 seconds. Viewers may watch a few different video testimonials to reassure themselves about their purchase decision, but they most likely won’t watch a long video testimonial from one person.
The best part of video testimonials is that they allow happy patients to share your practice story in an emotionally compelling and trending manner. At best, video testimonials can greatly improve your overall reputation and credibility among the kind of people you want as your patients.
You should never underestimate the importance and power of testimonials. Your patients are your best ambassadors and can help you establish a positive identity for your practice on the Internet to motivate an even greater number of potential patients searching for vein care to contact you.
Storytelling Works… Storytelling can be used as a marketing strategy by medical practices of all sizes because all it requires imagination and creativity, not money. A story can be told in many different ways by different people. You can tell your own story or you can just as easily give others the tools to tell their story on your behalf, think patients and referral physicians. Stories are what people remember. Even when they forget patient names and faces, they rarely forget the testimonial and how it made them feel. How easy it was to relate to.
What makes a story worth telling… A story that spreads is one that is relatable, easy to recall and easy to share.
How stories help your practice grow… The purpose of a vein practice using storytelling as a marketing tool should be to help potential patients connect the stories they tell – to the benefits of scheduling treatment at your medical practice. When developing your story, you need to identify how your medical practice helps your potential patients. What problem(s) does it solve? What benefits does it offer? What makes your solution different from the competitors? You’ve got to be unique to be seen and heard.
Know your story… While knowing your story is one thing, knowing what makes your story stand out is a different thing. In a video introduction, you might plainly state why you started your practice and what clinical services you offer, but you can hardly call that storytelling. Real storytelling is about understanding what makes your practice unique.
Have a compelling voice… The idea of storytelling is based on how well you can capture the attention of your audience and engage them on an emotional level.
Ensure your tale is available on a multitude of channels… Once you have a well-constructed story in place, you need to distribute it across multiple channels to get it heard. Know the places where your target audiences are most likely to hang out: social media channels, YouTube, blogs, etc.
Evolve… As your practice grows, add 5 or 6 new patient video testimonials each and every year. You will soon have a library on your website of 25-30 patient video testimonials, covering all demographics with interesting stories. A patient video testimonial should be shot both at your office and at an offsite location that shows your patient after treatment resuming activities that they were unable to do before treatment (tennis, golf, walking, riding a bike, gardening, mowing the lawn, skiing, running, walking their dog, playing with grandchildren, etc.).
Storytelling is a great way to make an emotional connect with your audience, which is so crucial for a long-term relationship. Since stories make your audience become a part of your experiences, they can associate themselves more closely with your brand and this is the power of storytelling.
Never stop soliciting testimonials. Complacency is the enemy of effective marketing. You should continually be adding to your library of patient testimonials. This will communicate to prospective patients that:
- You have more than just a few satisfied patients who are willing to attest to your skills
- You are continually building on your reputation rather than relying on your past accomplishments
- You offer a diverse range of benefits to a diverse range of patients
Simply stated, there is no online marketing tool more powerful than video. A 2012 Forrester research study concluded that one minute of video is worth approximately 1.8 million words of written text in terms of its effects on consumers. In practical terms, this translates to:
- Increased trust:If 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations, then video testimonials reinforce this trust by allowing prospective patients to see real people speaking about your practice rather than simply reading words attributed to a name.
- Reduced skepticism: Your satisfied patients can be your most effective salespeople. Having a library of video testimonials at your disposal is like having a full-time sales force on call, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. However, because your patients are objective third parties who are sincere in their admiration of your work, prospective patients will view them with less skepticism than they would actual paid representatives of your practice.
- Higher conversion rates: A study conducted by Social Media Today found that more than 90% of consumers agreed that video factored into their decision to purchase a product. Combined with educational and practice profile videos, video testimonials can help to keep users engaged with your website and ultimately convince them to contact your practice.
As with any element of your marketing strategy, however, execution is everything when it comes to getting the most out of your video testimonials. While you want your patients to come across as sincere and authentic, as opposed to stiff and rehearsed, you also want to make sure that your videos are well produced and professional. In the end, you will want to work with experts that have experience in video marketing to ensure that your video testimonials achieve the right balance between genuine and polished.
Use multiple media types to present your testimonials. The more media types you use to present your testimonials, the more likely they are to reach the largest possible audience. Some people intuitively trust online reviews more when they can see and hear the reviewer speaking in a video. Others are drawn to a powerful quotation that is set apart from the rest of the text, whether as a pull quote or a quote accompanying a set of before-and-after photos.
While the focus of this article has been on integrating patient testimonials into your website, don’t be content to stop there. Use your testimonials wherever and however you can:
- Publish them on your Facebook and Twitter accounts
- Use them as a part of case studies that you provide referring physicians
- Include a link to them in your newsletters and direct-mail campaigns
Ultimately, patient testimonials combine the best elements of word-of-mouth marketing with the unique power of the Internet to spread messages quickly and to an ever expanding audience. Put some thought and effort into collecting and presenting your testimonials, and your satisfied patients will effectively be promoting your practice twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week across a variety of platforms.
Your current patients are some of your most powerful marketers. That’s because in most cases, people trust the opinions of other patients more than any other marketing tactic out there. In years past, word-of-mouth was only possible over a cup of coffee. But today, the conversation has shifted from only two people to millions of people who go online to read reviews about local healthcare providers. Your potential patients are relying extensively on online reviews and video testimonials from other patients before making a decision to schedule an appointment with your practice.
Online competition is intense. One of the greatest ways to retain existing patients and secure new referrals is to proactively monitor your online reputation and encourage existing patients to review you on popular review sites and online directories, such as Yelp and Google. It can become one of your most powerful marketing assets and a valuable tool for driving new patients to your website where they can learn more about your practice and schedule an appointment.