Editor’s note: This is the seventh installment in an ongoing series of articles on the topic of facilitating veterinary practice growth. To view prior articles, please check past issues and archives. This and other articles in this series introduce ideas that can be used by industry reps who advise and support busy veterinary care providers in their efforts to achieve more profitability and, in turn, practice growth.
To achieve marketing success, a veterinary practice must take control of its online image. And its online image is more than just its website.
One of the most important aspects of a practice’s online image is its online ratings.
The varied value of online reviews
Hundreds of online review sites exist, but they’re not all important to your account’s online image.
Which matter most? Those that are viewed most frequently!
According to comScore, nearly 63 percent of Internet searches are done through Google. About 33 percent of online searches are done through Microsoft sites (Bing) or Yahoo. Google searches show Google Reviews, and Bing and Yahoo searches show Yelp reviews.
That means Google and Yelp reviews are far more important than 3rd party reviews. In fact, it’s almost impossible to search for a veterinarian without seeing those online reviews, which is why it’s important for practices to manage their entire online presence (including reviews) as a foundation for marketing success.
It’d be a shame for your accounts to have great marketing plans, spend money, and successfully generate leads – only to have those potential clients fail to convert because they were scared off by bad reviews.
When talking with your accounts about their Google and Yelp reviews, remember:
• Google’s “star-ratings” rating for local businesses are not visible until at least 5 reviews exist.
• Having a limited number of somewhat negative reviews isn’t the end of the world. It adds legitimacy to a practice’s online presence, but strive for average ratings above 4 stars.
• Not all reviews will actually be posted, and some may not post for months.
• Certain reviews can be removed.
• Leaving a Google or Yelp review requires an individual to have a Google or Yelp account.
Generating positive reviews
Acquiring positive reviews should be a goal for all practices.
• Asking happy clients to consider leaving reviews should be part of the daily routine.
• Happy clients are more likely to leave reviews if the process is simple. Practices should send clients links directly to the review sites.
• Send links to the practice’s Google review site to clients who have a gmail address. Clients with gmail addresses have already registered with Google and will already be logged in to Google when they click on the review link.
Encourage your accounts to avoid common pitfalls.
1. Don’t set up kiosks or dedicated computers for your clients to leave reviews. Google and Yelp will ignore reviews that all come from the same computer.
2. Don’t send out mass emails asking for reviews. A large influx of reviews in a short-period of time looks suspicious to review sites. Some reviews may initially post onto review boards, but the likelihood of them staying is very low.
Simplify for success
Online reviews are extremely important to a practice’s online presence. Some simple steps can be taken to generate positive reviews for a business. Simplifying the process for pet owners leads to more positive reviews!
You can help your accounts have a great year by advising them on a few simple things to improve their online presence.
allyDVM aspires to be the veterinarian’s ultimate ally. The company provides software and advisory services to sophisticated veterinary practices throughout the country and counts a number of past presidents of both AAHA and the AVMA as customers. Although allyDVM is focused primarily on developing excellent software solutions for the veterinary industry, allyDVM’s leadership team also works closely with other industry participants such as pharmaceutical companies, buying groups, and distributors. allyDVM personnel are regular speakers at various conferences, veterinary schools, and other industry events throughout the country. Jason Wernli – Founder and COO; Scott Harper –CEO; firstname.lastname@example.org; 855-255-9386 (855-ALLY-DVM)