Q: HOW DO I ASK PATIENTS FOR REVIEWS?
A: Reviews are powerful, and a handful of thoughtful reviews can have more influence on whether a patient books in with you or a rival clinic. People buy from people, and they want validation from their peers before purchasing. A product with no reviews on Amazon, for example, will not sell as well as an identical one with reviews.
As a business owner you may be inherently shy to ask for reviews for your clinic, but reviews and testimonials can be used for your website and social media; they benefit your Google ranking and help build a profile reflecting you and your business. If you don’t always remember to ask directly, leave review information in multiple places – your website, your email footer, your printed literature, etc.
One silver lining from the pandemic is that people are much more comfortable with technology – you could generate a QR code and print it on a single card for patients to access aftercare guides or treatment summaries. Include a short form for reviews in this “digital info pack”, too, and you or your team can hand out this card to all patients before they leave. Automatically sending a follow-up email to patients a week after treatment to check in can also be a great place way to ask for a review on your chosen platform (Google, Trustpilot, RealSelf, Facebook etc.). This way, they’ve had time to experience some results (depending on the treatment) and think about their overall experience.
Some reviews are worth more than others. Great reviews are short – a few sentences of easily-digestible information – and very specific to the treatment or product. When asking for a review, leave a couple of questions for patients to answer. Getting them to mention treatments and their specific clinician or therapist by name is great. And don’t worry about perfection; the average customer is happy with a 4.3-4.8 review rating, as lots of full 5-star ratings can look suspicious and could have been faked.
You can read my two-part article on social proof in the May and June 2020 issues of Aesthetic Medicine or on the AM website for a more detailed look at reviews.
Q: I HAVE A DECENT-SIZED PATIENT DATABASE AND IT IS OPTED IN FOR MARKETING EMAILS, BUT HOW OFTEN SHOULD I EMAIL THEM? I DON’T WANT TO BE ANNOYING, SO I ONLY SEND AN EMAIL ONCE IN A WHILE.
A: Set aside time in your diary to draft a plan. Like any marketing task, having a plan and a schedule makes for much better messaging. Once a month is great for an update but use a more creative headline than “February newsletter”, for example, for a better open rate. Open rate is one of the key indicators to Microsoft, Google and other email platforms that you aren’t sending out junk.
Keeping your emails snappy, with a concise overview and links to your website to read more, rather than trying to recreate War and Peace, will also make it easier to write more often. This will help you keep up with a more regular fortnightly or monthly habit. Look to other (non-aesthetic) brands or businesses that you and your target audience love. How often does Selfridges email you? Take email inspiration from the biggest and most successful brands in the world, even if your database isn’t as vast.
Emailing in a timely manner when you have genuine news is ideal – you don’t want to save it all up for a monthly or quarterly newsletter when it’s become outdated. Emails which focus on once piece of news or one particular treatment, for example, are as, or if not, more successful (depending on your audience) than aggregated newsletters with three to five updates.
An idea: a weekly “club” newsletter for patients who double opt-in (this means sending an email to your full database to get them into a new list). You can then send a short email to these patients weekly and know you won’t annoy them or lose them as a subscriber from your main list. Deliver value in every email but especially, use it to build trust with your list and don’t sell – rather, recommend. These emails can be short, essay-style pieces with very little “production value”. They already work very well in other industries such as tech. I can guarantee that you will have patients that want to delve deeper into your expertise (and ones who won’t – but that’s ok).
“Deliver value in every email but especially, use it to build trust with your list and don’t sell – rather, recommend”
Alex Bugg works for Web Marketing Clinic, a familyrun digital agency, which specialises in medical aesthetics. They build websites and deliver marketing campaigns for doctors, nurses, dentists, distributors and brands. Contact her: alex@ webmarketingclinic.co.uk or follow her on Instagram: @webmarketingclinic