Ever wonder how much online reviews actually matter? Or how they can increase or decrease revenue? This week on the DrMarketingTips podcast, Jennifer and Corey dig a little deeper into the impacting statistics of online reviews and their direct correlation to a practice’s revenue. With the digital age here and now, it’s important to understand this new “word of mouth” trend..

Tune in to discover:

  • The results of a recent Womply study, showing the correlation between online reviews and revenue of roughly 200,000 small businesses (25,000 medical practices)
  • What percentage of healthcare and medical centers don’t respond to their reviews and why
  • What to do to increase the distance between yourself and your nearest competitor
  • How much a star rating impacts revenue for medical practices
  • How to benchmark your practice based upon patient reviews

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Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2020 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

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Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2020 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

Download Now

Transcript Notes

Speaker 1: Dr Marketing Tips, paging Dr Marketing Tips. Dr Marketing Tips, you’re needed in the marketing department.

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Dr Marketing Tips podcast, your prescription to the answers you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better, and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes, and sharing successes. Let’s get started.

Jennifer: Hey there, welcome to the Dr Marketing Tips podcast. I’m Jennifer.

Corey: And I’m Corey.

Jennifer: And we are here today to discuss some pretty interesting data that has recently been published, and Corey, you actually read an article recently I think in Search Engine Land, the online publication that talks about these types of things.

Corey: Yeah, so Search Engine Land is a site that I frequent quite a bit because they kind of have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on specifically with organic search rankings. So when someone types in a query of some kind on Google, you obviously want to show up. Search Engine Land will help you figure out how to do that. So it’s a go to resource for us around the office, but recently they posted an article talking about review counts and how that matters so much more to local business revenue and how that relates to star ratings and online reputation management, so that was kind of right in our wheelhouse. We talk about that a lot with clients, and so the one on Search Engine Land specifically was talking about small businesses.

Corey: So we all know that reviews matter, right, but there hasn’t been a study that was really clear between star ratings and revenue, at least to this scale. So once I pointed this out, we kind of shared it with the team and then Jen did a little bit deeper of a dive and found that there’s a healthcare specific segment.

Jennifer: Yeah. So out of the 200,000 or so businesses that were surveyed, the company that did this is called Womply, and we’ll put the link to the survey results in the show notes, but Womply focuses from a business standpoint on a lot of data, a lot of reputation management, like reviews and things like that, and credit card transactions and just different things across the board. But basically Womply put together a survey to better understand the correlation between online reviews and revenue for healthcare and medical centers. So when I’m talking about with healthcare and medical centers, I’m talking about healthcare and medical related businesses, like medical treatment centers, pharmacies, dentists, chiropractors, opticians, counseling and therapy centers and places like that.

Jennifer: So Womply did have their data science team come together and conduct an in depth analysis of all of the transactions and online review data for more than 25,000 health care and medical centers across every state in the United States.

Corey: Yeah, and to our knowledge, that’s the largest scale of a study of this type, the 25,000 there to do that. And some really interesting data came out of that. So-

Jennifer: Yeah, like top level, like the biggest takeaway and then I think we should dive into some of these specifically, but basically that online reviews are the new word of mouth, which is something we preach all the time.

Corey: All the time.

Jennifer: That health care and medical centers that engage customers online perform better financially than those who do not, and specifically those health care and medical centers that experience the best revenue performance, they experience the best revenue performance when they do a handful of things. One is they claim all their free listings, they’re actively responding to customer feedback. They don’t have a 5.0 star rating, but more like a 4.0 or a 4.9. They get real authentic reviews on a regular basis and they have an authentic review profile, which includes anywhere from five to 20% negative. Those are the ones seeing the biggest return on their investment.

Corey: And it’s funny because we talk about this all the time.

Jennifer: All the time.

Corey: Yeah. And we had… So we have no affiliation with Womply and we’ve never seen this data before. We just kind of were talking about it the other day, but it’s just funny that it reinforces like every single thing we say about the importance of online review management and reputation management and the fact that one, obviously it’s important to claim all of your listings, two, it’s important to actively respond to positives and negatives, and three, it’s okay to have some negatives because that actually makes you appear more authentic and trustworthy.

Jennifer: Yeah. So let’s dive in to just a couple of these things and I feel like we’re like… we were reading a study about ourselves and about the things that we talk about all the time. So I can’t wait til… Danielle’s out of town. I can’t wait til she’s back in town because she’s going to be like right up in all of this information in the study.

Jennifer: So one of the things the study kind of concluded is that health care and medical centers that claim their listing on multiple review sites actually make more money. Some of the stats that they say is those organizations that claim at least three review sites will earn 26% more in revenue.

Corey: Yeah, and I would say if you were going to focus on three review sites to claim, that would be Google, Yelp, Facebook.

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. And it says it in the study that Google is still the most important and that almost 25% of healthcare clinics and medical centers out there aren’t claiming their listings at all. So one thing I’m going to point out is that if you know it’s going to have a direct correlation to an increase in revenue and you know that 25% of folks out there are not doing it and you want to move… You want to like increase the spread, the distance between yourself and your closest competitor, this is one of those ways that you can do it without spending any more money.

Corey: And what’s great is when you claim them, you can claim these listings for free and you don’t have to pay attention to them. We recommend that you do of course, but just you can go out and claim a handful of these over the course of a few days if you just have a few minutes per day and you can just make sure that the information is correct and verified, throw up some photos, and you don’t want to sort of set it and forget it, but it is something that you can kind of passively do to increase revenue that you know that your competitors down the street are not doing, and then if you want to take that extra step and be really on top of it, you would actively review these things and monitor them and for positive and negative reviews.

Jennifer: Yeah, and I think that for our listeners, you know, it’s one thing for us to throw out these statistics, but I think when you put actual dollar amounts it really resonates. So, according to the study, the average annual revenue across all healthcare and medical centers, which includes clinics, dentists, chiropractors, treatment centers, etc was $199,000 and one thing they wanted to note is for them to come up with this basically $200,000 number, this only represented the data that they were able to get from credit and debit card transactions. It doesn’t include anything else. So no checks, no cash, nothing like that.

Corey: One thing that I thought was interesting that came out of this study was that healthcare and medical centers with more than the average number of reviews brought in 28% more annual revenue. So in other words, if you had more reviews than your competitor down the street, you’re going to make more money as a result of that.

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. So I think that’s great stuff.

Corey: I love that math.

Jennifer: I think the whole… The math is fantastic. So let’s talk about replying to reviews because sometimes we have some clients who include with their package with us about replying to the reviews and sometimes they don’t include it, and it always blows me away for like just a couple extra dollars you can have somebody physically go in there and replying.

Corey: Yeah. I had no idea the number was so high. So according to Womply, 79% of health care and medical centers don’t respond to any reviews.

Jennifer: That’s crazy because it’s easy to respond to positives.

Corey: Right.

Jennifer: It’s one thing to put your head in the sand with the negatives, but if you’re not even going to respond to the positives, I mean it says healthcare and medical centers that don’t reply to any reviews actually earn six percent less in revenue.

Corey: That’s all it takes is a couple of seconds and a few sentences to earn six percent more. That sounds pretty great.

Jennifer: It also says that almost 80% of of practices out there don’t even have a single review out there or haven’t responded to a single review. I just think like it blows me away that that’s almost 80%. So again, if you are trying to increase the distance between yourself and your nearest competitor, it seems like this is the one thing that you can be doing that will really have an impact. And separately, Corey, you found this in an SEO publication because reviews have such a strong SEO value. So why would you… Even if you don’t want to deal with it from a customer service standpoint or an employee engagement standpoint, but why not deal with it from an SEO standpoint, especially with as much money everybody’s putting it into their digital marketing?

Corey: Yeah, absolutely. I mean if you look at your website as sort of like the hub of a wheel, this is definitely… reviews are one of the spokes that will make it successful. So you’ve got your organic search rankings, your reviews, your map listings, your Google ads, all those things sort of work together, your social media and everything like that to turn this wheel, so without paying attention to the reviews you’re missing one of the key spokes or cogs to make this thing go.

Jennifer: Yeah, and again we’ll put the link to the data in the show notes, but there’s a great chart in the data that shows that if you have more than 30 reviews out there that you have responded to, chances are that you are pulling in an increased number of revenue of about $300,000 as a medical practice. So it’s showing from if you have no reviews you’re probably losing about $199,000 like they were saying before, but if you have more than 30 that you’ve responded to, you’re probably looking at an additional 300,000 in revenue just in a year.

Corey: That’s insane.

Jennifer: It’s insane. I love that math.

Corey: Yeah, exactly.

Jennifer: All right, so let’s talk about star ratings. How much does a star rating impact revenue for the practices?

Corey: Yeah, so one of the things that we’ve always said is you don’t want to be five stars because you think about that and even just outside the medical field, like if you were looking for a restaurant and you’re looking for like a taco place and the taco place has been around for let’s say a year and a half and they have 40 reviews that are all five stars, to me anyway, I look at that automatically and I go I don’t know if I can trust that because how could they be around for so long and everyone has a positive experience. I don’t… I’m not buying it. You know?

Corey: So the study found something similar, that five star healthcare and medical centers earn 13% less than the average, and the sweet spot is between 4 and 4.9 stars. And we’ve been saying forever that you want to be around that 4.5 to 4.7, that’s really where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck.

Jennifer: I’m going to like earmark this data so that when we are talking to some of our clients that we’re able to point this out to them.

Corey: Absolutely.

Jennifer: I can think of more than one occasion where I’ve said we need to take your reviews and we need to go ahead and put them online on your website, and I’ll have pushback from practice managers and doctors saying, no, no, no, no, no, no. We have those couple of really bad ones, I don’t want anyone to see them. The fact is people are seeing them anyway and that’s how you build the authenticity.

Corey: Exactly.

Jennifer: What else have we got here?

Corey: I think so if we talk about the impact of negative reviews, so 19% of the average healthcare and medical center’s reviews are negative, so I think that that is a kind of a… not misleading number, but there’s a couple of contributing factors that go into that. One of them being that if obviously you’re providing an inferior patient experience, then you’re going to have this sort of problem. But even if you’re providing a great patient experience but you’re not paying attention to reviews, you might wind up with more negatives than you really deserve. So that again is another reason why you should at least claim these listings and occasionally pay attention to them.

Corey: So what we do is we actually have a software program where we’re alerted to any sort of review. If you don’t have something like that or you’re not interested in something like that, that’s totally fine. I would suggest maybe like once a week or every other week just sort of poking around to these different websites so you can see, almost like check the pulse of the practice and what people are saying about you online, because like what Jen was saying earlier, to just kind of bury your head in the sand and ignore it, it doesn’t make any sense.

Jennifer: Yeah. And I want to touch on this too, like we get it all the time, but you know, how many reviews do you actually need, and should that be your area that you’re focusing on. We have clients all the time that are telling us that they’re really concerned about the actual rating that they’ve got. You know, 4.2 is not good enough, especially when you get into a room of competitive doctors, they see like 4.2 and they could get a 5 so they’d rather have the 5, but getting that perfect star rating, like you were saying before, Corey, is not necessarily the way to go out there and increase revenue.

Jennifer: On the other hand, the study suggests that healthcare and medical centers should perhaps focus on getting more reviews above and beyond anything else. One, there’s the search engine value, the SEO value that goes with that, but the study says that those organizations that average a combined 27 reviews per location across all review sites, that’s kind of the average that they’re looking at. So what they did is they started analyzing revenue and looking at review counts above and beyond that 27 review threshold. Those organizations who are above the 27 review threshold are seeing almost $260,000 and higher numbers of revenue as a correlation with the numbers… the money that they’re bringing in directly correlating with the number of reviews that they’re getting. Not so much they don’t know that it’s a causation, but definitely a correlation.

Corey: Yeah. And then another great thing about having additional reviews is if you only have three reviews and somebody goes on and they leave a one star, well that’s going to tank your rating. But if you have 47 reviews, obviously you’re a little bit more insulated from that patient whose elevator didn’t go all the way to the top floor or you know, maybe they did have some sort of inferior patient experience. And again, one of the things that we do is we’ll send out text messages to patients and ask them about their experience and if they want to leave a review, that’s great, but if not, then we have feedback that we can use to improve internally, and there’s plenty of software providers out there that do something very similar. So it’s an easy way to build more reviews.

Corey: We also have some doctors who like the little business cards that you can hand out and they like being kind of selective about their patients and who they’re handing those to. That works, but you know, when you’re trying to scale this up, it makes much more sense to have sort of an automated system that no one has to worry about.

Jennifer: You know, another thing within the study that I thought was really interesting, and I’m going to use this, probably show it to some of the docs that I work with on a regular basis is they looked from state to state, which states have the reviews or the harshest towards medical practices and which ones are the kindest towards medical practices. So Corey, you want to take a guess at who might be the state with the harshest level of review?

Corey: The harshest. I’m going to say, is it Florida or Texas?

Jennifer: It’s Rhode Island.

Corey: Oh.

Jennifer: The average positive review is only seeing 72.6% of the time. Whereas people in North Dakota are leaving positive reviews 92.1% of the time.

Corey: Well in North Dakota they’re probably just happy they can see another person.

Jennifer: Right. Like smack dab in the middle, Tennessee, Washington, Utah, Nebraska, Idaho, Wisconsin, all around 84% positive reviews.

Corey: Interesting.

Jennifer: We track that. So I think some of our docs are going to be really excited to see that. I think one of the large ortho practices that I report on on a regular basis sees about 84% positive. So they’re in the state of Florida, so if I show those docs that they’re doing 84 or even 90% I think last month and they’re beating the average of 79.8% in the state of Florida, they’re going to think that’s a win.

Corey: Yeah, definitely. That’s awesome.

Jennifer: I think that’s great too because if you benchmark what you’re seeing at your practice against this data, benchmark it that way, then when you put in some like patient experience training and some employee engagement training, you could really have a benchmark to pay attention to. So that’s a good one. Let’s keep an eye on that.

Corey: Yeah and you then if you add the training and like you said you’ve almost got like a full scale sort of marketing program going on its own there and you’re just focused on reviews and driving those and ultimately then increasing revenue.

Jennifer: Yeah and there’s so much data here we don’t have time to go into it all, but it even goes and looks at those states that have, you can look at one chart that shows you percentage of positive versus negative and then they also rank states that have the best online marketing presence and those areas where they’re more active in there.

Corey: Yeah. It really is a very comprehensive and engaging report so we’ll make sure that that’s in the show notes. I think it’s definitely worth checking out.

Corey: So your to do list after you listen to this episode is one go check out the Womply report that we’ve been talking about, two, go claim all your free business listings on the relevant review sites. Again, you want to focus on Google, Facebook, Yelp, those are the big ones. And then try and get that star rating between 4.0 and 4.9 on any of those key review sites.

Jennifer: Totally. I think this is good information and I think this is a good spot to wrap it up. So with that, I’m Jennifer.

Corey: I’m Corey.

Jennifer: We’ll see you next time on the Dr Marketing Tips podcast.

Corey: Thanks guys.

Jennifer: Thanks.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the drmarketingtips.com podcast. If there’s anything from today’s show you want to learn more about, check out drmarketingtips.com for our podcast resource center with all the notes, links, and goodies we mentioned during the show. If you’re not already a subscriber to our show, please consider pressing the subscribe button on your podcast player so you never miss one of our future episodes. And if you haven’t given us a rating or review yet on iTunes, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our medical practice peers. Thanks again for listening and we’ll catch you next time. Doctor’s orders.

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