It's time to fight back: how to boost your positive Internet reviews (Proceedings)


Now that many of us have experienced how negative internet reviews can impact our practices, and have learned how to handle them, should we stop there? Absolutely not! As the expression goes: "Two can tango!"

Now that many of us have experienced how negative internet reviews can impact our practices, and have learned how to handle them, should we stop there? Absolutely not! As the expression goes: "Two can tango!"

Having been so incensed with the negative, often evil tone of some of our reviews, rather than sit back and deal specifically with these reviews, we chose to start taking a more proactive approach to our internet image. Firstly, it was important to consider, as the rules of marketing have shown, that our happy clients are often not very forthcoming with their positive comments. They may love us, but typically won't go out of their way to share their sentiments with others. They will do it more passively than actively. Oh sure they'll tell their "three friends," but not until the subject of pets or vets comes up in a conversation. Well, with the inherent geometric progression that many of us have seen with negative comments, we can take those positive reviews meant for the few and multiply them instead for thousands! All you need to do is ask!

We developed a campaign where we ask our happy clients (of which they are typically the vast majority) to submit reviews on our behalf. To make it easier, we created a review form for them to fill our asking for specific honest comments and an overall review based on a 1 to 5 scale. It is important for the reviews to be somewhat detailed, where the client cites a specific event or aspect of the practice or doctor(s) that they really like, as these seem to be more believable, and thus more likely to be printed. Then, you need to ask them to submit them to whatever review site seems appropriate (Google, Judy's, Yelp, Yahoo, CitySearch, etc.). The fact remains that these reviews are authentic and true—they are simply somewhat solicited. The fact that it is solicited doesn't make it any less significant! We've actually had some clients write amazing reviews on our behalf in response to some of the very vicious reviews about us—totally unsolicited. Those will always bring a smile to our faces. You know those wonderful Thank-You notes that we've all received from very appreciative clients after helping them or their pets? Well, these can make great reviews as well—so don't be afraid to ask those clients if they would mind if you printed them. We took our strategy one step further and enlisted the help of a company, Review Boost, which submits the reviews to the various review sites for us and makes sure they are displayed. Since it is very difficult to have your negative reviews removed, it is important to have the positive reviews flooded into these sites as these will, in essence, push the negative reviews pages deep so they won't be displayed as prominently. There are a number of factors which the review sites use to determine where to place reviews, and though it's not always based on chronology, this seems to be the most relevant criteria. Their formulas may also take into account the reviewer's own history with that site (some sites require memberships), the apparent credibility of the review (thus the need to be more specific than "they're great!"), and the site's own "unwritten" rules. So when trying to flood a site with positive reviews, it is important to concentrate on those sites with the most recent negative reviews.

Other strategies to enhance your internet image involve building a stronger internet presence via website development and maintenance, and capitalizing on social networking and advertising opportunities. You should develop a Facebook page for your hospitals as well as a Twitter account. It is also recommended to have you or someone from your office write or film blogs or videos, and even write press releases for your hospital. People love to read or watch them! Appropriate, educational, but fun YouTube videos can also be helpful. A strong search engine position via Google, Yahoo, Firefox, and Bing is also very helpful! Make sure that you "claim" or "validate" your Google listing/account so that you can control the information provided by Google and you can enter certain key words that may drive search engines your way. Setting up Google, Bing and Yahoo local listings, is also another way to push these negative listings down (to the point of not being found anymore). You basically are flooding the 1st page with positive results over negative.

Many sites offer opportunities for businesses to enhance their listing positions on their sites for a fee. It is important to note that you may not receive any preferential treatment when it comes to negative reviews just because you "join" the site. It will however give you more opportunities to promote your practices whenever visitors log on to the site and enter the appropriate keywords in their searches.

Speaking of websites, how does yours measure up? It amazes me how many consumers, many your potential clients, visit a business's website prior to making the decision to use its services. If they are not impressed with the site, it is unlikely they'll give your business a try. Your site must adequately represent who you are, where you are, how to get a hold of you, what you do, what services you provide, and what makes you so special. If possible, your site should be an accurate reflection of your personality and philosophy and should successfully attract the clients you are marketing yourselves to. Do NOT ignore the significance of a phenomenal website!

Additionally, it is highly advisable to sign up with one of the many pet portal sites to stay in closer touch with your current client base. These portals make it easy to reach your clients regularly, allow them to reach you, keep them abreast on a regular basis as to what is going on in your practice and with the profession as a whole. You can send appointment reminders, messages to have clients call in to make appointments, as well as up to date hospital news. Many can allow your clients to make appointments on line, review their pets' laboratory work, and communicate with other clients via your hospital's "community." Sites such as Vet Street, Vet Gate, and ....... Seem to be very popular within the profession.

As you can see, many aspects of internet marketing and image enhancement can be extremely complicated and confusing. There is so much to stay on top of; reviews, social media, your website, ultimate keywords for search purposes, hospital placement on the review sites, etc. that doing it all on your own may not be your most effective approach. Many hospitals have employed a new staff member simply for this purpose, as it has almost become a full-time job to manage all of this. Even if you don't hire someone to manage this exclusively, you need to consider the time a current team member will need to allot to these tasks, which will obviously effect the time he or she currently spends on regular hospital duties.

An alternative solution would be to hire a firm which will handle all of this for you. There are a few companies which work with the Veterinary industry and are very familiar with the intricacies associated with our practices. Companies such as VetMatrix and Beyond Indigo Pets do a great job creating and managing websites and social media sites, work with the key review sites to enhance your presence and image, as well as assist you or your staff members stay in front of your clients via blogging, on-line newsletters, and web alerts. Fees are typically based on how much you enlist them to do for you, but when you compare them to what you currently pay for yellow page or other advertising or marketing, they are fairly reasonable.

With this information and these suggestions, I hope you will now start taking control of your own internet/web image via active participation, rather than sit passively allowing your web reputation to take control of you and your success.

Related Videos
pam hale interview
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.