by Bill Schroeder
As a veterinary professional, you’ve undoubtedly heard stories of how reviews are important, but you may not understand the value of the most important consumer review websites.
Let’s take a few minutes and look at my top 5 review websites.
With over 90% of consumer to business searches happening through Google, it’s easy to see why so much buzz happens around all things Google. While it shouldn’t be a surprise that Google is known to favor its own products (Google Reviews), you might not realize just how much of their secret algorithm leans on signals received from their review content.
Think of Google as being a matchmaker that connects the right veterinarians with the right local pet owners. As a part of that process, reviews are known to impact your ability to be listed at the top the local maps, rank within search for keywords and phrases centered around quality keywords such as “best”, “greatest” and the like, and the performance of your Google Ad campaigns. Your veterinary practice should focus on getting as many high-quality Google reviews as possible so that the public and Google have an accurate view of how the local market views your practice.
While many younger consumers will roll their eyes at the mere mention of Facebook, (many have migrated to Instagram for such connections), my team and I continue to track significant performance within this platform, as a huge percentage of the pet owners who are financially responsible for their pets’ care still frequent the space.
While Google reviews are super powerful and have proven impact on their ranking algorithm, participating requires your pet owners to be logged into their Google account. When considering Facebook, it is much more likely that pet owners are logged into their Facebook account. Due to the fact that social media influences 71% of consumer decisions and Google has included the Facebook review score into their precious Google My Business data, it should be clear that your veterinary practice should pay attention to Facebook reviews!
Ok, ok hear me out. I’m very aware of the negative sentiment here as well as many misconceptions regarding unproven claims that Yelp regulates review scoring and publishing with the amount you spend on advertising on their platform. The fact is, Yelp is established and many of your clients rely on the service. Not being there will allow for an unregulated space and greatly increase the likelihood that the reviews left could take a negative tone (they won’t be muted with a large number of positive reviews).
Did you know that Yelp scoring has been known to impact Yahoo rankings or that studies show a parallel between increased Yelp scoring (stars) and an increase in overall revenue? For those reasons alone you should consider being involved.
If there is one thing that today’s veterinary practices can agree upon, it is the fact that it is difficult to attract and retain great talent. Glassdoor is an employment-centric review site that allows businesses and employees to interact.
Prospective, current, and past employees can leave comments and ratings regarding their experience with your practice’s interview process, wages, benefits, and other important aspects of their experience with your brand. Free form fields allow for very descriptive reviews designed to impact the business and influence potential employees.
While speaking with recent applicants, I found that more than 95% at least consulted with Glassdoor before applying for a position. Being involved will allow you to let your staff know that the space is important, and should excite them to develop a view that is most accurate.
Your Veterinary Website
This could be the most overlooked space. Historically, practices have focused most on website self-promotion. When reading most websites, you will naturally run across all sorts of messaging that starts with “I,” “we,” or “our.” Progressive businesses realize that while some of that sort of communication is natural, it is often glossed over by the consumer.
Instead, pet owners gravitate to comments made by consumers that they can identify with. Simply put, we have experienced a tremendous impact when website content includes opinions of satisfied clients. True magic (increased conversions) happens when specific service-related pet owner comments (reviews) are positioned on service web pages along with direct calls-to-action.
Start Gathering Reviews from Your Clients
Being active doesn’t take much effort. I suggest that you start by simply making your client base aware of your respect for their opinions and the review websites that you value most. Then, work to develop systems that promote the process of gathering reviews. It’s easier than you think! See you online.