Marketing and PR are closely related subjects. Marketing-wise, you can go online and tell the world about your practice; you can have the best website on the internet in terms of gorgeousness and interactiveness; the content on your website may be very intriguing and resourceful; your Facebook page may be kept constantly updated and interesting; and so on with all other possible social media. However, those messages are all marketing and they are what you are saying about yourself or your own practice.
PR, on the other hand, is what others are saying about you. Of course, this means that you should at all times be delivering the highest quality service and care that you and your team possibly can. That is what any referrer or online reviewer is going to comment on.
At one time, word of mouth by your own patients or clients was the main way of attract new patients into your practice. This is PR at work. In fact, many practices still rely on this “tried and true” method of marketing and do nothing else.
However, in this digital age, these same practices may be wondering why they are not fully booked at all times. If they had a good online presence, which costs little if done properly, they could be attracting in much more business in addition to the word of mouth referrals.
This is where online reviews on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, RateMDs, etc. come into play and cannot be ignored as part of your on-going marketing plans.
Marketing Survey says:
An extensive survey was done by Bright Local (www.brightlocal.com) that uncovered some important information about how consumers regard and use online reviews for local businesses.
Here are some of the key findings of the survey:
- 97% of consumers aged 18-34 read online reviews to judge a local business
- Consumers aged 18-34 are most likely to trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 91% of consumers aged 35-54 read online reviews to judge local businesses
- 86% of consumers aged 55+ read online reviews to judge businesses
Analysis from Bright Local:
- Consumers of all ages will read online reviews to some extent, and although younger consumers are the more regular readers, even 86% of the oldest age group (55+) either regularly or occasionally read reviews. So for businesses targeting all age groups, their potential customers are highly likely to read the reviews they have available.
Ignore all this at your own peril!
The answer then is to have an excellent reputation handling PR Program designed to attract your fair share (or more) of new business into your practice. You can’t bury your head in the sand regarding your PR actions and expect the value and size of your practice to stay the same or increase. With the internet, every business now has a potential spotlight on it through patients or clients posting reviews, and it can be good or it can be negative depending on how proactive you are in ensuring that it is superb.
Don’t be an ostrich … get with the (PR) program!
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