The Power of Patient Testimonials

Feb 18, 2016 | 4  min
author Pyxl Development

How Patients Can Improve Your Healthcare Marketing

It’s time to say “sayonara” to consumer skepticism and “hello” to the patient testimonial. Deciding to buy a product or service is an emotional decision at its core. This applies doubly to the healthcare industry. In a world where user-generated content is picking up more and more steam, patient testimonials are huge. By underscoring the key features and standout benefits of your patient care offerings through external sources, you create concrete credibility that is not only convincing but also enticing to potential patients.

Why Testimonials?

Are you struggling to attract new patients to your practice? Are you looking to promote outpatient family medicine? Are you ready to broadcast your surgical prowess? Testimonials can soften the sales-oriented nature of presenting a service or product to a potential patient. This helps to establish credibility and eases the path to conversion.

Whether your organization is large (hospital networks or medical device manufacturers, for example) or small (specialty or family medical practices), your potential consumers will show predictable decision patterns. In general, people are most likely to choose a service or buy a product that someone else has vouched for – especially when that person is a friend or trusted acquaintance. By incorporating testimonials, organizations can showcase personal, credible sources via their brand evangelists’ opinions. Testimonials evoke emotional appeal, allow for greater persuasion, and the creation of patient-centric content, helping you attract qualified potential patients and providing more opportunities for conversion.

In Healthcare

In the medical realm, patient testimonials prove the value and benefits of patient care options and are a heavily used source of information for those eager to decide on a medical practice, doctor, hospital, medical device, or the like.

A recent survey revealed that 84% of consumers are likely to trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. Though healthcare is a more tenuous subject, the same principle applies. For instance, the Radio Advertising Bureau conducted a report that revealed over 50 percent of listeners would trust a healthcare product or service if they simply heard about it from a radio personality.

Also, as crowdsourcing garners more and more weight, we’re witnessing emerging trends in the millennial generation. For instance, with nearly 100% of millennials and 85% of Baby Boomers utilizing the internet, building a story around the patient is essential. By developing key points that illustrate your positive impact, you bring a genuine authenticity to your care, services, or products.

How to Get Started

First, reach out to current and past patients and customers to ask if they’d be willing to provide a testimonial quote about their experience with your organization. Ideally, you’ll have pleased patients who are eager to chat. Give them an easy outlet such as an online form, along with guidelines for the type of testimony you are looking for.

Ensure you are not in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by refraining from disclosing your patient’s protected health information (PHI). In order to include specific information, written authorization must first be obtained from the patient. After you receive your feedback, determine the proper medium for their story – does a quote work best? Would it be beneficial to reach out and ask if your patient would be willing to do a video interview?

When reviewing feedback from your patients, be sure to keep your eye out for the following qualities:

Qualities of Bad Patient Testimonials

  • Incorporate a glowing recommendation without any detail
  • Include personal patient information
  • Name pitfalls of competitors in a comparatively negative light

Qualities of Good Patient Testimonials

  • Substantiate your claims, underscore the key benefits
  • Include specifics and numbers about how your service helped – “What was the tangible impact?”
  • Ensure your source is someone your audience can relate to – the more information your source feels comfortable with, the better the credibility
  • Illustrate benefits to various markets

For example:

  • Great: “After five months with MedVeralife, I had already saved $800 dollars and found the peace of mind I’d been searching for.” – Suzie, Halitosis Patient
  • Not-so-great: “MedVeralife Medical saved my life! What a wonderful company, couldn’t be happier.” – Suzie

Incorporating Testimonials Online

Though quick patient quotes can function effectively on your website homepage, you can also incorporate testimonials by creating a separate “Testimonials” or “Outcomes” page. Not only does this give potential patients an easy way to navigate to them, with a separate page, you also increase the number of indexed pages you have, which will help with SEO.

Consider video testimonials, too. Video is a medium ripe with promise and is perhaps one of the most effective methods available. If you have the means, capturing a patient’s statement via video adds more weight and personality to the testimonial, while also giving leads a visual cue to identify with.

When you are ready to choose testimonials, cater them to your target audience. If you’re using quotes, make sure they’re easily digestible – short and sweet. Always keep in mind that you must have each patient’s consent to feature their testimonial. Never invent testimonials for the benefit of your organization – this is the most sure-fire way to destroy your credibility and brand loyalty.

Remember, testimonials are about building a trusting relationship with your potential patients. Compelling cold, hard proof of service carries much more weight than a CEO or marketing director who swears by their own product. As Mark Zuckerberg once said, “a trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” This maxim plays loud and clear in the digital marketing realm, particularly in consumer-centric services like healthcare.

Are you thinking about amping up digital marketing efforts at your organization? If you’re looking for a partner who’s well-versed in the healthcare space, Pyxl would love to help out – contact us today to get started.

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