Craft all the fancy copywriting and tight messaging you like. It’s helpful.
Create elegant brochures highlighting your professional credentials, and illustrating your products and services.
Polish your professional positioning and image. People like to engage with those they feel they can trust.
You can even scream from rooftops about how great you, your team, and your products are. Purchased print and radio advertising will do that. And though it might ‘interrupt’ your prospective clients, some will certainly hear you, many will tune you out.
But no matter how many of the above strategies you engage, it’s actually not all about you talking about you.
It’s about how you make people feel. People are moved by how you make them feel when you solve their problems. They connect emotionally to how your solution will make their life easier, or more enjoyable.
Sure, they consider your experience, expertise, and bona fides; just not as much as you think.
When Others Sing Your Praises, You Don’t Have To
A change happens when you recognize the lifetime value of your patients or customers is the holy grail of business success.
As you know, it takes a lot more effort and expense to reach and land new customers than to satisfy, therefore retain, the ones you have. By over-delivering on the triad of high quality products, services, and impeccable customer care, fully expressed with empathy (and always while educating), you set the stage for others to sing your praises so you don’t have to.
If you laser-focus on your customers’ needs and consistently deliver your best work to produce high quality repeatable outcomes, you will create a business culture that speaks to an ethos that folks will rave about. And they will sing your praises to whoever will listen.
This happens the old-fashioned way of peer-to-peer in-person contact and, more impactful than ever, via social channels and shared conversations.
Capturing and Activating Your Evangelists
To amplify this organic word-of-mouth activity and accelerate the reach and pace in which this social proof will be shared, consider these content options:
Concise statements from patients and customers about their impressions of your product(s), service(s), or how each was helped for a specific condition while under your care.
A feature on your website under ‘what people are saying’ or other appropriate header, plus a dispersal of kudos and quotes across your site in key areas (think ‘about us’, which should really be weighted to ‘about them’).
Use first name, last name initial, and specific condition treated, if applicable.
Ask specific customers or patients who compliment you on your care, products, or services, if they would be willing to record a short video. Creating powerful and engaging textual testimonials with short videos under 60 seconds can be extremely effective.
Include these recordings on your YouTube or Vimeo channel.
Don’t forget to get written permission to use the name and likeness of any individual providing a video testimonial.
And don’t let the technical details, or expense to set up a makeshift studio, dissuade you. These days you can use a smart phone, tripod, lavaliere microphone, and simple lighting to start production. Timing is everything; it’s never been easier or more affordable to enlist editing help.
At this point there is no denying the impact of Yelp to negatively or positively affect the economics of a business. You need to be there.
But Yelp penalizes businesses that actively ‘pitch’ to their customers to leave reviews on the site. Yelp has a sophisticated algorithm that orders reviews in a certain way, and can sniff out bogus ones.
Yelp encourages businesses to post the Yelp ‘badge’ on their website, and place a ‘Love us at Yelp’ sticker in a prominent location on their physical location. They prefer you tell customers to ‘check us out on Yelp’ as opposed to ‘review us on Yelp’. That’s the golden rule for success on Yelp.
You can also repurpose your Yelp reviews on Twitter, Facebook, and within your own promotional materials as long as you follow their rules. Here is a terrific short piece to help put you on the right path.
If you are a clinic, medical center, or health system, then engaging with existing and prospective customers around relevant, educational content in a live setting is about as powerful as it gets. The same proves true for marketers of other services and products.
Make sure to invite your ‘friendlies’—your growing following of evangelists—to attend your experiential events and programs. They will naturally sing your organization’s praises to others.
Start Somewhere, Start Now
It’s common to feel some discomfort in asking for support from your most valuable patients or clients. But you will be surprised how most folks want to support you and those brands and companies that bring the most value to their lives. So don’t be shy.
It takes time to build your testimonial ‘assets’—text, video, and making it easy for customers to rate you on Yelp. But rest assured, the long-term impact of positive reviews and unrelenting positive word-of-mouth will help grow your business exponentially.