Tag Archives: surveys

7 Online Marketing Predictions (and 1 Wish) for Plastic Surgeons in 2014


1. Content marketing will be the most important part of your online strategy

seo-monster-is-deadSEO is dead and has been (in its original form) for a while now. If you still think SEO is just a magical secret formula of keywords on a web page and a bunch of inbound links, it’s time to change your thinking.

To remain competitive in 2014, cosmetic practices will need to devote more resources to content marketing. Content plays the starring role in a successful SEO strategy. Yesterday’s keyword-stuffing, city-name-everywhere-on-the-page approach no longer works.

TIP: Choose an SEO team who works in partnership with you to create great content. Remember quality is key, not quantity. Be prepared to help them, they can’t do it all without you.

2. Successful content marketers will leverage reviews to drive conversions

content-monsterReviews build online relationships (i.e. conversions and phone calls) better than any other type of content. Not surprisingly, publishing reviews on your own website can increase conversions by 2x to 8x!*

Would you like to generate 20% more leads from the web than you did a year ago? As a direct result of changing their overall marketing strategy to highlight reviews and other related content created by patients, a practice in a highly competitive California market experienced a 20% increase in website conversions (number of contact forms completed) over the previous year.

TIP: RealPatientRatings.com (and some other review sites) give you easy-to-install embeddable review widgets that keep your website updated automatically with review content that will engage your visitors and increase conversions.

*RPR study

3. Expect doctor reviews to continue exploding in popularity

+52% more people searched for doctor/dentist reviews in 2013 than in 2012 accodring to brightlocal.com. Only restaurant reviews were more popular! We don’t expect this trend to change.

In 2014, consumers will also prefer reviews from trusted sources over older less-trusted websites, and prefer recent reviews older reviews.

4. Doctors will be inundated by salespeople offering newfangled methods of generating reviews

scared-doctorGuaranteeing your patient’s anonymity is the most effective way to generate truly authentic reviews and collect enough reviews to have an impact on your marketing.

All medicine, especially cosmetic surgery, is a highly personal experience and true anonymity is required to acquire honest feedback.

To decide on a system for growing your online reputation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will your patients feel safe enough to share their true feelings?
  • Will the patient feedback help your practice grow in a constructive way?
  • Does the system truly understand the business of medicine?

TIP: Don’t choose a method of generating reviews where patients write a review while at your office, and avoid any methods that require the patient to post online under their real name.

5. Keyword data will no longer be available to rely on

not-providedIn your Google Analytics reports, have you seen the numbers of “(not provided)” keywords growing like crazy? Changes to online privacy settings mean that our access to keyword data is dwindling and will soon be completely gone.

Although keyword data will be sorely missed by all, once it’s all gone we will have to shift our measurement of Internet marketing success to engagement statistics like pages per visit, time on site, and conversion rates.

(In this SEO’s humble opinion, this is a healthy and positive change.)

TIP: Download an Excel report of your entire keyword history for future use. Do this ASAP before it is gone forever.

6. Trusted sources of web traffic will be more important than ever

Your most important real-world relationships and affiliations will also be your most significant online relationships.

asps-find-a-surgeon.jpgFor instance, a surprising number of ASPS member surgeons have incomplete profiles on plasticsurgery,org. That means the 463,000 people who searched for a surgeon on plasticsurgery.org in the last year* never had an opportunity to see them. It also means these surgeons are missing out on the powerful benefits of links from plasticsurgery.org to their own websites.

TIP: Complete your plasticsurgery.org doctor profile and invest in an Enhanced Profile.

BONUS TIP: There’s only one way to show surgery reviews on your ASPS profile! Our official endorsement by ASPS means that RealPatientRatings members with ASPS Enhanced Profiles can display surgery reviews on their plasticsurgery.org profile for free. This important consumer content is available to help patients find vital information to help them make choices.

**Data collected between June 2012 and 2013. Statistics provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

7. Mobile and tablet users will account for more than 50% of your website traffic

phone-in-bedIf your site isn’t functional on smartphones or tablets, you may not have been affected much yet. This year, you will definitely feel it as the number of people using these devices to engage with content on your website continues to climb.

TIP: You don’t need a separate mobile website any more. Professional web development has already evolved past that! Responsive websites are the new standard and when built properly they automatically display perfectly on any device.

Not so much a prediction, but our wish for the future…
Surgeons will stop worrying about reviews and focus more on patient satisfaction

Everyone will routinely survey their patients

Nearly 80% of medical practices categorized as “better-performers” use patient satisfaction surveys, and send surveys out more frequently than other practices.***

Reviews aren’t something you can buy or beg for, they are a happy byproduct of patient satisfaction. Start by looking inward (surveying your patients is a great place to start) and the reviews will come naturally.

And stop trying to control the system

Doctors and consumers both truly hate the review sites that are suspected of gaming the system, and yet they still want to have control over the reviews that are published.

Just like SEO, there are no tricks or magic bullets to get solve the problem of meeting your consumer’s need for authentic reviews.

More resources:

Inc.com: 7 secrets to getting positive online reviews

KISSMetrics: The Future of Content Marketing: Trends and Predictions for 2014

Forbes: The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014

EHR Intelligence: Most better-performers use patient satisfaction surveys

Mashable.com: Why 2013 is the Year of Responsive Website Design

6 surprising things we learned about your patients in 2012

Fifteen months ago RealPatientRatings™ embarked on a two-fold mission:

  • Helping plastic surgeons take better care of their patients by providing real-time patient feedback in a 21st century web-based system
  • Helping cosmetic consumers find good doctors by publishing ratings and reviews guaranteed to be from real patients

Plastic surgery patients of 182 surgeons have completed over 13,000 surveys (5851 consult and 7458 surgery). Smartphones accounted for 21% of surveys. RealPatientRatings.com now has 8519 plastic surgery patient reviews, more than any other site in the world!

In fact, RealPatientRatings is conducting the largest real-time study of the plastic surgery patient experience. The resulting data is powerful and has challenged some long-standing industry beliefs.

1. Schedule more surgery by providing high-quality procedure education at consult

Despite extensive online availability of information, your patients’ primary driver of Likelihood to Schedule is the procedure information provided directly from the plastic surgeon. Practices who meet patient needs at consult satisfy at higher rates. Likelihood to schedule doubles among highly satisfied patients.

2. In-house cheerleaders make a differencemegaphone

Your team can help you schedule more surgery. Having a staff that consistently praises you to your patients fulfills a critical need for patients to trust you and feel safe. Data from thousands of consult surveys tells us that this staff endorsement is the 2nd most important factor in likelihood to schedule.

3. Discussing fees prior to consult increases scheduling rates

Many practices believe that fees should only be discussed at consult. But RPR data reveals higher intention to schedule among patients who were told fees in advance, i.e., 67%. Scheduling intent decreases to 45% when patients receive a quote that is “higher than expected”. This means losing 1 patient out of 3. Share your prices ranges on your website and on every inbound call, whether the patient asks directly about price or not.


4. Reviews directly influence likelihood to schedule

Not only do today’s patients seek out reviews directly, the presence or absence of reviews directly affects their likelihood to move forward with surgery. Post your reviews on your website, print them out in the office, include them in your consultation packets…and please stop calling them testimonials. Nobody searches Google for testimonials!

5. “The answer to bad speech is more speech”


The preponderance of negative online reviews for plastic surgeons (many of which are fake) suggests far more consumer unhappiness than is accurate. Since all patients are included in our feedback loop, RPR data is much more reliable and our reviews can’t be fabricated. Physician ratings on RPR are 11% to 34%* higher than traditional review sites because we eliminate angry ex-employees and competitors.

6. Patients want to be seen at times that work for them

You can nearly double Likelihood to Schedule when patients are highly satisfied with the availability of consult appointments. If your surgical schedule isn’t as full as you want, then increase consult appointment options for your patients. The longer you make them wait, the less likely they are to be highly satisfied.

While even the general information we’re providing can help you, you need to know how your practice is doing with your own patients. If you don’t survey them, how do you take advantage of their insights and better meet their needs (and yours!)?

*based on an internal study

5 high-impact summer projects for plastic surgeons

work_at_the_beachBetween the economy, Olympics, heat waves and back to school preparations looming, not many people are thinking about cosmetic surgery. This quiet time is seasonal, but it’s real.

What can we do during these quiet weeks? Certainly surgeons can take well-deserved vacations. Or you can focus on making your practice better for when the good times begin to roll.

Choose a project or two that will have long-term positive effects on your business.

Create new web content

Building content is like building equity. Content isn’t just text, but also includes before & after photos, images, videos, illustrations, thank you notes from patients… anything that is a resource for patients to learn more about you and the procedures they’re interested in.

Write some blog posts

Blogging is effective but can be hard to do consistently. Get your feet wet by writing a few short articles for the web and include topics patients care about most – photos, prices, and financing. Be sure to include some real-life anecdotes about positive outcomes. After you post, be sure to share it on LinkedIN, Facebook, and Twitter.

Experiment with social media

Social media can be very effective, but has to be authentic. Commit to interacting on Facebook for a week or two and see how your patients respond. Use other successful Facebook pages as a model for what to do, and remember that shorter is always better on Facebook. (Less than 100 characters per post)

Survey your patients

Being an ostrich isn’t good for business. Find out how your patients feel about their experience by asking for their feedback. Be sure to use an anonymous system (like Real Patient Ratings) to accurately gauge the needs and wants of your entire patient base.

Get more reviews

Who would you ask to write your content if you could ask anyone in the world? Your patients, of course!

It’s important to have reviews across a variety of trusted sources, including Google+ for Business, Yelp, RealSelf, and your own website. It’s also important that you allow truthful negative reviews to be included. (Why? Read about the blemish effect for more information)

To make the survey process painless and getting more reviews a breeze, Real Patient Ratings enables patients to easily write reviews during the survey process and delivers those reviews straight back to your website, and to our SEO-friendly online directory.

Are You a Plastic Surgeon 2.0?

Health 2.0* (also called Medicine 2.0) references 2-way interactions between medical providers and patients.

It’s a new world where patients not only consume content, but also create it through social media including ratings and reviews.

But you can’t just tack a “2.0” on the end of a title and call it “new and improved.”

The designation “2.0” indicates a significant change in how you relate to your patients and to the world.

*Infographic by Scott Shreeve, MD at Crossover Health

Are you a Plastic Surgeon 2.0? Take the quiz and find out

icon-CheckboxEnabling Two-Way Communication

  • Is your own voice represented in your online presence?
  • Do you use intelligent tools (like your blog, social media, and health-related websites you participate on) to deliver content to consumers?
  • Do you continue to evolve quickly online and are you willing to try new ways of communicating with your patients?

icon-CheckboxEmbracing Transparency

  • Do you promote and freely share content created by your patients, without editing or revising their true feelings?
  • Do you integrate data and content (like RPR’s patient satisfaction data) including imperfections identified by your patients?

icon-CheckboxMonitoring and Managing Your Patient Experience

Do you have on-going feedback from your patients about service quality?

  • Do you survey consistently?
  • Do you ask questions that yield insights to improve your practice?

Do you benchmark your practice’s performance regionally and nationally?

  • Is survey data available in real time?
  • Can you access regional and national benchmarks yourself?

If most of your answers are YES, then you’re taking advantage of the 2.0 phenomenon. If not, these questions can be suggestions for how create a better patient experience and take better advantage of the Internet and social media.

What is Health 2.0?

Definition of Health 2.0 from Wikipedia: use of a specific set of Web tools (blogs, Podcasts, tagging, search, wikis, etc.) by actors in health care including doctors, patients, and scientists, using principles of open source and generation of content by users, and the power of networks in order to personalize health care, collaborate, and promote health education

An even better definition from Phillipa Kenneally, MD at the Entreprenurial MD: a “new concept of healthcare wherein all the constituents (patients, physicians, providers, and payers) focus on healthcare value (outcomes/price) and use competition at the medical condition level over the full cycle of care as the catalyst for improving the safety, efficiency, and quality of health care”.