As advanced as the medical field is, it’s sometimes surprising how far doctors, surgeons, and healthcare facilities lag behind when it comes to web development and internet marketing. In particular, the healthcare community is lacking when it comes to patient testimonials, reviews, and social proof.

Why Testimonials Matter

Whether you look at it from the patient or provider perspective, testimonials are a critically important component of modern healthcare. We live in a world where customers – and in the case of medicine, patients – have access to a lot of information. As a result, the ability to research different doctors before selecting a surgeon is extremely important to them.

From the doctor’s point of view, testimonials are a wonderful way to leverage past successes and increase comfort with prospective patients. They give an unbiased look that cannot be provided via traditional advertisements or marketing efforts.

Types of Testimonials

When it comes to testimonials, there are a number of different types. The written testimonial with an attractive headshot is the most common approach. Here’s a great example of the power of testimonials in number. There’s nothing gimmicky about the page. It features honest testimonials that resonate with the target audience.

According to research, the brain processes video 60,000-times faster than written word. This has given rise to the visual storytelling trend that now permeates online marketing. We’re seeing this play out in the creation of video testimonials. Video is exponentially more powerful than text and can totally transform stale reviews into vibrant elements of social proof. Here are a few good examples of customer testimonial videos and how versatile they are.

Another common approach is the simple use of a headshot with a phrase, such as “I couldn’t be happier!” While these testimonials aren’t as valuable as long written reviews or videos, they’re still better than nothing.

Helpful Tips and Best Practices

Most doctors and surgeons don’t invest in testimonials because they aren’t quite sure of how to proceed. Fortunately, the process isn’t very difficult. There’s a lot of flexibility in what you do and you’re only limited by your creativity. Here are some helpful tips and best practices to get you started.

1. Just Ask!

“Collecting testimonials may seem like the most daunting part, but it’s actually the easiest step,” says Rachael Van Cleave of SimplePay. “You’d be surprised how excited patients are to share their experience. Some may say no, but it’s important to not let that get you down or make you stop asking.”

In fact, asking is the most important thing you can do. Some people will feel comfortable with testimonials, others won’t. Some will be willing to record a video testimonial, while others will prefer to write a note. You won’t know unless you ask!

2. Maximize Testimonials

You should make every effort to maximize the value of each testimonial you receive. In addition to posting the testimonial on your website, you should also share on social media, include excerpts in emails, and feature in newsletters. There are plenty of ways to repurpose a testimonial, so make sure you’re doing everything you can.

3. Always Be Prepared

If you want to get video testimonials, you need to be prepared at all times. Many patients will be willing to give you a testimonial on the spot, but few will schedule a future appointment just to record a video. Keep a camera on hand at all times and have a dedicated room set aside. You never want to miss out on an opportunity because you weren’t adequately prepared.

4. Guide But Don’t Script 

In order for a testimonial to be honest and powerful, it needs to come straight from the patient’s mouth. Naturally, though, you want to make sure they say the right things. The key is to guide them in the appropriate direction without scripting their testimonial. If it’s a video, ask them particular questions to pursue a specific angle. If it’s a written testimonial, give them particular prompts. This will prove beneficial for both parties.

Putting it All Together

As you can see, testimonials are extremely important in the healthcare industry. When it comes to their own physical health, patients want to know that they’re selecting the best doctor or surgeon for their needs. While a consultation is ultimately more valuable, an online testimonial is often the catalyst that encourages people to reach out.

Keep these tips in mind and brainstorm how your practice can implement testimonials moving forward.