7 Step Guide to Pump Up Referrals, Testimonials, and Reviews Through Quarterly Contests

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Quarterly Contests

An excellent way to increase referrals and referral conversion with social proof is by having a quarterly contest one or two times per year.

Social proof including video testimonials on Facebook, YouTube, and your website and online reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Health Grades, and Rate MDs, etc. are frequently the unseen factor in dramatically increasing your referral conversion.

When someone is considering your office because a friend or family member has recommended you one of the first things they do in today’s digital world is Google you. This is when your online reputation becomes crucial. If you have positive social proof it is going to dramatically increase the likelihood of converting someone who was referred to you into someone who is a new patient in your practice.

So a quarterly contest is a great way to both increase referrals now and later by increasing your social proof.

Here’s how to do it.

Step #1: Creating a Quarterly Contest

The first step is to make up your mind to do it and discuss it with your team in order to get them excited about how much fun it’s going to be. You have to commit to it completely in order for it to be a success.

The energy that you and your team bring to this contest will determine whether or not it is successful.

You want to have several weeks to brainstorm and plan for the launch of the contest.

Some of the specific aspects of the contest to brainstorm with your team include:

  • Prize or prizes
  • Giveaways
  • Raffle or Different Type of Contest
  • Activities and Rewards Associated
  • Ways to Promote Internally
  • Ways to Promote Externally
  • Ways to Promote Digitally
  • Theme
  • Who Is Responsible for What

Step #2: Decide on Prizes, Giveaways, and Rewards


One of the really fun parts of doing a quarterly contest is having a grand prize or a grand prize and several other smaller prizes for the winners of the contest. If your contest has a theme you can try to unite your prizes with your theme or you can just give away some big-ticket items that you believe your patients would be excited to win. Here are some ideas:

  • Three or Four Day Cruise for Two
  • A Weekend at a Bed and Breakfast
  • Platinum TV
  • iPad
  • Year-Long Gym Membership
  • Three Months of Free Groceries from a Natural Grocery Store
  • Tickets to a Concert
  • Tickets to a Sporting Event
  • Movie Tickets
  • Restaurant Gift Cards
  • Health Food Store Gift Cards
  • Custom Pillow
  • Books

Whether you choose just one grand prize or a grand prize with a few smaller prizes the key is choosing prizes that your patients would be excited about and you and your team will know that better than anyone else.


Along with raffle prizes you may also want to have some giveaways along the way during the contest. These can help keep people engaged for the full three months you are running the contest. This could be a weekly giveaway for a free massage or free adjustments or a bottle of supplements or whatever. The key again is to give something that is exciting to your patients and fun. You would frequently give this to the patient who accumulated the most points that week.

online contest

Raffle and Rewards

A raffle is usually the best format for this type of quarterly contest. In order to do the raffle you just need some raffle tickets and a large glass container to keep the raffle tickets in at your front desk in order to continue to remind people about the quarterly contest. You also will want to display your prizes in a prominent location in your office to keep the buzz going. You should assign a different amount of raffle tickets to different activities that patients would do during the quarter.

For instance:

  • 10 Tickets = Referral of Friend or Family Member
  • 8 Tickets = Bringing a Friend to a Class
  • 7 Tickets = Video Testimonial
  • 5 Tickets = Google Review
  • 4 Tickets = Facebook, Yelp, Health Grades, or Rate MDs Review
  • 3 Tickets = Facebook Check-In
  • 2 Tickets = Sharing a Facebook Post
  • 1 Ticket = Liking Our Facebook Page

Another fun way to giveaway prizes during a quarterly contest is to use a prize wheel. Similar to a wheel of fortune type of wheel with different prizes on it. You can then connect spins on the wheel to different activities of the quarterly contest. For instance, a referral = 5 spins on the wheel, a video testimonial = 3 spins on the wheel, a Google review = 2 spins on the wheel, etc.

Having a prize wheel like this in your front lobby is a great conversation starter as well and can add to the excitement of the event. There is a number of prize wheels available from Amazon.

7 Step Guide to Pump Up Referrals, Testimonials, and Reviews Through Quarterly Contests
7 Step Guide to Pump Up Referrals, Testimonials, and Reviews Through Quarterly Contests
7 Step Guide to Pump Up Referrals, Testimonials, and Reviews Through Quarterly Contests

Step #3: Promote Internally

To promote this event internally you will want to create some key pieces of promotional material including:

  • Posters
  • Flyers
  • Postcards
  • Signs

You want to make sure that everyone in your practice knows that this contest is happening. So you and your team should be talking consistently about the contest with every patient on every visit.

You should also have posters, counter, and table signs and flyers around the practice talking about the contest and the ways to accumulate raffle tickets or points. You can also send out a mailing to your patients with a postcard describing the contest.

Step #4: Promote Externally

Although this is primarily an internal promotional event you can certainly promote it externally as well including putting up posters on local bulletin boards or talking about this during community events you are doing including talks, screenings etc.

Step #5: Promote Digitally

Digital promotion can be very effective for a quarterly contest. You can send out a series of email blasts about once every other week for the first six weeks and then once a week for the second five weeks and then three email blasts in the last week to get as many raffle tickets or points as possible and during that last week before the big grand prize is given away. You would want to do a similar type of posting schedule to Facebook utilizing a flyer-type picture that you can consistently post promoting the event on Facebook and other social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

If you do a consistent monthly email newsletter as we recommend you would also want to promote the contest within your newsletter every month during the quarter.

Step #6: Decide on a Theme

Some doctors like to have a theme for each quarter and have their contest correspond with their theme.

For instance, some themes that I know doctors have done successfully include:

  • Nutrition
  • Fitness
  • Stress Management
  • Condition Specific: Multiple Sclerosis, Migraines, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Etc.

If you choose to do a theme then you can have all of your giveaways and prizes focused around that particular theme and you can also have events that are scheduled throughout the quarter related to that theme including in-office classes, walks or other events related to specific conditions such as having your team and patients participate in a Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s etc.

Step #7: Who Is Responsible for What

The last and most important aspect of doing a fantastic quarterly contest is to have different members of your team take ownership of different aspects of the contest. Once you have brainstormed and laid out a plan for the contest each member of your team should have different responsibilities in order to execute the plan.

Some offices will do quarterly contests every quarter. Others will only do this once a year. But if you have never done a quarterly contest I highly recommend you plan and execute one to see how your practice responds as it may be a game-changer for you and your practice when it comes to increasing referrals and social proof which will have an impact on your practice for years to come.

Building an integrated marketing plan that utilizes internal, external, and digital strategies to consistently produce new patients for your upper cervical practice is absolutely essential to consistently grow. A quarterly contest is an excellent internal marketing strategy that we recommend as part of our custom integrated marketing plans. If you would like to learn more about our integrated marketing system give us a call at 877-252-1230.

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