tab32 thanks Tyson Downs of Titan Web Agency for the insights in this post
We are moving right along in our 9 Part Series: An Introduction to Marketing Your Dental Practice Online.
Last week, in part 5, we discussed social media. We talked about four of the most popular social media networks, and how to identify what network(s) you need to be on.
If you haven’t read it, and you are using social media or considering it, please go back and check it out.
Today, in part 6, we are going to talk about reviews! Specifically, Review Acquisition: How to Use Review to Boost Your SEO.
Do you remember the days when you didn’t always know how good a dentist was before going to him or her? Before the prevalence of online reviews, I’d dare say that a dentists reputation wasn’t nearly as important as it is now.
Most people who book an appointment with your office have researched your office and read reviews before they visit. In fact, it’s been reported that approximately 71% of people start their search for a healthcare provider by looking at reviews.
Did you know that people will trust online reviews from complete strangers as much as they would a personal recommendation that they receive from a friend. Let me say it a different way:
Yesterday’s word of mouth has become online reviews.
I shouldn’t have to say it, but getting positive reviews online for your practice is a must. Think about it.
If you do a Google search for a service in your area, if a business has minimal reviews as compared to the competition, all things being equal, you will choose the business with more positive reviews!
If you haven’t placed an emphasis on getting reviews from patients, you are losing out on potential customers that are actively searching each day for your service.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of reviews for your practice, guess what we are going to talk about?
More discussion about how online reviews can help your practice. 🙂
Why Online Reviews Are So Important for a Dental Practice
They Increase Your Visibility
As I always tell my clients, we want Google to understand your business inside and out. We want Google to know exactly where you are, what businesses you are near, what neighborhoods and landmarks you are close to, who works at your office, the services you provide, what patients say about your practice, etc.
The more information about your practice that Google has, the more chance you have of showing up in the search results for one of your services.
Think of it like a ‘referral’. Kind of like word of mouth.
If Google knows a lot about you, and you’ve built up trust with them overtime due to the number of good reviews you have, the information they have about your business, and how they see people interact with your Google listing and website, then they will reward your business with ‘referrals’ (showing up higher in the search results).
Google prioritizes local businesses based on their reviews.
Again, Google prioritizes local businesses based on their reviews.
Check out the screenshot below. In a search for ‘dentists green valley nv that does implants’ , Google is using the content of a review and content on a website to return results for a query (a highly profitable one I might add!)
Increase Expertise and Credibility
I think we can both agree, that when people are choosing a dentist, they want/need to feel confident in your work, and that they can trust that you will have their best interests in mind.
To say it another way, they want to feel their dentist has an expertise/authority and credibility, right?
There are plenty of ways to gain this credibility and expertise. The best way, and perhaps the quickest?
Think about it. Each time you get a review, that is giving Google can help with that because each time someone writes a review that highlights your skill and knowledge, it gives Google more information about you, your team, and your practice, building upon that hopefully great reputation you have already started to build.
How to Ask For & Get a Review
1. Automated Emails
Fairly simple and straightforward, right? You should already be collecting emails from all of your patients, and hopefully you are emailing them on a regular or at least a semi-regular basis. Email marketing is the most cost effective way that you can build trust and nurture your relationship with your patients. Your practice management software should allow this, but if they don’t, you’ll want to invest in one that does, or subscribe to email marketing software.
With email automation, you can add your patients to an email sequence that you put together one time, and then it’s in place. In that sequence, you can give them more information about your practice, send tips, etc. and ask for a review. Or you can go straight for the review request, your call.
2. Ask Patients Yourself
This is by far the most effective method you can use to get more reviews.
I know what you are thinking, one of two thing (or both):
- I’m not doing that.
- I’ll have my hygienist or the front desk do that.
I’d caution you though.
Don’t do it? Fine, but you won’t come close to getting anywhere near the amount of reviews (and as we discussed earlier, ‘more reviews=more patients=more money’)
Have your team do it?
Okay, that’s fine as well, but not nearly as effective as the doctor asking.
How does it work?
At the height of their satisfaction (after treatment, before paying), you look at them in the eye, and ask them face to face:
“We hope you had a good visit today. It sure was good to see you. Hey, would you mind doing me a favor? Janet at the front desk is going to give you a card, and send you a text asking you to leave a review. Could you take just a minute and leave a review for our practice? It sure would mean a lot to me.
You will? Great. I can’t wait to read your comments.” ←—- DO NOT SKIP THAT PART, IT’S IMPERATIVE TO SAY THOSE WORDS.
3. Ask on Social Media
Remember last time, we talked about getting on social media, and understanding your target audience? This is part of the reason why. You can now go to that/those social media networks, and share some of the great reviews you have already, and ask for patients to take just a brief moment to leave a review, and once they’ve done so, to have them comment on your post/video.
Not anywhere near as effective as asking in person, but you want to diversify, and ask multiple ways to improve your chances of getting a patient to leave a review.
4. Ask through text messages
Text has become such a great way to communicate with patients.
Why? Well, think about it, most people want to use text as a communication method, so by using text, you are using their preferred method, and your chances of a response go way up.
Texts have a higher open rate, and are easy to read and respond when you have a free moment.
If you are currently sending out reminders for an appointment via text, why not send out requests for a review via text?
The best time to do it is right after the procedure when the patient still has their appointment and experience top of mind. As Google carries the most weight for the majority of offices, we recommend making it super easy and sending them a link to your Google listing, including a shortcut right to the review section of your listing.
We send people directly to a review page that we’ve created that allows us to put whatever link we want on it. It’s a bit easier on our end, you can see what it looks like below.
Do you see a theme here? Make it easy to do business with you. Remove as much friction and resistance as possible.
If you don’t currently have a review management system in place, you’ll want to check to see if your dental PMS has one.
5. Ask With A Postcards
Yes, direct mail may be on the way out, but that’s your IN! Think about it, people don’t get near as much mail as they used to, so your postcard won’t become lost in the shuffle like it may have been in the past.
We’ve created postcards for clients in the past to send out to a patient after they visit the office. The key here is to make it straightforward what you are wanting them to do, and again, remove resistance, make it easy, add a QR code so that patients don’t have to type in your website address.
I’m including two versions of a postcard we created for a client so you can get an idea of what to add to them.
All that said, postcards can also be left in the swag bags you give patients as they leave, they don’t necessarily have to be mailed.
Christiansen Dental puts these review cards and briefly mentions them as they are checking out a patient. They remind them to look in their bag for the review card, and the review card gives many talking points that the patient can mention in the review.
If you remember from earlier, the more Google can understand about our business, the better. And its a bonus if it is coming from a patient leaving a review.
6. Add a Review Portal On Your Website
If you get a fair amount of traffic to your site, or if your office is trying to get people to use your site for paperwork, and scheduling, consider adding a call to action (CTA) to ask for a review.
Now this method is unlikely to gain much traction, UNLESS (like all the methods), your team has buy in and they are promoting it.
You can link directly to Google from your website when asking for a review, or you can link them to a review portal as we showed above in number 4.
You can see how Kirkland Family Dentistry has integrated this into their website on their website footer. They’ve also integrated a review stream to show these great reviews on a reviews page on their website that automatically adds any new review to the stream just moments after the review is left.
Would you like to know the best thing about reviews? The number of reviews you receive is directly influence by your actions.
Are you using multiple strategies to get reviews?
Is your staff asking for reviews? Have they ‘bought in’?
Are you specifically asking patients to leave their feedback, and that ‘you look forward to reading it’?
You do these things, and you’ll be set. You’ll be getting more reviews than you ever could have imagined.
Focus on providing 5 Star service, followed up with a review system in place, and the reviews will come in and never stop.
The best thing?
As I said before: ‘more reviews=more patients=more money’.
If you need help getting started, we have an in depth guide on our website: Dentist Reputation Management: A 5 Star Guide to Review Management for Dentists.
Click here to read part 7!
Tyson Downs, the owner of Titan Web Agency, has years of experience working with small businesses and helping them meet their revenue goals. Prior to starting Titan Web Agency, he freelanced in SEO and Web Design while working in the corporate world. Tyson is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the father of 5, and enjoys spending time with his family. Particularly on the baseball field.
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