Improving Your Online Reputation

The vast majority of your dental patients and potential patients trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation. Before any of your would-be patients call your office to schedule an appointment, chances are they’ll look on the Internet for reviews of your practice, and use what they find to assess your reputation as a dental professional.

dentist_25aThat means it’s essential to devote more time to crafting your online reputation.

Positive Reviews

Research shows that forty-eight percent of consumers who find positive reviews of your practice will go on to visit your website. The more positive reviews and high ratings also translates to more patients.

The online reviews left by existing patients have a big impact on where your practice appears in local search results on Google. As we have described elsewhere on this blog, it’s important to have current positive reviews from your patients. How do you get them? As they leave your office you can ask patients if they had a positive experience, and whether they would mind sharing their views online. This has two advantages: it will help you get more positive reviews, and allow you to identify and address any negative experiences before they are written up in a negative review.

social_media_01aSocial Media

A lot of your patients are already active on social media; the younger they are, the more likely it is. Some of them will probably follow you, and start asking questions. These may be specific questions about your practice or general questions about dentistry.

Don’t hesitate to respond to these questions. By answering them, you’ll humanize yourself and your practice. People will, in turn, trust you and relate to you more. It’s an excellent way to boost your online reputation and attract new patients.

Share Information

As a healthcare professional, you have a lot of valuable information at your fingertips. Sharing some of it online is an excellent way to win the trust of visitors to your website.

Share some of your knowledge on a blog attached to your practice website. You can write about anything from dental health issues and dental techniques, to your insights into the profession. You can become a go-to source for valuable information – something your site visitors need and can use. This too will raise your online reputation and win you new patients.

Drawing new patients to your practice is never easy, and it’s a never-ending process.  ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Attracting New Patients

Everyone should see the dentist in order to maintain healthy teeth. Ideally, they’ll be in your office for a cleaning and checkup every six months. Yet nearly half of all Americans say they don’t see the dentist as often as they should.

patient_02That’s not a good way to approach dental health. But look at it another way: there is no shortage of potential new patients for your dental practice. What can you do to attract their attention? In this blog post we present three tips you can use to grow your patient base.

Mobile first
When people are looking for a new dentist they’re going to do their homework. Unless they’ve got a strong recommendation from a family member or friend (see below), that means turning to the Internet.

smartphone_10aMost of us reach for our smartphones before our laptops when we’re looking for quick information. But websites are not created equal. Mobile first means your site is optimized for the small screen. Its content fits comfortably (and automatically) onto those smaller phone and tablet screens. Just as important, its content must be optimized with terms that attract the attention of the search engines.

Use Online Patient Reviews
Reviews written by actual patients carry a lot of weight with potential new patients. They’re the new word-of-mouth – probably more important than recommendations from friends and family. Asking your patients to write a review you can use on your website can give your online reputation a real boost.

How big a boost? Most of us read online reviews before deciding how and where we’ll spend our hard-earned dollars. According to one study eighty-two percent of adults read them at least occasionally, and forty percent rely on them most of the time.

One little hitch: people don’t always take the initiative. Don’t hestiate to ask them. You can do it via email as a follow-up to an appointment, for example. One word of caution, though: don’t offer anything in exchange for a review. It isn’t ethical, and it’s also against Google policy.

Take Advantage of Social Media
More than three-quarters of all Americans have some kind of social media presence, so it’s critical that this is part of your overall marketing strategy.

By using sites like Facebook or Twitter you can bringing your marketing message to a wide audience. These can, and should, include links back to your practice website, where visitors will find essential information like available services, location, and office hours. Bearing that in mind, make sure everything on it is updated regularly.

Attracting new patients to your dental practice is an ongoing battle – but the battle doesn’t have to be uphill. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

High Expectations: New Patients For Your Dental Practice

Dentistry is an excellent profession in many ways. Dentists are respected members of their communities who get the satisfaction of helping others, and if you own your own practice, you get to be your own boss.

dentist_20aBut it’s also increasingly competitive. Just getting through dental school took a lot of effort, but once you hang out your shingle you’re competing for patients with every other dentist in your area. That means you’re going to have set your practice apart with services that not everyone offers. It also means you must market your practice to build a solid patient base, and so potential patients know you’re there.

Running a small business is difficult for anyone. And you didn’t study business, you studied dentistry. How are you supposed to know how to run your practice so that it is profitable? You’ve got to administer a budget and manage a staff, all as your main focus stays on providing excellent dental care.

It can be intimidating, and even overwhelming. Marketing a dental practice today is not what it used to be. Consumer expectations are high, and you must have a sense of the marketplace. Did you know, for example, that women make more than ninety percent of all dental buying decisions? As a group, they also make purchasing decisions differently than men; they want to be fully informed before committing to a particular dental practice.

dentist_21aPut another way: consumer expectations are high. Your would-be patients want the best they can get – for themselves, and for their families. They also expect information about you and your practice at their fingertips.

Attracting new patients to your dental practice is not easy, but you don’t have to do it on your own. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Video Content and Your Website

There is no denying the importance of video content on your website to raise its profile, and awareness of your dental practice among potential patients. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words.

youtube_05_phoneThe simple fact is that most website visitors prefer video content over reading. It’s easier to consume, so it keeps people in their comfort zone. But it also builds trust, and resonates with them in ways that text cannot, evoking a greater emotional response by presenting human attributes like facial expressions and tone of voice.

Videos on digital platforms are expected to harness eighty percent of online traffic over the next year. YouTube is the second most popular social network after Facebook, and statistics that emerged about it in 2018 are remarkable. Consider:

  • Every month, six million hours of YouTube videos are watched
  • YouTube receives one billion unique visits monthly
  • Nearly one hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute

There is no escaping the fact that video content is emerging as a dominant factor in digital marketing, for everything from dental practices to donut shops.watching_01a

The tools for creating unique video content are probably within your reach at this very moment: that smartphone in your pocket. You can use it to create simple but informative videos to draw in new patients.

You don’t have a background in video production? Not to worry. Your site’s visitors are not as demanding as you might think, when it comes to the quality of your video. Sure, most like decent production values – but research shows they care more about the content of a website’s videos.

How much do they care about video content? Three of every four users who watched a website video explaining a product or service went on to try it. Explainer videos on your website’s landing page can significantly boost your conversion rates by helping visitors make informed decisions. That alone should be enough to convince anyone that video belongs in their marketing plan.

Integrating video content into your website may seem like a daunting challenge, but expert help is available. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Recent is Better: Online Reviews

By now, it is well known that online reviews are important to any small business, whether it’s a coffee shop or a dental practice. Maybe they’re extra-important for dental practices: as we described here in a recent post, dentists are among the most-reviewed small businesses on Google Reviews, and ninety percent of consumers read them before they ever set foot in your door.

12-15-18aOnline reviews can have a huge impact on your bottom line. They are one of the fastest-growing local ranking factors.

But it’s more nuanced than just having plenty of good reviews. In a new survey, the SEO company BrightLocal found that the vast majority of consumers – eighty-five percent of them – disregard online reviews that are more than three months old. That’s up from seventy-seven percent last year.

Forty percent of those responding to the BrightLocal survey said they only care about reviews that are no more than two weeks old. Reviews older than that carry no real weight.

This is a measureable trend. BrightLocal says that as 2018 draws to a close, more than twice as many consumers are relying solely on fresh reviews than in 2017.

smartphone_10aWhat is it about online reviews that makes them so important? For one thing, it’s the way potential customers find out about what you have to offer. They learn about what their friends and neighbors have experienced. It may also be the first time they’ve ever heard of an establishment, so recent positive reviews are critical.

Another thing that makes online reviews so important is that they are really easy to find. Thanks to mobile devices, search engines, and social media, online reviews are ubiquitous. In addition to Google reviews there are dedicated sites like Yelp, and aggregate sites that combine review data from multiple sources. Online reviews are everywhere, and it’s no wonder that most people trust them as much as they do personal recommendations.

The BrightLocal survey also found some differences in the way men and women read online reviews. Men, it says, read them more often than do women. And there is a clear difference in the way men and women see negative reviews: most women believe they require a response, while most men think responding to positive reviews is more important.

If nothing else, you must pay attention to the online reviews your practice gets. Should you respond to them – good or bad? This same BrightLocal survey says that eighty-nine percent of consumers read replies to online reviews. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that responding to customer reviews, whether they are positive or negative, can actually improve an business’s online reputation.

A word of caution about responding to negative reviews: do so with care. The Internet is well-known for its shoot-from-the-hip mindset. An angry reply to a negative review can make you look bad. Customers will read that along with the original negative review; it might make a bad situation worse. Instead, assume the customer is offering valid criticism that you can learn from.

Presenting a positive online image of your practice is a never-ending challenge, but you don’t have to do it by yourself. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Bad Strategy: Review Manipulation

Whether you’re a dry cleaner or a dentist, you need positive online reviews from people who have used and liked your goods and services. The more of them you get, the better off you are: they help drive new business, and help you rank in Google search results.

google_01The quest for more and better online reviews has led some businesses to try to manipulate the process: engaging in shady practices that, in the long run, do more harm than good. These practices include paying for positive reviews, offering incentives to customers, and recruiting friends or family members to leave you glowing reviews.

Bad ideas, one and all. Trying to influence online reviews with contests or other incentives is against Google’s Terms of Service. When any business does it, it is almost guaranteed to result in Google deleting the reviews. They could also be fined by the Federal Trade Commission.

woman_01aIt’s tempting to think Google won’t find out, but the chances are they will. Someone will turn you in. It might be an unhappy customer, a former employee, or one of your competitors. But someone is probably going to notice, understand it’s against the rules, and notify Google. It happens all the time.

Strategies that run afoul of Google policy include:

  • Review contests. This strategy enters reviewers into a contest. Google explicitly prohibits offering incentives – products, money, or other prizes – in exchange for reviews.
  • Offering free or discounted services. Google forbids businesses from offering reviewers discounts or free services for their reviews, even if it’s something inexpensive.
  • Review-gating. With this practice, a business takes customer reviews, but only the positive ones are posted online.
  • Review swaps. You review my business, I’ll review yours: that’s the basic idea. It may not be a deal with the devil, but it too is against Google’s TOS, which says clearly that reviews should reflect a genuine customer experience.

Each of these practices will result in some kind of penalty from Google, usually the deletion of the reviews in question.

Google, as a search engine, loves fresh content. This is one of important things about reviews, and why you should be seeking new and positive ones. It just needs to be done within the guidelines. As we described in a previous blog post, there are simple, effective techniques you can use to boost the quality and quantity of your Google reviews.

Getting your practice noticed by potential customers is an ongoing challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

The Growing Importance of Google Reviews

When all is said and done, a dental practice is a business. Patients are really customers, and they want to find the best dentist they can.

How does anyone find a local business these days? You Google it and check out reviews. As it turns out, dental practices are among the businesses most likely to have a review on Google.

google_03Google reviews is a feature that allows users to write their own reviews of local businesses. They appear, along with a star rating, in Google search results. Maybe it’s because everyone needs to see the dentist, but dental practices get more reviews than plumbers, more reviews than real estate agents, and more than lawyers. That’s according to a recent study by BrightLocal, the SEO and local citation platform.

Google is by far the most-used search engine on the Internet. That means the Google reviews your patients write, and the stars they award, are extremely powerful; they make a big difference in driving new traffic to your practice.

BrightLocal says that review signals are more important to local search rankings than ever before. “Review signals” is an umbrella term describing different aspects of a company’s review profile. The more positive reviews a business has, the better.

stars_01

Most of us do at least some online shopping. Think about it: before  anything goes into your shopping cart, you read the reviews of other customers, or at very least check how many stars a product has. They can be the deciding factor whether you buy something or don’t.

It’s the same with Google reviews. They’re a modern word-of-mouth. The experience others have with local businesses has a big influence on spending habits. A restaurant with poor reviews, and only one or two stars, means you’ll probably dine somewhere else.

It all begs the question, what can a dental practice do to encourage more, and better, Google reviews?

Ask for them. The direct approach can work wonders. It’s okay to ask your patients to review your practice.

But you don’t want to ask a patient (whose mouth may be numb) for a review right after an appointment. Instead, send an email a few days later, thanking the patient for choosing your practice. Include a polite, no-pressure request for a Google review.

Show them how. Some of your patients may need a pointer or two on how to leave a Google review. It’s really quite simple. All they need to do is:

  • Log into their Google account.
  • Google your practice.
  • Click on “Write a review.” Write the review, select a star rating, and click the Submit link.

That’s all there is to it!

Remind them. After the initial request, it’s okay to remind someone to leave a review. Don’t do it right away. Give them a week or two, and send a follow-up reminder.

There is one very big caveat to asking patients for Google reviews: never offer them any incentives. For one thing, it isn’t ethical. More to the point, it’s against Google policy.

Getting your practice in front of potential customers isn’t easy, but you don’t have to do it on your own. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

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See the BrightLocal report

Keep It Current! Your Dental Practice Website

Virtually every dental practice has a website these days. It’s all but impossible to succeed without one. Yet a lot of dentists don’t take the time to keep their sites current, and as a result, they lose ground to their competition. It is essential to stay on top of online trends to set your self apart from your competition.

smartphone_06aInvesting in your website may, in fact, be the single most important thing you can do to stay competitive. At the top of the list is making your site mobile-friendly. It’s essential for any website to be compatible with smartphones, but the web is increasingly mobile-centric, so the smart move is to convert to a mobile-first strategy.

Google has always used the desktop version of a website to rank it in searches, but no longer. “Since the majority of users now access Google via a mobile device, the index will primarily use the mobile version of a page’s content going forward,” the search engine giant announced on its website earlier this year. “We aren’t creating a separate mobile-first index. We continue to use only one index.”

That means websites that are designed mobile-first – designed for mobile devices – are going to rank higher in search engine results than sites designed for desktop computers. We are increasingly mobile device-oriented. Research shows that people are five times more likely to leave a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly.

tablet_01aA site that is mobile-first is, for one thing, designed for smaller displays. It is also intended to be a company’s primary website. Some businesses, such as Uber, target mobile devices almost exclusively. Their desktop sites are more of a landing page.

Chances are, your own experience bears this out. Do you really want to do a lot of zooming, pinching, and scrolling, just to get at the content you’re looking for?

If your dental website is designed with desktops in mind, don’t despair: you will not fall off the map. Google says that while it primarily crawls and indexes web pages made for smart phones, searches will still give users the most relevant search results, whether it’s desktop or mobile.

But the shift is on, and you should not ignore it. ProspectaMarketing specializes in marketing dental practices on the Internet, and can help your practice reach its audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Video Content And Your Website

News flash: no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore.

laptop-phone_01All right, so that isn’t exactly news. Those heavy old phone company listings have long since gone the way of the dinosaur. To find information about virtually anything, including local dental practices, everyone turns to search engines like Google. And that means the online presence of your dental practice is more important than ever before. In fact, it can make or break you.

The centerpiece of your online presence is your dental practice website. This is where you strut your stuff: you describe yourself and your team, the services your offer, and provide your office hours and location.

It is also where you share useful content that site visitors can access for free. This content is important, and it comes in several forms. One is your blog. If a site visitor finds something free and useful via your blog, you just might get a new patient.

smartphone_vid_01aJust as important as your blog, and maybe more so, is video. In fact, it can be integrated into your blog. Video is, across the board, the most popular form of content on the Internet. Studies show that website visitors spent up to 88% more time on a site if it contains video, and increases organic traffic from search engines by more than 150%.

What kind of videos can you incorporate for your own website? Draw on your expertise. You can go on camera to answer questions about dentistry, or about your staff and office. You can ask patients to describe some of the procedures they have undergone in your office, and their successful outcomes. Videos like this, inserted strategically throughout your site, are a compelling way to deliver your message.

They don’t need to be fancy, either. You don’t have to hire a movie crew – you can shoot them with your smartphone. Upload the finished videos to YouTube and embed them on your site. It won’t cost you a dime, and has great potential for bringing in new patients.

And who knows? Your video just might go viral!

You can keep up with these and other trends in dentistry with ProspectaMarketeing.  We specialize in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices with a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To find out more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Trending: Reviews and Reputations in Dentistry

crystal_ball_01Industry prognosticators are constantly looking into their crystal balls to identify social and business trends – and that includes dentistry. The dentistry trends that many of them see include the ever-growing importance of online reviews, and the online reputation of your dental practice.

Every dental practice loves to see new patients coming in the door, and leaving the office happy enough to tell others about their experience. But dentistry is more competitive than ever, so word-of-mouth is no longer enough.

smile_man_03How do you go about getting more positive online reviews for your practice? The best place to start is on your website. It’s essential that your site provides enough interesting and useful information to give visitors a reason to stay.

It also needs to be easy to navigate. One effective review technique is to include links on images that take visitors to a section for posting reviews. Listings on third party sites like Yelp and Angie’s List is also a good way of increasing your visibility.

A downside to encouraging reviews, of course, are the negative ones. They are inevitable. What should you do when you get one? The best response is to write a professional, non-emotional reply that acknowledges the issues raised. If it needs to go beyond that, take it offline.

It is perilous to ignore negative reviews. To do so suggests you don’t care, and impacts your online reputation. Consider this: vast majority of consumers who were asked – ninety-four percent – said a negative online review turned them against a business. That statistic did not address dental practices specifically, but it is safe to assume that it applies.

The bottom line is that reviews matter, and negative reviews have an impact on your online reputation. You can stay ahead by monitoring your online reviews. There are various tools for doing this, including Google Alerts, a free service that lets you search the Internet for any mention of you or your practice. Once you’ve set yourself up, Google Alerts sends you an email whenever you’re mentioned.

You can keep up with trends in dentistry with ProspectaMarketing. We specialize in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices with a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To find out more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

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