Are You Reaching Enough Potential Patients?

In the increasingly digital age, where first impressions are often formed online, it’s imperative for dental practices to harness the power of digital marketing. A forward-thinking approach not only sets the stage for attracting new patients but also crafts a memorable brand presence that resonates with your target audience. But with the vast ocean of digital marketing opportunities, how do dental practices like yours ensure they’re reaching an adequate number of potential patients? This is where a strategic partnership with ProspectaMarketing comes into play, guiding dental offices through the complex digital landscape to maximize visibility, engagement, and growth.

The Digital Dentistry Landscape

It’s no secret that most consumers turn to Google first when looking for a new dentist. They’re searching for not only the closest dental office but also one that resonates with trustworthiness, expertise, and a strong patient-centric ethos. This means your online presence, from your website to your social media channels, must be well-curated, informative, and welcoming. As a dentist, your digital marketing strategy should reflect the quality of care patients can expect to receive at your clinic.

Key Digital Marketing Strategies for Dental Practices

1. Optimized Website Design

Your website acts as your digital storefront. A well-designed, mobile-friendly website that provides a seamless user experience (UX) will significantly impact how potential patients perceive your practice. It should clearly display your services, location, and contact information while being optimized for search engines (SEO) to ensure visibility in search results.

2. Content Marketing

Valuable, educational content not only helps in building trust with your audience but also improves your search engine rankings. Blog posts about common dental procedures, oral health tips, and answers to frequently asked questions demonstrate your expertise and authority in the field.

3. Social Media Engagement

Social platforms offer a unique way to humanize your brand and engage with your community. Sharing before-and-after photos, patient testimonials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into your practice can create a sense of connection and trust with potential patients.

4. Online Reviews and Reputation Management

In the digital domain, reviews are gold. A vast majority of potential patients will read reviews before deciding on a dentist. Encourage satisfied patients to share their experiences online and listen to the feedback you receive. Online reputation management is crucial in addressing any negative reviews constructively and positively.

5. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC campaigns can drive immediate traffic to your website, targeting individuals actively searching for dental services in your area. With precise targeting capabilities, PPC advertisements can efficiently reach the demographics most likely to convert into new patients.

Effective digital marketing is not just about being present online but about creating meaningful engagements that reflect the ethos of your practice. At ProspectaMarketing, we specialize in personalized digital marketing strategies for dental practices, ensuring you not only reach but exceed your patient acquisition goals. Are you ready to assess whether your practice is reaching enough potential patients? Connect with us, and let’s craft a digital marketing plan that puts your practice on the map and ahead of the competition.

ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices and the tools of Internet marketing. We help you reach key prospects who are 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.

Cutting-Edge Dental Marketing Strategies From Experts

ProspectaMarketing drives business to your dental practiceIn a competitive landscape where every bright smile counts, dental marketing has transitioned from traditional, word-of-mouth referrals to high-impact, digital strategies. The dental industry demands an innovative and strategic approach that not only attracts new patients but also retains and delights them.

For this, you should turn to pioneering experts in dental marketing – ProspectaMarketing. With years of experience and a keen eye on industry trends, we are at the forefront of dental marketing evolution, continually refining our strategies to keep you ahead in this fast-paced, smile-centric market.

Understanding the Digital Shift in Dental Marketing

The evolution of digital marketing has created unprecedented avenues for dentists to reach and engage with their patients. ProspectaMarketing has been instrumental in guiding dental practices through this seismic shift, ensuring that their strategies are both innovative and compliant with industry regulations.

Gone are the days when a dental practice’s reputation was solely built on the quality of service. The internet has leveled the playing field and given voice to patients, making online credibility and visibility more important than ever.

ProspectaMarketing’s approach not only leverages the power of digital platforms for marketing but also educates dental teams on the most effective strategies to convert online traffic into lifelong patients.

The Essential Pillars of Dental Practice SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the bedrock of any successful digital marketing strategy. Dentists who optimize their websites for search engines are more likely to appear in front of potential patients, and ProspectaMarketing champions the following pillars to ensure high visibility:

Local SEO and Google My Business

Local SEO ensures that your practice appears in local search results. It has a direct impact on where you ‘show up’ in the map pack. This is critical as many dental patients seek services within their local area, and being visible in this section of the search results can be a game-changer.

To achieve this, ProspectaMarketing emphasizes the importance of Google My Business, helping practices claim and optimize their profiles to enhance local visibility and engage with patients through posts, reviews, and more.

Content and On-Page SEO

High-quality, original content that educates and informs readers not only helps with patient education but also establishes your practice as an authority in the dentistry field.

Coupled with on-page SEO, where title tags, meta descriptions, and content are keyword-optimized, this content drives organic traffic to your site, converting passive content consumers into active patients.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising for Dental Practices

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising remains a crucial component of any comprehensive dental marketing strategy. PPC campaigns, when managed effectively, can yield a high return on investment.

Custom Campaign Development

ProspectaMarketing crafts custom PPC campaigns tailored to the unique goals and needs of each dental practice. They select the most relevant keywords, write compelling ad copy, create optimized landing pages, and continually monitor and adjust campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

Advanced Retargeting Strategies

Effective PPC strategies go beyond targeting new patients; they also focus on retargeting website visitors who do not convert immediately. With advanced retargeting methods, including dynamic ads, ProspectaMarketing helps practices stay top-of-mind and encourages visitors to schedule appointments.

Email Marketing and Patient Retention

Email marketing continues to be an effective tool for nurturing patient relationships and encouraging loyalty. By employing segmentation, personalization, and automation, ProspectaMarketing helps practices deliver the right message to the right patient at the right time.

Newsletter Campaigns

Regular newsletters keep patients informed about practice news, oral health tips, and promotional offers. These campaigns help maintain a strong connection with patients, even when they’re not in the dental chair.

Automated Patient Reminders

Automated email reminders for hygiene appointments, check-ups, and follow-ups ensure that your schedule stays full and patients stay on track with their oral health.

Legal and Ethical Considerations in Dental Marketing

Navigating the complex landscape of legal and ethical considerations in dental marketing is integral. ProspectaMarketing ensures that all marketing efforts comply with industry regulations, maintaining the integrity of each practice’s reputation.

HIPAA Compliance and Patient Privacy

With a thorough understanding of HIPAA requirements, ProspectaMarketing helps practices safeguard patient information and use it responsibly in their marketing efforts.

Ethical Advertising and Promotions

They advocate for transparent and ethical advertising and promotional practices, ensuring that information presented to patients is accurate and not misleading.

Tracking and Optimizing Dental Marketing Efforts

Effective marketing is all about data-driven decisions. ProspectaMarketing sets up robust analytics systems to track the performance of dental marketing efforts and makes recommendations based on the results.

Call Tracking and Conversion Data

Implementing call tracking enables practices to attribute phone inquiries to specific marketing campaigns, providing valuable insight into the effectiveness of each strategy.

A/B Testing for Landing Pages and Ads

A/B testing different landing pages and ad creatives allows for incremental improvements in conversion rates. ProspectaMarketing guides practices in testing various elements to determine the most effective combinations.

Future-Proofing Your Dental Marketing Strategy

Looking ahead, dental marketing will continue to evolve. Staying informed about emerging trends and technologies is essential to remain competitive. ProspectaMarketing not only keeps you up-to-date with the latest developments but also aids in adopting and incorporating them into your marketing strategy.

Dental marketing is not just about increasing visibility; it’s about building relationships with patients and providing value beyond the services offered. By partnering with ProspectaMarketing, dental practices can develop and execute forward-thinking marketing strategies that deliver long-term success.

ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices and the tools of Internet marketing. We help you reach key prospects who are 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.

Mastering New Trends in Digital Marketing for Dental Practices

2024 digital marketing trends for your dental practiceIn the vast ocean that is digital marketing, small businesses often feel like they’re navigating without a compass. The speed at which technology changes is bewildering, and the digital landscape can feel like a shifting puzzle. Keeping up with new tools, channels, and techniques is essential – but it’s only a fraction of the puzzle. The real game-changer is knowing how to leverage these innovations to your dental practice advantage with the help of our team at ProspectaMarketing.

Personalization at Scale

The days of generic mass marketing have waned, as consumer expectations have risen. Today, personalization reigns supreme. It’s not only about inserting someone’s name into an email but rather tailoring the entire customer experience to suit their distinctive needs.

Data-Driven Strategies

Leveraging data is the linchpin of personalized dental marketing. Every interaction with your brand – from browsing your website to making a purchase – yields valuable insights. With advanced analytics, these nuggets of information can be woven into strategies that speak directly to individuals, creating a profound sense of connection and loyalty.

AI in Personalization

Artificial intelligence is the highway to personalization at scale. Sophisticated AI algorithms can analyze vast datasets in moments, identifying patterns and predicting consumer behavior. Chatbots, powered by AI, can now deliver tailored customer service around the clock, enhancing user experience and driving conversions.

The SEO Evolution

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the bedrock of digital visibility, and it’s constantly evolving.

Voice Search Optimization

With the rising popularity of smart speakers and digital assistants, voice search has emerged as a game-changer. The concise, conversational queries used for voice search demand a different approach to keywords and content creation, emphasizing the need for natural language and context.

Local SEO Takes Center Stage

For small businesses, local search optimization is a lifeline. Ensuring your business appears in ‘near me’ searches, Google Maps listings, and other local searches is pivotal to attracting foot traffic and local clientele. It’s about being not just visible, but hyper-relevant to your immediate community.

The Power of Niche Influence

While celebrity endorsements still hold weight, niche influencers can be even more potent. Their followers are often more engaged and trust their recommendations, making influencer collaborations an effective way to tap into specific target audiences.

Long-term Relationships

Instead of one-off deals, long-term partnerships with influencers can create more authentic, ongoing endorsements. These relationships allow influencers to become more than just promoters – they can become brand ambassadors, deeply familiar with and passionate about your product or service.

Omnichannel Marketing

Marketing is no longer confined to a single channel; it’s an orchestra of mediums that must harmonize cohesively.

The Importance of Consistency

An omnichannel approach ensures that your brand message is consistent across all platforms, creating a unified brand experience. Whether a customer interacts with your brand on social media, your website, or a physical store, the messaging and values should resonate seamlessly.

Content That Connects

Content remains king, but the type of content that resonates is changing.

Educational Content

In the digital age, information is ubiquitous, and consumers have grown savvier. Content that educates, informs, or solves problems stands out. How-to guides, explanatory videos, and whitepapers can establish your brand as an industry authority and a valuable source of knowledge.

Storytelling and Brand Narrative

Stories are how we learn and how we remember. Brand storytelling humanizes your business, making it relatable and memorable. A compelling narrative can forge an emotional connection with your audience, one that far surpasses the transactional.

The digital marketing domain is a dynamic and exciting playing field for small businesses and dental practices. By understanding and harnessing these emerging trends with the help of ProspectaMarketing, you can not only keep pace with the evolving marketplace but also soar ahead of the competition. Remember, innovation without integration is like a sail without a wind—you must harness these new trends to the mast of your overall strategy, always steering toward the horizon of value-driven customer engagement. With ProspectaMarketing as your guide, the future of your dental practice is bright and brimming with potential.

ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices and the tools of Internet marketing. We help you reach key prospects who are 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.

Is Your Dental Practice Successfully Navigating the Digital Marketing World?

dentists taking advantage of digital marketingIn the bustling dental industry, where the pressure of patient care and constant technological updates can be overwhelming, your digital marketing may not always take the lead in business strategies. However, with the growing demand for dental services and a shift in patient demographics, it’s more important than ever for dentists and practice managers to leverage digital marketing.

With ProspectaMarketing by your side, you’ll gain valuable insights and practical tips that could revolutionize how your practice attracts and retains patients.

Recognizing the Digital Landscape

The Evolution of Dental Marketing

In the past, marketing a dental practice often involved print ads, local community events, and word-of-mouth referrals. However, the rise of the internet and social media has transformed consumer behavior, creating new opportunities to reach potential patients. Today’s successful dental practices understand that a digital presence is essential for growth.

Elements of a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy for Dental Practices

Search Engine Optimization

The Importance of Local SEO for Dental Practices

Local SEO ensures that your practice is visible in local search results, essential for attracting patients in your area. Optimizing your website for local keywords, creating Google My Business listings, and securing citations from local directories can significantly boost your practice’s online visibility.

Creating SEO-Optimized Content

Quality content is the backbone of SEO. By creating blog posts, videos, and infographics that provide valuable insights and information on dental health, your practice gains trust and authority, which search engines reward with higher rankings.

Website Design and User Experience

The Role of Your Website in Patient Acquisition

Your website is often the first interaction patients will have with your practice. Its design, speed, and mobile-friendliness play a crucial role in creating a positive impression and converting visitors into patients.

Streamlining Appointment Booking and Inquiries

A user-friendly website should make it easy for patients to book appointments and ask questions. Implementing an online booking system, live chat support and clear contact information can enhance patient experience and encourage conversions.

Paid Advertising

Targeted Advertising on Google and Social Media

PPC campaigns on Google and social media platforms allow you to target specific demographics, interests, and locations. This targeted approach can maximize your advertising budget and ensure your ads are seen by the right people.

Crafting Compelling Ad Copy and Visuals

In a competitive marketplace, attention-grabbing ad copy and visually appealing ads are key to standing out. Highlighting your practice’s unique selling points, such as advanced technology or exceptional customer service, can attract potential patients.

Investing in Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Key Metrics to Track

Measuring the success of your digital marketing efforts is crucial for identifying what works and what doesn’t. Key metrics include website traffic, conversion rates, search engine rankings, and engagement on social media.

Using Analytics Tools to Gain Insights

Tools like Google Analytics and social media insights provide in-depth data on how users interact with your digital platforms. By analyzing these metrics, you can make informed decisions to optimize your marketing strategy.

Digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the strategies that work for one practice may not work for another. However, by understanding the digital landscape, and investing in a comprehensive strategy with the help of ProspectaMarketing, you can steer your dental practice toward online success. By clearly carving out your digital footprint, you’re not just keeping up with the times; you’re shaping the future of your practice.

ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices and the tools of Internet marketing. We help you reach key prospects who are 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.

Setting Your Practice Apart: A Guide to Market Dominance in Dentistry

thriving dental practice In a field as specialized and competitive as dentistry, setting your practice apart is not only a key to survival – it’s a route to true excellence. The current healthcare environment emphasizes patient choice and experience, dental clinics need to be more than just technical service providers; they must become beacons of quality, trust, and innovation. With the help of ProspectaMarketing, you can secure long-term success in an ever-evolving industry.

Whether you’re an established practice looking to reinforce your brand or a new dental venture charting its course, this post will provide you with actionable strategies that align with the latest industry standards and patient demands.

Understanding the Competitive Landscape

In a sea of white coats and bright smiles, how do you ensure that your practice is not just another iteration of the dental status quo? Understanding your competitive set is the first step towards crafting a unique identity. Analyze rival practices in your area: What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do they present themselves to the public – through marketing, patient relationships, or community engagement?

Furthermore, zoom out from your immediate competitors and consider the larger trends in dentistry. Are there any emerging techniques, technologies, or service models that are gaining traction?

Defining Your Brand and Unique Selling Proposition

Every successful business has a brand, whether it is deliberately crafted or not. A brand is more than a logo or a tagline; it’s the sum of all the experiences and impressions patients associate with your clinic. Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the essential element of your brand that differentiates you from the pack. The goal is to identify a clear, compelling reason why patients should choose your practice over others.

Delivering Exceptional Patient Experiences

In today’s service-based economy, patient experience is often the deciding factor in repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. Examine every touchpoint a patient has with your practice – from the first phone call to post-treatment follow-up – and look for opportunities to enhance their experience.

Investing in a seamless, user-friendly appointment system, designing a comfortable and inviting waiting room, and ensuring that patients are seen promptly are just a few areas where experiences can be improved.

Digital Marketing and Online Presence

In a digital age, your online presence is often the first impression patients have of your practice, and this is where ProspectaMarketing shines. From a well-optimized website to active social media profiles, digital marketing is a powerful tool for communicating your brand and attracting new patients.

Start with a professional website that is both informative and engaging. It should include details about your services, staff bios, patient testimonials, and clear calls to action. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and optimized for search engines.

Online reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp carry significant weight with prospective patients. Encourage satisfied patients to leave reviews and address any negative feedback promptly and professionally.

Leverage social media to share educational content, patient stories, and updates from your practice. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages, and consider running targeted advertisements on platforms where your ideal patients are most active.

Measuring and Optimizing Your Performance

Finally, you cannot improve what you do not measure. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as patient retention rates, new patient acquisition, and average treatment values can provide insights into the effectiveness of your differentiation strategies.

Use this data to continuously reassess and optimize your approach. If a particular marketing campaign yields excellent results, double down on what worked. If a new patient experience initiative didn’t resonate, revise or replace it.

Remember, the dental industry is dynamic, and what sets your practice apart today may not do so tomorrow. Regularly step back and critically evaluate your position in the market, your patient’s needs, and the competitive landscape to ensure you remain a leader in your field. Your commitment to setting your practice apart can lead to a rewarding future, both professionally and for the oral health of your patients.

ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices and the tools of Internet marketing. We help you reach key prospects who are 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.

Do You Have A Five Star Practice?

Think your practice’s online reviews don’t matter? Think again.

While you may think that having a fully optimized website is where to put your focus (and we agree!) don’t underestimate the power of online reviews. In the past couple of years, people have grown heavily reliant on online reviews for everything from hair salons to restaurants to mechanics. Searching for a dentist isn’t any different. As humans, we want to know we’re getting the best service possible. A recent Bright Local SEO survey showed that nearly 90% of online customers trust anonymous reviews almost as much as a personal recommendation. Your reviews matter.

Get 5 Star Reviews For Your PracticeWe have a client who had an optimized profile but no reviews on Google+. We challenged them to ask some patients to leave reviews. Their front desk team rose to the challenge and were able to get a handful of patients to write reviews. In no time, the number of their prospective patients grew because, as residents of a smaller town, this practice was now the only 5-star practice in town.

We know you are offering excellent care and service to your patients. Make sure that is reflected in what people are saying about you online. If reviews aren’t something you’ve made an effort to curate, now is the time to start to ask the simple question “Would you be willing to share your experience today with other patients who haven’t visited our practice yet?” It’s a simple way to make sure that the service and care you’re providing in office is reflected online. Have questions on how to get started? Contact ProspectaMarketing and learn more.

Google Places 3rd Party Reviews Disappear

The news from Google that they will not post 3rd party reviews (only links to them) has created concern for many dental practices that rely on local internet marketing. For some time now, we have always recommended having patient reviews directly in the search engines as well as using third party review sites.  Now that these third party reviews have disappeared from Google Places (other than to have a link to them), it is important to have a strategy to get reviews posted directly in Google.  During the past few weeks, we have discussed a variety of approaches with dental practices.  Here are some strategies to consider.

• Some patient reminder systems for dental practices such as SmileReminder and DemandForce can automatically invite your patients to go into the search engines and write reviews after an office visit.  This is a great way to keep a steady flow of reviews coming into the search engines, but there is a monthly cost.

• Send your own e-mails out to your patients with a link to your local listing. We can help you format an e-mail with links directly to your local listings where they can write a review.  Give them some help with instructions.  Contact us if you would like to some help formatting these e-mails.

• Use QR codes to help direct patients to your local listings using their smart phones.   It will make it easy for them to find you, and they can use their smart phone to write a review and share their experience with others.

• Consider a simple reminder such as a business card with the address of your local listing on it that your patients can take home with them.  Make is convenient.

Reviews are gaining more and more attention from consumers, and it is important to pay attention to this area of your marketing.

Internet Reviews – Not to Fear

With the increase in online reviews for dental services and other local businesses, dentists sometimes raise concerns about the lack of control about what is said online. A recent survey of online reviews found that they are largely positive. Like word of mouth, a great experience or a very negative one is more likely to spawn a review.

Here are a few excerpts from a front page Wall Street Journal Article on October 5, 2009 that provide some interesting insights into online reviews.

On the Internet, Everyone’s a Critic But They’re Not Very Critical

Average Review Is 4.3 Out of Five Stars; Jerkface Fights Back and Gets Bounced

By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER and JOSEPH DE AVILA

The Web can be a mean-spirited place. But when it comes to online reviews, the Internet is a village where the books are strong, YouTube clips are good-looking and the dog food is above average.

One of the Web’s little secrets is that when consumers write online reviews, they tend to leave positive ratings: The average grade for things online is about 4.3 stars out of five.

Many companies have noticed serious grade inflation. Google Inc.’s YouTube says the videos on its site average 4.6 stars, because viewers use five-star ratings to “give props” to video makers. Buzzillions.com, which aggregates reviews from 3,000 sites, has tracked millions of reviews and has spotted particular exuberance for products such as printer paper (average: 4.4 stars), boots (4.4) and dog food (4.7).

If the rest of the Internet is filled with nasty celebrity blogs and email flame wars, what makes product reviews sites so lovey-dovey? “If you inspire passion in somebody in a good way or a bad way, that is when they want to write a review,” says Russell Dicker, the senior manager of community at Amazon.

His boss, Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, follows that pattern. He has posted five-star reviews for products like Tuscan brand whole milk and some “ridiculously good cookies” sold on the site. Mr. Bezos’s only non-five-star review: one star for a science-fiction movie, “The 13th Warrior.”

Culture may play a role in the positivism: Ratings in the U.K. average an even higher 4.4, reports Bazaarvoice. But the largest contributor may be human nature. Marketing research firm Keller Fay Group surveys 100 consumers each day to ask them about what products they mentioned to friends in conversation. “There is an urban myth that people are far more likely to express negatives than positives,” says Ed Keller, the company’s chief executive. But on average, he finds that 65% of the word-of-mouth reviews are positive and only 8% are negative.

Some suspect companies goose their ratings. This summer TripAdvisor.com, which averages just above a four, posted warnings that some of its hotel reviews may have been written by hotel managers. But review sites say the incidence of fakes is tiny, and many pay people to delete puffery.Other sites admit they have a positivity problem and are taking novel steps to curb the enthusiasm. One way is to redefine average. Reviews of eBay.com’s millions of merchants were so positive that eBay made 4.3 out of five stars its minimum service standard. Beginning this month, it is switching to a system that counts just the number of one- and two-star reviews. Sellers who get more than 3% to 4% of those ratings could get kicked off of eBay.

Another site, Goodrec, decided to ditch the five-star rating system altogether, replacing it with a thumbs-up and thumbs-down system. Amazon now highlights what it dubs “the most helpful critical review” at the top of its reviews page.

Jeremy Stoppelman, chief executive of Yelp.com, which posts reviews of local businesses in cities around the country, bragged in September that his site’s reviews were more diverse. The average review on Yelp is 3.8. Many assume online reviews are “only rants or raves, resulting in consumer Web sites composed solely of ratings on the extremes,” he blogged. “A broader range of opinions can give consumers a more complete view of a business,” he says.

What can we take from this? Providing outstanding customer service in your dental practice leaves you nothing to fear. Going beyond the expected to make their experience in your dental office exceptional and will likely eventually help you develop exceptional reviews online. Paying attention to your online reputation as a portion of your internet dental marketing strategy also pays off.

Building Your Online Reputation

In the past, dental practices relied on satisfied patients to spread the word with their friends and acquaintances. Today, more and more patients are going online to share their experiences with friends and many others they don’t even know. While reviews have been online for several years for books, electronics and sellers on eBay, reviews are just gaining hold for local service providers.  This is an important developing area of the internet that makes sense to cultivate. While what others were saying about your practice was fairly invisible in the past, now word of mouth is online and visible for years.

Following are some excerpts from an October 2, 2009 Wall Street Journal article by Raymund Flandez that suggest some tips for improving your online reputation.

Three Best Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation

By RAYMUND FLANDEZ

These days, a great danger lurks just a few clicks away: the online review. By Googling your company’s name, anyone can read and track your business’s performance – including missteps, poor service or less-than-stellar products.

Protecting your company’s reputation is now a 24-hour vigil. Negative reviews – whether they’re merited or not – can turn away potential customers and vendors, and reflect badly on your company’s brand.

The good news is that small-business owners can be proactive in securing positive reviews by asking satisifed customers to share their experiences. But what if it’s already too late?

Here are the three best ways to improve your online reputation:

1. Reach out immediately to dissatisfied reviewers. Their negative comments don’t need to be the end of the conversation. Small-business owners should attempt a dialogue, experts say, as complainers might improve the review or take down the post. Oguz Ucanlar, president of SpaForever LLC in Chicago, managed to turn around bad reviews on Yelp.com by contacting the aggrieved posters. He apologized, explained the situation and offered the reviewers discounts or a free massage. The result? One bad review was deleted, and the spa’s overall rating went up. “I take it really seriously,” he says. It also helps that Yelp now allows business owners to respond publicly to any customer comment, giving others a window into how the business treats its most finicky customers.

When a bad review surfaces, an apology goes a long way, says Lisa Barone, co-founder of Outspoken Media Inc., a Spring Hill, Fla., Internet marketing company. “Most people just want to be heard,” she says. “They just want to know you’re listening and you care, and that you’re going to try and fix it.”

Keep in mind that a negative review can sometimes be helpful. Case in point: an online customer of Nationwide Candy LLC of Albuquerque, N.M., complained after she received the wrong bubblegum product. Turns out, the candy wholesaler had posted an incorrect image on its site. “It just casted a bad image on us,” says Ken Hanson, its general manager, who immediately corrected the error.

2. Flood search engines with content you can control. Use digital media’s reach to your full advantage, says Evan Bailyn, founder of First Page Sage LLC, a New York search engine optimization company. Mr. Bailyn says he often helps clients put “good publicity on top to knock bad publicity off the first page” of search engine results. To do that, he suggests releasing press releases through prnewswire.com or pr.com and building Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts since these social-media sites show up high on search results. “The overall strategy is inundating the Google results with as much good or neutral content as possible so that the bad seems like an anomaly,” Mr. Bailyn says.

3. Appeal to bloggers to review your company or your product. Getting others to weigh in can be an effective way to generate neutral or positive reviews to counteract negative ones. Influential bloggers in your niche market can bring instant credibility to a company. If you already know bloggers in your industry, read or reach others by simply scanning their blogrolls, a handy list (typically placed in the sidebar) of potential contacts. Alert them to news about your product or service as a first step in building the relationship.

For your dental practice, one of the ways you can take control of your online reputation is to invite your satisfied patients to provide reviews.  This is easy to do with a simple e-mail invitation that includes a link to your listing on a site such as Google Maps or Yahoo Local where they can write a review.  ProspectaMarketing assists dentists with this by building their local online listing with helpful information about the practice and then providing e-mail templates that can be sent to their patients to write reviews.  It is easy to implement and just requires some ongoing attention and effort.

Some dentists have concerns about the lack of control over reviews.  The best defense is a well-run practice.  However, even the best practices may have a dissatisfied customer from time to time.  One doctor of an excellent practice had a dissatisfied patient who wrote a negative review and had her husband write a negative review as if he were a patient also.  After a phone call to discuss their concerns, they agreed to remove the reviews.  Sometimes just showing you hear them and will resolve their concerns will resolve the problem and maybe even create greater loyalty.