An important part of every dental internet marketing plan is how to approach gaining positive reviews as well as how to deal with the negative ones. Online reviews can make or break a practice so it’s important to have a plan in place!
1 – Assess the Situation
Hop on your computer, pull up your favorite search engine, and type in the name of your dental office. Make sure that you’re aware of what people are seeing when they’re searching for your dental practice.
You’ll likely find that a group of online directories and websites have created a business profile for your practice. It’s your job to be aware of where and how your practice is being represented online.
This is a great time to check that your business profile is updated with the correct practice name, physical address, telephone number and website address. This is to establish consistency and to make sure you can easily be found by people who are already searching for you.
2 – Focus In
If you want to see greater practice growth, you’ll need to decide how to direct your marketing efforts. There are many web directories that may be deserving of your attention, but the most important one to focus on would be Google.
Google is the most popular search engine and the best way to grow your practice. Google My Business (GMB) listings are the most prominent on every search engine results page. It’s crucial that you optimize your GMB profile, and a great way to do this is to gain a lot of positive customer reviews. This will help attract more patients because they will see the good feedback your practice is getting and feel more confident in reaching out to you for their dental needs.
After you’ve taken care of Google, choose a few more sites where you’d like to build out your business profiles. Some popular options include Facebook, Yelp and Healthgrades.
Helpful Hint: It can take up to a week to verify your business on Google My Business. They typically mail a postcard to your physical location to validate you are indeed the business owner. This is a great way for them to help prevent the wrong person from claiming a business on Google.
3 – Stand Out!
Once you’ve decided which web directories to focus in on, the next step is to invest time and energy into those profiles so they can stand out from the rest. A great way to do so is to take well lit, good quality photos and upload them to your profiles. These photos could include a picture of your practice and the employees that work there.
Another important detail is including your hours of operation, services offered, and your unique business description. Give as much information as possible!
Helpful Hint: Did you know that businesses with photos receive 42 percent more requests for directions and 35 percent more click-throughs to their websites than businesses that don’t include photos? The pictures matter!
4 – Involve Your Team
Now that your online profiles are looking better, it’s time to start gathering more reviews! Because your staff has more one-on-one time with your patients, involve them in helping you ask your patients for reviews. Explain to your team how more positive reviews could impact your practice and then sit down with them to set some goals. You could start small by having each team member plan in advance to choose one patient each day who they ask for an online review. This will help get the ball rolling without causing your staff to feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Helpful Hint: Turn this into a game! Create incentive programs for both the patients who write a review and the staff who were in charge of asking them. An example might be to offer a free lunch once your office hits a certain number of reviews. Make it fun and help motivate your staff to help promote your practice.
5 – Stay Consistent
When it comes to online reviews and reputation management, slow and steady wins the race. Creating the kind of momentum you’re looking for really does take time. Collecting a few good reviews a month over the course of a year is much better than getting 10 reviews one month and none for the next six months.
Helpful Hint: If you’d like to look into automatically prompting patients to complete post-appointment surveys and write online reviews as well as to be alerted every time a review gets posted online, you should explore online reputation management service providers with strong track records in the dental industry. A few of these great resources include Digital Air Strike, DemandForce, and PatientPop.
6 – Address the Negative
Even the very best of dentists receive the occasional negative review. While it may seem scary or overwhelming, it’s important to come up with a plan on how to respond.
“Many dentists are afraid to respond to reviews, and rightfully so,” says dental marketing opinion leader Fred Joyal. “The wrong response can make matters worse, which is why online reputation management should be outsourced to a professional service.”
But what if you don’t have a professional service to step in and feed you the right responses? It’s still helpful to respond, even if you don’t have a team of professionals to consult you. Online patients will be watching you and want to see how you react to negative feedback. Avoid debating or defending and simply acknowledge the patient’s comment and state you’re sad to hear about his or her experience. Then you can offer the appropriate contact information, including a specific name and phone number, so the patient can call and discuss a positive resolution of the matter offline.
Helpful Hint: Keep your responses HIPAA compliant by training your team to respond in planned/generic ways that don’t reveal any patient information. Make sure not to mention or acknowledge names, vital information, appointment times, diagnosis and treatments.
Take charge of your dental internet marketing efforts and vamp up your online presence today!