Welcome to the second issue of Straight from the ’Box.
Overall, things are looking pretty good right now for the U.S. economy.
The stock market is shrugging off February’s overdue correction and is trending generally upward. The underlying economic indicators are strong. And while it’s a mixed blessing, in the larger context, the unemployment rate is at a 17-year low.
There’s turmoil in Washington, but that’s nothing new and it doesn’t seem to be affecting the business community very much.
There are a host of old sayings that speak to this situation: “Strike while the iron is hot.” “Make hay while the sun shines.” “There is no time like the present.”
Basically, take full advantage when opportunities present themselves.
So, to put it bluntly, this is a great time for you to make money. Everyone at SmartBox is focused on helping you do just that.
In this issue of the newsletter, you’ll learn how SmartBox works to keep your website optimized across the internet so prospects will find you. We’ll tell you about a great phone answering service that can go far beyond just taking messages. You’ll discover why Google reviews are a major ranking factor in search. And you’ll learn why Googling yourself and your practice isn’t a good idea.
Thanks for reading Straight from the ’Box. We’ll keep you posted.
The SmartBox Challenge
If you’ve been holding your breath in anticipation of the SmartBox Challenge standings, it’s time to exhale.
We’ll be reporting the standings on a quarterly basis, so Q1 results will be included in our April issue, Q2 in July, Q3 in October, and the final standings in January 2019.
New in ’Box
Keeping You Current Online
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t a “fire and forget” proposition, as much as most dentists would like it to be.
There’s probably no other aspect of the internet that evolves faster than SEO. Last year’s best practices are likely to be this year’s don’t-do’s.
Busy dentists don’t have the time to keep their online marketing optimized for local search, which is why we provide SmartBox’s Local360 Search Optimization in many of our service levels.
Local360 is a done-for-you, cost-effective, turnkey local search solution that works with your existing website to ensure you can be found online. In today’s hypercompetitive dental industry, you can’t afford to miss a trick if you want a steady stream of new and better patients.
If you’re already enjoying the benefits of Local360, feel free to stay focused on actually doing the dentistry. We’ve got you covered in terms of SEO.
If your service level doesn’t include Local360, talk with your Client Success Manager about adding it on an a la carte basis. It’s surprisingly affordable.
We Have Ignition. Now What?
What Do Google Reviews Do for Your SEO?
Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth advertising. Research shows that prospects trust independent reviews just as much as they trust recommendations from friends and coworkers.
Having a large number of positive online reviews can be a major competitive edge for your dental practice. In addition to directly influencing prospects to choose you, positive reviews also raise your “star” rating. Many prospects decide to read only the reviews from the dentist with the highest rating. Fractions of a point can make a major difference in that decision.
Positive online reviews can also be really good for your search engine optimization. While opinions vary – search engine firms don’t disclose their “secret sauce” – one source suggests that online reviews exert a 10 percent impact on the search engines’ decisions about displaying results.
That may not sound like much, but with competition at an all-time high, the practice with more and better reviews has the edge.
Dental practices should have a system in place to routinely solicit reviews from their existing patients. Just as important, the practice should regularly engage with reviewers online. This can take up quite a bit of staff time, so if you don’t have such a system in place, consider SmartBox’s RAVE™ Reputation Management service.
For more information about getting more positive reviews online, talk with your CSM.
Stay in Touch With Your Customers!
A recent development in Google My Business (GMB) allows you to send messages to your patients and prospects. Before you dismiss GMB as unimportant to your marketing efforts, remember that it displays with your online listing to every single prospect.
The chat function uses Allo, Google’s chat program. You’ll see the “Message with customers” button in your GMB home page. You’ll need to request a verification code via SMS to your phone before you can begin using the messaging function.
Once you’ve verified your phone number, you can set up auto-replies to incoming messages, conduct extended conversations with patients and prospects, and keep the engagement level high. Generally speaking, the greater the number of positive contacts a prospect has with your practice, the more likely they’ll choose you to be their dentist.
The program is flexible enough to work across platforms – iOS, Android, and web. iOS users can employ their own messaging application, with their texts appearing in your Allo-enabled device.
In all, chatting in Google My Business is an excellent addition to your patient attraction efforts. If you want to begin using this exciting new chat function, talk with your CSM.
Should I Google Myself?
There are a lot of search engine optimization myths floating around, and this is one of them … sort of.
It’s perfectly fine to Google yourself and your business once in a while. It’s when you continually Google your business or yourself just to check your search engine results page ranking that problems can arise.
If you search but don’t click on your listing, Google is eventually going to stop showing that listing because the search engine thinks it’s irrelevant to the search you’re performing.
There are different issues if you Google yourself or your practice and do click. Clicking on your site listing and then clicking away increases your “bounce” rate, which hurts SEO rankings. And if you click one of your paid ads, you’re costing yourself money.
Googling oneself or one’s business repeatedly is a lose-lose proposition. Don’t give into the temptation.
SmartBox’s experts handle all aspects of making sure your website gets seen by the prospects you want to attract. Our ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) procedures keep your online presence competitive.
There are ways to boost your practice’s search engine results page (SERP) rankings that don’t necessarily involve your website, and we use all of them. A strong and well-thought-out social media presence, blog posts that are optimized for search, and Facebook business page verification are three of those methods. All of those can help raise your SERP, which makes it more likely that even more prospects will find your website.
However, not all SmartBox dentists have chosen a service package that includes social media services or fresh and unique online content. For these dentists, we’re pleased to announce the development of SmartBox’s Social Media Starter Kit for dental practices. It’s a comprehensive rundown of tips and techniques that dentists or their designees can use to establish and maintain a strong social media presence.
We’re committed to all our dentists’ success, which is why we’re sponsoring the exciting SmartBox Challenge. You’ll find the Q1 Leaderboard Standings in the April issue of Straight from the ’Box.
Colin Receveur, Founder & CEO