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How often do you get new dental pages from your Yellow Pages ad?
The traditional means of dental marketing – YP ads, newspaper ads, and postcard campaigns – just won’t cut it in today’s wired (and wireless) world.
The overwhelming majority of dental prospects are looking for a dentist online. In part, that’s due to the convenience offered by mobile search. More importantly, online has taken over because it offers access to far more information about you and your practice than has ever been possible before. Your prospects are (hopefully) perusing your website, possibly reading some of your blogs, and checking you out on Facebook or Twitter.
Most importantly, they’re reading your online reviews and watching your patient testimonials. Those are the new word-of-mouth advertising, and dentists today largely live or die by the quality of that advertising.
A Question of Fractions
Most online review sites have a five-star rating system. Your “star” rating is usually the first thing your prospects see when they check out your reviews. Depending on how many reviews about you are posted, your score may be very robust. That means that one or two unfavorable reviews won’t do much to change a rating that’s based on hundreds of review.
But if you have only 20 or 30 online reviews, two or three negative reviews will do very bad things to your star rating.
Think about your dental prospects: if they see that your rating is 4.1, and your competitors’ ratings are hovering around 4.7 to 4.8, who do you think they’ll choose? That fraction of a point difference can well make the difference between your practice’s success and ultimate failure.
Think LIKE Your Prospects
A slight difference in online rating might seem like a stupid way to choose a dentist. After all, training, experience, knowledge, and the results you can deliver should weigh more heavily, right?
Your dental prospects don’t know dentistry. They can’t tell the difference between someone who has studied with industry leaders and someone who is very competent but doesn’t have the credibility of attending the Spear Institute or the Malo Clinic Lisbon. They don’t know dentistry, but they do know what they want, and that’s dentist who they can trust and relate to.
That’s why online reviews are so important to your success.
Getting 5-Star Reviews
Very few of your dental prospects and patients are strictly results-oriented. Today’s dental patient is looking at the totality of the experience:
- Your online presence
- Your reviews
- The prospect’s initial contact with your practice
- The prospect’s comfort level in, and with, your office and dental staff
- His or her comfort level with you
- And finally, the result.
You and your practice have the opportunity to raise or lower your “rating” with every patient you come in contact with. Smart dentists will look to their policies, their procedures, and each member of their staff to make each interaction with patients the best that it can be.
The new word-of-mouth advertising can make or break your dental practice. If you’ve not already done so, put renewed emphasis on the patient experience. You can be sure that your competitors are.