Online reviews are taking an even more prominent role in how new patients will find your dental practice in 2017. Survey results show that reviews must be positive AND recent to build trust, so it’s essential that your practice has a plan to keep them coming in at a steady pace.
The SEO experts at Brightlocal recently published their 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey, shedding more light on how online reviews affect the growth of small businesses. Since 2010, this survey has tracked the dramatic rise of reviews’ influence on a company’s visibility and credibility.
There are a few new statistics in the study that we think are of particular interest for dental practices working to build their online presence and acquire new patients:
- 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 73 percent say they think reviews older than three months are no longer relevant
- 7 out of 10 consumers say they will leave a review for a business if asked
What does this mean for your social media marketing efforts? Now more than ever, your dental practice needs recent, positive reviews — and lots of them. But also, the majority of your patients would be willing to write you a review if asked in the right way.
Take a moment to evaluate your practice’s current online reviews presence. Do you maintain full and complete Google, Facebook and Yelp business profiles? Was your most recent review on each service posted within the last three months? Are you setting team goals to obtain reviews from patients while they are still in the practice?
Whether you already have a strong base of reviews or none at all, a constant supply of substantial, positive reviews will help you stand out in local search results and attract new patients.
Here are 3 quick tips on how you can get more reviews and turn them into one of your dental practice’s most powerful marketing assets:
1. Make it easy for people to read and write reviews where they want. Brightlocal’s survey found that people are likely to use more than one reviews service when researching local businesses. For starters, maintain full and complete business profiles on Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp.
2. Focus on the patients most likely to give you a great review. Identify one or two patients on the day’s schedule who love your practice and you suspect would be happy to leave you a review. Make specific assignments on which team member will ask them and have them report back on how it went.
3. Just ask — and be transparent. Let patients know how much you rely on reviews to improve your service and find more great patients like them. Remember, if you’re not asking for reviews, chances are you’ll only get one when someone is unhappy!
Building a Complete Online Reviews Strategy
These guidelines are just the tip of the iceberg. As more and more consumers turn to online reviews when deciding between local businesses (over 90 percent according to the survey), you need a comprehensive strategy to obtain positive reviews and get them seen by the people most likely to become new patients.
About the Author
Jackson Hadley is a marketing strategist with My Social Practice, which provides a complete social media marketing solution for dental, orthodontic and optometric practices. A public relations specialist, Jackson combines the advertising and trust-building aspects of social media to help businesses connect authentically with their communities.