In my first article about the 3 Pillars of Attracting New Patients Online we discussed the need for a professional website. Today we are covering the second piece of the puzzle, your online reputation.
We can all probably agree that we prefer to do business with people that we trust, right? But how do we trust people that we find online, who we’ve never met, and who we don’t know anything about? Well, we can rely on how the business portrays itself online, but that’s usually pretty biased. Or, like many of us, we can rely on social proof, meaning we trust the online reviews of others to help us make a buying decision.
As an average consumer, if I’m looking on Google, or on another third party website for a dentist, and I see a dentist with a bunch of positive reviews, I’m probably going to call them because other people seemingly had good experiences with them. On the other hand, if there are a bunch of negative reviews, or no reviews at all, there’s no chance I’m going to that dentist. The risk is too big for me. Similarly, most people rely on the social proof of others. And they do it a lot online. According to studies, about 9 out of 10 of us have used online reviews to decide whom to spend our money with.
So it’s not enough to just have a professional website online, or to be on the first page of Google. If you want to attract lots of new patients, you need to have a great reputation online in order to stand out and to convince potential patients to choose you. And positive reviews do just that!
In addition to positive reviews helping customers trust you, the other big benefit of positive reviews is that they signal to Google that you’re a good dentist. A good online reputation, by way of reviews, helps your website rank better on Google, AND prospective patients are more likely to choose your business. So, it’s a total win-win.
Now sure, getting positive reviews is great in theory, right? Reviews usually don’t just happen magically. It does require you to be proactive. But in my experience it’s not difficult to get happy patients to leave you a positive review online. Really it’s as simple as asking patients to leave you a review once they’re done with a visit. You can ask them verbally, or follow up with an email and ask them politely to leave you a review. Then provide them with a link to leave a review. Websites like Google+, Bing, LinkedIn, and Yelp are all great websites for reviews since they’re credible sites and they get a lot of traffic.
In case you’re wondering why you’d want their reviews on third party website, rather than on your own website, it’s because they’ll provide you with more value. There’s nothing wrong with having a customer email you a review for use on your website. But if you can get them to publish a review on a major website, like Google+ or Yelp, the review will be seen by a lot more people, and it will help your site rank better on those sites. That’s why whenever possible, you want reviews to be on third party websites. For dentists, Google is most important. Then Yelp.
However you want to go about requesting reviews is fine, but I can’t encourage you enough to consistently ask patients for reviews! They are crucial to your online success. Better yet, make it part of your standard process to ask for reviews. When I’m done building a new website for a client, I always ask clients to leave me a review on Google or LinkedIn. It takes just a couple of minutes, and it’s so easy to do that there’s no excuse not to do it. As long as you do a good job and are professional, your patients will gladly give you reviews. So be sure to ask. The return on your time investment is huge, and I assure you that the reviews will help you attract more patients. And if you’re looking for help with a review strategy, or with attracting new patients, be sure to give me a call. I’d be happy to give you some guidance.
BIO: Hi I’m Josh Fulfer, and I help small businesses connect with local customers. My company is KVF Marketing, and I specialize in online marketing with an emphasis in high-value lead generation, website design, and search engine marketing. I work with businesses such as dentists and attorneys and help them leverage the internet to reach more customers.