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online patient reviews

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5 Online Marketing Hacks for Dentists

by Naomi Cooper September 7, 2016

You went to dental school, not business school. You specialize in exams and extractions, not marketing and social media. So how do you even begin to build a savvy online presence for your dental practice?

Online marketing hacks for dentistsHere are 5 tips to demystify online marketing for every dentist:

  1. Perform an online audit – Google your name and then your practice name. What comes up? Take note of where in the search results your website appears, as well as bookmark any sites with incomplete or inaccurate information to go back and fix sooner rather than later.
  2. Claim online profiles – Business listings may already exist for the practice on sites like Google and Yelp without your knowledge. Be sure every online profile has up-to-date practice and contact information.
  3. Update the practice website – If you haven’t touched your practice website within the past 18 months or more, schedule an appointment with your web designer to talk about updating the site for modern convenience (responsive design, SEO functionality, user-friendliness).
  4. Actively ask for patient testimonials – It NEVER hurts to ask! In fact, asking patients to post online reviews actually helps spark word of mouth for the office.
  5. Don’t forget about social media – Build your presence on sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…and encourage patients to check in and tag the office.

To dive deeper into these strategies, and discover 5 more simple yet effective methods of improving your online marketing, check out my recent article in Dental Products Report to ensure you stay in the driver’s seat of your online reputation.

video

How to Ask Patients for Online Reviews

by Naomi Cooper July 6, 2016

How to ask patients for online reviewsYou’ve likely heard of sites like Yelp, Google and Healthgrades and you’re probably aware of the prevalence of patient reviews in today’s online culture. However, knowing that you should ask patients to leave reviews and actually asking them are two different things altogether.

Watch this video to find out why dentists actually need to have positive reviews and learn the best ways of asking your patients to post their comments online.

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Yelp: The Good, the Bad and the Reality for Dentists Today

by Naomi Cooper January 13, 2016

In 2016, Yelp will continue to be the go-to website for millions of people looking for local services and that includes dental patients. According to the company’s website, during the second quarter of 2015, the Internet giant had a monthly average of 83 million unique visitors who accessed Yelp using their mobile device. In addition, as of Q2 2015, “Yelpers” have authored over 83 million reviews. There is no denying that Yelp is a major player in the dental marketing landscape. However, it is important to know the realities of how Yelp can help – and in some cases hurt – your business.

The Good

As I mentioned in a previous blog, Yelp automatically creates profiles for all businesses, even if the business owner is unaware. It is up to the business owner to claim their profile, update it with the correct contact information, business hours, photos and description, and monitor and respond to reviews as necessary. Positive reviews by your patients can boost your Yelp rating and help improve your overall online presence. Encourage your patients to leave a review of your practice and be sure to check your Yelp profile regularly.

The Bad

Unfortunately, there can be pitfalls to Yelp for small business owners. Some business owners have accused Yelp of manipulating reviews, however, Yelp firmly denies they filter reviews based on whether a business advertises on Yelp or not. According to Yelp, the reviews posted on a business’ Yelp page are written by members of the public and then filtered by Yelp using “automated software to recommend the most helpful and reliable reviews for the Yelp community among the millions we get. The software looks at dozens of different signals, including various measures of quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. The process has nothing to do with whether a business advertises on Yelp or not.

The Reality

The only way to earn more patient reviews is to ask your patients! When you make a concentrated effort to collect positive reviews from satisfied patients, you are able to build up a strong base of good reviews. These “prophylactic reviews” protect you from future potential negative reviews.

And it’s important to remember that Yelp is just one tool in your online marketing arsenal. Make sure you have a diverse presence online including profiles on sites like Healthgrades, Google, and Angie’s List, in addition to social media sites. Don’t depend on any one site to be your magic bullet as you work to build – and maintain – your online presence in 2016.

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Dental Marketing: 5 Steps for Asking for Patient Referrals and Online Reviews

by Naomi Cooper March 11, 2015

Dental Marketing: 5 Steps for Asking for Patient Referrals and Online ReviewsAsking a patient to refer others to your practice can seem daunting. Some dentists find it too “salesy”; some just aren’t sure how to comfortably broach the subject within patient conversations. While it may not be easy at first, asking for referrals is a critical component of any successful dental practice.

The best time to ask for a referral is when a patient gives you or your team a compliment. You know they are satisfied, making the process that much easier.

  1. Thank them for their recognition. Thank you so much!
  2. Make a statement about the practice that shows their experience wasn’t an accident. It’s our goal to exceed our patients’ expectations so they have an experience just like yours.
  3. Then compliment them. And we appreciate having patients just like you!
  4. Ask for the referral. We are always accepting new patients so if you know of anyone who would appreciate the same kind of care you feel you’ve received in our practice, I would appreciate it if you told them about us and your positive experience. 
  5. Don’t forget about online reviews too, especially for those patients whose smartphones are glued to the palms of their hands throughout their dental appointment. I’ve noticed how tech-savvy you are – would you mind sharing your experience on Yelp/Google/Healthgrades?

That doesn’t seem too terribly difficult, does it? Practice makes perfect, so be sure that the entire team has the verbal skills and comfort level needed in order to help generate as many patient referrals as possible.

Word of mouth remains to be the best form of marketing there is, not to mention the most cost effective. Boost word of mouth for your practice and make a committed effort to make asking for patient referrals and online reviews a habit for the entire team.

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Online Reviews: Find Out What Sites Your Patients Use Most 

by Naomi Cooper February 4, 2015

Online Reviews: Find Out What Sites Your Patients Use Most Creating a digital presence for your dental practice is a no brainer. Patients turn to the Internet when researching local dentists, and so it is important that your information is available online and giving patients a terrific first impression.

Online patient reviews, along with your practice website and social media, help patients learn about your practice before they make their first appointment, and are becoming increasingly important parts of their decision making process.

A recent blog from ReviewTrackers.com reports that the number of patients using online reviews to search for a doctor has jumped 68% from 2013 to 2014. The blog also says 61% of patients turn to online review sites before they select a doctor, reinforcing the importance for dentists to commit to getting more online reviews, especially if they don’t have many yet, or if it has been awhile since any reviews were posted.

With so many online review sites on the web today, it’s hard for dentists to know what sites to direct patients to. The study quoted in the ReviewTrackers blog shows that Yelp and Healthgrades are the most widely used and trusted of all the online review sites, followed by RateMDs, Vitals and ZocDoc.

Do you know what your patients are saying about your practice online? Take a proactive approach and build a collection of patient testimonials. Prospective patients are researching your practice online. Make sure what they see is an accurate and positive reflection.

Blog

Dental Marketing Solutions for 2015

by Naomi Cooper January 14, 2015

Dental Marketing Solutions Looking to jumpstart your dental practice marketing? Or have you tried marketing in the past, but didn’t see any positive return from it?

It’s the beginning of a new year. It’s time to take charge of your practice growth and generate new patient flow. Implementing a marketing strategy will not only help attract new patients – while maintaining relationships with your existing patient base – but will also take the guesswork out of marketing.

I’m happy to announce the 2015 dates for my Smart Marketing Solutions seminar with Pride Institute. In the seminar, I’ll talk with you about how to create an overall marketing plan that includes mix of traditional and modern marketing techniques for your practice, including:

  • Effective dental practice websites
  • Social media strategies
  • Online patient reviews
  • What goes into a comprehensive online marketing plan

For more information, and to register for a seminar near you, click on the links below. Hope to see you in 2015!

Washington DC – February 27-28

San Francisco – April 17-18

Atlanta – October 9-10

Chicago – December 4-5