By Cedric Jackson
If you want to grow your dental practice by attracting new patients, online reviews are a must. According to a recent dental marketing survey, online reviews play a vital role in choosing new dentists and in finding dental specialists. In fact, 86% of the survey’s respondents stated that they looked at reviews before making an appointment with their last dentist.
In addition, 12% of the survey’s respondents admitted using reviews to check on their current providers. That means that online reviews can even help you retain the patients you already have.
Let's review the steps to add online reviews to your dental practice marketing strategy and learn how to use your reviews to manage and improve your online reputation.
Step 1 – Choose a Review Site
Patients have many options when it comes to leaving reviews. Some of the top review sites include:
Claim or verify your listing on your review site of choice. Then, funnel your patients to that site so you can accumulate lots of reviews quickly. Without designating a site for reviews, the positive reviews will be scattered on the internet, only making it harder for patients to research your practice, and positive patient experiences before deciding to book an appointment.
Step 2 – Create a Custom Link
You will need to share a review link with your patients. Instead of going to the site and copying the URL, create a custom link.
If you use Google My Business for reviews, you can use the service to get a short URL to share with patients. You can also use a review link generator tool, with some tools specifically created for the dental industry.
Step 3 – Create Text and Email Templates
Next, you need to create a text and email template to use when soliciting reviews. The template just needs to consist of a few short lines requesting a review. You can write something like:
“(Name), thank you for choosing (Practice). We hope you enjoyed your appointment at our practice. Please click the link to leave us a review of your experience.”
You can create a few templates and test them against each other to see which gets the highest conversion rates.
Step 4 – Use Software to Get Reviews
Many dental practices use dental practice management software to gather reviews. The software sends post-appointment messages via texts or emails to patients that dentists customize to include a review request and custom link.
If your software doesn’t send post-appointment messages, you can contact patients through a review management program. Some of the top programs include:
You can use these programs by themselves or integrate them into your dental practice management software.
Step 5 – Promote Your Review Link
Most of your reviews will come from patients who have just visited your practice. However, some people will review your practice weeks or even months after visiting if they come across a link. You can speed this up by adding your review link to your:
- Business cards
- Social media profiles
- Email signature
The more exposure it gets, the more reviews you can accumulate. Thus, you can add it to additional marketing materials as well.
Step 6 - Ask for Reviews
Some patients are more likely to leave a review if personally asked. Get in the habit of asking patients to leave reviews at the end of their appointments.
You have a couple of options to do this. First, the dentist can ask when wrapping up the appointment. Second, the receptionist can request a review when taking the payment and scheduling the next appointment.
Step 7 – Respond to Reviews
Once you gather reviews, you need to respond to them. A study from the Harvard Business Review discovered that online ratings improve when businesses respond to both positive and negative reviews.
When responding, you need to acknowledge what the reviewer stated and craft a short, succinct response. For negative reviews, provide your contact information so the patient can get in touch with you. You must be careful about what you discuss online, so moving the discussion offline will allow you to have a proper conversation.
Stay on Top of Review and Reputation Management
Online reviews and your practice’s reputation go hand in hand. The more positive reviews you gather, the better your practice’s reputation will be. Follow these steps so you can boost your online reviews and grow your reputation.
Author: Cedric Jackson specializes in digital marketing and reputation management for dental practices. This includes providing action strategies that practices can use today.