Technology has come a long way since the days of placing an ad in the phone book and hoping it would lead to many new phone calls each month. When people actually used phone books to find healtchare practitioners, it was probably a viable marketing option to place these ads. You could rely on a good Yellowbook placement and word of mouth to generate new patients.
In today's connected world, people still trust word of mouth and personal recommendations. Probably more than ever. The difference is how they are obtaining their word of mouth buzz and personal recommendations. Google, Yelp, Facebook, Healthgrades, and dozens more third party websites all have some kind of built in review platform. These platforms allow consumers to read real life reviews on all kinds of businesses. This means that potential patients are reading online reviews about your practice, and making their decisions on healthcare providers based on online reviews. What does your online reputation or review profile say about your business?
"It’s said that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations" - Bright Local Review Survey 2016
According to the same study, it's also said that 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews. This statement means that not only should you be actively seaking out positive reviews, you need to make sure that awesome, positive reviews, are at the top of sites like Google and Facebook. In other words, if people are skimming reviews and forming an opinion of your business, freshness and quantity matter.
How to manage your online reputation:
There are a few different ways to go about managing your online reputation. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, I would recommend a great article with specific details on dental reputation management. If you don't feel like putting in a ton of effort (and that is totally understandable) you could rely on third party "Patient Communication Software" to help you out. Some examples that come to mind would be Revenue Well or Lighthouse 360. Each of these systems have an email component that allows you to set up email campaigns to target your patient lists for review solicitations.
The downside to using a patient communication software for review collection is that they can be extremely slow in collecting reviews. On top of this, they are usually pretty limited as to which sites you can push your contacts to for reviews. The best online review solution in my opinion is hiring a dental marketing company with a powerful built in review software. Some companies offer a full solution for email AND SMS text solicitation. Top of the line solutions should offer a wide selection of websites where you can publish your online reviews. They should also offer automated solutions and built in widgets to help showcase your reviews on your website and social media networks.
For my personal recommendations on reputation management software and solutions, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 888-300-8994 Ext. 701. I'm always happy to help someone out and point them in the right direction.