Trending: Reviews and Reputations in Dentistry

crystal_ball_01Industry prognosticators are constantly looking into their crystal balls to identify social and business trends – and that includes dentistry. The dentistry trends that many of them see include the ever-growing importance of online reviews, and the online reputation of your dental practice.

Every dental practice loves to see new patients coming in the door, and leaving the office happy enough to tell others about their experience. But dentistry is more competitive than ever, so word-of-mouth is no longer enough.

smile_man_03How do you go about getting more positive online reviews for your practice? The best place to start is on your website. It’s essential that your site provides enough interesting and useful information to give visitors a reason to stay.

It also needs to be easy to navigate. One effective review technique is to include links on images that take visitors to a section for posting reviews. Listings on third party sites like Yelp and Angie’s List is also a good way of increasing your visibility.

A downside to encouraging reviews, of course, are the negative ones. They are inevitable. What should you do when you get one? The best response is to write a professional, non-emotional reply that acknowledges the issues raised. If it needs to go beyond that, take it offline.

It is perilous to ignore negative reviews. To do so suggests you don’t care, and impacts your online reputation. Consider this: vast majority of consumers who were asked – ninety-four percent – said a negative online review turned them against a business. That statistic did not address dental practices specifically, but it is safe to assume that it applies.

The bottom line is that reviews matter, and negative reviews have an impact on your online reputation. You can stay ahead by monitoring your online reviews. There are various tools for doing this, including Google Alerts, a free service that lets you search the Internet for any mention of you or your practice. Once you’ve set yourself up, Google Alerts sends you an email whenever you’re mentioned.

You can keep up with trends in dentistry with ProspectaMarketing. We specialize in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices with a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To find out more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com

It’s All About the Patients: Online Marketing for Dentists

smartphone_02

A simple truth about dentistry in 2018 is that to succeed, practices must have a strong online presence. Like so much else in modern life, the Internet has revolutionized the way people find information, consumer products, and services – and that includes dentistry.

Eighty percent of American adults are active on social media. And they love their mobile devices: nearly all of those who were asked said they prefer finding information about a practice on a smart phone app, rather than use that smart phone to call to that practice.

It follows that your practice website should be mobile-friendly. Most users will leave a dentist’s site (or any other site, for that matter) if it isn’t easy to understand and use.

family_02Clearly, online marketing is a simple fact of life for modern dental practices. And it’s all about your patients: your current ones, and those you’d like make new ones.

One of the most critical things to do is make it easy to find out practice online. Your website must be user-friendly, in the sense that it is easy to navigate, and provides the information that new patients will be looking for. Examples are your services, a map showing the physical location of your practice, and downloadable patient forms.

To make your website stand out from the crowd, you should have it designed and optimized by professionals. Your expertise, after all, is dentistry, not marketing. You outsource your lab work, so you should not hesitate to outsource the marketing of your practice.

ProspectaMarketing specializes in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To learn more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com

Find and Keep New Patients: Online Marketing for Dentists

senior_02aDentistry is a business, and like any other business, practices need a reliable core of existing patients and an influx of new ones. The trick is finding and attracting those new patients, especially when there are plenty of practices for people to choose from.

The best way to do this is to have an online presence. As with so much else today, most people use the Internet when they’re looking for something, whether it’s a pizza place or a dental practice.

All of us find new things on the Internet by using search engines like Google and Bing. We enter our search terms and scroll through the results. In the case of dentistry, determining factors include the physical location of a practice, the services it provides, and the insurance it accepts.

You can influence search results with Internet marketing, a general term that is designed to put your practice before as many potential patients as possible.

laptop_03The foundation of any modern business is its website. That’s where people will find out who you are and what you have to offer them. But how do they find the site, if they’ve never heard of you? A technique called search engine optimization, or SEO, means using the words and phrases that people enter on the search engines, so that your practice ranks as high as possible in search results.

Once people find your site, you want to keep them there. You do that by providing the information they’re looking for, like whether your practice provides certain services – orthodontics, for example.

They’re likely to have general questions about dentistry, too. They view you as an expert. You can leverage that in your favor by making your site a go-to resource for dental information, with blog posts about a wide range of dental topics.

It is critical that your site is designed to look professional, be easy to use, and stocked with valuable information. If it isn’t, site visitors won’t hang around; they’ll go back to their search engine results and visit the site of one of your competitors.

ProspectaMarketing specializes in online marketing for dentistry. We use best practices to find our clients new patients. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. To find out more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com

Trends in Dental Practice Marketing

laptop_02There are more than two million blog posts published every single day, according to industry observers. (Before continuing, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to find and read this one.)

Website content (like this) is a staple of marketing on the Internet, and that certainly includes dentistry. It influences not only how new patients are drawn to your practice, but how practices complete and evolve.

The rules are constantly changing. So we’re going to gaze into our crystal ball and see where dental practice marketing might be, just a year or two down the road.

Content Remains King
Providing useful information and engaging posts on your practice site has been essential for a long time. That isn’t going to change anytime soon. In fact, it is going to be more important, because there is going to be a greater need than ever to have a loyal client base that values the services you provide.

One big reason for this is, quite simply, fewer and fewer people are expected to have comprehensive dental health care. Seeing the dentist every six months may become more optional than essential. Therefore, it is critical to build that loyal client base and demonstrate that what you provide is essential.

Your Online Reputation
This follows from the previous point. Reliance on social media – to find your practice, and find out about it – is increasing, and with the steady growth of mobile devices, is easier and more important, than ever.

That means that you cannot overlook your internet reputation – the way your practice is seen online. Social media, and review sites like Yelp and Healthgrades, are how most potential new patients will form an opinion about your practice. You need to get your current patients to provide positive, and honest, feedback about their experiences with your practice.

Be Mobile
More than ever before, your practice website must be mobile device-friendly.

As we described here in February, more Internet users are choosing their Smartphones and other mobile devices over laptops and desktop computers. Before much longer, an ever-larger segment is expected to be using mobile devices almost exclusively.

Have questions or want help?
ProspectaMarketing specializes in finding new patients for dental practices using the Internet. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To learn more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com

 

Reputation Management in Dentistry

smartphone_01When people search for a new dentist, they first turn to customer review websites. These sites, such as Yelp, provide the real opinions and experiences of real people. Good or bad, past patients will rate a practice based on everything from dental services provided to interactions with the office staff; even to the appearance of the office itself.

The totality of these customer reviews – what they’re saying about your practice online – represents your online reputation. One bad review can have long-lasting implications. All those interconnected customer review and social media sites can magnify a single negative review; how you react to it is critical.

Reputation Management for a dental practice takes information from your practice’s website, from social media, and from patient comments on review sites and other message boards. This data makes up your online reputation profile, which drives the reputation of your practice with a positive narrative.

smartphone_01It’s a complex strategy, with the objective of enhancing your online reputation and bringing new patients to the practice. Fortunately, there are numerous software platforms that provide reputation management. While that means yet another business expense, it has become a necessity in today’s plugged in, 24/7 online world.

Most patients will have an opinion about your dental practice, even before they have their first appointment. Properly marketing your practice is essential. Prospecta Marketing specializes in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices. To learn about what Prospecta Marketing can do for you, call Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com.

Finding Your Practice: Dentistry And Search Engines

smartphone_02_socialThe numbers are staggering: forty thousand times per second, three and a half billion times each day, 1.2 trillion times a year. That’s how often people navigate to Google and types in search terms.

More and more of these searches ask about local businesses: show me the auto mechanics in my town. Show me a tree pruning service. All the pizza places.

This is as true for health care as it is for everything else. Eighty-five percent of Internet users turn to search engines when they’re looking for dentists and doctors. An online presence is critical for any practice.

Search Engines Are Essential!

Your practice has a website, right? A practice website is one of the most vital marketing tools available, because potential new patients read them. If you don’t have one, they may never find you.

Your practice website must be user-friendly, and engaging to visitors. The goal is to convert them into new patients.

It also needs to be mobile device-friendly. Mobile devices – smart phones in particular – are the device of choice for many Internet users, especially younger ones. As recounted here in February, mobile devices were being used in more than 60% of dental searches by the end of 2017, and that is only likely to grow.

Optimize, Optimize

Moreover, your site must be properly optimized. Internet users tend to scan, whether they’re looking at Facebook or your practice’s website. And they prefer tiny bites. The content on your site should be broken into short paragraphs with headings and bullet points, with plenty of images.

Another thing about that content: with any Internet experience, people like to feel they’re getting something from it. Your site should have informative content that is free of jargon, and makes a connection with visitors.

Where Are You?

So how do Internet users find you online? The short answer is via search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your practice can have a unique listing on local search engine sites. Listings include basic contact information, and also a map showing your location.

There are step-by-step instructions for getting your practice listed on Google My Business, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.

Properly marketing your dental practice is critical to any practice. It is also a discipline in and of itself. Prospecta Marketing specializes in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices. To find out what Prospecta Marketing can do for you, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com.

 

 

 

The Consumer Move To Mobile- What Do You Need To Do?

In 2015 Google announced that the number of searches from mobile devices (excluding tablets) had surpassed the number of searches from desktop devices.Dental Website Visits by Device

While that was true overall, it wasn’t the case for the dental industry, yet. Mobile searches for dental terms still lagged behind desktop searches even through 2016.

2017 – The Dental Year of the Smartphone
That changed in 2017. From March to June the winner of the search traffic bounced back and forth between desktop and mobile.

Once July came, mobile searches never looked back. By December 2017, mobile devices were used in 56% of dental searches and desktops were only 38%. The remaining 6% of dental searches were performed on tablets.

If you haven’t yet paid close attention to your mobile website presence, now is the time!

Changes in the Google Indexes
Recognizing this shift, Google created a new search index specifically for mobile devices. If you searched on a desktop, Google would use its desktop index to find the websites most closely matching your search. If you searched on a phone, Google would use its mobile index to find results.

This mobile index considered additional aspects beyond what the desktop index used, such as the user experience with this website on a small screen, the speed of the website, and the available content.

In November 2016, Google announced that they were moving towards a single, mobile-first index. This mobile-first index means that even if you were searching on a desktop, the results would be based on what Google found on their mobile index. This mobile-first index should be fully implemented sometime in 2018.

So What Do You Do as a Dental Practice?
Do a little sleuthing on your own website. Here are five things you can look at to see if your website is ready for mobile consumers.

1. Your website must provide a great user experience on mobile devices.
Just a few, short years ago it was good to have a separate mobile website with stripped down content and few images. That was when mobile phones and data plans were slow.

Now both the phones and the data plans have improved dramatically. People expect to see graphics on their phones and to easily be able to find what they are looking for. A website developed with responsive design is a preferred way to have just one website that automatically adjusts to the screen size of the visitor.Mobile Site

Pull out your phone and look at your website. Is it engaging? Would it be to someone who isn’t a dentist but is looking for one? Can they easily navigate through the site and even search for content? Can they easily contact you and find where your office is located?

2. Visitors to your website need to easily contact you by their preferred method.
Smartphones add additional features to websites. If the website is coded correctly, a visitor can simply touch the phone number to start the call. Or they can simply touch your address to be taken to a map to provide directions.
With our new Click to Text tool, you can now even allow people to text you from your website! You can receive and respond to texts through a screen on your desktop and continue texting with the potential patient.

As you are on your website on your phone, try touching your phone number or address or even texting from your website. Is it easy? If it isn’t, your potential patients will likely leave your site without contacting you.

3. Your website needs enough content to be found and understood by both real people and the search engines.
There is a constant battle between website designers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialists. Designers want graphics and very little content. SEO Specialists know that if a website doesn’t have content (especially the home page), the search engines won’t know what your website is about and therefore cannot rank it well in the index.

Starting with your home page, look at each page of your website on your phone. Is there enough content that a person could understand what you are about and what you can offer them? Can people easily scan the content to find what they are looking for? Are paragraphs short enough that a reader typically won’t have to scroll to get through them?

4. Your website needs to be fast!
Part of the user experience is having the website load very quickly. In 2016 Google said that “53% of mobile sites are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.”Think With Google

Site speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010. In January 2018 Google announced that mobile page speed will be a ranking factor in mobile searches. If your site is slow it will have a harder time ranking well for any searches.

How fast is your mobile site? Or even your desktop site? Test it out at https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/ and https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.

5. You need to appear at the top of the search results.
With a smaller screen, fewer search results from the search engines are visible on the screen. Typically, the listings at the very top of the page are Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads. Depending on the size of the screen, only 1 or 2 results are visible on the screen and they are ads.Save As Picture

If you are not using PPC ads for your practice, people will have to scroll down the search results to find your practice on their mobile device. After the ads come the map results in Google. Then come the organic, or natural, rankings.

Ranking in the 1st organic position is good, but not as good as it used to be. It now means that 1st position ranking is really the 6th or 7th listing (and a few scrolls) on the page.

Have questions or want help?
Specializing in sourcing new patients for dental practices online using internet search, ProspectaMarketing has developed a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To learn more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com.

Paid Versus Organic Rankings: A Match Made in Heaven?

smiling woman on tabletWe often get questions from our doctors about paid versus organic rankings and why should they keep paying for pay-per-click (PPC) if organic is working well. Or can they get rid of PPC if their organic rankings were to improve? Is paid better than organic? Or is it the other way around?

The simple answer is that it’s like comparing apples to oranges. What is actually important is the great synergy that goes along with running both of them together.

Let’s take a closer look.

Organic Versus Paid—Better Together

A recent article by Search Engine Land cautions against using an us-versus-them approach when it comes to PPC versus organic. They cite the following facts:

  1. Google has made changes over the past few years that have impacted organic traffic—and not in a good way. These changes have resulted in an overall decline of organic traffic. There is every reason to expect that these changes will continue to harm organic search.
  2. Businesses need to embrace both organic and paid search metrics—and let them work together. Ideally, your practice would have paid and organic listings with perfect visibility—but that is simply not feasible from a financial standpoint.

The article further explains how the two work in tandem.

Google research has also shown that even with a number one organic ranking, PPC meant a 50-percent higher click-through rate.

To further clarify, let’s take a look at a real-life example.

What Happens When You Break Them Up

One of our clients suffered an accident at the beginning of May 2016. His PPC was paused for that entire month. We restarted the PPC on a limited basis in June.

You can see from the chart what happened to organic traffic in May without the PPC campaign.  After experiencing steady traffic prior to May, organic dropped to about 88 percent of normal in May and 76 percent of normal in June.

paid versus organic rankings

The next chart shows the average PPC and organic leads for the four months prior to May compared to the average leads with no or limited PPC running for the next four months.

google organic visits chart 2

This doctor’s Google organic traffic and PPC traffic had been roughly equal, as had the leads generated from both.  It is interesting to see that when the PPC was removed fully or mostly, the organic traffic dropped some and the organic leads dropped even more.  We expected the drop in PPC leads (91 percent) but we were somewhat surprised at the drop in organic leads (45 percent).

The practice was not running any other advertising other than PPC before or after the accident.

It is important to state that these data show a correlation between PPC and organic for both website visits and leads. They do not imply causation. Though other studies suggest they are correlated, too.

With our clients, we have found that organic search helps rankings for searches with geography included, such as “cosmetic dentistry Denver.” PPC helps clients show up for pure service keyword searches, such as “dental implants.”

Search Engine Watch has been writing about the overlap between paid and organic search for seven years. Their last report, from July 2016, reported that the landscape had changed significantly from 2015 to 2016 with mobile searches on Google having exceeded desktop for the first time. This resulted in significant changes to Google search results, and paid ads took up a significant amount of space versus organic listings.

It’s a Complicated Relationship

The takeaway is that there are clear advantages to both paid and organic search optimization—and one  is not better than the other. The two share a complex bond, and it’s up to your online marketing plan to get the maximum value out of both—together.

Questions About Paid Versus Organic Rankings on Your Website?

If you aren’t sure if you are maximizing the results of your rankings, contact us at 877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

Online Reviews Impact Landing Page Conversions

It’s no secret we believe reviews have become an essential part of running a successful practice (read more in Online Reviews: Can Your Practice Afford to Ignore Them When Your Patients Are Not and Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice), but what about including patient reviews on a landing page?

BrightLocal, which provides local search marketing tools for agencies, consultants, and local businesses, recently conducted a study to determine how online reviews impact landing page conversion. Their research shows that putting reviews on landing pages helps boost conversion by 12 percent. This isn’t a big surprise to us, and we have been encouraging our doctors to do this for some time.

Let’s take a look at the specifics of the study.

Reviews Continue to Be an Important Part of the Buying Process

In their 2016 Local Consumer Review Study, BrightLocal discovered the following statistics:

  • 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 54 percent of people will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews

BrightLocal wanted to take these facts a step further to find out if these reviews helped build trust and how promoting a firm’s reputation would impact landing page conversion.

The Latest Findings on Consumer Trust and Landing Page Conversions

For their experiment, BrightLocal divided their participants into two groups: a control group of 30 percent of the participants who were showed landing pages that had no ratings or reviews displayed, and test groups with the rest of the participants who were shown different landing pages, some with reviews and some without.

According to BrightLocal: “The panelists were asked to imagine they were searching online for a local plumber, florist or realtor. We showed the consumers two landing pages—one page that highlighted an actual customer’s review about the business and another page where the business said they were the ‘dependable’ company.

“For this research study, we tracked whether consumers picked the businesses with or without the customer review on the landing pages. Additionally, we asked consumers to give us feedback on a variety of other factors that impacted their decisions and opinions of these ‘sample’ businesses.”

landing page conversions

The results showed that 83 percent found the business with the consumer review on the landing page to be trustworthy. And 15 percent of survey participants felt the business without reviews was not trustworthy.

landing page conversions

When asked how likely they would be to contact the business with reviews, 74 percent of people said they would versus 62 percent of people who said they would contact the business with no reviews.

You can read BrightLocal’s full results here.

Questions About Using Patient Reviews on Your Website?

If you have questions about conversion rates or online reviews, contact us at
877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

 

Online Reviews: Can Your Practice Afford to Ignore Them When Your Patients Are Not?

The statistics are telling: 92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. The fact is, however, that even though far too many local businesses continue to ignore the importance of online reviews, their potential customers are not.

We wrote an article recently about how important it is for businesses to manage their online reputation which presented the results of a survey conducted by local search specialists at BrightLocal. Their survey results were revisited at the recent SMX West SEO and SEM Conference.

online reviews

SMX West and the Value of Online Reviews

Search Engine Land columnist Greg Gifford recapped a session from the expo by Thomas Ballantyne, who is director of marketing at a local business, about the value of online reviews.

There were several valuable takeaways from the article:

  • More than half of people looking for a local business trust content that has been generated by past customers over any information they can get from a company website or in a news article. Ballantyne explained that “people trust reviews written by other people much more than anything written on your website, which is why it’s so important for business owners to focus on their online reviews.”
  • Your brand’s message? It’s owned by your customers—or in the case of ProspectaMarketing readers, your patients.
  • Ballantyne points out that “reviews are the crossroads of social media and transactions.” Reviews aren’t going away—and businesses can’t afford to ignore them because their customers are not.
  • According to Ballantyne, getting great reviews is simple: “First, you’ve got to provide good customer service. You’ve got to hire people who will love your customers. Second, you just have to ask. If you ask customers to leave a review, most of them will do it—but most businesses never ask for reviews.”

Use Online Reviews to Your Practice’s Advantage

Are you doing all that you can with your online reputation? Are you asking your happy patients to leave reviews? We offer a tool that sends a review request directly to patients’ phones. It’s easy to use—for team members and patients!—and is highly effective in growing your online reviews.

If you need help managing your online reputation, contact us at 877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

 

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