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.

 

Internet Marketing: Attracting New Patients From Internet Search, Part II

Internet marketingAs we introduced in part I of this article, many dentists find that what they have relied on in the past just isn’t generating the new patient flow they previously experienced. Additionally, there have been significant changes in Internet marketing during just the past year. Keeping up with the changes necessary to attract new patients from Internet search is a challenge.

Let’s look at what’s changed—and what’s stayed the same, this time in terms of SEO and local listings.

Your SEO Needs to Be Strong

The need for effective search engine optimization (SEO) is constant. This gives your website visibility for location-based service search phrases such as “Dallas cosmetic dentist,” “dental implants Boston,” or “sedation dentistry in Fargo.”

PPC Extends Visibility

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is another fundamental element in maintaining a competitive edge online. PPC helps extend visibility for core service keywords, such as “cosmetic dentist” or “dental implants.” Since you can control the geography where these ads are shown, it allows your practice to be listed high in the search results for the geography around your practice from which you can reasonably expect to draw patients.

Expanded AdWords

Google’s new expanded text ads are the next generation of the standard AdWords text ad, featuring:

  • Two headlines
  • More characters
  • Expanded description

expanded AdWordsThis new ad type provides longer, more controllable messaging in your ads. These are improving click-through-rates by up to 20 percent, according to online advertising company WordStream. 

Your Local Listings Need to Be Claimed and Optimized

Internet success is also heavily dependent on local listings. These include such online directories as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and others. Claim these key listings; make sure your practice name, address, and phone number are correct and uniform; and optimize them as much as possible with services offered, a catchy business description with keywords, attractive photo content, and more.

Well-developed local listings tell prospective patients what they need to know about your practice through pertinent information and visually attractive images.

Tracking

Make sure you track your results to know what is working for your practice. It isn’t rankings for random keywords that matters; it is the rankings for the right keywords that bring in traffic and productive new leads that become paying patients.

The Future of Internet Marketing

It’s hard to predict what new developments will shape Internet marketing in the months ahead. But remember this: You must keep your online presence fresh and relevant. There are more ways than ever before to engage current patients and future prospects.

By ensuring your website is mobile friendly, developing your local listings and online reviews, using SEO and advertising effectively, and tracking your results to evaluate your success, you will be a step ahead and enjoying the benefits that come from being a leader online in your market.

 

Internet Marketing: Attracting New Patients From Internet Search, Part I

Internet marketingMany dentists find that what they have relied on in the past just isn’t generating the new patient flow they previously experienced. Additionally, there have been significant changes in Internet marketing during just the past year. Keeping up with the changes necessary to attract new patients from Internet search is a challenge.

Let’s look at what’s changed—and what’s stayed the same.

Your Website Needs to Be Mobile for Effective Internet Marketing

As always, you still need to have a well-structured website that is easy to navigate and loaded with relevant content. Your website must have fast page loading speed (not to be confused with site speed) for better ranking and conversion.

Practices need to ensure that their sites are easy to use on desktop and mobile devices. Responsive design allows your website to transition easily from a large layout for desktop users to an easy-to-navigate mobile-friendly layout for smartphones and tablets.

Recent statistics show:

Targeting specific ads to reach mobile users is another way to capitalize on this jump in mobile search, creating a more personalized and targeted search experience.

Your Reviews Must Be Monitored

Online reviews are another aspect of Internet search that continues to grow in importance. A major consumer shift has occurred, with consumers now seeking reviews for professional services with increasing frequency and basing decisions on those reviews.

It can be frustrating when online perception about your practice is largely in the hands of your patients. If you don’t proactively manage your reputation, however, you are at the mercy of those who choose to review your practice.

Even the best practices occasionally get a negative review—and they can be helpful. If you interact with your patients through both good and bad reviews, prospects will see that you are invested and involved. When positive reviews are the norm, an occasional negative review can provide credibility to the positive ones.

Online Reviews Influence Buying Decisions

BrightLocal’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey explored just how consumers read and use online reviews, and whether or not the reviews influenced their buying decisions.

In a nutshell, the results showed that of survey participants:

  • 84% trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation
  • 90% read fewer than 10 reviews before they form an opinion about a business
  • 74% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 73% report that reviews that are three months or older are not as important as more current reviews
  • 54% say that after reading positive reviews, their next step is to visit the business’s website

Read part II of this article to find out how SEO and local listings impact local Internet marketing.

10 Tips for Creating Impactful Patient Testimonials

Patient testimonials are a great addition to your website, Facebook page, or YouTube channel. People enjoy seeing other patients talk about their positive experiences with your practice. Reviews not only enhance your web presence and online reputation, but they can have huge impact on whether or not a patient decides to make an appointment with your practice.

Tips for Recording Patient Testimonials

patient testimonialsIf you are going to record a video of your patients, be sure that you are getting a great quality video. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Have correct lighting. Try to avoid a windowless room with just fluorescent lights and don’t have the light source directly behind or above your subject. Have your patient sit by a window with natural light to their side or in front of them.
  • Invest in a good microphone. A Lavalier microphone will ensure there is no echoing or other issues caused by bad sound.
  • Be sure the microphone can hear them. Don’t stand so far away that the microphone can’t pick up their voice. If you are interested, there are a variety of clip on microphones available that you can attach to the patients shirt and then plug the microphone adapter into your iPhone.
  • Make sure your patients are comfortable. Stuart Anderson, who creates professional video productions for the Crown Council, a prestigious group of dentists committed to continual improvement, recommends that they should be sitting or standing in a relaxed position that is conducive to a conversation.
  • Make eye contact. Anderson also recommends that subjects not look at the camera while they are speaking: “They are less likely to do so if you make good eye contact,” he says.
  • Note where you are placing your subject. Make sure there’s nothing odd in the background. That fern on your windowsill may look lovely, but make sure it doesn’t look like its growing out of your subject’s head.
  • Invest in a tripod. You don’t need to spend lots of money and rent a lot of video equipment, but make sure you have a tripod or a way to hold the camera very steady. If you are filming with an iPhone, always hold the camera horizontally. This will result in much better looking videos when you upload them and watch them on computer screens and TVs.
  • Don’t use zoom. Instead of zooming, physically move the camera forward. If filming with your phone, using zoom will work but will reduce the quality of the video.
  • Try Q & A style interview. You can email your patient the questions beforehand so they have their answers in mind. Then when you film them, have someone off camera ask them the questions and have them respond to the interviewer that is off camera. This way you can get concise direct answers instead of a stream of consciousness that sometimes happens when people are being filmed.
  • Have patients sign a consent form. Before using any patient testimonials online, you must have them sign a consent form giving their permission for you to do so.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get great patient testimonials. It only takes a few minutes of a patient’s time and can really help to improve the quality of your online presence.

Questions About Patient Testimonials?

If you have questions about getting patient testimonials for your own practice, contact us at
877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice

Anyone running a small- or medium-sized business is aware that their online reputation is becoming more and more important if they are to be successful. In spite of this, however, business owners are not always paying enough attention to their online reviews. They may not realize that online reviews can have a huge impact on whether or not a customer decides to purchase a product or service.

For the past six years, the local search specialists at BrightLocal have conducted a survey on online reviews to help small- to medium-sized businesses and digital marketing agencies understand how they influence purchasing decisions.

The results make it clear that online reputation needs to be taken seriously by all business owners, and that includes those running a dental or medical practice.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your PracticeWhat the Online Survey Research Results Found

BrightLocal’s survey explored just how consumers read and use online reviews, and whether or not the reviews influenced their buying decisions.

In a nutshell, the results showed:
• 84 percent of survey participants trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation
• 90 percent of consumers read fewer than 10 reviews before they form an opinion about a business
• 74 percent of those surveyed say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
• 73 percent of consumers report that reviews that are three months or older are not as important as more current reviews
• 54 percent of those surveyed say that after reading positive reviews, their next step is to visit the business’s website

According to the survey, the most commonly read reviews by consumers are for the following categories restaurants and hotels and bed and breakfasts, with medical/healthcare professionals coming in third place.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice

What the Online Survey Research Results Mean for Your Practice

The number of consumers using the Internet to find local businesses continues to increase.

BrightLocal’s take on the reasons for the growth is simple: “Over the past few years, many local businesses have realized the importance of optimizing their online presence for the local market by claiming their Google My Business or Bing Places for Business pages, creating location-specific pages on their website, adding Google Maps to their site and other local SEO strategies.

“Additionally, Google shows online reviews in many search engine results pages, and they even recently started adding third-party review sites and reviews to a business’s Knowledge Panel.”

The bottom line? Reviews are everywhere. And your potential customers are reading them. But rather than fear them, you should see them as an opportunity to engage and receive feedback about your practice.

Why Your Practice Needs an Online Reputation Strategy

For your practice’s continued success, you must monitor what patients are saying in online reviews. You should also have a way to get positive reviews from happy patients.

Why? Because potential patients will read the most recent reviews first; if those reviews are negative, they may not read past them to get to the positive reviews—even if there are more positive than negative. New positive reviews will push the negative reviews down the list.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice

It should be noted here that reviews for dental and medical practices tend to have a longer shelf life than, for instance, restaurants; this is probably because people visit restaurants and other businesses on a more frequent basis. That said, however, it is still critical to have a steady flow of new reviews as an ongoing part of running a successful practice.

How are you handling your reviews? Are you asking happy patients to leave reviews after they visit your practice? According to BrightLocal, seven out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business—if they’re asked to do so.

Find Out More About This Year’s Survey

Do you want to see even more questions and answers, as well as a deeper analysis of the results of this year’s survey? You can read the full 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey here.

Questions? Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

If you have questions about the survey or would like help managing your own online reputation, contact us at
877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

What Google’s Latest Changes Mean For PPC Customers

If you’ve done an online search using Google in the last month, you might have noticed the right-hand side of the page looks pretty empty. Google’s latest update significantly changed how ads are displayed on the search results page. Rather than a row of ads along the right-hand side, Google now displays three or four ads at the top of the search results and a couple at the bottom of the page. This may make navigating Google a bit easier on mobile devices, but this update means big changes for advertisers. PPC Customers Experience Changes With Google Update

Mark John Hiemstra wrote an in depth analysis on the Acquisio blog about how this update impacts customers who pay for Google ads. Data was taken from roughly 90,000 campaigns running on the Acquisio platform from four weeks before the change to two weeks after the change (spanning January 21, 2016-March 3, 2016). The findings are as follows:

  • Cost Per Click (CPC) for ads in the top 4 has increased by up to 10.5%
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) for ads in the top 4 has increased by up to 4.5%
  • Links below the top 4 are seeing significantly less clicks and impressions
  • CPC has also increased for spots below the top 4

Since there are no more side ads ‘above the fold’ on the results page anymore, much more weight is being placed on the top 4 ads. They are receiving much more attention, but the cost to show up there has also noticeably increased. Conversely, spots below the top 4 are getting less views but the cost to appear there has still increased. As a result of these findings, managing budget for your various ad campaigns will be even more crucial to ensure your practice gets the best visibility in the search results. Trust our marketing managers at ProspectaMarketing to help you navigate this new change and please contact us with any questions.

Do You Have A Five Star Practice?

Think your practice’s online reviews don’t matter? Think again.

While you may think that having a fully optimized website is where to put your focus (and we agree!) don’t underestimate the power of online reviews. In the past couple of years, people have grown heavily reliant on online reviews for everything from hair salons to restaurants to mechanics. Searching for a dentist isn’t any different. As humans, we want to know we’re getting the best service possible. A recent Bright Local SEO survey showed that nearly 90% of online customers trust anonymous reviews almost as much as a personal recommendation. Your reviews matter.

Get 5 Star Reviews For Your PracticeWe have a client who had an optimized profile but no reviews on Google+. We challenged them to ask some patients to leave reviews. Their front desk team rose to the challenge and were able to get a handful of patients to write reviews. In no time, the number of their prospective patients grew because, as residents of a smaller town, this practice was now the only 5-star practice in town.

We know you are offering excellent care and service to your patients. Make sure that is reflected in what people are saying about you online. If reviews aren’t something you’ve made an effort to curate, now is the time to start to ask the simple question “Would you be willing to share your experience today with other patients who haven’t visited our practice yet?” It’s a simple way to make sure that the service and care you’re providing in office is reflected online. Have questions on how to get started? Contact ProspectaMarketing and learn more.

The Importance Of Mobile Responsive Sites

We’ve all seen the websites. The ones you open on your phone and need to scroll over to finish reading a block of text. Or you need to zoom in to see small details. Or where some pictures just won’t work. Is your website mobile responsive?

Google made a change in their mobile ranking algorithm in April 2015 that penalizes websites that are not mobile responsive. Google also reported in October of 2015 that mobile search has now surpassed desktop search worldwide. In dental seMake Your Site Mobile Friendlyarches that are not quite as extensive as the overall average, that total is still growing rapidly and is often in the 35 – 45% range of the total traffic. By ensuring that your website is mobile responsive, it makes a world of difference for mobile users who want to find information on your site. Larger, easier to navigate text and easy to find contact information on your website can make the difference in a prospective patient selecting your practice rather than one down the street.

Whatever condition your practice’s website is in, get in touch with us and learn what we can do to help you grow your business. In addition to making your website’s SEO rich and mobile friendly, we have a host of tools available to track, report and maximize your data to help you have the best returns. Don’t let your website go the way of the dinosaurs. Talk to us today.

Thinking About Offering Rewards For Reviews? Think Again

They seem innocent enough. Signs in local business windows offering a free drink or a few bucks off your purchase in exchange for a review. Customers get a little something extra and you help boost your visibility online. Reciprocity is a great thing, right? Not if we are talking about online reviews.

Incentives For Reviews? Nope.

In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission published a set of guidelines regarding Truth in Advertising, which states that any company must disclose if they have compensated people giving online testimonials or endorsements in any way.

While Yelp and Google clearly state in their Terms of Service that giving coupons or incentives for reviews is a violation of those terms, many practices still think that this isn’t really an issue as long as the coupon is for a nominal amount or the reviews aren’t required to be positive in order to receive the incentive.

In recent years, multiple settlements involving the FTC have helped to clarify how this application works regarding online reviews and underlines the fact that incentivizing reviews is illegal.

For example, in 2013, the Attorney General fined 19 companies in New York for buying, faking or incentivizing reviews, ordering them to pay a collective $350,000 in fines. Blumenthal of localu.org mentions: “An under-reported aspect of the settlement was a $10,000 fine levied on a tooth-whitening company in New York City that had been offering a no-strings-attached $10 coupon off a future whitening in return for any review, good or bad. I spoke with the owner of the company and, while he thought what he was doing was OK, the cost of a defense was substantial AND the NY State Attorney General had targeted him so his chances of prevailing, even at great cost were small.”[1]

As recently as February 27, 2015, the FTC entered a settlement with a car shipment broker based in Georgia who was offering discounts and incentives for their online reviews. This company had over 500 reviews on Google+. There was no monetary settlement but company was forced to stop incentivizing reviews and must agree to follow that cease and desist order for the next 20 years.

If you or employees in your practice are offering anything at all in exchange for reviews, you are violating the law and run the risk of fines or litigation from the FTC. It’s not worth it.

Let your incentive be great customer service and excellent care. This will speak volumes and your patients will be happy to let you know about their experience with your practice.

[1] http://localu.org/blog/do-not-incentivize-reviews-not-even-a-little-bit/

Can Consumers Tell Which Search Results are Paid Ads?

In a recent study by recent study by SEOBook, 1,000 people were shown screenshots of Google search page results and asked whether or not the page featured ads. The surprising results? Although all the pages shown had ads, nearly half (45.5%) of the people surveyed said there were no ads.

Later when showed search results that had no ads, but included a Google Plus menu bar, 56% of participants incorrectly answered that the search results did have ads.

When asked where ads might appear on search results at top search engines like Bing & Google nearly 20% of people replied that search results do not carry ads.

Results were higher when people were shown search results with a sidebar ad, with 62.9% of people correctly answering that the page had an ad.

What does this mean for my business?

Organic listings and pay per click ads are both very important in directing traffic to your website. As illustrated by this study, people are often unaware of ads if there is no right column ad in the search results.  Sometimes doctors will say that they are not inclined to click on ads but they would look at the organic listings.  The fact is, users are not always clear which is which.  Having both on the page helps improve click through to your website.  We may be thinking about more of a distinction between the two than is warranted.

If you have questions about how to improve results with your internet dental marketing, please give us a call at 877-322-4440 ext. 101

1 2 3