As a dentist, you probably know that you need to establish a solid reputation online and good SEO. Your website, blog, and published articles contribute to building your reputation online. In the past few years, the term “reputation management” has evolved, but it does not refer to what you publish online. Reputation management is defined as overseeing the online reviews about a company or professional. Online reviews are patient testimonials about you or your practice, posted on Google+ Local, Yelp!, and other review sites.
The Problem with Online Reviews
As companies began to notice negative online reviews, lawsuits ensued. In many cases, because the Internet is international, and because Internet law is still developing, negative reviews – even those that are false – remain publicly posted. This can become a serious problem for companies, and dentists, who rely on the Internet as an important part of their marketing strategy.
Potential Patients Read Online Reviews
According to research, over two-thirds of Americans read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Studies also show, people are 12 times more likely to believe online reviews that information provided by businesses. Consumers who participate in online conversations usually make a decision during their interaction, and ultimately spend more on the service or product.
The most relevant statistic is that 90% of people believe testimonials from people they know,
while 70% believe reviews by people they do not know.
When you factor in that bad reviews may not always be real or reliable, the consumers seem to be making uninformed decisions, when they feel they are making very informed decisions.
How can a dentist avoid negative online reviews? That’s the big question. The answer is, you probably can’t, so you need reputation management.
Reputation Management for Dentists
As with many aspects of life, the best way to counteract bad is with good. If you’re the victim of negative online reviews, you should actively seek positive online reviews. This means, ask patients you trust to go online and leave a review for you. Point them toward the sites with negative reviews. Over time, the positives will overshadow the negatives – unless the review company filters out positive reviews. If you find this to be the case, as it now is with Yelp!, direct patients to post positive reviews elsewhere.
Many review sites allow a business to respond publicly to reviews. This is always a good idea. In the case of positive reviews, respond with a brief statement of appreciation. For negative reviews, respond with compassion and concern. Invite the reviewer to call the practice and speak with you, personally. Mention that patient service is very important to you, and you would appreciate hearing the reviewer’s story. Do not get involved in a tit-for-tat. Do not defend your actions. Instead, respond only with kind words and empathy. Negative reviews can feel like a personal attack, so you may find that crafting a positive response is difficult. MDPM content managers often script responses to online reviews, and we’ve found that as a third party, our assistance is invaluable to our client dentists’ reputations.
If your regional dental association allows dentists to post testimonials (the Texas Dental Association does not), use positive reviews as the basis for your blog posts. Promote the reviews on social networks, and feature a testimonial page on your website. MDPM dental marketing consultants can help you decide whether services like Demandforce may be a good fit for your practice. You might also consider recording video patient testimonials, which can be very powerful in marketing.
Knowing the Status of Your Online Reputation
No business can address negativity if they don’t know it’s occurring. To stay informed about your online reputation, set a Google Alert for your name, practice name, and associates’ names. With Google Alerts, you’ll receive an email every time Google indexes the word or words you identified when setting up the alert. If you run across a negative review, decide what you’ll do to counteract it, then take action.
Online reputation management is rapidly becoming an integral part of Internet marketing, and the Internet is here to stay.
Your Dental Marketing Consultant
With Modern Dental Practice Marketing, dentists have access to full-service online marketing and consulting. We’ll examine your overall online reputation, including your website, blog, microsites, local listings, and reviews. Then, we will work with you to develop a strategy to improve and maintain a solid online reputation. Our goal is always to bring a dentist new patients. If you need help managing your online reputation or marketing your dental office, call MDPM at 972-781-8861 today for our complimentary Internet presence analysis.