In the last article, guest contributor Shane Walsh wrote about the power of video as a tool for modern dental practice marketing. This week, I’d like to share a few words about the importance of Reputation in the marketing mix. And its importance is likely double for those in dental, medical, and local professional services fields.
First, a couple of brief anecdotes. Late last year, I reconnected with a professional acquaintance. Throughout our correspondences, he said he hoped I was “staying out of trouble” with a nice little winking emoticon. I scratched my head as I didn’t think he knew me that well. Then, shortly thereafter, at the end of a business lunch, another person was quick to ensure me that he didn’t like to listen to his music that loud. This time I got it. You see, last fall a different Michael Dunn was convicted of a fatal shooting over a neighbor’s loud music. Of course, the people I was meeting and corresponding with were joking, but it made me stop and think a little bit. And then I Googled “Michael Dunn”:
(Of course, if I Google “Michael Dunn dental”, for example, the results are (thankfully) better):
So, what’s the point of my rambling about Googling myself? The point is that as a small business owner (yes, you, dentists), reputation is a critical asset. And in today’s world where consumers – more often than not – search before they call, what are you doing to monitor and ensure your online reputation matches your own professional high standards? Do you just cross your fingers and hope that potential patients realize you’re not THAT Dr. Dunn?
There are several things you can do to get started:
1. Be consistent: Ensure your practice profile is consistent across major review sites such as Google, Yelp, Health Grades, etc.
2. Get up to date: Ensure your practice website is up to date and that the review sites link to it appropriately. Make sure your practice’s social channels (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube) reflect the practice and not an individual who may be managing them. They need to exude the care and professionalism patients can expect in the practice.
3. Plan your review: Make sure you have a solid plan in place to ask for and post positive reviews from your patients.
4. Promote, promote, promote: It’s common and normal that we all look for goods and services with 5 star reviews. Once you get your positive reviews, you have to market your reputation so everyone knows how great your practice is. Just think how powerful your marketing message will be when you confidently promote that your practice has the most 5 star reviews in your area. (Think along the lines of a “don’t take our word for it” approach whereby real patient reviews back up your practice’s brand story.)
This can be some tricky work, and it needs to be monitored and tended consistently. If any or all of this seems overwhelming, then enlist some professional help. There are good resources out there who can help. You can no longer afford to pretend your reputation doesn’t matter.
The realm of internet marketing is constantly changing at a rapid pace. Prospective (and current) patients will utilize search and social channels to do most of their research before ever calling or stepping through the door. Even if you outsource it to the pros (which I highly recommend), you should understand and pay attention to the importance of reputation as it pertains to your marketing tool box. And, of course, stay out of trouble.
Thank you for reading.