New Flash – Old fashioned Word of Mouth Advertising IS dead!
But…..New Word of Mouth Advertising, or more appropriately,online dental practice reviews or Digital Word of Mouth Advertising (DWOMA) is alive, growing by double digits every year, and far better than the original. Based on review of the data, most dentists are ignorant of the state of Digital Word of Mouth Advertising and how it’s affecting their practice and their marketing and even case acceptance results. Those embracing the power of this as part of their marketing and sales process are seeing double digit practice growth year after year.
So what is Digital Word of Mouth Advertising? Most will guess “website” but that’s not it at all.
In a nutshell, Digital Word of Mouth Advertising is patient written online reviews about your practice that patients write and post on 3rd party platforms (Yelp, Google, and Facebook).
Here’s an example of how things are stacking up on Yelp (one of the two dominant platforms for online dentist reviews) in a super competitive market – Manhattan NY.
A new software tool we have for our members makes even the 85 reviews that the #1 rated dentist in Manhattan NY on Yelp a JOKE.
By the way, there’s a teaching lesson in the search I just showed you related to the visible ads. Can anyone tell me that lesson?
Now…as evidence of the desire to hear what other patients say, one of the most common searches happening in dentistry is “dentist + reviews” and then “specific dentist/practice name + reviews” once a patient seriously begins to investigate who they will go see.
So, what are the opportunities related to online dentist reviews?
Well…there are ten waiting for any practice willing to get serious or get help with online dentist reviews so that they happen routinely on a weekly and monthly basis.
The first five are:
- Reviews Create More Trust and Credibility
- Reviews Communicates Your Uniqueness (Differentiation)
- Patients Can Say Things You Can’t in Reviews
- Reviews are Direct Shortcut in Decision Making for Consumers in All Product and Service Categories (Validation & Research Tool). This means reviews impact your sales process (FYI – dentistry’s #1 case acceptance (sales) training for advanced dentists is here).
- The Ultimate “Word of Mouth” Marketing – spreading from one person to hundreds and even thousands.
If you are a good clinician and you go out of your way to serve your patients then online dentist reviews are your friend. The catch is you must make sure you provide structure so that your patients can share with the world what it is they like about you. Otherwise, most won’t bother.
If you are a not that great of a clinician or are a good clinicians but give bad phone or give bad staff, online dentist reviews are not going to be your friend. No amount of “reputation management” can save you.
By the way, no matter what service focus you have, be it general or specialty/niche services, these stories patients told via online dentist reviews make a big difference.
If you provide great dental services AND you embrace the power of online dentist reviews you can cut your advertising costs for finding new patients by up to 50%. Some practices rely completely on online dentist reviews for creating their new patients without buying any advertising (My personal dentist here in Miami Beach is a prime example. I know dentists in every market in the country where this is the case.).
For practices that say they “can’t afford to market,” online dentist reviews can be a direct path to a supply of ongoing new patients that costs you nothing.
If you do use paid advertising, online dentist reviews add credibility to your message since almost every prospective patient will scan through your reviews before deciding to make the first phone call or send the email requesting information. If you focus on a very specific high-value niche service patient, the cost reductions online dentist reviews provide for your regular every day patient acquisition can go directly to your niche service advertising. Additionally, while unlikely to supply all of the niche patients a dentist might desire, online dentist reviews, can and will also provide some niche patients for FREE when done correctly and when they are present in abundance.
Lastly, your reviews are a guaranteed stopping point for any patient considering a big treatment plan with your practice. The more of them you have, the more big treatment plans will go forward.
Next week we will continue on with this subject.
P.S. One practice up north from me in Tampa has been using a new member tool for handling their reviews – removing barriers so patients can leave reviews faster. They now average 20 new patients a month just from reviews. Imagine what the trust and credibility boost has done to their treatment acceptance rates!
P.S. 2 If you want to seriously start addressing marketing, sales, and reviews, let’s skip the emails and chat personally. You can do so by scheduling here (www.meetme.so/jamesmcanally)
P.S. 3 Want to understand how niche marketing works in 2015. If so, check out this #1 book at Amazon.com