A great rating on Google is one of the ways your practice can make a powerful first impression on potential new patients. But your online presence is so much more important than just that. It can impact every aspect of your practice, from the type of talent you could attract to join your team to attracting invested buyers when you are looking to sell your practice.
It’s important to understand the other ways Google Reviews are working for your practice and the ways you can invest time and resources to maximise their impact.
Online presence doesn’t (just) mean a website
Sure, it helps to have a nice website that’s easy to navigate. But your online presence is increasingly weighted by your Google ranking.
New patients are unlikely to go straight to your practice website. Instead, they’ll search for dentists in their local area, and scroll through to find one with a high rating from a high number of reviews. Remember, your ranking here won’t just be about the number of stars you have. One five star review won’t keep you at the top of the results, but a consistent stream of reviews averaging 4 stars or more will.
There’s a good chance that potential new patients have already made up their mind before they land on your actual site. That’s why most of your online efforts should be focused on improving your ranking on Google, and not on creating an aesthetically pleasing website. The best way to do that is to encourage more of your existing patients to leave reviews.
Marketing campaigns that work harder
You can spend all the time and money in the world on marketing campaigns for new patients, but it’ll mean nothing if you’ve got a low rating. If that campaign is the first they’ve heard of you, they’ll want to know more before they book. Which means they’re headed straight for Google.
Say a restaurant in your town puts a discount flyer in your mailbox. You’ve never heard of them, so you look them up online. Instantly you see a 3 star rating, only a handful of comments, and little positive detail. Are you going to use the discount? Most likely not.
Your dental practice is up against the same battle. If you don’t have a consistent stream of mostly positive reviews, your offer will never be good enough to tempt new patients. And the new patients you do bring in will likely be chasing bargains and not a patient that will stay in the long term.
Your best tool in any marketing campaign is a positive online presence and that starts with your Google Reviews.
A good online reputation reflects offline
Even if a new patient is referred to you by their friends and family the old fashioned way, there’s still a good chance they’ll look you up before making an appointment.
Imagine a potential patient gets a glowing recommendation from their friend, and finds hundreds more on Google. Not only will they book, but you’ll probably find they come into the practice with a degree of trust before they even meet your team. Now imagine they look you up to find only a handful of reviews and a mediocre ranking. That initial offline recommendation doesn’t have the same impact. They may still decide to book, but it won’t be with the same confidence which means your team will need to fight harder to retain the patient.
Your staff will love it (your patients will, too)
Make an effort to highlight great reviews with staff, especially if one of them gets a specific shoutout. It’s a great way to boost morale for the team and to keep the patient experience in the line of focus. It also brings the team together and gives the team better job satisfaction knowing they’re contributing to a well-respected workplace. That recognition and praise will continue the cycle of great work and great feedback.
It’s not only the staff that get a boost from those kind words. It’s always a nice feeling to know that a business you’re loyal to is equally loved by others in the community. If your existing patients are seeing positive reviews roll in, they’re going to be even more confident and forthcoming with your practice name the next time they’re asked for a recommendation.
Better reviews, better new talent
It’s not just your existing team that will be excited to see the positive reviews. When you’re going through the hiring process, new talent will likely check out the rating of a potential new employer. Having great reviews online means that you’ll attract the best candidates and continue the cycle of a great team providing great service.
Influence the selling process of your practice
From a business perspective, it’s not just about attracting the best team. A great online presence will also help you make an impactful impression with invested buyers if you decide to sell the dental practice. Consider it part of your retirement plan! Look at it from a buyer’s perspective. If you’re ranking well online, it means marketing campaigns will be more successful. It’s a good sign that you have a strong, loyal patient base. And it demonstrates that your practice is a great investment.
Even if you don’t currently have plans to sell, considering this side of your online presence now will make it that much easier if and when the time comes.
Take the time now to make sure your practice has measures in place to maintain a high rating. If your practice can embrace this “Era of Reviews” and put systems in place to bring them in consistently, you’ll find it easier to maintain a powerful online reputation.
Need some guidance? Check out our Google Reviews workshop.