The new Yellow Pages: Online listings for your dental practice
No one uses the Yellow Pages anymore. Dental patients are all going online to find their dentists. There are a few easy ways that dentists can get their information online. If you haven't already, get your online presence started now!
Remember when your patients would flip through the phone book to find your practice? Since an Internet search is the primary tool for finding businesses today, it is vital to make sure you’re using the free online listings for your dental practice to reach new patients. According to data released by Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online and 73% of all online activity is related to local content.
What does this mean for your dental practice? Opportunity. As a growing business, you most likely depend on Google – in terms of organic and paid search – to generate phone calls, appointments, and overall awareness of your dental services, be it sleep, general dentistry, or both.
To get you started, here’s a quick guide to the top free online listings for your dental practice:
Google Places for Business
Listing your dental practice on Google Places for Business should be at the top of your list. Many people begin their hunt for a local dentist by going online and searching for “dentist in such a place” or “sleep dentist near such a place.” Not only will Google Places for Business help patients find you, typically people will leave reviews when they visit Google Places. Be sure to check them out. They will give you basic insight into your online reputation.
The good news is that Google Places for Business is fairly painless to set up and will improve organic search engine traffic to your website. The bad news is that is takes more than just a couple of clicks to start generating paying customers. Maintaining your account is just like any other aspect of the marketing mix and should not be left to an inexperienced office manager to set up.
Create your Google Places for Business listing at google.com/business and follow the prompts to complete your listing. Make sure to include multimedia items (photos and videos), hours of operation, and keywords that highlight the services you offer (i.e., dental sleep).
Yelp is one of the best places on the Internet for potential patients to find a quality review. If you want to tap into the word-of-mouth advertising world, Yelp is the perfect place to start. As most dentists are realizing, patient reviews are a great way to build a reputation. In fact, your patients might already be talking about you on Yelp. By creating a Yelp listing for your dental practice, you can create deals for loyal customer’s right in your Yelp account (i.e., free sleep apnea screening with first appointment) and you can even send public or private messages to patients when they provide reviews (positive or negative).
According to a recent study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, Yelp generates, on average, $8,000 annually for businesses that optimize their free account. Additionally, if implementing Yelp’s paid advertising with an annual budget of $4,500, the same study demonstrated that health and medical services generate an average of $20,000 in increased revenue annually. However, for your Yelp listing to work for your practice, be sure your profile is complete, consistently monitored, and linked to your website and other social accounts.
Create a free account at biz.yelp.com and follow the prompts to complete a listing. Be sure to include a link to the practice’s website, multimedia items, and hours of operation for your practice.
Once you implement these free online listings for your dental practice, be sure to take it offline and encourage patients who visit your dental office to provide reviews. You can do this either by placing signs in the lobby or flyers in a new patient packet. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews. If you can see the reviews are obviously fake or misleading, other people will realize it too. If someone is genuinely dissatisfied, you have a great opportunity to respond and resolve the issue.
Business listing sites such as Yelp and Google Places for Business are great free opportunities for dentists to reach local prospects. By following these simple tips, dentists can further their marketing influence online and increase new patient opportunities.
Stacy Pinkerton is the Digital Marketing Manager of SomnoMed North America, implementing and executing various digital marketing strategies for the B2B oral device manufacturer. Stacy has accumulated nearly 10 years as a marketing leader within regional, national, and global business-to-business and business-to-consumer facing brands delivering large, multifaceted digitally driven campaigns.