Reputation management tips for dental practices

May 2, 2014

Unfortunately, there is a negative connotation associated with dental practices. People think about the pain they could possibly encounter before even making an appointment for a consultation.

It’s a given that people use the Internet as their greatest source of information. An increased number of clients are writing and reading reviews about various industries. People have become more inclined to trust what is written on the Internet just as much as personal recommendations and that is why it is vital that you keep your online reputation in check.

There are four key areas that need to be taken into consideration:

Develop a reputation

Market your company’s reputation

Manage it

Create a culture

The dental industry has a lot of competition. Your company needs to set itself apart from its competitors, not only on the ground but online as well. Your Internet reputation is what determines more patients walking through your doors than the practice a few blocks away. Try searching for your company through Google (the largest search engine globally) using common industry keywords. Note where you rank and what is being said about your company. To influence these results, pay attention to the four key areas.

Develop a reputation

First, make sure your website is top class. A good, thorough website attracts people and holds their attention. A company’s website should be user-friendly. People need to navigate through it efficiently and understand the content. Speak to a developer and ensure that your website is able to adapt to various mediums, i.e. tablets, desktops, and smartphones.

The imagery on your site is equally as important as the content. Before-and-after pictures can be amazing for a weight-loss company like a gym. However, in the dental industry, it can be quite scary. Pictures of yellow, rotting teeth aren’t going to attract people to your company. Perhaps just opt for the after pictures showing off your premium service.

A presence on social media is important. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram are the most popular networks. Try to have a decent footprint across at least two networks where people can review your company and converse about it.

Market your reputation

Use the digital tools around you or employ someone with the relevant know-how. PPC, AdWords, and SEO are terms you should be familiar with if you wish to market your online presence efficiently. Ranking on Google should be a priority. Pay a little bit extra to get your name out there and it will come back two-fold with the amount of new patients visiting your practice. You want that coveted spot on the first page when potential clients search for a new dentist.

You have the basics, now advance it. The content should be error-free and contain relevant keywords to increase its search visibility. Don’t forget to include your region on other pages besides the contact page because search results are not only based on keywords but on location as well. Take note of Ascot Dental’s use of their address in the header of their site.

Market your growing digital brand within your practice by making present clients aware of your online presence and, in turn, they can inform their friends and family by means of recommendations.

Manage the reputation

You’ve built it and marketed it, so now manage it. Take care of the reputation you’ve built. In today’s society, the first impression potential clients have of your company will be your presence on a social media platform.

Whether there is positive or negative feedback (hopefully not much of the latter), people want to see that a company cares and that there is a human element behind an online persona. There’s nothing worse than, “Please leave your email address and we will get back to you regarding the issue.” The main reason why people complain over social media is for other people to witness it. Having an issue resolved changes a disgruntled patient into a happy one and this will show potential clients that your company has their best interests at heart.

Keep an eye on your Google ranking and monitor any changes. It’s essential that you update your website with anything from company news stories and client testimonials, to new images, specials, and competitions. If your website stays dormant, a search engine will be less likely to rank your company higher than a competitor’s.

Create a culture

As a dental practice, your company adds great value to a society. Educate and inspire your online following and they will enjoy reading your site, blog, or reviews simply because they are interested in what you have to say and offer. Encourage reviews. If your service is as great as you think it is, then you shouldn’t shy away from reviews. When people see what good things others have written about you and your business, it will no doubt urge them to call and book a consultation.

Editor's Note: For more information, you can connect with the author on Google+.