Think about the last time you bought anything online, went out to a new restaurant, or booked a hotel. There’s a 90% chance you checked online reviews and gave them a voice in your selection process. Online reviews are now one of the most essential lead generators for businesses, including dental practices. 72% of patients say they read online reviews before choosing a new doctor, and nearly 7 out of 10 people say positive reviews are essential when finding a new healthcare provider. Over 40% of patients say they would even go to an out-of-network provider if they had good reviews.
Your dental marketing strategy should account for the central role that online reviews play in the decision-making process of your prospective patients. You can take control of your practice’s online reviews by regularly responding to comments and encouraging your patients to share their positive experiences.
People Love To Share
The old saying goes, “ask and you shall receive.” Online testimonials are no exception. While some patients will be so excited (or disappointed) by their experience that they will write a review without being prompted, many others will need a little encouragement.
Verbally asking a patient for a review can be uncomfortable, but you don’t have to. You can easily solicit reviews via follow-up email and texts, door signage, comment cards, or even by giving a small gift with a review reminder card at the end of a visit. Studies have shown that 68% of consumers will write an online review when asked.
It doesn’t matter how you ask, but you do have to ask!
Encourage Reviews on Business Listing Sites
When you ask for reviews, there are a few key places where potential patients will look for information about your practice:
Google: Google is the most popular business listing site, and 59% of consumers turn to it when looking for testimonials.
Yelp: Yelp is another popular business listing site, and about 20% of patients will look at it before choosing a new dental practice.
Facebook: Facebook is also a popular place for patients to read reviews, and about 20% of patients will look at it before choosing a new dental practice.
Other dental review sites: While less visited than the top three, other dental review sites, such as DentistDirectory.com, still see traffic from potential patients.
Even though you’re not allowed to ask patients for reviews on Yelp formally, you can still encourage them to leave reviews on other business listing sites, as well as your practice’s own website.
How to Share Patient Reviews
Once you have collected patient testimonials, you need to get permission before sharing them. Patients appreciate the consideration, but so does the law.
Get Permission First
Patient consent is required for sharing online reviews. Without permission, you could violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and face fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. Patient approval is essential!
Before sharing a testimonial, make sure it does not contain any sensitive medical information. Then, get the patient’s written permission. The best way to do this is to have them sign a patient testimonial release form. If you are unsure how to do this, consult with an attorney. In most cases, you can include this language in your patient intake forms.
Part of the consent process is determining what patients are comfortable with. Ask if they mind you using their name and image when sharing their testimonials on social media. Ideally, they will approve both, as more personal reviews are more trusted.
However, some patients may prefer to remain anonymous, which is also acceptable. Anonymous reviews, when approved by the patient, are still worth sharing.
Provide a written copy of your HIPAA policies to any patient whose testimonial you are using. Again, embedding this in your standard paperwork or including a separate form for all patients helps eliminate an oversight. You should also have an employee policy that discloses where you will post reviews, how you obtain permission to use testimonials, and a copy of the consent form.
Make Testimonials Visually Appealing
If patients are willing to share their story but not their identity, use an eye-catching graphic with their quote instead of their profile photo. You can also add a photo of your practice or some other visual to make the graphic more appealing.
Videos are the most powerful way to share reviews on social media. If you can get a patient to sit down and do an interview-style testimonial, you’re gaining great content! Research shows that 72% of people prefer watching videos to reading to learn about a product or service.
When you create and share a video highlighting a patient’s positive experience, you help other patients feel more comfortable with your practice while educating them about the vital work you do.
Here are some additional tips for creating and sharing patient review graphics and videos:
Use high-quality visuals. Your graphics and videos should be well-lit and well-composed.
Keep your content short and to the point. People are more likely to watch or read a review if it is concise and easy to understand.
Use a call to action. Tell people what you want them to do after watching or reading the review, such as visiting your website or scheduling an appointment.
Share your content on social media and other online platforms. The more people who see your reviews, the better.
By following these tips, you can create and share patient review graphics and videos that are informative, engaging, and effective. Most importantly, you can leverage the power of social proof to help other patients tell the story of your practice.
Method Pro Helps Dental Practice Reviews
At Method Pro, we understand dental marketing involves multiple components telling your practice story. Attraction campaigns, like paid ads, may draw people to your website. But prospective patients are likely to check online reviews before taking the next step to schedule an appointment.
We help our clients gather more reviews with efficient tools. But we also design strategies that leverage reviews and testimonials for maximum exposure and practice growth. Feel free to reach out today to discuss how reviews can help your practice thrive and grow as part of a cohesive marketing strategy.