Getting search engines to work for you

Dec. 1, 2009
In the seminars I present around the country, I teach that comprehensive case acceptance does not take place at a single point in time (the treatment conference).

by Nate Booth, DDS

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: Demandforce, Google, reputational marketing, search engines, Dr. Nate Booth, indexing, comprehensive case acceptance.

In the seminars I present around the country, I teach that comprehensive case acceptance does not take place at a single point in time (the treatment conference). It is a series of steps that begins before the first phone call. In fact, who’s calling you on the phone and what they know about you can be the most important part of comprehensive case acceptance.

What would happen to your case acceptance percentage and yearly production if most of the people who called to schedule exams knew you were a fabulous dentist who provided the types of dentistry they were thinking about doing? It would go through the roof wouldn’t it?

In the good old days, people learned about you from a neighbor over the backyard fence or from a coworker at the office water cooler. These are examples of one person speaking to another person. Today, one person can communicate with thousands of people 24 hours a day through the Internet. You can tap into this power with reputational marketing.

If you’re near a computer now, Google “cosmetic dentist San Francisco.” The five listings at the top of the page and the listings on the right–hand side of the page are sponsored links that were purchased from Google. The 10 names under the sponsored links are the highest rated dental offices of the local business listing section.

Notice that the dental offices’ Web sites and phone numbers are listed immediately after their names. Also notice the number of patient reviews submitted is listed, with a link that takes people directly to these reviews.

Here’s the amazing part. These 10 dental offices paid Google nothing to be listed. First, this is how your prospective patients are looking for their next dentist. In fact, the Internet has replaced the phone book for people looking for local services. Second, according to Juniper Research — a highly regarded, international research firm — 70% of online users say product ratings and reviews are the most helpful feature when researching products and services to buy. In addition, 97% trust online reviews.

These listings have enormous power with the public. Sam Osman, vice president of Demandforce, referred me to a study done with United Kingdom online users. The study showed that 70% of them say product ratings and reviews are the most helpful feature when researching products and services to buy. Also, 97% are willing to trust online reviews.

How to get your name on Google

You may be asking, “How the heck did those dental offices get listed on the first page?” It wasn’t an accident, and I can almost guarantee they didn’t wait for patients to post reviews. These practices most likely worked with a company that helped them proactively gather the reviews, and then submit the reviews to Google.

Here’s how a communication and reputational marketing company called Demandforce (www.demandforce.com) handles the process. An e–mail automatically goes out to all new and recare patients after their visits, thanking them for placing their trust in you. When patients click on the “provide feedback” button, they are taken to a page with 10 questions about their experience.

This information is for a practice’s internal review. You can use the information to praise individuals who are mentioned in positive ways. You can also identify areas where improvement is needed. In addition, your scores can be compared with other dental offices around the country.

One question asks the person to rate your practice on a scale from one to five stars. Another question asks them if they want to write a short review of your practice. When completed, this information is transmitted to your office for review. It is then automatically submitted to the major search engines such as Google for indexing and posting.

The last of the 10 questions asks your patients if they would like to refer family and friends. If they answer yes, they are taken to a page where the family's and friend's contact information can be entered.

It’s a nifty process, isn’t it? I have talked to dozens of dentists who are thrilled with their reputational marketing programs. I am not surprised. Your practice’s reputation is probably your most valuable asset. When that reputation is readily available 24/7 to thousands of interested people, you possess a lever that can lift your practice to new heights.

Dr. Nate Booth is a speaker, consultant, and author who provides dentists with the information and systems they need to thrive in their dental practices. Dr. Booth is a cofounder of iDentalCommunity.com and is a practice management advisor for ChaseHealthAdvance. He is the creator of the in–office, DVD–based program, The “Yes” System: How to Make It Easy for People to Accept Comprehensive Dentistry. For more information, go to www.theyessystem.com, or call (800) 917–0008.

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