How to Build an Online Reputation Management Strategy for your Dental Practice

Online reputation management refers to the system you have in place for controlling the information patients find online about your dental practice. It involves techniques that ensure your dental practice has a good reputation on the internet. The goal of having an online reputation management strategy is to pique current and prospective patients’ interest in your dental practice and convince them to make an appointment with you. 

For centuries, word-of-mouth marketing has proven to be a successful marketing strategy. Today, word-of-mouth isn’t limited to face-to-face interactions. With the internet, people around the world can easily share their opinions and reviews publicly. Your current patients can share their reviews and comments about your dental practice on the internet and each of those shared comments can be read by several prospective patients over time. An online reputation management strategy helps you leverage each review and comment shared on the internet about your dental practice to improve your relationship with patients and increase your revenue. 

With a good online reputation management strategy, you can monitor and address patients’ online comments about your dental practice, have a system for gathering positive online reviews and using the negative ones to your advantage, and build a positive relationship with current and prospective patients. You can also promote your dental practice to a wider market, control the information patients find about your dental practice online and improve your dental practice by gathering feedback from patients. Whatever your marketing goals are right now, an online reputation management strategy can play an important role in achieving them.

In this article, we will discuss four steps that you should implement as you build an online reputation management strategy for your dental practice. As you read through these steps, think about the different ways you can apply them in the context of your dental practice and dental care services. If you need help implementing any of these steps, contact our marketing experts at Connect the Doc. We have helped several dental practices across North America build successful online reputation management strategies. We are more than prepared to work you through these steps. 

Steps to Build an Online Reputation Management Strategy

  1. Evaluate your online reputation

The first step to building an online reputation management strategy is an evaluation of your dental practice’s online presence and reputation. This step is important because it forms the basis for all the other action steps you will need to take. There are several ways you can evaluate your dental practice’s online presence and reputation. You can start by simply doing a google search for your dental practice’s brand name.  

What comes up when you look up your dental practice? Does your website appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP)? Do you see a Google My Business profile for your dental practice? Are there online reviews of your dental practice on your Google My Business profile or any other review sites? Do links to your dental practice’s social media profiles appear on the search engine results pages? What are some of the recent or most common types of comments on your social media profiles? Are online reviews and comments about your dental practice accurate? Can those reviews and comments be used as feedback for improving your dental practice?

These are questions you should be asking and documenting answers to as you evaluate your dental practice’s online presence and reputation. As you document answers, focus on the areas that need improvement. For example, if your dental practice’s website or Google My Business profile doesn’t show up on the SERPs when you look up your dental practice, you need to work on your SEO marketing. If the majority of your online reviews and comments are negative, you may need to improve the quality of your service delivery or work on a response policy. We will be discussing response policies shortly in this article. 

  1. Monitor your online reputation

The next step is to set up tools for monitoring your online presence and reputation. Now that you know what patients see when they look up your dental practice and what patients are saying about your dental practice online, you need to have a system that helps you stay updated on new reviews, comments and changes in your dental practice’s online presence. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by setting up Google Alerts for your dental practice’s brand name. With Google Alerts, you will receive a notification whenever new information about your dental practice is uploaded to the internet. For example, if a newspaper article mentions your dental practice, you will get notified. 

You also need to monitor review sites and profiles like Facebook, Healthgrades, RateMDs and other important industry-specific sites. Connect the Doc’s review tool gathers and monitor online reviews about your dental practice. It helps you get a comprehensive analysis of your online reputation across all review sites that matter to your practice. This industry-standard tool is a must-have if you want to monitor your online presence and reputation over a long period. 

  1. Create a Response Policy

Evaluating and monitoring your dental practice’s online presence and reputation is half the work. The other half involves using the information you’ve learnt so far to your advantage. You can start by creating a response policy. Your response policy consists of guidelines that helps you and your team members to address positive and negative online reviews and comments about your dental practice. The goal here is to use all online reviews and comments about your dental practice to promote your dental practice to your prospective patients. 

Regardless of the nature of the online review, always begin your response by showing appreciation to the reviewer. For negative reviews, express regret for the reviewer’s perception of your dental practice, refer them back to your dental practice’s policies and if necessary, offer to resolve the situation offline by providing them with your dental practice’s contact details. For dishonest, inaccurate or illegitimate reviews that seek solely to defame your dental practice’s brand, you can contact the review site to take down the review. Whatever you do, make sure you comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines when responding to online reviews. 

Addressing an online review and comment is always better than not doing so. 90% of the time when prospective patients look up your dental practice or search for dental practices in your area, they will read reviews about your dental practice before making an appointment with you or visiting your practice. The way you respond to your dental practice’s online reviews says a lot about you and your dental practice. If you don’t respond, that also says a lot. 

To prospective patients, non-responses mean you don’t value your patient’s feedback. By responding to online reviews, you show patients that you value their feedback and can handle criticism when necessary. Document and share your responses for different situations and types of reviews with your team members. Your team members should be aware of your response policies and be ready to implement them whenever they are dealing with patients’ feedback online or offline. Whatever the case may be, team members should show genuine concern and care for your patients and their feedback. 

  1. Implement Broader Changes

As you create your response policy, you should also work to implement broader changes to your dental practice’s business and marketing strategies. These changes should be informed by the results you gathered from your process of evaluating and monitoring your online presence and reputation. From your analysis, you would have found gaps that need to be fixed. 

For example, if your dental practice’s website and online profiles don’t show up or rank high on SERPs, you need to work on your SEO and content marketing strategies. If there are no reviews or just a handful of reviews about your dental practice online, you need to work on gathering more reviews. If you don’t have a profile or presence on major review sites, you need to work on that. If the majority of your reviews are negative or inaccurate, you should address those reviews. If most of your online reviews and comments suggest that the quality of your service isn’t up to par, you shouldn’t ignore those reviews. Instead, you should work on improving your patient’s service experiences. 

The best online reputation management strategies address issues head-on and as quickly as possible. You shouldn’t let any issues regarding your dental practice’s online presence and reputation fester. Connect the Doc equips dentists and their dental practices with digital tools and information they need to gather reviews, improve their interaction and relationship with patients, benefit from good SEO marketing practices and ultimately enhance their online presence and reputation. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you turn 90% of prospective patients who learn about your dental practice online to regular patients