The pandemic has hit, and patients are afraid. For all the right reasons. According to the American Dental Associations, patient volumes have dropped as much as 70% in 2020. However, there are always residents in need of a dentist, in need of specific dental services.
One of our U.S. client owned a dental practice saw an opportunity. They want to capitalize on the pandemic by continuing to pursue greater market shares in their local service areas. Where other practices pulled back or pause on marketing, they pushed on.
What we found
Several changes were required to adopt to the change in consumer behavior, both from a marketing perspective and from the staff’s own follow-up capabilities.
- Provide a COVID-19 statement and information on website
- Maintain updates on the website and social media platforms
- Ongoing content marketing strategy
- Lack of reviews in the past 6 months leading into the pandemic
How we improved our digital presence
It’s one thing to get people through the door and being found, but if there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, is that if a prospect does not like what they see, they leave and may never return again. The great thing, however, is that there are always new prospects.
- We provided a one-pager PDF instructing office administrators on how to ask for reviews immediately after service and with a follow-up contact
- Further expand on our reach for new keyword channels, creating new content catering to each and improving the site’s expertise, authority, and trust
- Ongoing link building activities, such as appropriate local, national, and niche business listings, guest postings, and link insertions
- Optimization of several pages that were incomplete, focusing on a complete SEO strategy to improve organic traffic.
Tips for asking for reviews as a healthcare clinic
There are strict rules from both the ADA and CDA on offering incentives, especially for reviews. However, there are ways you can train your staff to engage your patients leading up to the ask. Here are several steps to do so:
- Understand how engaged your patients. Look over your patient management system, and begin tracking how often a patient comes in, how often they respond to calls and emails, and score them as such. You can also lean into these systems to send automated surveys, with links to Google My Business, Opencare, Facebook Review, etc. to help.
- Start with “how did we do today?”. This gives your staff insights on whether everything went well for you to ask for a review at all. It also encourages an open conversation for important feedback and primes them for the ask.
- Send an email or share a business card, where you provide a direct link to your Google My Business listing. You can also include the services they enjoyed that day, so they can mention it in your review (important!)
- Make sure your systems and procedures are HIPPA or PHIPA compliant. Anything that pertains to patient information, including names and phone numbers, needs to be up to standard. Running a security
It’s also important to reminding your staff from time to time. Asking how they are doing in asking for reviews can help your clinic gain more positive reviews, and gain greater visibility on search engines and attracting new patients.
What came from our work
As a result of our work, the client’s dental practice enjoyed:
- 12 to 20 new patients per month from organic channels, up from 2 to 5 since the start of the pandemic
- Top-page results for a variety of new local keyword channels, such as family dentistry, dentist for seniors, and periodontics dentistry
- Growing improvements in local keyword channels such as dentist, emergency dentistry, pediatric dentistry, and dental implants
- 47% increase in organic traffic from 17 optimized informative content pieces (blog posts)
- Satisfaction in improvements on increasing reviews through new follow-up procedures
The pandemic has been difficult for many local businesses, especially dental practices. Though patient volumes have dropped, marketing budgets from competitors have, too. When you can keep your feet on the gas pedal with your marketing, you can begin making significant progress in presence and market shares.
The fundamentals of search engine optimization still applies, too. You need:
- Quality, well-optimized content
- Technically sound website
- Strong and numerous backlinks
There can be hundreds of competitors in your area. When you have these fundamental SEO practices in place, you can set your practice apart from your competitors and take the lead in search results as the top dental practice in your area. Add on an amazing follow-up on asking for reviews by yourself and your staff and you’ll be on your way to the first page of search engines with amazing results from new patient inflow.