It's an interesting thought, and as a dental professional, I’m going to assume it’s run through your mind as well. How could dental offices function without the Internet? Take a moment to consider how heavily your practice runs on digital systems, uses e-mail, and other platforms. Now imagine what happens on the Internet, outside of your office. People are talking, searching, and learning at all hours across the globe online. Its both overwhelming and exciting how rapidly dental practice marketing is growing online. Plenty of dentists are already harnessing the power of the world-wide-web. But what if they couldn't? Here are our thoughts on what an internet-free practice would look like.
Expect a Slow in Referrals
Review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Google+ provide opportunities for patients to find a good fit with a dental practice. This isn't good news for practices with customer service problems - but positive reviews are a valuable resource for practices that excel in patient care. Sure, word of mouth referrals are great for your office. However, people are online searching for more reviews to back up that same person's kind words. Another factor to consider is that without the Internet, you can totally lose out on potential patients who’ve newly relocated, or those seeking out a new practitioner. Roughly 58% of consumers reported that 1-3 negative online reviews affect their purchasin decision. Believe it or not, referrals would take a dive without an online presence.
Look-out for High Patient Turnover
Every practice is vastly different, even if they’re located right across the street from one another. Social media enables each office to show off their personality. Around 5% - 8% of potential patients avoid regular visits to the dentist. Chances are those patients are looking for a group of professionals where they'll feel most comfortable. Posting pictures of office dress-up days on Instagram or hosting a Facebook scholarship giveaway, are ways that social media can showcase the true colors of your dental practice. Without knowing how your team approaches patient care, some new patients may head for the door. A strong social media presence gives you the ability to start buildinga strong relationship with potential patients and reinforce the ones that already exist.
Educated Patients Aren't Likely
Your patients who are gearing up for a procedure are scouring the Internet for what to expect. The unknown is scary, and that’s why the Internet is a formidable resource. Dental offices that produce blogs and videos that answer scary questions are pulling in a large audience. In pre-internet days there was little chance a patient could get answers outside of an in-person consultation. Now dentists can provide value before they even meet a prospective patient. Dentists can have an impact that reaches far outside of the walls of their practice. All it takes is answering the questions that come through the doors everday.
It’s safe to say that dentists can only benefit from having a strong online presence. Producing blogs, videos, social media posts and great reviews create a major return for your practice. How does your dental marketing measure up?
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