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Why Word of Mouth is Still #1

  • Date: February 7, 2014
  • Author: eDentalImage
  • Comments: 0

When you think about marketing, you probably think about lots of charts and graphs, people in boardrooms discussing “the market,” or social media in the form of slick photos and promotions for big brands like Nike and Oreo to target a certain type of person. Marketing seems to be all about finding new types of patients, wherever they are, whoever they may be.

Instead of focusing on directly reaching out to new patients, what if practices focused on finding more business from the patients they already have?

No patient is a lone island- they’ve all got friends, family members and co-workers that they see and interact with everyday. And it’s highly likely that all of those people have the same needs as your patient – they need a reliable dental clinic to take their teeth to. This is where networking becomes key in attracting new patients.

What if each of your patients referred 3 of their friends, who then became regular visitors to your dentist office? That would mean you just increased your business by 300%. And if each of those 3 new patients did the same? That’s called exponential growth.

Not every patient will be able to do this, but Word of Mouth marketing is still the most valuable type of marketing because once a patient refers someone, it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll come to you when they need dental service. Word of Mouth works because people trust the recommendation from a real person they know, more than any other type of recommendation or endorsement.

Word of Mouth: The Golden Seal of Approval

Seal-of-Approval-214x300Studies show that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising, and this number has increased from 74% in just the last 5 years. And of those 92%, almost all agree that reviews from friends and family influence their decision to use a business either strongly or very strongly.

This means that, for the majority of people, Word of Mouth really is the seal of approval.

Why else should dental practitioners be fanatic about Word of Mouth referrals? Because Word of Mouth marketing is FREE. For every type of marketing and advertising, you pay for each thing you do, that’s why marketers like to measure the success of their efforts with ROI, or return on investment. Basically, if we subtract the money we spent to get these new patients, how much money did we really make?

You’re not paying the patient to recommend you; they’re doing it because they love your business. Your loyal patients want their friends and family to get the same great experience at the dentist that they had.  As a small dentistry owner, you really can’t afford not to capitalize on Word of Mouth.

How does word of mouth work in the digital age?

Think of it this way, when someone gets a recommendation for a business from their friend or family, they don’t stop in the middle of the conversation to write down their name and number. Most people don’t even know the number for a local business off the top of their head. So what do they do? They Google it! They get online, search for the business on a search engine, and check out the information on their website.

Capitalize on Word of Mouth Marketing through the Web

Have your dental service website set up and ready to convert new visitors. This means prominently displaying your phone number and contact information. There are plenty of visitors who will go to your website to browse and read about your services, and it may take more time for them to decide whether or not they want to come into your shop and when. For visitors like these, they’ve already done the research, so they’ll find your contact information when they’re ready.

But for Word of Mouth visitors, they’ve basically done the research when they got a seal of approval for your dental practice from a friend. Once they’ve looked you up, they expect to find you and your phone number or address right away, so your shop’s name, number and address should be one of the first things they see when they visit your website.

Google+ for Dental Practices

We emphasize the role of Google+ a lot at eDentalImage. Google dominates over 70% of the market, and web-savvy visitors are more likely to use Google than any other search engine. Google+ is Google’s personal local directory listing. When someone searches for a type business, Google now displays Google+ listings at the top of the page as suggestions for the searcher. Having a Google+ listing is important not only for SEO, but also its ability to give visitors a quick snapshot of everything they’re looking for when they’re trying to find a local office: hours of operation, services, address, phone number, and even reviews. Searchers can get the facts and an idea of the practices’s patient service and track rating.

Google+ and Smartphone Users

Mobile web is HUGE today. Mobile searches account for about 25% of all web traffic- and that’s a 75% increase from the same time last year. Word of Mouth goes wherever the people go- and right now it’s going to mobile.  Google+ is so important here because smartphone users can do a quick Google search, find the Google+ page of the dental service they want, and dial them immediately, without having to leave their web browser.

Dental services need to set up and optimize their Google+ Pages, and they need to do it now.

Now that you know how important and game-changing Word of Mouth Marketing can be, how do you go about getting more referrals from your current patients?

Don’t forget to follow eDentalImage on Facebook and Twitter!

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