Category: Author: David Hall
I’ve seen various figures quoted recently by dental Internet marketing agencies on the number of dental patients who check reviews. These articles don’t mention their sources, and I suspect some of the numbers may come from generic surveys asking people if they use online reviews. Being a stickler for good, hard, reliable data, I thought we should publish the latest figures from our ongoing research here at Infinity Dental Web. We conduct ongoing surveys of new patients making dental appointments. This is not generic research, but is a survey of actual patients who are making appointments who found their dentists on the Internet. We ask them if they checked online reviews before making their appointments. Here is the chart we published a little over a year ago showing numbers from 2014 and 2015:
And here is the latest data, from a recent survey of 127 patients:
This is clearly a trend that keeps on growing.
But let’s add to that, after which I think we can draw a general conclusion about the direction of changes of online dental marketing. Along with asking patients if they checked reviews before making an appointment, we have also been asking if they have checked the practice’s Facebook page. We haven’t previously published this data because we were only getting about 8-9% of patients who said they were doing that, so the information didn’t seem very significant. But recently this number has taken a surge and our latest data, from these same 127 patients, shows that this percentage has more than doubled this year to 19%.
The general trend we are seeing here is that prospective patients are becoming more discriminating and careful in their research. This dovetails with other research we have conducted showing that the former trend of simply going to the dentist that showed up #1 or #2 in Google has matured into a trend of checking out several websites and choosing the one that appeals to them the most. This data shows that most prospective patients are even going beyond that and checking the reviews, and a growing percentage are also checking out the business Facebook page.
The bottom line for dental practices is that they need a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy. Merely getting exposure through Google rankings is not enough. The practice needs to create a quality impression with a variety of tools. If there are credible negative reviews, it can neutralize a majority of other efforts. Having a professional image on Facebook will also enhance the conversion rate of the website.