HOW IMPORTANT ARE ONLINE REVIEWS?
I am featuring Dr. Nathan Ho this week and I want to encourage you to take the time to view the YouTube video that we have included. Nathan is a client and very successful dentist. What we are showcasing this week is his turnkey system for getting and pushing reviews for your office. It works great and the fee is ridiculously low. In fact, I bet if you don’t give him a call as quickly as you get this, he will realize how low it really is.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
Personal or word-of-mouth referral has always been the most effective and cost-effective form of marketing. Even though this is the most effective way for a business to acquire more customers, patients, or clients from their existing ones, especially when they are satisfied with their products or services, it has its limitations compared to the digital form of recommendation or testimony called online reviews, specifically Google reviews. Google reviews are important and businesses should focus on getting more positive reviews if they want to grow their business.
Positive online reviews are almost as good as word-of- mouth personal recommendation when compared to trust worthiness. In this digital age, online reviews, especially Google reviews, play an important role in helping your business grow as they are like endorsements for your business on the web 24/7. When customers search for any business on Google to find the business’ contact information, or for directions, among the first things they see is the Google local business listings. If they were to search for an unfamiliar business to buy a product or a service from, and five or ten unfamiliar businesses show up, the business with more reviews will be the one most likely chosen by these potential new customers. Reviews can be the tiebreaker in most circumstances. Even with existing customers, when they search on Google for the phone number to call your business or look for the address for directions, and they will see all the similar businesses under the local business listing along with yours, but if your business only has 15 reviews with a 4.2 stars, and all your competitors have 100 or more reviews with a 4.9 stars; there is a chance that some your of customers may decide to leave your business for one of your competitors- simply because of their higher rating and the number of reviews are higher. Even though your Google reviews do not accurately reflect your business reputation 100%, generally speaking the more positive reviews a business has the better the business’ reputation is perceived by the new and existing customers, especially when the reviews are long and authentic.
Online reviews bring the benefit of social proof (also know as informational social influence). In any business, a good reputation is the key to long-term success. These days, with the web, search engines, and especially social media, reviews can spread like wildfire. Online reviews, especially Google reviews, are basically your business reputation on the web. The more positive authentic reviews you have, the better your new and existing customers will perceive about your business when they read them. There is a saying in the business world – “people do business with the one they like and trust.” For the new customers that search for an unfamiliar professional or business online to do business with, the only thing they can rely on is the reviews and testimonials from other customers with similar needs and expectations. Imagine an “apprehensive” dental patient that is new in town searching for an unfamiliar dentist in that town to treat a toothache, and he reads the reviews on Google about the local dentist that appears on the Google listing and finds out that this dentist is really gentle and he could perform painless shots based on other patients’ experiences in the reviews. Do you think these reviews would have any influence on this apprehensive patient’s decision to choose this unfamiliar dentist to treat his toothache? Your answer would be “yes”, correct? That is the power of social proof, and by having many authentic online reviews you can tremendously boost it for your business.
In addition, having many positive authentic online reviews, especially Google reviews, is a great form of marketing, and it can grow your business for free (assuming that you do not bribe your customers for reviews). In business, marketing is usually one of the big expenses for owners. In my dental business, we usually spend four to eight thousand dollars a month on postcards, but this usually only generates a few new patients. We understand that some may see the postcards and then go on Google to read the reviews or to look for directions and call the business from there. In general, most of our new patients that come into our practice usually tell us they have read our reviews on Google and love what they read. Our call tracker consistently shows that more and more patients are actually coming from Google. The beauty is that we do not spend any money to get these reviews. We just simply take good care of our patients and then ask them to leave us a true review to share their experiences with others. You can actually save a lot of money on marketing for your business if your business has more positive reviews than your competitors.
Online presence is as important as your presence in your local community where your business is located. The more Google reviews your business has the higher your business will appear on the Google local business listing. The keywords in the reviews have been shown to help with the search engine optimization as well, which helps boost your business presence in the search results. Having many positive authentic online reviews is like having many personal endorsements for your business. It is effective in acquiring more customers through social proof, online presence, and the authentic recommendations from your business’ raving fans. If you want to grow your business and save money, you should proactively work to increase your business’ online reviews, especially Google reviews.
About the author:
Dr. Nathan Ho graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2009. He currently owns two dental practices with his business partner. He is also a co-founder of EnvisionStars.com (an authentic review generation, monitoring, and marketing software company), Founder of DentalJobs247.com, Founder of the Dental Win Win Facebook group, and the founder/host of the Coffee Break Interview Video Podcast. If you have any questions, you may email him at [email protected].
PS. Don’t forget to watch the video. Just click here to view the YouTube video.