How to Cultivate Online Reviews

Dr. Klempner was recently invited to contribute an article to Orthotown Magazine about importance of managing your practice’s online reputation. Click here to read the full article.

Game of Thrones and Google Have Something in Common

Game of Thrones and Google have something in common now: the Army of the Dead.

Last Monday Google announced that it had disconnected Google+ Social from websites in regards to SEO impact from posts and is planning to phase out Google+ as a social platform altogether. That said, they’re keeping the Google+ Local functionality: that’s the My Business page where your reviews show up and how you’re found in a Google Local search. With these changes Google has put Google+ in limbo-land…not quite dead, not quite alive…much like the Army of the Dead (those zombie like creatures that the White Walkers use to do their dirty work).

Let’s dive into limbo land: on one hand, the social media function of Google+ is dead.

What does this announcement mean for small businesses? It means that active use of Google+ by your business page – making comments, posting statuses or articles – no longer has an added benefit to your website. Previously Google put a premium on Google+ activity and considered it as content connected to your website (it does not do this for other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter). With this change, Google+ is just another social platform that has no relevance to your SEO.

So what do you do? Blogging will become even more important to keep the content on your site fresh. Since one of the things that affect SEO is how fresh and relevant your content is to your service, you’ll want to create a blog schedule and stick with it – no more relying on your Google+ posts.

On the other side of limbo-land: Your Google+ My Business page is very much alive and still relevant.

As a small business receiving Google+ Local reviews is critical. Not only do they help with your local search results but once you reach the threshold of 5 reviews on your page you are rewarded with **actual stars** showing up next to your business in search results. Not only do these immediately draw the eye of prospective clients or patients but they also indicate how much your current clients like you. NOTHING today holds more weight than positive personal referrals.

How to fight the changes?

Just like there are ways to fight the White Walkers and their Army of the Dead, there are ways to combat the ever-changing rules from Google. Keep your site’s content fresh with consistent, relevant blog posts and get as many positive Google+ reviews as possible.

Feel like Jon Snow?

People & Practice is here to help. Reach out today for more tips on how to promote your orthodontic or dental practice online. www.pplpractice.com

Wave Goodbye to the Good Old Days

Orthodontic Products Magazine Article

Dr. Klempner was recently invited to contribute an article to Orthodontic Products Magazine about the changing factors influencing the success of orthodontic practices today. Click here to read the full article.

What takes years to build and seconds to destroy? Your Reputation.

Your reputation is your most important business asset.  What are you doing to get your patients to publish great things about you and your practice on public review sites like Google and Yelp?  Equally as important, what are you doing to help prevent your patients from writing negative reviews about you and your practice?

A recent study on local consumer decision-making mentions a few statistics that underscore this point:

➢ 85% of your patients say that they read online reviews for local businesses

➢ 73% of your patients say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more

➢ Only 12% of patients said they take no notice of online reviews

The bottom line is that people go out and look for reviews before making decisions.

We know that there’s a lot of apprehension and discomfort around asking patients for reviews, and for good reason. It can be awkward in the best case and nerve wracking in the worst, as it feels like there’s little control over what people decide to write. It’s true that negative reviews can be very damaging…you’ve spent years building up your reputation and it’s a shame that a comment or two can tarnish it. The truth is that you can’t please everyone. A bad review will come…the key is to be prepared.

The way to defend against negative feedback is by proactively buffering your online review pages with positive feedback. This makes a single negative comment look like an outlier. That’s why we’ve developed a Reputation Management program that “catches” negative feedback before it goes public, allowing for timely off-line resolution.  It also pinpoints your happiest patients and turns them into brand ambassadors that promote you to friends, family and neighbors.  We will also monitor all of your public reviews across the web for any potentially negative comments that were present before we began working together or that didn’t go through our system. If you do receive a public review that’s less than ideal, the best approach is to take it offline quickly and find a resolution that reflects you and your practice in a positive light.

Contact me directly for a free practice analysis and pricing information.

Dr. Leon Klempner, Founder – People & Practice, LLC – leon@pplpractice.com

Watch free webinar -Sponsored by Henry Schein Orthodontics – Dr. Klempner – Protecting Your Online Reputation

 

Google Reviews

Why Your Orthodontic Practice Can’t Survive Without Social Media

I’ve been practicing orthodontics for over 35 years and have seen many changes in our field. But nothing I’ve experienced is like what’s happening in the online marketing industry.  In one of my social media lectures I have a slide that says, “no one likes change… except a wet baby”.  But in this arena, change is really the only constant.

There is a cat and mouse game underway between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts and Google.  The game is to trick Google into rewarding our websites with high visibility by using a series of back-end programming techniques.  It used to be that by investing your marketing dollars solely in SEO you would be way ahead of your competition. However, Google has recently changed the game with a recent update called Penguin.

The Penguin Google update was specifically developed to reward quality, unique content and designed to showcase sites with active user social participation (your patients on social media). At the same time it penalizes websites using “black hat” techniques such as “keyword stuffing” and overuse of back linking.

This change is a great thing for those who have happy and engaged patients. Now, it’s not about hiring someone that can help your website manipulate Google, but rather about activating your patients to talk about you online.

At the same time, it’s now crystal clear that SEO and social media are not two separate marketing approaches with separate budgets and separate campaigns.  Progressive orthodontists realize that combining the two are essential if we are to successfully promote and grow our practices in this new era of social media.

 

 

Three Common Missed Opportunities in Social Media

I’m fortunate enough to be invited to lecture to my colleagues on social media, and it provides me the opportunity to meet and talk with orthodontists across the country.  I am always amazed at the number of my colleagues that don’t take advantage of even the most basic online marketing opportunities that are so readily available.  Here are the three easiest and least expensive marketing tips ignored by most of your colleagues:

1)    Claim your Google+ Local business page
Google Places have been replaced by Google+ Local.  This is Google’s entry into the social media arena and is very important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) due to its integration with Google search, Google maps and Zagat. This is a free service and it’s very likely that orthodontists with an active Google+ social network presence will enjoy higher visibility and more online reviews than their competition.  Click here for more details.

2)    Set Up Google Alerts
Reputation management has always been important, but with online reviews it is now imperative.  All orthodontists must continually monitor the web for all positive as well as potentially negative comments.  I’ll discuss how to respond to negative reviews in another blog post, but the point is that you need to be the first, and not last to know.  Fortunately, Google has a free service that will immediately email you whenever your name or office is mentioned. Click here to set up your Google alert.

3)    Demand Geographic Exclusivity
Online social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are currently recognized as crucial components of any orthodontic marketing plan.  Let’s face it; this is a competition for patients.  It makes no sense to hire a company that also represents your competition. There’s an inherent conflict of interest. However, most orthodontists are represented by companies that provide the identical services to their local competition. Orthodontists should demand geography exclusivity. Click here to find out if your location is available at People & Practice.

New Patients Starts – How To Shorten the Cycle

We are not only doctors, but also CEOs of a small business.  As such, to be good managers we need to measure our effectiveness. A common metric in orthodontics is the new patient start ratio.  We go to great lengths to create a “new patient experience” in order to “wow” them to enhance this metric.

But it seems we only get 45 minutes to convince these prospective patients, and much of the effort falls on our Treatment Coordinators: They meet the parents and patients, get to know them, give them an office tour, understand their needs and desires, bring in the doctor for an exam, explain a treatment plan, present the fee and in the best case scenario, get a payment to start.

This is what I call the orthodontic sales cycle.  All new patients go through a similar process, which is essentially a trust-building exercise. The process goes something like this:

Find us – Know us – Like us – Trust us – Pay us – (and if we’re lucky, Endorse Us to friends and family at the end).

Expecting this conversion to be done all in one visit is unrealistic. An effective social media strategy allows parents and patients to find, get to know, and like your practice ahead of the first meeting, shortening this cycle and improving conversion rates.

One of the primary goals of this online marketing approach is to allow prospective new patients to discover your office’s personality and see your patient testimonials before coming for their first appointment.  This makes it much easier for your treatment coordinators to start the case.  Many of the new patients that I see already know all about us, and hopefully already like us before coming in the door.  As long as their expectation matches their experience, we are well on our way to starting the case.

People & Practice, LLC is dedicated to helping orthodontists use “word of mouse” to enhance their online reputation, build patient loyalty, enhance visibility and most importantly, start more cases.

Wave Goodbye to the Good Old Days

Orthodontic Products Magazine Article

Dr. Klempner was recently invited to contribute an article to Orthodontic Products Magazine about the changing factors influencing the success of orthodontic practices today. Click here to read the full article.