You’ve heard of Google, right? That word has transformed from a brand name to a noun to a verb, and sometimes, it’s even used as an adjective if you’re talking to someone who gets really creative with their grammar choices. The point of this is to say that Google is obviously huge, and if your dental practice isn’t being seen by users of this search giant, it’s time to make some changes to your marketing strategies. Fortunately, you don’t have to put a ton of effort into your endeavors, nor do you need to spend a ton of money; you just have to be strategic about the tools you use when you’re trying to enhance your digital footprint. This is where Google My Business comes into play.
As a dentist, it’s your job to keep your patients’ mouths clean and free of tartar and plaque, but it’s also your job to attract new patients to your practice, especially if you’re a small operation that doesn’t have a huge in-house team of marketing professionals (which is true of most dental offices). If you feel like you’re already being stretched in a million directions and can’t possibly handle one more task (especially if it relates to marketing), hear us out for just a minute. You know you need marketing, and you know your efforts need to be strategic. With Surefire Local on your side, you can achieve maximum exposure and optimal engagement with minimal effort. How? Great question! It all starts with leveraging the power of Google My Business (GMB) to maximize your online exposure.
What is Google My Business and How Does it Impact Your Dental Practice’s Digital Footprint?
Let’s start with the basics. Google My Business is a place where you can build your online business profile so it’s directly searchable by Google. When set up correctly, your dental practice will appear in relevant search results on multiple channels, including Google Search and Maps. Instead of sending your audience to your full website, your GMB profile gives people a short snippet of your practice, giving them a high-level overview of who your business is and what you’re all about.
Your GMB profile should include:
- Your contact information
- Your hours of operation
- Patient reviews and feedback
- Important links
Once potential patients review this information, you’re that much closer to bringing them into your office for their first appointments. According to Google’s data, 50% of people who search for local companies on their mobile devices will make contact with the business of choice within a day. This is why it’s vital to embrace GMB and afford your dental practice the visibility you need to help new patients find and contact you.
Once upon a time, people largely relied on recommendations from their friends and family members when they needed to find a new dentist; however, word of mouth is no longer the way dentists are being found. Instead, patients are taking to the internet to find dental practices that meet their needs. A recent survey reveals how consumers think when they’re shopping for a dentist near them. Of the 1,500 survey respondents’ answers, more than 40% indicated they would choose the dentist with the best online reviews. This is why it’s imperative that your dental practice maintain a favorable impression through positive online reviews. Google My Business houses online reviews that your past and current patients leave on Google, giving future patients easy access to opinions of those you’ve already served.
The survey data also reveals that people are largely concerned with distance when they’re searching for a dentist. Nearly 20% of respondents indicated they’d prefer a dentist that’s closest to them if they were given several options. This is why it’s important to be searchable on Google Maps in addition to the search engine itself. When your GMB profile is optimized, you’ll have a better chance of appearing at the top of the search results when people search for “dentist near me”.
GMB is a free tool that doesn’t rely on paid searches. Rather, it’s tied to local searches that help you climb the ranks of the search engine by plucking out specific keywords that match searchers’ intents. In turn, when your dental practice details are easier for people to find online, you’ll soon reap the rewards of improved exposure and visibility to attracting new patients. The entire cycle begins with making sure your digital footprint is optimized, and that means taking advantage of the good things Google My Business can bring.
Using Google My Business to Increase Your Dental Practice’s Local Reach on Google Search & Maps
GMB is a pretty robust tool that can really enhance your outreach to your community at large. There are plenty of features that can serve up maximum exposure. Here are a few Google My Business tips for dentists you should consider incorporating into your marketing strategy:
1. Online Bookings
You want to make it as easy as possible for patients to book appointments with you. If you can eliminate even one extra click, you’re likely to be looked at favorably by the people who are potentially interested in visiting your practice.
Add a link to your GMB profile that sends people to your online booking system on your website, or utilize GMB’s own booking feature that’s built right into the platform. The latter involves a bit more time because you’ll need to set up your account and connect your profile to your booking provider, but the effort to get it all up and running will be well worth it when you start seeing an increase in your online appointment requests.
Posts are basically short, free advertisements for your dental practice. You can use this online real estate to talk about new services, special promotions, and events.
Show off your beautiful lobby, friendly employees, and state-of-the-art equipment by adding photos to your GMB profile. This will help people feel more connected to your facility and the faces that represent your brand.
As we mentioned, reviews are an essential part of bringing new business to your dental practice. It’s not just about getting reviews that’s important; people also want to see what you do with them once you receive them. In other words, you don’t want to just leave your reviews hanging out in cyberspace without commenting on them. You need to consistently manage and respond to your reviews because potential patients are watching and will make at least some of their decision to contact you based on the way you interact with people who have already visited your office.
5. Questions & Answers
GMB’s Q&A section is a great place to engage with prospective patients because you can respond to someone’s question in a public way, thereby making it easy for others who have the same question to find the answers they need.
This is an often-ignored section of Google My Business, but don’t be tempted to leave it blank. When someone reaches out via the Q&A forum, be responsive and ensure that the information being provided is accurate and true. As your dental practice’s leader, you have an opportunity to provide correct responses to the questions being asked, but you have to be quick about it. Anyone can answer a question in the Q&A area, not just you. If you leave your prospective patients’ questions left to be crowd-sourced by the general public, they could wind up with incorrect or unhelpful answers, which can negatively impact your practice’s reputation.
GMB offers a place where you can add your services to your listing. This is helpful because it lets visitors see what you offer before they even get to your website.
When you add services to your GMB profile, be sure to categorize them into sections (for instance: Pediatric Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, and Emergency Dental Services). It’s important to use relevant keywords across your profile, including the service titles and descriptions so Google can better understand your dental practice and the services you offer.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
Discover a local marketing strategy that can help your dental practice become easily accessible on Google and anywhere else your potential patients are looking for you. Attend a Surefire Local marketing platform demo and get ready to experience the world of free online advertising in a whole new way. Your future patients are waiting for you!