When choosing a dentist, beaming word-of-mouth referrals are vital to attracting new patients. People want to know that other people not only like you, but trust you as well. Most will agree that having someone poke and prod at your teeth and gums is intimidating to say the least. If new patients feel confident that you make others happy, they’re more likely to walk through your doors with more confidence and way less anxiety. The benefit for you is that calm patients are much easier to deal with than up-tight ones.

Local Directory Listings

There are many ways to post online reviews online these days. The most popular is the online city guide Yelp who boasts that 45% of all mobile searches are performed using their mobile app. It’s important to make sure that your practice not only has a listing but that it is kept up-to-date and loaded with information that matters to those searching for a new dentist.

What to Include on Your Profile

The Basics – Start with making sure your address, phone, website and all of the basic information about your practice is correctly listed and that any associated maps show your location accurately as well.

Create a Visual – Creating a visual of the atmosphere of your office is essential to making people feel comfortable before they even call for an appointment. Include professional pictures of you, your associates, your office and staff. Make sure they’re bright, cheery and professional looking shots.

Patient reviews – Encourage patients to post their positive experiences on your profile. If they’re a really happy patient, they’ll most likely be thrilled to give you some kudos.

Check-ins & Likes – Although Yelp doesn’t currently take these factors into account, Foursquare does. With a more intense algorithm used to expose the most high-ranking listings, check-ins and likes are figured into the formula.

Offer Incentives – It’s always fun to give patients incentive to express “like” for you online. Offer silly tokens of appreciation like a new toothbrush (the REAL kind, not the less expensive version that some offices hand out) or a discount on at-home whitening gel (which will of course require them to purchase the customized trays from you if they don’t already have them).

New Directory Features are Even More Driven by Local Input

Yelp recently added something new to it’s “Nearby” feature. Instead of providing a rather simple, categorized list according to distance and rank by other users, Nearby now embodies more of a social atmosphere by taking into account not only reviews but also other behavioral and contextual factors. A few examples of these “factors” are the time of day it is, weather, and even popularity according to number of check-ins and reviews.

A local listing app called Foursquare was ahead of Yelp in making local search even more social. For about a year they’ve offered a sophisticated system which gives the user recommendations based on a set of rules that accounts for similar factors such but considers likes and friend activity in addition to everything Yelp’s Nearby takes into account.

Obviously being social online is increasingly important these days. With the addition of directory enhancements such as these, keeping up with the trends should be atop your list of things to do.

Maximize Your Visibility Online

Marketing your practice doesn’t stop at having the basics in place like a website, Facebook page, Twitter and even a blog. Make sure that you make an appearance on major local directories to maximize your ability to catch the most attention online. Create a Yelp profile and making sure your Google listing is updated and looking good is a start. If you can’t handle the thought of managing all of this yourself, dole it out to whoever handles your social media.

You already know that creating a positive reputation is important for your business. Creating a positive reputation that’s visible online is just as valuable. It’s worth your while to invest a bit of time and get yourself listed. If you fall behind with your online listings, you’re missing out on potential patients. It’s fast, easy and actually fun to see what people say about you, your practice and a great way to see what your competitors are up to as well.