Suppose you’re browsing Amazon for a new television. What is the very first thing you do?
Do you read the lines in the “About” section?
Or do you go down to the reviews to determine its actual quality?
Before spending hundreds of dollars on a product, I’d wager that you browse down and read the first page or two of reviews to find out what people genuinely thought of it.
If the general consensus is that a product is excellent, you will likely purchase it immediately.
If, however, the reviews are inconsistent or predominantly unfavorable, you will go on to the reviews of another television.
When considering your facility for their next dental procedure, your patients go through the exact same steps you do.
This is the effectiveness of social proof.
Social proof is essentially evidence that your service is authentic and that you are wonderful because others (e.g., your patients) are talking about how fantastic you are, and not just you. And it should be a central component of your marketing strategy as it is important to the success of your practice.
Social evidence may include any of the following:
- Existing patient testimonials
- Existing patients’ videotaped testimonies
- Before and after images of numerous medical procedures
- Social media posts or remarks from your patients
- An endorsement from a buddy
When a consumer visits your website, they may be interested in learning more about you and your offerings. But what they desire most are reviews written by actual patients of your practice. They desire confirmation that they are making the correct decision by visiting your office.
Consider that some patients may have had negative experiences at previous dentist practices. Their earlier encounter may have been unpleasant, shocking, or frightening. You want to demonstrate that you are the antithesis of these descriptors and that they would receive excellent treatment at your office.
So, what are some simple strategies to start displaying social proof for your practice online?
Put yourself in the shoes of your patients.
First, I recommend putting yourself in the position of your patients. What would you do if you were looking for a new dental office?
You would likely conduct a Google search and visit a few websites. If the website is appealing, you will likely scan through it to get a sense for the practice, and if everything sounds nice, you will want to read reviews.
What if there were no testimonials on their website or Google?
You may remember the office, but you will likely visit the website of the next dentist to read any reviews posted there. A practice that has a well-designed website with sufficient information for you to get a feel for them and a large number of reviews will likely earn your trust.
2. Beginning with Google reviews
I propose beginning with Google reviews and a Google Business Profile if you don’t have any social proof accessible.
Add photos of satisfied patients and before-and-after images to your Google Business Profile (ensure patients sign a release form permitting you to publish it for HIPAA considerations) and request reviews from patients.
There are numerous ways to request that patients leave a review. When they have recently completed their treatment plan and are happy is the optimal time. However, you may also text or email them with a link to your Google review page to request a review.
3. Include video testimonials on the homepage of your website
Video testimonials are superior to written testimonials. People can quickly and easily listen to a 1-3 minute video testimonial and hear precisely what they need to hear. It is analogous to receiving a personal recommendation from a friend and is highly successful.
To accomplish this, you only need a smartphone to capture a brief video of the patient discussing their experience with your practice. You need only something you are familiar with, which you can easily alter (if necessary) and submit to your website.
I suggest asking the patient questions that will help them formulate their response. You could ask queries like:
How did you discover our practice, and what prompted you to choose us?
What service did you receive, and what was your impression?
How did our office compare to others you’ve visited?
What aspects of our practice stood out to you during your treatment with us?
What would you tell a friend about our practice if they inquired about it?
You would then remove your queries from the video, leaving you with an excellent testimonial.
Keep in mind that HIPAA compliance is required, therefore you will need the patient’s consent to upload their video online. I advise you to consult with your attorney, who can write a release form for your usage.
4. Add before and after photos
The inclusion of before-and-after images of various services is an additional technique to demonstrate social proof. This demonstrates to potential patients your proficiency, that you have performed their operation before, and that the results are consistent.
The best approach to display these images is with the before image on the left and the after image on the right. I would not, however, end there. I would include a brief description of the technique below the photo. Here’s one instance:
(Photo before and after)
Ellie received porcelain veneers on all of her top teeth. She is now smiling with confidence!
Or, if you have it, you can give the patient’s testimonial in lieu of describing the surgery.
Again, ensure that patients sign a release form for HIPAA compliance.