We hear it all the time: “I get most of my business from referrals.”
Established practices with a long list of loyal patients spreading the word is still very much something that influences how many new customers walk through your door. However, even if word of mouth is driving a fair share of your business, in the digital age your website must match up with your word of mouth reputation.
The Process of Finding a Dental Professional
Typically, when a new patient starts searching for a new healthcare provider they begin with a simple Google search for dentist, orthodontist, etc. and the area they live in (e.g. “dentist in Seattle, WA”).
Thereafter, they evaluate results on the first page (which is why an effective SEO strategy is incredibly important) and start to determine if a given office is a good fit by evaluating the office’s website. If the website looks outdated, is hard to navigate, isn’t responsive, or has a myriad of other problems, that potential new patient is probably going to go back to the search results page and look at the other results.
What You Can Do
How does this impact word of mouth business? Living in the digital age gives everyone as much information as they want in their pocket. No longer are people simply taking the word of other people and leaving it at that.
The first thing most people will do when they are referred to a practice is start doing their own research. This means your business gets to skip the first and most important step for a new patient, which is getting discovered. After they have found you, your website must live up to their expectations.
If referrals are a big part of your practice, make sure you are doing your part with your website. As the old saying goes, you only get one first impression! Please feel free to Contact Us if you have any website or SEO questions.
—Phil Horton, Sr. Search Manager, Sesame Communications