Your long awaited dream of opening an orthodontic practice is finally coming to fruition. You’re days or weeks away from opening your doors and taking your first patient.
But before you pop that well-deserved bottle of celebratory champagne, there are a few things that you and your team should ensure are up and running so your prospective patients can find you.
We are an orthodontic marketing agency with decades of experience supporting start-up orthodontists as they start an orthodontic practice from scratch and bring their dream to life.
We have the expertise you need to ensure that your website is visible to prospective patients in the area, your brand is perceived positively by the community, and your online presence is where it needs to be to position you competitively in your market.
Schedule a complimentary discovery session with us today, and in the meantime check out these 3 key pieces to check off your list before your grand opening.
1. Claim the big 4: GMB, Yelp, Apple and Bing
These four listings, Google My Business, Yelp, Apple and Bing, are some of the most common sites your prospective patients are using to find your practice. When a potential patient in your area takes to Google or Bing to search for an “orthodontist near me”, ideally, your practice listing and website pop up.
If your listings aren’t optimized for search or don’t include the information your patients are looking for (address, hours, services and description), you may not show up as a nearby orthodontist on search results.
According to Think With Google, “76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day.” Your potential patients are searching for you and ready to visit your practice, but it’s up to you to ensure that they have the information they need in order to find you on search results.
2. Set up your social accounts, especially Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular social media platforms today. With more than 2.7 billion active users around the world every month, Facebook should be one of the first social platforms you think of when promoting your practice.
Instagram, on the other hand, has over 1 billion active worldwide users every month, making it just as valuable as Facebook when advertising your brand.
Your social accounts give the community a glimpse into your practice’s personality and give you the opportunity to express your brand with more casual, informal language than your search-optimized website content.
To start, have one of your team members craft 2 social posts a week. An initial “grand opening, we’re so excited to serve you” post is in order of course. It’s also a good idea to feature your services and highlight the details that set you apart from your competitors.
Over time, you can post team celebrations to showcase your work culture, office announcements to keep patients in the loop, patient reviews to build trust and credibility, and patient transformation photos to give a preview of the beautiful results your patients can expect with you. Be sure to include a social media release in your new patient forms so you can use your patients’ photos!
3. Train your team members to ask for patient reviews.
Patient reviews are some of the most valuable, easy-to-attain pieces of marketing for your new practice. A study in 2020 shows that “90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians.” 71% of patients also say they use online reviews as the very first step when finding a new doctor (Software Advice).
Receiving patient reviews is essential to boosting the credibility of your practice and building trust between your brand and the community. The sooner you start, the better! Get your team members in the habit of asking patients for reviews after their appointment.
Set the expectation that patient reviews should be asked for regularly. It’s easier to start off with a good habit than it is to break the habit of not asking later on. (Trust us, we’ve seen this play out many times.)
We helped one of our amazing start-up clients, Dr. Jewett and his practice Local Orthodontics, to generate over 100 new Google reviews in less than a month! He was able to increase his ranking from 4.7 to 4.9 (out of 5) stars in three weeks, and respond authentically to 100% of the reviews he received.
Dr. Jewett is a case study for everything that can go right with patient reviews. His team members were kindly asking patients to leave a review; he had a print marketing material that guided patients to the Local Orthodontics’ listing—and it worked.
Start-up practices can personalize their messaging and tell their story to new patients; e.g. “We’re a newly opened practice, and your review is incredibly valuable! It helps us to grow as a practice and let’s us know what we’re doing right here.”
Asking for a patient review doesn’t have to wait until the patient’s braces are removed or their Invisalign treatment is complete. Any part of the patient’s experience can be reviewed. Maybe they had an excellent first visit; they thought your team was super friendly; they loved your environment/atmosphere; or they’re just excited to continue their journey with you.
Responding to reviews with genuine replies is just as important as receiving reviews in the first place too. Not only does responding to reviews help to boost your search ranking and add more credibility to your listings, but it shows your patients that you care enough to respond, and you treat patients like people—not numbers or revenue.
Even bad reviews deserve a response. Studies show that out of the customers who posted a negative review, then received a response from the company, 33% turned around and posted a positive review, and 34% deleted the original negative review (Harris Survey).
Jill Allen, an orthodontic consultant specializing in start-up practices, advises, “If you receive a negative review, take some time to reflect. What was it that caused this patient to leave this review, and what can I do as a doctor and my team to ensure that this doesn’t happen again? Take the time to see through your patients’ eyes.”
The Bottom Line
It can be challenging for start-up orthodontists to ensure that their physical office is in order, and their digital presence is up to speed before opening their doors. If you’re in this exciting yet overwhelming situation, we’d love to help you. We specialize in orthodontic advertising and marketing, and all of the organic traffic sources in between.
We genuinely care about our clients, and we take their success personally. We know that for many orthodontists, opening their own practice began as a distant dream, and we’re proud of them for making it happen.
We’re here to support you in all things orthodontic marketing ideas, help you increase your website visibility so prospective patients in your area can find you, and help you grow your practice to new heights if that’s your goal.
It all starts with a complimentary discovery session, so we can pinpoint your goals, identify your needs, and create the perfect custom solution to get you where you need to be. Schedule your complimentary session today.
In the meantime, here’s a free downloadable resource to get your marketing coordinator started on the right foot.