CDA is aware that some dentists have concerns and are frustrated with online rating sites such as Yelp, but these sites are here to stay. The federal Communications Decency Act, Section 230, limits liability of hosting sites such as Yelp, and the courts have upheld this. These sites cannot be held liable for publishing the information provided by others. It is in the best interest of dentists to become familiar with the potential benefits of such sites, and learn how to maximize those benefits.
This article was contributed by CDA Endorsed Program ProSites.
With 102 million monthly visitors and more than 39 million reviews, Yelp is one of the leading sources of new patient referrals for dentists. And, each referral Yelp generates adds significant revenue to a practice over the course of a year.
According to a recent study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, Yelp generates, on average, $8,000 annually for businesses that have optimized their free account. Additionally, if implementing Yelp’s paid advertising with an annual budget of $4,500, the same study demonstrated that health and medical services bring in an average of $20,000 in increased revenue annually.
Because claiming and optimizing a free Yelp profile has proven, positive impacts, CDA Endorsed Program ProSites recommends dentists get started. Create a free account at biz.yelp.com and follow the simple prompts to complete a listing. Make sure to include a link to the practice’s website.
Here are some tips to keep in mind that can help increase a dental practice’s exposure on Yelp:
- Make sure your profile is complete. Filling out your profile thoughtfully and thoroughly will give patients a better understanding of your services and will let them immediately know whether you can meet their needs.
- Advertise your profile. Ask patients to submit a review on Yelp or keep a sign displayed on your reception desk mentioning your practice profile on Yelp. Having a positive online reputation can help you stand out as a reputable provider.
- Monitor your profile. Regularly check your profile for new reviews. If a negative review appears, stay calm and keep patient privacy in mind. Not responding at all is the safest way to avoid a HIPAA violation. Consider contacting a liability carrier to discuss whether to respond to negative online reviews.
- Share with prospective patients. Similar to Twitter, Yelp allows you to post 140-character status updates. Use these updates to inform prospects of events you’re attending, sponsoring or hosting to give them an opportunity to attend the event and learn more about your services.
- Link your Facebook and Twitter profiles. When prospects use review sites such as Yelp to research your services, they will likely search online to discover everything they can find about your practice. Make it easy and convenient for them to find more information by supplying links to your social networks directly within Yelp.
Business listing sites such as Yelp, Google Places and Angie’s List are great (free) opportunities for dentists to reach local prospects. In following these simple tips, dentists can further their marketing influence on Yelp and increase new patient opportunities.
For more information, contact ProSites at 888.932.3644 to learn more about their Local Search Marketing services.