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You’ve heard that customer reviews are important for your dental practice. How come you haven’t thought of that before? You do the same thing when you want to try out a new restaurant or even a new brand of toilet paper. Why couldn’t you have done that for your dental practice? Many dentists mistakenly think that traditional word-of-mouth recommendations are the best form of dental marketing. While, in some way, that is correct, online reviews are much more essential.

Reviews are important not just because they tell web users your business is trustworthy (although that is an important point, too). Reviews are important because they are considered social proof. What is social proof exactly? Basically, it’s the psychological and social behavior wherein people copy the actions of others they perceive as the “correct” behavior.

In their minds, people are going to see the positive reviews and think that they should also visit these dentists because others have done it. It’s similar to the FOMO (fear of missing out) marketing strategy, where marketers use people’s fear to miss out on something in order to make them purchase their products.

For example, you’re seeing everyone on Instagram trying out this hip new diner. How different could that new diner be from your old diner? In any case, the food from your local diner might even be better. But no, because others have tried it, you have to try it, too. That’s what FOMO and positive reviews do to potential customers.

So, do people really trust reviews from strangers? Will you be surprised to know that yes, they do? In a survey, 91% of the participants aged 18 to 34 years old said that they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. This is a telling factor of how influential these online reviews are—may they be about restaurants, dental/medical services, and many other things.

New patients want the assurance that you are a competent, professional, and caring dentist. While you can market yourself as such, nothing beats the trustworthy recommendations of actual patients who had interactions with you. These reviews will provide peace of mind for these patients; that they are making an appointment with someone who they can trust.

Getting these reviews, however, can be a real test. That’s why you have to maximize the reach of your dental marketing to empower your patients to write that glowing review you know you deserve.