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In the past, dental practices succeed and survive because of word-of-mouth recommendations. When a patient was impressed with your work, he will recommend you to his network of family and friends. When that friend is equally impressed by you, he will also refer his friends to you. This cycle is effective for dental practice marketing. Can you believe it? You only need to provide good service (which is what you should be doing, anyway) and you’re bound to attract as many patients as you can accommodate.

Fast forward to about a decade ago when online reviews and recommendations made their impact on your online presence. Though word-of-mouth recommendations still works, it isn’t exactly as proliferate as online reviews are.

But the problem with online reviews is that even a patient who was mightily impressed by you may not have the time or the inclination to write that review. He will completely forget about it. Logging on his Facebook account, finding your name, and writing a review seems to be too much for anyone. The best thing you can expect is a five-star rating, but that doesn’t really speak that much.

Here’s what you need to do: you need to ask for the review. Do not be afraid of getting rejected. No one will survive this cutthroat industry if you are thin-skinned. And if your patient was truly impressed, he wouldn’t mind a simple request from you. Ask for an actual referral, whether in the form of word-of-mouth or online review that will be posted on your social media accounts. Make sure your patients know that the reviews will be used for marketing purposes. If he will allow it (and hopefully, he does), you will need to publish his name.

A lot of potential patients will always look at the veracity of the reviews before they book an appointment with you. They are not easily impressed by five-star ratings. Those can be tricked. What they need are actual people who spent time writing a review about your products and services because that was how powerfully you impressed them.

If and when your patients agreed to write a review, do not forget to express your gratitude after the review has been published. You can also offer a way to compensate for such good reviews. Maybe a discount the next time they have their teeth cleaned? You could even create a referral system wherein a patient who referred someone can get points depending on the services availed of the person he referred. This would encourage your patients to leave truthful reviews about your dental practice and boosts your dental practice marketing.