Many people wrongly believe that online reviews only matter for movies and restaurants. In reality, online reviews play increasingly vital roles in the decision-making processes of all consumers, especially those in search of health and dental services. In fact, 93 percent of consumers who search for health-related services on Yelp follow up with purchases. Even more stunning is the fact that nearly half of those Yelp users make purchases within 24 hours.
Satisfying Google is still the most important facet of good SEO. Successful social media marketing is not far behind. Don’t overlook Yelp, though. The Internet is full of business listing and review websites, but none is as widely influential as Yelp. Read on to learn why dental practices need strong Yelp presences to compete in today’s online market.
Yelp Reviews Are Credible
Despite advances in digital marketing, word of mouth is arguably the most powerful form of advertising. A 2016 Nielsen Harris Poll survey of 2,000 people found more than 80 percent of Americans seek recommendations for all kinds of purchases. The survey also found strong correlations between people’s purchasing choices and how they discuss brands online. Also noteworthy is that young adult’s ages 18 to 34 — Yelp’s prime age demographic — are 10 percent more likely to seek recommendations than the rest of the population.
However, online reviews may have already closed the gap with referrals. A 2017 study by the marketing firm BrightLocal found that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 93 percent of consumers said online reviews helped to establish the quality of local businesses. Of note is the statistic that 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant.
This is where Yelp gains an edge. Nielsen rates it as the Web’s most-visited review site and the 20th most-visited Web property overall. As a result, businesses listed on Yelp can easily accumulate reviews. Also, Yelp stands out from other review sites with a variety of content guidelines. Reviews cannot be written by competitors, former employees, business promoters or people receiving incentives for good reviews. Yelp’s guidelines also ban threats, lewd language, back-and-forth arguments and more. Questionable reviews can be reported, audited, and removed. For these reasons and others, Yelp has a reputation as a credible source of reviews.
Yelp Drives Engagement
Yelp isn’t just a place for finding reviews of businesses. People can use Yelp to schedule services, check-in at appointments, request quotes, get directions, and more. With the click of a virtual button, users can call businesses or visit their websites. Yelp is literally built from the ground-up to engage customers and drive leads and sales. Also, the Yelp app and website are mobile-friendly. Yelp reports 74 million visitors per month on its mobile site and 28 million visitors per month from its mobile app. That is 102 million monthly visitors from smartphones and tablets compared with 83 million total monthly desktop users. Being ahead of the curve on mobile is highly important considering the rising rates of smartphone ownership, especially among young adults who make up the next generation of new dental patients.
Dental clinics need quality, functional websites to compete for patients online. However, dental practitioners can start building their Yelp presences with no prior experience in Web design or content generation. It is easy, accessible and proven to be effective.
Leveraging Yelp’s Credibility
Consumers trust high-quality online reviews, and they trust Yelp to provide such reviews. It stands to reason then that building a strong Yelp presence can make your dental practice immediately credible to potential clients.
There are many ways to encourage clients to leave positive reviews without violating Yelp’s terms of service. Perhaps the easiest way to solicit reviews is including Yelp buttons on follow-up emails and appointment reminders. You can put Yelp buttons on your dental office’s website and social media pages. You can even feature review snippets from Yelp on your website. Inviting potential patients to visit your Yelp page is a great way to leverage the popular website’s credibility.
More Options with Enhanced Profiles
You can further optimize your Yelp experience by upgrading to an enhanced profile. Unlike regular Yelp pages, enhanced profiles can include customizable slideshows, a call-to-action button, and an optional video. The call-to-action button can instruct people to contact your dental clinic or schedule an appointment online. Another big benefit is that Yelp will not show ads from competing practices on enhanced profile pages. You will pay extra for this feature, but you’ll also have more control of your branding and marketing funnel.
Consider Pay-Per-Click Ads
You can also jumpstart your Yelp presence by investing in pay-per-click search ads. Yelp’s pay-per-click platform uses geographical and category targeting to ensure ads are seen by relevant audiences. Ads are served with an auction system, which means the higher you bid, the more views you will get. Ads can be complemented with review snippets and customized text.
Paying for ad space does not replace the need to cultivate a strong, organic Yelp presence. Businesses still need positive customer reviews to attract the right kind of attention. However, Yelp’s advertising platform offers enhanced visibility for Web and app users. It is a great investment if there is room in your budget.
Yelp is the most prolific and credible review site on the Web, and building a strong Yelp presence is vital for dental offices. Yelp is popular among all age groups and especially reputable among tomorrow’s new customers. It is great for scheduling appointments, generating leads and even providing directions to your clinic. Yelp pages can also rank highly in Google’s organic search results, meaning a strong Yelp presence is literally good for SEO. All businesses eventually get some negative reviews, but the benefits of cultivating a presence on Yelp far outweigh the drawbacks.