If you want to grow your orthodontic practice, you must get serious about building your online reputation. After all, online reviews play a critical role in attracting new patients to your practice, so the more you have, the better it is. Think of online patient reviews as free advertising.

A Google Business Profile full of positive reviews will help you stand out from the competition to book more exams and grab market share in your city. Studies show the number of consumers that read online reviews increased 17% over the last year alone. And 77% of people say they either “always” or “regularly” read the reviews when looking for local businesses.

In orthodontics, online reviews matter even more.

According to the same survey, over 80% of consumers rated online reviews as important or very important as a part of their decision in the healthcare field— that’s 2x more compared to the retail sector.

Why Do Orthodontists Need Good Online Reviews?

Online reviews help grow your practice by building instant trust with potential patients—91% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

And online reviews can also help you reach more patients because 5-star reviews boost your visibility on Google, ranking you higher among orthodontic practices in local business searches.

Over the last several years, there has been a steady upward trend in how Google weighs reviews in its search rankings, making reviews more important than ever. All of this means if you can get more 5-star Google reviews, it will help you reach more patients.

How to Get Patients to Leave Reviews For Your Orthodontics Practice

Now that you know why online reviews are critical for orthodontists, let’s take a look at 9 sure-fire strategies for getting your patients to leave 5-star reviews for you:

1. Know The Rules

Ok, this first one is actually about how NOT to get patient reviews.

As a healthcare provider, you can’t offer incentives or enticements to patients to solicit a review. This could break the rules the review site has set up, and it can also land you in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. If you want to brush up on the FTC regulations, here’s an article to get you up to speed.

Be sure to review the policies of review sites like Google, Healthgrade, and Yelp as well.

You’ll find Google gives you the most freedom, and also the most visibility, so you can feel safe concentrating your efforts there at first. But no need to worry—if you follow these tips you won’t have to bribe your patients to get stellar patient reviews.

2. Start With Patients That Already Love You

The best place to start looking for positive reviews is with patients with whom you already have an excellent relationship.

You’ve already done all the hard work, you’ve earned their business, and they are probably already spreading the word about your practice to friends and family. If they haven’t left an online review already, it’s time to ask after their next visit.

If they aren’t due back in your practice for a while, send an email with a link inviting them to write a review. Then, while you’re at it, identify some of your other potential 5-star reviewers and send them a personalized email. If you don’t already have many reviews, this is an easy way to start building your online reputation today.

3. Turn A Compliment Into A Review

The best time to ask for a review is when you’re receiving praise. For example, if a patient is telling you how happy they are with your practice, don’t miss the opportunity to turn that compliment into a positive online review.

You could say something like: “That is so great to hear! It really helps us and our other patients if you leave a review online. It’s super easy!”

Or try this: “There are probably lots of people like you that we could help. If you post a review online, it’ll be easier for them to find us.”

4. Set Goals For A Team Effort

Set some goals for your reviews, and get your team on the same page. If you’re only getting one review a month, see if you can improve that to one review a week. If you currently receive one review a week, try to get two or three.

And while sometimes you can’t incentivize your patients to leave reviews, you CAN incentivize your team to meet your online review goals. Those 5-star reviews are worth their weight in gold, so reward your team accordingly. Keep it fun, and your team will find this highly motivating. You just might improve morale at the same time.

5. Simplify Your Ask

Take a moment to pin down the precise wording you want your team to use when asking a patient to leave an online review.

You should have a straightforward two or three-sentence phrase memorized, so it just rolls off the tongue. A short script makes it easier for you and your team to get over the anxiety and start asking patients for positive reviews..

The important thing is that everybody knows what to say, so they don’t have to find the right words (or the wrong ones) on their own. They’ll be ready to ask for the review without hesitation when the moment arrives and do so in a way you know won’t sound pushy or awkward.

6. Tell Your Patients Where To Leave Reviews

There should be no uncertainty as to how or where to leave a review. Give your patient clear instructions and stress how fast and easy it is!

Try the process yourself, and if it isn’t fast and easy, your patients won’t follow through with leaving a review. A review link is a great way to make reviews easy, so you should create one and put it in as many places as possible.

You can put your review link on the footer of your web page, on your outgoing text and email, and even on your social media bio.

Some people are more comfortable with a physical reminder, so print “Leave us a review on Google!” on your business cards, appointment-reminder cards, and other printed materials. Adding a QR code makes it super simple for patients to leave a review with their smartphone.

Show your current and future orthodontic patients how much you appreciate their feedback, and let them know their voice matters. A review link removes all doubt about how or where they should leave a review, making it quick and easy. Quick and easy gets you more glowing patient reviews.

7. Respond To Your Negative Reviews And The Positive Ones Too!

People read online reviews, and they read your responses, too. In fact, consumers are 89% more likely to choose a business that responds to ALL reviews, so the way you respond (or don’t respond!) can speak volumes.

How should you handle a negative review?

Consider it a fantastic opportunity to show just how concerned you are about how your practice is viewed. If you have a negative review, invite the patient to discuss their experience by phone or email. Then, take the conversation offline— you don’t need a large text block of a dispute getting in the way of all your positive reviews.

Responding to your positive reviews is just as important. It shows your happy orthodontic patients how much you appreciate their feedback. It shows everybody else that a negative review isn’t the only way to get your attention.

8. Claim All Your Profiles

Yep, all of them—Google, Healthgrades, Zocdoc, Caredash, Yelp, you name it.

You’ll want to have control over every site that lists patient reviews for orthodontists which allows you to claim the profile. You need the ability to see what people are saying, and you need to be able to respond to all the reviews on every platform. Oh, and make sure you respond in a HIPAA-compliant manner, or you could face heavy fines.

While we’re at it, don’t forget about Facebook, Twitter, and your other social media either. You’ll want to update your profiles and respond to feedback there as well.

9. Get A Reputation Management Service

A reputation management service can be a big help if you’re serious about boosting your online profile, getting more 5-star reviews, and attracting more patients to your orthodontic practice.

A good reputation management strategy can help you automate your review requests, systemize your outreach, and create a sterling 5-star reputation online. Without a service to help, managing your reputation is a full-time job for any practice, which means more and more time out of your busy day. These resources could be better spent elsewhere, like taking care of your patients.

Get More 5-Star Online Reviews For Your Orthodontic Practice!

HIP Creative is here to help.

Reputation management is just one of the services we offer through our Patient Acquisition and Retention Framework (PARF®), which we’ve used to scale some of the nation’s fastest-growing orthodontics practices.

And our all-in-one marketing software, PracticeBeacon, actually helps you automate patient review requests with perfectly-timed emails and text messages.

We’ll help you rehabilitate or build your online reputation through proven strategies and tactics that have worked wonders for dozens of other orthodontists. And we’ll also help you create, convert, and start more patients every single month.

If you’re ready to grow your practice in the next 12 months, reach out to us now for a free consultation.