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Word of mouth — it’s long been lauded as the most effective form of advertising. However, it’s also one of the hardest to encourage and track, leading many orthodontic offices to focus their marketing efforts elsewhere. But thanks to social media, we can catch a glimpse of just how powerful happy patients eager to refer your new business can be. Our team recently came across a Facebook post looking for recommendations for an orthodontist. In no time, this request had over 40 comments as former patients rushed in to give their two cents. Each offered glowing recommendations for multiple offices, praising doctors, staff, service, and more. TELLING SMILES The Value of Word of Mouth “Farina Orthodontics! He’s great and local,” one comment read. “Seymour ortho is awesome!! Definitely use them!” said another. And the praise just kept coming, with people writing to say things like “Love Dr. Seymour and his staff!” and “My daughter just started about a month ago, and we love everyting about this office!” If this online conversation happened in your area, would your office make the cut? Building a fanbase eager and willing to send you new patients takes time and effort, but it can be incredibly worthwhile. According to The Nielsen Company, 92% of consumers say they believe the recommendations of their friends and family, and 88% trust online reviews. This trust is important because it can translate directly into higher margins for your office. Marketing software specialists Annex Cloud report that referred customers are more loyal than those won over by other forms of advertising. In fact, they have a 37% higher retention rate, meaning they’re far more likely to stick with your office long term. Plus, in that time, referred customers spend an average of 200% more than other customers. But the best part of all is that a referral is the gift that keeps on giving — Annex Cloud found that referred customers are four times more likely to tell their friends and family about your business. While word-of-mouth marketing is as old as human history itself, it’s never been more critical to strive for referrals. Thanks to social media, people have access to an extended network of
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friends to get advice from. In fact, according to HubSpot, getting a referral to a service over social media makes it 71% more likely a person will choose that service. As those 40-plus comments praising various orthodontists show, having fans online is something any office needs to stand out. Pursuing referrals can feel difficult, especially because “organic” word-of-mouth marketing can be so difficult to track. However, by engaging with your customers regularly, whether over social media or through mailers, you can stay top of mind and increase those odds that they bring you up in conversation. You can also put together a referral campaign that incentivizes patients to win you more business through discounts or prizes. Of course, when it comes to word of mouth, there’s no substitute for providing unparalleled service. The Facebook post we mentioned at the beginning was crowded with comments praising every aspect of local orthodontic offices. People weren’t just bringing up how they were happy with the end results of their procedures; they were also letting the world know how much they “loved” the staff, the service, and the doctors themselves. More than just price or “getting the job done,” an all-around positive experience was what mattered most to these patients. This is an important reminder that it pays to care for patients before and after they are in the chair. A friendly receptionist, skilled assistants, and timely follow-up communication can make all the difference in a patient’s opinion of your office. When someone walks out of your business ready to tell their friends how excellent their orthodontic appointment was, that’s something to smile about.
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