Do you have dental patient testimonials on your website? Most dentists would respond “Yes” to that question. However, before you congratulate yourself for being ahead of the curve, answer this, “Are your patient testimonials in written, picture, or video form?” Two of these types of testimonials aren’t doing much to influence your web visitors.
There was a time when featuring a written glowing testimonial from Suzy R. or Ira J. on your website would persuade web traffic that you were a wonderfully-gifted and caring dentist. Those days are gone now. Not only do many of your web visitors not care about Suzy or Ira, a portion of your web traffic will question whether Suzy or Ira even exist. Even with an accompanying photo of the patient, a fair portion of your website visitors will falsely conclude that you made them up rather than using real patient testimonials, or, to a lesser degree, you might have embellished what they said to make your practice sound better. The lesson here is that people are skeptical. It’s unfortunate; it’s frustrating for honest practitioners, but it’s also the way it is now.
You can thank the business community, and sadly, some of your colleagues who felt the ADA’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct were more “suggestions” than rules, for the consumer skepticism. Businesses, including some disreputable dental practices, fabricated or at least over-embellished testimonials, and consumers know it. A few bad apples ruined it for everyone. However, in all fairness, consumers have become more savvy and demanding, so text/photo-based testimonials have been losing their appeal and influence for a while.
You need dental patient testimonials
If you’ve listened to marketers who specialize in consulting with dentists, you know that patient testimonials are vital. In fact, in a blog post, online marketer Fred Joyal advised dentists to add new testimonials every week.
You’re probably wondering, “So what’s the punchline?” If testimonials aren’t working anymore, and if the public is skeptical of testimonials, why would marketers encourage you to publish them every week?
Answer: marketers like Fred are specifically directing you to regularly post/publish video testimonials on to your website or YouTube channel. Not only will this approach allow more traffic to discover your website through search engines (did you notice now that when you search on Google, videos pop up in your search too), but the likelihood that your website viewers will find the patient testimonials credible will increase significantly.
Of course there are always skeptics who can’t help but postulate, “I wonder if they hired an actor to play the patient giving the testimonial.” These people are going to have trouble believing anything without a SSN and urine sample—don’t worry about them. However, by and large, most of your web traffic will find patient testimonials. So, while it’s easier to just publish some pleasant feelings and words a patient jotted down for you on a notepad, it won’t have much of an effect over your visitors when they read it on your website. Text-based testimonials are eyed with skepticism. Consider asking the patient if they would be open to sharing 10-30 seconds of their story while you (or your team) record it on your smartphone. If you have questions on how to film quick in-house patient testimonials on a smartphone, drop me a line.