How Dental Marketers Can Drive More Patients from Google Maps and Review Sites

Derek Andersen Copywriter, DialogTech

Only 22% of consumers say they always visit the website of the local businesses they use. For dental service organizations (DSOs) and dental marketers, this means that many of your patients call directly from third-party sites to schedule appointments without ever seeing your website. 

Which third-party sites do dental patients frequent? They tend to favor Google Maps, so they can determine which offices are nearby. Additionally, they often use review sites to vet local practices — in fact, the average consumer will read 10 online reviews before they trust a business.

Most dental marketers are advertising on paid search, display, and social — however, many are overlooking other local-specific ad channels. To reach more prospective patients during their journey, DSOs and dental marketers can invest in ads on Google Maps and review sites. Learn best practices below.

4 Tips to Drive Patients from Google Maps Local Search Ads

One of the most common reasons people change dentists is that they move to a new city. Rather than running a traditional Google search, patients looking for a provider in a new city often use Google Maps to learn which offices are nearby. Since 70% of dental patients start their journey undecided, local search ads on Google Maps provide a golden opportunity to sway their opinion. 

Below are some best practices to ensure your local search ads are reaching peak performance.

Tip 1: Ensure Your Google My Business Listing Is Up-to-Date

Google Maps ads work by populating your Google My Business Listing at the top of the relevant search results. So, before you run an ad on Google Maps, you should  ensure all aspects of your Google My Business Listing are updated and accurate. Mistakes can cause a poor customer experience. Follow the steps here to claim or update your listing.

Tip 2: Put Trackable Phone Numbers in Your Listing

Google tracks the clicks driven by your Google Maps local search ads, segmenting them by type — for instance, clicks on headlines, site links, driving directions, location details, nearby locations, or click-to-call buttons. 

However, this data provides little insight into how well your ads are actually driving new patients. 88% of healthcare appointments are booked over the phone, and Google only tells you if a call extension was clicked, not if the call was a quality lead or if a conversion occurred during the call. 

To illuminate this blind spot, marketers are using trackable phone numbers from conversation intelligence providers like DialogTech. Calls placed to these phone numbers are automatically transcribed and AI identifies the conversations that resulted in an appointment. This gives you a more complete picture of how your Google Maps local search ads are driving new patients — including those for higher-value procedures.


Tip 3: Optimize Your Keywords

Google recommends using 5-20 keywords per ad group. To choose the right keywords, you’ll need to think like a prospective patient. What terms are they searching when looking for a provider? 

To flesh out your list, you can use a keyword research tool to determine the most relevant keywords to your practice, as well as the keywords your competitors are using. Google’s keyword planner is a great free tool that can get you started. If you have a budget at your disposal, you can purchase more robust tools like SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.

If you’d like to reach a wide audience of patients, use general, high-volume keywords. If you’re trying to market a specific service such as teeth whitening, use keywords relevant to that service like “teeth whitening cost”.

Tip 4: Push Conversation Intelligence Data into Google Ads

When evaluating the performance of your Google Maps local search ads, don’t just track your ad clicks — you should also push conversation intelligence data into Google Ads so you can view how many over-the-phone appointments your ads are driving. This will give you a more complete picture of your ROI and help you allocate your budget to the campaigns that are driving the best results — both online and over the phone. 

4 Tips to Drive Patients from Review Site Ads

Once patients have researched nearby dental practices, the next step is often to vet their online reviews. In fact, a recent study found that 94% of healthcare patients use online reviews to evaluate providers. 

Here are some tips to create strong review site advertising campaigns:

Tip 1: Experiment with a Mix of General and Industry-Specific Review Sites

Advertising on general review sites can help you reach a broad audience of prospective patients. Yelp and Angie’s List are great channels to test ads on, since they’re so large and well-established.

In addition to Yelp, DSOs and dental marketers are advertising on dental-specific review sites that more savvy patients may use to find dentists for specific procedures. Those sites include:

Tip 2: Have a Strong Review Management Strategy in Place

Your listing, which includes your star rating, will populate at the top of the results as a sponsored provider. If you fail to manage your reviews, you may end up with an unfavorable star rating, which will make customers less likely to engage with your ad. Below are some best practices to boost your review rating: 

  • Educate patients on how to leave a review
  • Provide incentives for patients to leave reviews
  • Showcase good reviews on your website (with the reviewer’s permission)
  • Continually monitor your reviews
  • Respond to every review promptly and honestly
  • Provide outstanding service that gives patients a reason to review you

Tip 3: Include Several Professional Photos of Your Office

Professional photos of your office add credibility and trust to your reviews, and they show prospective patients what they can expect, should they schedule an appointment. In fact, Google My Business Listings with photos have been proven to receive up to 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more click-throughs than those without photos.

Tip 4: Track the Call Conversions Driven by Your Ads

Similar to Google Maps local search, review site ad reporting includes the number of click-to-call engagements your ads generated. But, again, there is no way to gauge what happened on those calls — unless you place trackable phone numbers in your listings.

DialogTech’s AI analyzes the calls driven by your trackable phone numbers so you can understand which of your review site ads are truly driving the most new patients—not just which ones are driving the most calls. With this deeper layer of insights, you can allocate your spend to the review sites that are truly delivering the most revenue.

Continually Refine Your Digital Advertising Mix

There is no one strategy or channel that can guarantee success for your practices. Try branching out from traditional channels like search and social ads. Experiment with the local-specific channels consumers are using when they’re looking for a new practice. Then, through continual testing and refinement, you can determine the advertising mix that will drive the best results.

To learn more dental marketing best practices, check out our DialogTech for Dental Toolkit.

To learn more dental marketing best practices, check out our DialogTech for Dental Toolkit.

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