“I find your lack of Google presence disturbing.” – Darth Vader, if he worked in dental marketing
It was a rare weekend for me…no plans, and some extra free time. So I induldged myself with one of my favorite pasttimes; watching the original Star Wars trilogy.*
And it struck me — Google, as much as I love their creativity and what they’ve done for small business, is not unlike the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, led by Emperor Palpatine/Sidious.
(If you’re not a Star Wars fan, just stick with me…this is STILL very relevant to you and your pathetic rebel fleet.)
The Emperor seeks to conquer all worlds in the galaxy. He does this by continuously inventing new technology, staying on the forefront of innovation, and doing away with aging and antiquated elements. This is why he was going to replace Darth Vader with his son, Luke Skywalker — a younger, more agile version of what had come before.
Google (despite obvious parallels between the dark side and big corporate tech) sets the bar when it comes to small business marketing. They’re constantly reinventing their platforms, whether it be Google search (i.e. Google.com), Google+, etc.
And now, they’ve done it again.
They are renaming Google My Business to Google Business Profile. If you’re not familiar with Google My Business, it’s the platform you use to create and manage your Google presence; writing descriptions, uploading pictures, and facilitating public ratings of your practice.
Aside from streamlining profile management and consolidating services, this move will introduce some new features, focused primarily around direct messaging and call/message tracking with your patients.
What Does This Mean For My Dental Practice Marketing?
Put simply, your practice website is becoming less and less important. Or put another way, Google is Death Star-ing your website.
If you can attract, inform, convert and book patients through Google, your website’s relevance is falling even further away.
Why? Because patients are spending less and less time on dental practice websites…because it’s a waste of their time.
- If they want to research the best dentist in town, they go to Google.
- If they want to look at pictures of the office, they go to Google.
- If they want to learn what kind of experience (great, good, bad, awful) other people had at your office, they go to Google.
- If they want to book an appointment with your office or send you a message, YES…they now can do all of that through Google. Quick, easy and in one place.
Google has killed the dental practice website, plain and simple. Sure — you need one, the same way the Alliance needs C3P0. But in both cases, you’d probably do just fine without either one.
So What Should I Do Now?
You might hate Google. But in this case…it’s okay to give in to your hatred.
- First Thing’s First (Order): Don’t be a Jar Jar. Make sure your practice is claimed and verified. Search for your practice’s name in Google Search or Google Maps. If you haven’t already claimed the listing, do it (right now).
- Fill Out That Profile As Completely As Possible: Description, pictures, phone number, email…make that profile as rich and full as a lush forest on the moon of Endor.
- Post Content Regularly: Start posting video on a regular basis. Become the Jedi Master of dentistry. (Pro tip: Start uploading those videos to YouTube, and make sure Google, who owns YouTube, knows about it).
Whether you like it or not, Google is THE BEST way to get discovered, booked and loved by patients. They have incredibly powerful tools that the people in your community are already using in order to find and commit to a dentist. Don’t get left behind — follow the steps I mentioned above and you’ll be on the way to becoming the #1 rated, recommended and booked dentist in your part of the galaxy.
*My apologies to anyone who prefers Star Trek. P.S. You’re wrong.