Communicating with Patients Through Google Business Profiles
At Communicate With Influence, we’re always seeking fresh insights, and today, we’re thrilled to introduce a special blog by Adrian Lefler, CEO at My Social Practice – a dental digital marketing expert. Adrian is joining us to share an exclusive article on leveraging Google Business Profiles for patient communication. Get ready for a unique perspective on marketing your dental practice! 💡🦷
Communicate Through Google and Win More Patients
These days, consistent and accessible communication is more important than ever for patients. When people feel seen and heard, they feel like a valuable part of your practice and are less likely to take their business elsewhere.
One way to increase communication with current and prospective patients is to take advantage of Google’s chat feature for small businesses. It’s also a great strategy for dental marketing because it provides more opportunities to gain new patients.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about Google messaging, how to get set up, and what you can do to make the process as easy as possible.
What is a Google Business Profile?
First and foremost, in order to use Google’s messaging feature, you must have a Google Business Profile (GBP).
A Google Business Profile is your official listing on Google and one of the most important first steps when establishing proper SEO for dentists. It is your practice’s online calling card and a way for you to gather reviews, manage your business, and connect with potential patients.
Google Business Profiles provide important information about your business. When setting up your GBP, make sure to include as much detail as possible. A GBP includes:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Physical address
- Business category
- Hours of operation
- Link to your website
- Link to Google Maps directions
- Photos of your business
- A “call” button that links to your business phone number
- Question & Answer section
- “Chat” button that opens up a messaging window
Why is a GBP So Important?
Without a Google Business Profile, your practice will not show up on Google Maps, and your local SEO will suffer. With 77% of consumers using Google Maps to search for local businesses, getting your practice on the list of search results with a GBP is crucial.
When searching on Google, GBP results are the ones with the yellow star ratings next to them (as long as a business has reviews). These search results are also called a Google Map Pack or Google Local Pack, and they show up right below sponsored listings. Local Packs receive about 44% of total clicks on a Google search results page.
Google Maps SEO
Once you’ve set up your Google Business Profile, you can implement Google Maps SEO to improve your search rankings. By doing simple things like adding relevant keywords in your business description, finding the right business category, and updating your GBP regularly, you can beat out competitors for a coveted top spot in the search results.
Along with Google Maps, a Google Business Profile also includes Google Reviews. The more positive reviews your practice has, the better because people value social proof very highly—like advice from a friend.
Communicating with Patients Through Your Google Business Profile
There are several ways to communicate with patients through your Google Business Profile. You can respond to reviews, answer Q&A’s, receive phone calls, and get connected through a link to your website. These are all crucial functions of a GBP, but the chat feature can be one of the most important ways to communicate.
Imagine a patient searching for dentists in their area. The top three results might all have several 5-star reviews, photos, and even great websites, but yours could be the one to stand out with the addition of a chat button.
Rather than delving into each practice’s website, the patient might choose to chat right away with your practice—the practice with the most accessible communication option.
How To Turn On Chat Notifications In Your GBP
Now that you understand the Google Business Profile and its messaging feature, along with why having access to these tools is so important, it’s time to turn chat on and start chatting!
Enabling messaging through your Google Business Profile is simple.
For Mobile Devices:
First, open the Google Maps app
On the bottom right corner, select “Business”
Select “More” then “Message Settings”
Turn Chat on or off
Open your Google Business Profile Manager
Select “Menu” then “More” followed by “Chat Settings”
Turn on or off Chat
Once the chat feature is enabled, you can begin receiving messages directly to your Google Business Profile. On a mobile device, you can access these messages in the Google Maps app, and on a Desktop, you can read your messages in the Google Business Profile management center on a web browser.
How To Respond to GBP Messages
Responding to GBP messages should be pretty straightforward. Google includes an automated feature that allows you to pre-fill some questions and answers for instant responses, but otherwise, you will need to access your inbox and respond ASAP.
When responding to messages in your Google Business Profile inbox, remember that you are representing your practice as a whole. All responses should be professional, courteous, and timely.
- Be Prompt
One caveat of the GBP messaging feature is that you have to respond to messages within 24 hours in order to keep the button on your page active. If you fail to respond, the chat feature will automatically be disabled.
Potential patients will be able to see a response time estimation for your practice such as “usually responds within 24 hours” or “usually responds in a few hours.”
- Be Professional
It’s also vital to match the tone of your dental practice when responding to GBP messages. Be polite and professional, avoid slang, and answer to the best of your ability. As a dental professional, you might get questions about things like insurance coverage, cost of procedures, holiday hours, or anesthesia.
- Be HIPAA Compliant
Another important factor to keep in mind any time you’re communicating on behalf of your practice is to stay HIPAA compliant. Never divulge Protected Health Information. This includes things like confirming the names of patients, personal details like phone numbers or addresses, and billing information.
As you get the hang of responding, you’ll also learn important information about what patients in your area are interested in. You can use that knowledge to improve your marketing strategies and draw more potential patients.
Plus, the more responsive you are with GBP messaging, the higher you’ll rank on Google Maps. This dental SEO guide provides more tips on Google Maps ranking.
Integration with The Dental Social Media Publisher
If your practice uses the Dental Social Media Publisher, managing GBP messaging will be even more accessible. GBP chat functionality integrates into the Dental Social Media Publisher, so you can publish your dental social media content and respond to Google queries all at the same time.
Social media for dentists can get overwhelming. From planning content to execution and scheduling, many dental professionals start to feel stretched thin. That’s why tools like the Dental Social Media Publisher can be so beneficial to your marketing strategy. The Dental Social Media Publisher allows your practice to automate, multitask, and see results in real-time.
Conclusion: Communicate Through Google and Win More Patients
Whether your goal is to improve your Google Maps ranking or get more reviews, using the messaging feature on your Google Business Profile can be a great way to bolster your practice’s online presence.
Try turning on the chat feature on your Google Business Profile, integrate the service with the Dental Social Media Publisher, and see what kind of questions come rolling in. You might be surprised how much this tool can help patients in your area, and help your practice grow.
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This event will center around improving communication and boosting productivity through engaging activities in the stunning mountain setting.
Watch the short video below for more details.