34% of those polled said, “No, I don’t see a difference.“
While 23% of the dentist respondents felt that online dental patients are more likely to follow through with treatment; the other 24% felt online patients are less likely to follow through with treatment.
Another 19% felt that word-of-mouth referrals by patients are the best type of dental patients to follow through with treatment.
One dentist replied, “Word-of-mouth referrals brings in the most loyal patients!”
Dentist certainly have different opinions about online verses traditional patients! Here are some of the comments we received on this survey:
“Referral patients have more trust from the beginning. Online patients are typically younger and not as financially able to afford treatment.” (General dentist)
“The majority of our big cases the past few years have come from the Internet.” (Minnesota dentist)
“The younger dental patient is more tech savvy and tend to believe what they read on-line. They are less critical thinking and very wed to their smart phones. They are also not big conversationalists.” (California dentist)
“They were motivated to look for a dentist. However, they also are more likely to have been regular patients elsewhere and have little work to be completed; may be prophy only.” (Texas dentist)
“The stronger the site encouraging appointments the better the lead. Most dental websites are so easy to give information, but the prospect is not ready or willing to come in.” (New York dentist)
“For me, a cold online lead is not unlike a patient who drove by and saw my sign. They are a tougher sell than a true internal referral. A Facebook referral can be close to an internal referral when referred by an existing patient.” (Georgia dentist)
“Online patients have done their research and know a lot about our office before becoming patients. They are certainly more likely to follow through with recommended treatment.” (Ohio dentist)
“Online patients are generally young, looking for the best price and not dentally educated. Anyone who chooses a dentist based upon online reviews sees dentistry no different than a gas station or a supermarket.” (Massachusetts dentist)
The rising popularity of researching dental care online proves that for an increasing number of dental patients, factors like online reviews and easily finding a dentist online, seeing what dentist family and friends recommend online, and getting to know the dental practice before ever stepping foot through the front door may continue to outweigh the advantages that traditional offline dental marketing has offered in the past.
What are your thoughts on traditional verses online dental patients? Do you notice a difference?