It happens to us all the time. We usually get a little push-back when we offer Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising as a solution for a dentist who wants to increase new patient flow or target a specific procedure (like dental implants). They often say, “I’ve tried pay-per-click and I hated it!” or “I didn’t see any results from the pay-per-click campaign I did a few years ago, so I’m not doing it again.”
That’s reasonable. Most PPC campaigns are poorly implemented with a set it and forget it attitude. In reality, good pay-per-click campaign management is considered an art form that needs consistent attention and testing for optimum return-on-investment.
Here’s the big news…if you’re tired of traditional (and increasingly ineffective) advertising and want more targeted website traffic; pay-per-click advertising really is the way to go. Here are a few reasons why:
- Approximately 2/3 of all people with high commercial intent (ie- want to book an appointment) click on the sponsored links, or PPC ads. (Wordstream.com, 2012)
- Let’s not forget that Google is a business. They need to make money so they are devoting less space to organic search listings; currently about 18.5% of the search engine results page. This has decreased from around 53% just a few years ago. (Jitbit.com, 2012)
- Google is making it harder and harder for an untrained eye to discern between paid ads (those with a faintly colored background) and organic listings (those with no background), resulting in more clicks to paid ads, rather than organic results.
A good PPC campaign takes work, careful planning and consistent attention; but if done right, can yield great results. Before you jump head first into the PPC pool, here are ten important things you should know:
1. Paid Search Can Double Website Traffic
Many dentists are nervous that a PPC campaign will introduce all sorts of problems or setbacks to their more traditional SEO efforts. The truth is even if you rank at the top of a Google search by good SEO alone, a paid search campaign won’t compromise your organic (or free) clicks. If you are a general dentist wanting more patients or a specialist targeting specific procedures, it can actually double your Google page one exposure.
2. Spend PPC Dollars in the Right Place
Don’t limit yourself to Google. While they do account for about 65% of search traffic in the United States, Yahoo and Bing make up the remaining 35%. That’s a sizable amount of potential patient traffic that you don’t want to miss out on. Yahoo and Bing tend to have less competition for keywords, so a good PPC campaign can be very affordable with Bing/Yahoo’s AdCenter.
3. Choose your (Key)Words Wisely
The keywords you choose for a PPC campaign are important. Dentists and specialists should have a good sense of what potential patients might enter as a search term when looking for dental services and choose keywords based on that. But it’s not that easy, you must also bid on your keywords and tell the search engine how much you’re willing to pay for a click. How much you bid depends on your budget and how quickly you want to book more patients. It’s a good idea to consult with PPC specialists when strategically choosing and bidding on keywords because if you don’t, you could end up paying a lot of money for clicks that aren’t likely to convert into appointments being set.
4. Writing a PPC ad is an Art Form
The best PPC ads are short, sweet and have one heck of a value proposition. As with traditional advertising, you want to give searchers a reason why they should click on your ad and book an appointment with you. A well-written PPC ad has an eye-catching headline, body copy that explicitly explains your value proposition and a display URL that is optimized with your keyword and makes sense to the searcher (this will take them to your landing page URL if the searcher clicks on the ad.)
5. Learn to Love A/B Testing
Always. Be. Testing. That’s our motto, especially for PPC campaigns. Pay-per-click campaigns give dentists a great ability to test different ad copy with different value propositions and offers and almost immediately gather data on which one is working best. Set it and forget it campaigns are missing out on what truly makes a PPC campaign great…the ability to nail down an ad that has proven results!
6. PPC Puts your Ad in Front of the Right People
Geo-targeting lets you choose where and to whom your ads are served. So, if you are a specialist who is located in a major city but you’d like to get more dental implant cases from neighboring suburbs, PPC makes sure your ads are served to people in those areas, specifically. It’s true “Bullseye” marketing!
7. A Good Quality Score can get You to the Top of Google
It’s no secret that Google rewards websites that have great content and provide a consistent and relevant experience to people. A Google PPC campaign is no different; they call it your Quality Score. A good quality score can help your ad display at the top of the advertising search results and lets you pay less per click. Needless to say, it’s very important for a well-managed PPC campaign. Keyword relevance in your ad copy, landing page quality and your click-through-rate (how often people click on your ads) all make up a PPC campaign’s quality score.
8. Forget your Home Page and Use a Landing Page
It worked! A potential patient clicked on a PPC ad. Now what? Send them to a custom landing page for the service you are promoting! Landing pages are important for a few reasons; they provide your potential patient with consistent experience, delivering exactly what they are searching for, and they are important to a good Google quality score. Don’t forget to A/B Test your landing pages too! Check out our previous blog post for landing page best practices.
9. You Know if PPC is Working (or Not) Quickly and Easily
Click-through-rates (CTR) can tell you which of your ads is working best, but dental PPC campaigns are not about increasing website traffic, they’re about conversions (ie – booked appointments). How do you know which landing pages are leading your new patients to call and schedule appointments? Easy. Call tracking numbers! By assigning each landing page with a specific call tracking number, you know quickly and easily where your new booked appointments are coming from and if your PPC dollars are working.
10. PPC Helps Your SEO
For as long as there is online marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) marketing will need each other. Why? Pay-per-click campaigns generate the data that a good SEO strategy will find invaluable, like which SEO keywords to choose. Plus, if you show up in both the PPC AND organic listings, the more likely it is that a potential patient will view you as a top dentist in your area and choose you.
Considering a PPC campaign to get more of your ideal patients in your chair? We can help! Contact us today and learn how our PPC specialists can create a campaign for your practice.