Paid search marketing can be a very effective strategy if a dentist is looking to schedule new patients or target a specific procedure. In fact, Google released a PPC (pay-per-click) advertising study in 2011 that says even if you have a top organic search ranking (that’s ranking near the top of a Google search by good SEO alone), a paid search campaign won’t compromise your organic (or free) clicks and can actually double your website traffic. So, for a general dentist wanting new patients or a specialist trying to get dental implant cases, you can potentially double your Google page one exposure if you add a PPC campaign to your online marketing efforts.
Pay-Per-Click advertising can be a quick way to increase your website traffic, but there are many elements that contribute to a well-executed campaign and it is certainly not “set it and forget it” marketing. If any of its moving parts are overlooked or left idle for too long, your campaign can fail and your marketing dollars lost. Let’s take a look at what exactly happens when a potential patient performs a Google search for “San Antonio dental implants.”
John Needs Dental Implants: A Day in the Life of a Dental PPC Click
John lives in San Antonio, Texas and has always been afraid of visiting the dentist. As a result, he’s lost several of his front teeth and now, he has decided to invest in a good set of dental implants that will last the rest of his life. His general dentist doesn’t perform that type of procedure and doesn’t have a referral for him, so he goes where anyone goes when they need to search for local information…he goes to Google.com and types in the search term:
“San Antonio Dental Implants”
Google provides his results, and at the very top, in the first three positions, are the pay-per-click ads. They are against a very lightly shaded background which is often indistinguishable from the rest of the listings. Along the right side of the page are also several PPC listings. While the top ads look like regular organic listings, they are actually ads places by dentists who pay Google to have their landing page within the first few results. A great offer in the ad entices web searchers to click your listing.
Side Note: It is always a good idea to practice good SEO to make sure your website is in those top organic search listings, but we recommend you include some PPC ads as well. Why? Wordstream released a 2012 study that says 64% of overall clicks for high commercial intent (meaning people looking to buy/book an appointment) are going to PPC ads and 35.4% go to the unpaid, organic results. In other words, people more likely to buy click the ads while people still in the research phases click the organic results.
John peruses the results and stops at one PPC ad that stands out. It seems to provide everything he is looking for in his search.
What did it take for this PPC ad to pop up when John entered “San Antonio dental implants” into Google? Several things, really. First, a dentist must decide to allocate marketing dollars to a PPC campaign and then:
- Carefully research keywords for the most searched terms. These include things like dental implants, implant dentist, tooth implant, etc. People search for many related keywords, so it’s important to thoroughly research what these related terms may be.
- Include geo-targeting by assigning specific cities or areas for keywords searches. This means refining the area an ad appears to potential patients near the dentist’s location. It’s important that the ads are only showing up in the area she chooses.
- Arrange search terms into ad groups that make sense thematically. These ad groups will pull up a specific ad that matches what John is searching for.
- Write several slightly different ads so she can test which ad copy results in the most clicks with A/B testing. She should continue to test them to find what works and what doesn’t.
When John entered “San Antonio dental implants” it matched one of the dentist’s search terms in her PPC campaign and the ad displayed. John clicks the ad and next, he is taken to a carefully crafted landing page that includes:
- A great offer – John needs a persuasive reason why he should pick this implant dentist.
- Important information about dental implants, only – John is only interested in dental implants and doesn’t care to view information about other procedures. He already has a general dentist.
- A clear call-to-action above the fold – John should easily find out how to book an appointment near the top of the web page.
- No navigation – John shouldn’t have to search around the site to find the information he originally searched for. If he does, he’ll likely click the back button and choose another ad.
John reads the information on the landing page, decides he likes what he sees, picks up his phone and makes a preliminary appointment for dental implants. The paid click was successful and our implant dentist has a new ideal patient.