There are many differences between advertising your dental practice in a newspaper or community magazine and engaging in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising online. While it may seem simple, pay-per-click advertising is perhaps the most time consuming form of advertising that exists – but it can also be the most rewarding. Why? Pay-per-click advertising gives you results you can actually see and track. It has the ability to show exactly how many people saw your ad, how many clicks your ads get and how many of them convert into actual appointments through call tracking phone numbers. Its real data you can gather each day from your campaign. It’s great for a dentist on a marketing budget.
The most valuable use for PPC data is knowing whether your ad is working and adjusting your budget as necessary – with printed ads (though useful in their own right), data is much more difficult to track. With PPC, you know exactly how many new patients came from viewing and clicking on your ad.
But with every good thing – comes a catch. Yes, there is a “catch” with PPC. You ready for it? Here it is: You have to know what you’re doing in order for it to work. Yes it’s true. Much like a garden, a truly well-executed dental PPC campaign needs time, attention, expertise and lots of love, so to speak. We’ve found that many dentists think they can simply task their office staff to post a few ads to Google or Bing just as they would submit ads to a newspaper, and everything will work itself out. Trust us, there is no quicker way to waste your advertising budget and become frustrated with the whole thing than to create a “set it and forget it” PPC campaign.
Perhaps, you’ve tried PPC in the past but it didn’t work and you’re reluctant to jump in and try again. Here are five possible reasons your campaign didn’t give you the results you were hoping for the first time:
Reason #1: You’ve chosen the wrong keywords. – Without getting into too much detail, PPC success is highly dependent on choosing the right keywords. Keywords are the words or phrases that you assign to your campaign that lets Google know when to display your ad. To be as effective as possible, you must choose the key words and search terms that your potential patients are using when they search for dentist services in your community. BUT, it’s best not to make your terms too broad as you risk spending most of your budget competing for clicks that most competing dentists are targeting. For example, if you live in a highly populated area, choosing generic terms like “dentist” or “dental office” can be futile – and expensive. Stick to more specific terms or phrases when crafting your campaign like “cost of dental implants” or “affordable dentist.”
Reason #2: You’re directing clicks to your website’s homepage. – This is a big no-no. When your potential patients are searching for a dentist online, they usually want to make an appointment immediately – preferably in the same day. If they are searching via their smart phone, they want to be able to click to call right within their search. So, if you take the time to create a great PPC ad that entices people to click and then send them to your website’s generic homepage that doesn’t have any of the information they were originally looking for, you’re set up for disaster. And by disaster, we mean your new potential patient will choose another option that gives them the info they were originally searching for. Instead, each click on your ad should take them to a landing page with the specific information they were searching for. For example, if your patient clicked on an ad with a coupon for veneers, the click should take them to a landing page with ONLY information about veneers and the special you’re running with a very clear call to action (ie – how they call to make an appointment.) It takes a little more time, but it’s imperative.
Reason #3: Your ads are stale. – As we said earlier, PPC is not “set it and forget it” marketing – that includes keeping your ad copy fresh. Here is what you need to know about PPC ads:
- Google likes fresh ads. If you consistently update your ads, your quality score can improve (more on that later), and your ads may display higher in the search page.
- Your patients like fresh ads. Many times, your patients do a few searches before they choose a dentist, particularly if they are trying to choose a specialist for a procedure like implants, wisdom teeth removal or extensive cosmetic work. If they see the same tired PPC ad over and over, they are more likely to skip over it in favor of something fresh.
A great PPC campaign has a couple different ads that are revised frequently if it’s not getting the results you’re after.
Reason #4: Your Quality Score is dropping. – Google assigns your PPC “account” with a quality score and it influences everything from how high your ads display in a search to the amount you pay to bid on each keyword. Needless to say, it’s important to have a good quality score. If your ads aren’t getting an adequate number of clicks or your landing page isn’t converting clicks (ie – enough patients clicking on the “make an appointment now” button), your quality score suffers.
Reason #5: It’s being ignored. – We know we’ve said this before, but it’s just that important. Your PPC campaign should be tended to every day and adjusted based on the data that Google provides. It truly is a good investment to partner with a marketing firm that has staff members that are Google Adwords certified and have experience (and success) with PPC.
If you’re ready to try PPC to increase your new patient flow, contact our experienced dental PPC team today. We can help.