We hear from a lot of dentists that they’ve tried PPC (pay per click) advertising in the past and it didn’t work. That’s not surprising since most PPC is done poorly. What probably happened is a few generic ads were created, they set a daily budget and directed clicks to the home page of their practice website & forgot about it.
Online dental advertising has become very competitive with more dentists shifting most (if not all) of their marketing budgets online. So, a set it and forget approach to PPC is sure to produce lackluster results.
Why Many PPC Campaigns Fail
Most online advertisers make the mistake of sending visitors to the home page of their website. Others who are more sophisticated know to at least send them to the page of their website that matches the search term (for example a search for “dental implants” sends them to the dental implants page of the practice website).
There are problems with both of these approaches. First, if the visitor was searching for dental implants and ends up on the home page, they may get distracted before they ever get to the page about implants. Even if they were sent to the implants page, there is still all the navigation to the other pages of the site and they could again, get distracted.
Compounding the problem, most dental websites don’t have a clear call to action – they don’t lead the visitor to the desired action (setting an appointment). In many cases you have to hunt to even find a phone number.
Utilizing Landing Pages to Maximize Your ROI
If you are serious about maximizing your advertising dollars you need to create custom landing pages for each service you are promoting. If you want to market dental implants, Invisalign & sedation, then you should have a separate landing page for each of them.
This provides the searcher a consistent flow from search term to the ad they see to the page they land on after clicking the ad. Additionally, having relevant landing pages will improve your PPC campaign’s quality score (which results in paying less for each click).
Here are a few landing page best practices:
- Have a clear call to action – make it very easy for them to determine next steps
- Have a compelling offer – why should they call you vs. the next dentist in the Google results?
- No navigation – don’t give them the option of clicking to other unrelated pages
- Have a compelling headline – you only have a few seconds to grab their attention before they hit the back button
- Keep the copy focused – only talk about the one service that page is focused on
- Only use graphics that support your desired outcome – forget the stock photos of smiling models
- Make sure your core message and call to action are above the fold – they shouldn’t have to scroll down to find it.
Don’t Assume – Test!
Don’t assume anything – test everything. Just because you believe a certain offer sounds irresistible, or you love a headline, doesn’t mean your prospective patients will. With testing you can take the guesswork out and let your prospective patients vote with their clicks and phone calls.
A/B testing is where you test 2 variables at a time. For instance, you send half of your visitors to a landing page with headline 1 & the other half to a landing page with headline 2. Then once you have a statistically significant amount of visitors, you determine the winner. The winning headline then becomes your control. You can continue to test it against another headline or start your A/B testing on another variable such as the offer. The key is you only test 2 variables at a time so you know which one made the difference
Hold Your PPC Campaign Accountable
In addition to testing, you should also have accurate tracking in place. Much of this is built into Google and Bing’s PPC programs – things such as click-thru-rate (CTR) that tells you which of your ads produces the highest number/percentage of clicks.
The challenge with online dental advertising is that unlike many industries, your primary call to action is to get them to pick up the phone and call your office. So, there is often no actionable event that takes place on the website – like filling out a form or clicking a buy button. This makes tracking a bit more challenging.
This is where call tracking numbers come into play. These are phone numbers that are assigned to different landing pages so you can tell which page(s) produce the most calls. The calls can be recorded so you can go back and listen to how the phone was answered, whether they were a good lead or simply a tire kicker, etc.
The next phase is to determine the ROI of your campaign by looking at cost per lead, average value of a patient, etc. We’ll save that topic for a future article.