There are a ton of different advertising techniques, but one of the most popular is pay per click or PPC. When researching advertising it’s likely to come up often, but can be a bit confusing to understand. Today we’re going to look at what PPC advertising is, and how it can help you bring in more patients to your practice.
PPC stands for pay per click, and that’s exactly what it is. In this form of advertising you pay per click on your ads. One of the most popular PPC advertising channels is Google Adwords. Whenever you do a Google search check the top 2 results, and on the right hand side of the results. For many searches, you’ll see a few items here labeled as ads, these are PPC ads from Adwords, someone is paying each time a user clicks through one of those ads and visits their site.
PPC is part of a larger group generally called paid advertising. This is in contrast to organic marketing which relies more on long term growth and can often be doneFim for free. The key here is that PPC costs money to run and maintain. While that might be a bit scary at first, PPC and other paid advertising techniques generally have a much shorter time to results that organic. For that reason, a good marketing plan incorporates each side for both short and long term gains.
Before getting started with any sort of advertising always make sure to understand your target market. You don’t want to be spending money without having clear goals and objectives. A big part of PPC is targeting, so starting with a goal and an idea of your market will help make sure you spend your dollars effectively.
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Read about how you can troubleshoot your own Local SEO problems and coordinate those efforts with your PPC campaign by reading our article here.
Is PPC Good For Dentists?
The answer is a resounding yes, and for more reasons than one. To start, dentists have a very high lifetime customer value. This means that even a large upfront investment can be worth it over time. This opens the door to PPC and other paid advertising much more so than businesses with smaller margins and less value per customer.
Another great benefit for dentists is the very valuable buyer intent that comes from those looking for their services. Those that are looking for dentists need their services now, and don’t need to be convinced or shown the benefit. They’re more concerned with the dentist being close, open, and providing the service they need, and the hard part of sale is already done.
Compare that to most consumer facing products. If someone searches for a television that could mean a large number of things. Maybe they want to by one, or maybe they’re doing research to purchase one in the future. Perhaps they’ll never buy one, and simple decide they don’t need it. With dental services you have none of these problems as those looking for one already understand the service and the need.
Another great benefit of PPC is its mobile compatibility. Google’s adwords look great on mobile devices, and appear like organic searches which means more clicks. The same is true for many other PPC providers, they all understand the importance of mobile users and have built their platforms around them.
How Does PPC Work?
To get a picture of how PPC works we’ll first look at Google Adwords. There are many other platforms out there for PPC advertising, but Adwords is one of the most popular and many of the core concepts with apply to others.
The first concept to understand is the idea of a keyword. When you create a PPC ad on Adwords you center it around a keyword. This keyword is basically just the text of a Google search; for example “Dentists Near Me”. When you select a keyword you’re saying you want your ad to appear on Google search results when people search it.
Keywords are usually generated through extensive keyword research. During this, you’ll generally come up with a long list related to your services, and then prune it based on search volume, cost, relevance, and other factors.
Once you’ve selected the keywords you’ll have to bid on it. This is saying how much you’re willing to pay for a click on a particular ad. The more competitive a keyword is the higher you’ll have to bid in order for your ads to be shown. It’s important to understand that you’re in essence competing with other advertisers for the limited ad space on each search. It stands to reason that Google (along with other providers) are going to want to display the ads that make them the most money. If a competitor is bidding at $5 per click and you at $1 there’s a good chance their ad will show before yours. Once you’ve done all that, you’ll pay up to your bid each time someone clicks on your ad.
In addition to the bid, Google also has a quality score that helps determine ad placements. A high quality score helps offset a lower bid price, so should always be as high as possible as it ultimately saves money. The quality score is computed based on your keyword relevance and your landing page quality. You want the page that the ad is directed at to match closely with the keyword that is being bid on.
Another big player in the PPC space is bing ads. These are similar to Google Adwords, but are placed on Bing search results instead. What’s interesting is the demographics for Google and Bing are different, which opens up new opportunities for advertisers.
It’s also important to know that Bing is generally less competitive than Google. While this can mean less clicks, it also means less in ad spend. A savvy marketer will use a combination of both Google and Bing to both effectively target different audiences and save money.
In addition to these two many social platforms also have PPC programs. One of the most popular is Facebook’s. Facebook provides a lot of great targeting options; they have a lot of information on their users which allows advertisers to effectively target even very niche groups of people.
Even platforms like Linkedin have PPC ads available, giving you a wide range of options. It’s important to note that different social platforms have different audiences, so it may not always be beneficial to advertise there. Take some time to understand the platform and make an informed decision before jumping into to any PPC platform.
Why PPC Campaigns Fail
In a lot of cases PPC tends to get a bad rep as many see it as expensive and ineffective. While this isn’t always the case, it is certainly easy to fall into the above scenario. Let’s look at some common reasons why PPC campaigns burn through budgets and ultimately fail.
Running a dentistry practice is time consuming, and adding managing PPC campaigns onto that is often too much. PPC is not a set it and forget it solution, it requires constant management, tweaking, as well as a large up-front investment in time.
Before jumping in, ask yourself if you have several hours each week to manage the campaign. You’ll need to be able to review spend, measure results, and make changes to optimize your ads. You’ll also need to spend time understanding all the metrics, and be able to make accurate decisions based on performance, and know how those decisions are going to affect the ads going forward.
If not, then it might be a good idea to work with a professional. While a good PPC manager is expensive, it’s well worth the results it can bring.
Links to the Homepage
One of the biggest issues with beginners is linking their ads right to the homepage of the site. In general, the homepage is not optimized to convert traffic in this way.
For most ads, you’ll want to have a dedicated landing page that is specifically created to convert traffic from the ad. For example, if you create an ad for orthodontics, you want to make sure the page that the user is sent to is relevant. Sending them to a page that then requires them to click through links is going to end up in a lot of visitors immediately leaving.
Remember, internet users are lazy, they don’t want to spend their time looking for what they want. The point of the ad is to get them their results with the least possible amount of resistance.
What Successful PPC Campaigns Look Like
Now that you’ve seen some of the pitfalls that ruin campaigns let’s look at some items to make sure yours is a success.
Understanding your market and your services is the first key to a winning campaign. This involves a bit of keyword research, so start by thinking about what types of search queries a user might use to look for your services. Then think about the services you offer, and the different ways to describe them.
Not only does this bring in more targeted traffic, but it can also help save money. The more specific your keywords get, the less competition they have. The keyword “Dentist” might be super competitive, while “Family Dentist in Chicago” is going to be less so. You might see these referred to as long tail keywords, and are a good place to start for those looking to just test the water.
Most PPC platforms also give you the ability to target by location, so make sure to utilize it! Adwords for example let’s you target by city, state, zip code, and more. Use this to localize your ads to those near you. You could also specifically target nearby areas that might be underserved or that lack a particular service you provide.
In order to determine a campaign’s success you need to be able to track what’s working. This usually involves seeing which keywords people are clicking on and which ones ultimately lead to conversions.
The first step is to determine which types of conversions matter to your business and you want to track. This could be a phone call to your office, filling out an online form, or completing a booking. The key is that it should be a revenue generating activity, and something measurable to compare to ad performance.
Most PPC platforms are going to provide both analytics for the actual ads as well as a way to track events on your website. Adwords for example provides snippets of code you can include on your site that will report when certain events have happened such as filling out a form or clicking a phone number.
Once you have this tracking in place you can begin to optimize your ads. Make sure to regularly look through them, and see how they are performing. If an ad is doing well try increasing the budget. If an ad isn’t it’s a good time to investigate potential changes or scrap it all together. This iteration is the foundation of a strong, long-term PPC campaigns.
Another powerful feature of most PPC platforms is the ability to schedule ads. This means that you can run specific ads only during certain hours of the day. When to do so is tied to the intent of the ad.
For example, if you have an ad thats goal is to generate a phone call then it’s best to run it only when someone is around to take the call. On the other hand, if the goal is a form submission it may be better to spread the budget out throughout the day in order to capture a wider range of people.
Check out these 11 Actionable Tips for Finding More Dental Patients here!
PPC Campaigns for Dentists
PPC is a great way to bring in new patients and when done correctly can yield great results. Often misunderstood, it’s well worth the effort to learn and can be a serious boon to your business!