When it comes to online marketing, there are many different strategies out there that your practice can use to market to prospective patients. Increasingly important to an effective online strategy in your practice are search engine and social media marketing. Whether you’re aiming to rank higher on Google, or want to build your presence on Facebook, these strategies are critical because they help get your practice visible on the sites where prospective patients are already spending their time.
One strategy we wanted to highlight this week is Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which consists of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements that appears in the sponsored links section on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
How it Works
PPC advertisements work by displaying targeted text ads in search results depending on the keywords that a user is searching for, and where they are located. So, for example, if a patient were searching for the keyword “dentist” and was located in the Charlotte, NC area, advertisements targeting that keyword and geographic area would be eligible to appear. Each time your ad is clicked, the user is taken to your website, and you are charged for each click.
Why it Matters
Consider the example of a newspaper advertisement. If you were to run an ad in the Sunday paper, you’d be paying a lot of money to get a good amount of exposure. The problem, however, is wasted coverage. Many readers may not be looking for a dental provider at all. So you, the advertiser, end up spending a lot of money on getting the attention of readers who were never potential patients to begin with.
PPC, on the other hand, eliminates wasted coverage. Your ads are ONLY displayed when someone is specifically searching about a topic related to them. Additionally, since you’re only paying for clicks, rather than impressions, PPC can be an incredibly affordable method of acquiring new patients.
Sesame has found that the type of users clicking on advertisements are often further along in the buying cycle. That is, they are closer to making a decision about who to choose for a dental provider. Through research of our Members, we’ve discovered that 79% of all calls generated by PPC campaigns are new patients.
Where to Start
One of the most compelling aspects of PPC advertising is the ability to get a campaign up and running quickly. To get started, you can create an account on Google AdWords or Micorosft adCenter, and have your first campaign launched in a matter of minutes. There is enough complexity to each of these programs, however, that it can be worthwile to study the best practices in Pay Per Click campaign management, or work with a certified specialist.
For more information on PPC Advertising, be sure to Check out Dr. Larry Emmott’s blog, Emmott on Technology, where he highlights the value of a paid search strategy for a dental practice.