I have had the opportunity to do pay-per-click advertising for clients in many different industries. Every industry is different so I'd like to share some of what I've learned from working with dentists to help dentists who are advertising for themselves and any PPC managers that have just signed a dentist as a client. Here are 6 tips that can help you improve your results:
1) Beware of broad match (and phrase match) keywords: Dentistry-related clicks are expensive so you need to make sure all your clicks are relevant to you. Having broad match, modified broad match and phrase match keywords are great for getting your ad in front of a lot of people whose search does not match your exact match keyword, but you lose a lot of control over where those ads show. I suggest using broad match keywords at a bid that is 75% less than your exact match keywords and phrase match at a bid that is 35% less than exact match keywords. That way your ad will still show for a large variety of searches, but when you get a click on an irrelevant search you are only spending 25% of what you would spend on your exact match keyword.
2) Use negative keywords: This goes a long with point #1. Because broad match and phrase match keywords generate a lot of irrelevant traffic, you need to use negative keywords to block as much of that bad traffic as you can. I've seen broad match keywords for dentists generate clicks for people looking for dentist careers, dental assistant jobs, dentist school, and dental insurance. By blocking that traffic you will save money that can go to finding people who are looking for dental exams and root canals.
3) Only show your ad near your office: Almost everyone looking for a dentist is looking for someone close to where they live or work. No one is going to drive an hour to go to a dentist if there is one around the corner. So you need your ad to show only close to your office. Luckily Google Adwords allows you to target your ads to a specific city, zip code, county, or a radius around your business. Geo-targeting will help you show your ad where it will most likely generate a lead.
4) Track more conversions with call tracking: This adds a little complexity and cost to your campaign, but it is worth it! Most people who make an appointment because of a PPC ad will be calling your office, not filling out an online form. Google Adwords can track calls from call extensions on your ad, phone calls from your website (by replacing your website number with a separate forwarding number for PPC traffic), or clicks on your phone number from mobile devices. If you want more information, I suggest using a call tracking service such as CallRail. This can be linked to your Google Analytics and Google Adwords accounts to show what keywords generate phone calls. It even records the phone calls so you can hear if it was a good lead! This gives your dentist office a lot more information about how effective the advertising is and how to improve it.
5) Watch Your Budget: Earlier this month I wrote about lost impression share. This is very important for dental offices. If you have a $1,000 budget and you are paying $15/click to get to the top of the page, your budget may not be enough for your position. You may be able to get twice as many clicks by dropping your bids and taking a lower position. With one dentist I worked with I lowered her cost-per-click by over 50%! You may think that conversion rate would also drop with the lower position, but studies have shown that conversion rate usually does not change much based on position. In my example, the conversion actually went up because of the negative keywords I added!
6) Why Not Try Bing?: Every online advertiser goes straight to Google because it is the Biggest. But if you have room in your budget you should try Bing Ads in addition to Google Adwords. It generates a lot of searches and there's generally less competition than in Google. Take advantage of the fact the other dentists are focused on Google and get some leads on Bing!
Do you need some help with your PPC? Contact me and mention this blog post and I'll give you a free audit and show you what you need to do to improve your results.