Since the dawn of SEO, tech geeks and marketing moguls have argued over the superiority of organic search versus pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, including dental practice PPC. Some believe organic search reigns supreme, while others favor the predictability and control of the paid ad model. But there’s a third group: those who say the best digital marketing strategies employ aspects of both.
We fall into the last group, encouraging dental practices to hone their organic SEO while also engaging PPC. The trouble is organic search and PPC change so rapidly that keeping your finger on the pulse of best practices takes time and effort you probably don’t have.
Get the Most From Your Dental Practice PPC Campaigns
Either way, leveraging the full potential of organic and PPC traffic for your dental practice is ideal. But that means staying on top of the latest digital marketing trends. Here’s what you need to know about the current state of dental practice PPC and how you can use this digital marketing tool to connect with more patients.
1. Set a Budget
The average PPC ad yields a return of 200%, which means for every dollar you spend on paid ads, you’ll earn $2 in the chair.1 Of course, the ROI for paid ads isn’t an exact science and by no means a reason to budget for an unlimited ad spend.
It’s all too easy to get carried away and overspend on your paid advertising. Instead, approach your paid ads strategically by setting a maximum daily budget to prevent overspending. Once you have a set budget, take a look at the number of new patients you’re getting from your paid ads. For each month of your PPC campaign, divide the total amount of spend by the number of new patients specifically attributed to that campaign. This will tell your CPA, or cost per acquisition (where “acquisition” is your dental practice’s new patient), and can help you determine the success of your paid ad strategies.
When you aren’t sure what to spend, look at your previous PPC campaigns. If you haven’t yet run a PPC campaign for your dental practice, start small and work your way up to a level where you’re getting a good return. Most dentists spend between $1,000 and $5,000 monthly on their total marketing strategy, including PPC.2
2. Tailor Your Audience Targeting
You know most of your potential patients are looking for you online, which is why PPC is so important. A well-designed paid ad campaign can get you to the top of the search results page, but is your practice appearing in the right searches?
Use the available targeting tools to specify which types of dental patients you want. Do you want to expand your pediatric dental practice? Or maybe you’re more interested in senior dentistry? Is your practice looking to expand into new service areas, or offer specialty or emergency dental services? All of these are potential differentiators that can help you hone in your targeting strategy to reach prospective patients who are the right fit for your practice.
And don’t forget to target your location, too. We talk about the importance of hyperlocal search when it comes to your SEO strategy, but location is also something you should factor into your paid ad campaigns as well. Most people are looking for a dentist within 15 to 20 miles of home, if not closer. Set your ad targets for the right locations, so they’re only displayed to potential patients in your coverage area.
3. Use Ad Extensions
In the past, PPC ads could be a little restrictive because of their limited real estate. But now, you can purchase ad extensions from Google to provide more detailed information in your PPC ads.
Opt for a local extension to include information like your dental practice’s address, office phone number, and business hours. You can even add a site link extension to include links to multiple pages rather than one landing or home page.
4. Research Relevant Dental Practice PPC Keywords
Your PPC ad will only be successful if you choose the right keywords. This is much more challenging than you may think because the competition is fierce—there are plenty of other dentists trying to rank for the same keywords.
Start by using long-tail keywords—keyword phrases of three to four words instead of a single word. These longer keyword phrases allow you to qualify and refine broader keywords by adding information related to location, service type, and other specific terms related to your practice. In general, the more specific the keyword phrase, the less competition. And when it comes to paid ads, the less competitive the search term the more affordable it will be to target.
PPC is a challenging but necessary part of a balanced digital marketing strategy. If you’re interested in learning more about crafting the best paid ad campaigns for your dental practice, Dreamscape Marketing can help. Call 888.307.7304 to schedule a strategy session.
For a list of references, please contact us.