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The 12 Biggest Problems With PPC for Dentists and How to Solve Them

Problems Dentists Face With PPC, And How You Can Fix Them

Earning the top slot on Google for certain search terms is no easy feat. You not only have to adhere to healthcare marketing strategies, but keep up with Google's changing algorithms. And results can be hit or miss, as there is often a lot of competition going after the same keywords that you are.

​But there is a simple solution to your problem. If you're going to pay anyway, you might as well save yourself some time and effort by signing up for Google AdWords and using PPC.

What is PPC?

PPC for dentists, or pay-per-click advertising, has many advantages over other marketing methods. First, dental PPC can allow you to generate instant traffic and bring highly qualified leads to your dental website. It also allows you to have a great amount of control over how much traffic you gather (based on where you are advertising).

Pay per click for dental offices (or PPC) places you at the top of Google's search results for related keywords.

dental ppc problems and how to solve them

PPC can be performed on Bing, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, message boards, & basically any website out there that has ads. What you want to do first is to create a great looking ad. Below is the banner ad I used on one of the sites that I advertise on. It catches the eye, is clear, and easy to read.

ppc banner ad

Although you'll have to resign yourself to having the "Ad" icon that denotes a sponsored link, which could potentially deter some consumers, the upside is that you'll be the first link that appears for relevant search criteria. And being at the top of the list certainly can't hurt.

pay per click ad for dentists

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adwords mistakes for doctors

So while you should also engage in dental SEO for your website, you might want to hedge your bets with a PPC strategy. And there are several potential problems you can avoid in the process - so long as you're aware of them.

1. Directing to your home page

This is a common and unfortunate mistake that many businesses make. In fact, more than 25% of small businesses using AdWords direct their ads to only one landing page, and 1 in 5 small businesses direct all their PPC ads to their home page.

When you direct click-thru to your dental website, you want users to find the most relevant information immediately.So why would you send users in search of "teeth whitening" to your homepage when you could send them to a page on your site devoted to this service? Relevance is important.

Rather than making visitors go through extra steps, take them right where they want to go with your dental pay per click. Always make it easy for the visitor to use your site as opposed to making them take extra steps.

  • 2. Allowing broad matches

    The average account owner wastes more than 25% of their AdWords budget, or $300 out of every $1,200 spent. Part of the reason is that they often stick to broad matches.

    Yes, of course you want to be found by as many people as possible. But you also want the people who click on your ad to be interested in your services. Otherwise, you're paying for useless dental pay per clicks.

    When you allow for broad matches, you could end up with a lot more click-thru from visitors that have no interest in your site or your services, virtually wasting your money. Although it might increase traffic and potentially even hook a few strays, it's not worthwhile in the long run, and can cause you to burn through your budget.

  • 3. Generic headlines

    You may have noticed that some keywords can cost you more than others per click, and this has to do with demand. Obviously, you want to include words like "dentist," "dental," and "teeth" in your ads. However, this will pit you against every other dentist out there looking to do the same thing, and you'll pay for it.

    You need to find ways to make your headlines and search terms specific enough that everyone else isn't using them, but still broad enough that people can find you.

    Some like to bid on their name, but others think if they have a strong enough presence online, then your website and local listings should show up #1 for your business name, and you can thereby save yourself some money on clicks. You'll want to test out both and see what works better for you.

    dental pay per click mistakes
  • 4. Using suggested keywords

    Google is prepared to help you out by providing a list of suggestions that relate to your site or your current ad words. But you really shouldn't let them decide what's best for your business.

    In a sense, they are offering online marketing for dentists, but they're not marketing specialists and they don't know anything about your practice. You really need to take the reins here. And while you might end up using some of their suggestions, don't automatically assume that they'll all suit your needs and accept them wholesale.

    ​Take the time to regularly work on your dental PPC account. Optimize your ads at least once a week, adding things like negative keywords and extensions, and testing different methods.

    5 ways you can renovate your ppc
  • 5. Foregoing negative keywords

    One in five Adwords ads don’t contain any negative keywords. If your ads are among them, you might be so consumed with finding the keywords that best match dental websites that you fail to create a list of negative keywords - those that you would prefer not to associate with your business.

    For example, you might not offer a service like oral surgery, even though other dental offices do. So you wouldn't want to show up for such a search. In this case, you might select "oral" as a positive keyword and specify "surgery" as a negative keyword.

  • 6. Failure to localize

    Since most dentists own and operate private practices, they don’t need to target their advertising to other cities, states. You can significantly cut cost and competition by using dentists PPC keywords that help you to localize your ads.

    You can also improve your conversions by using the location extension for AdWords:

    Improve conversions using a location extension

    This extension allows you to show your address, a phone number and a map marker. In mobile ads, this will also include a direction link for users who want to get immediate directions.

    These ads help you stand out because you show up as a local business with contact information. This makes it very easy for any user to contact you in case they’d like to make an appointment. Your ad will also show up in the Google Maps app when someone searches for the keywords that you have tagged.

    To get this extension setup, you will need to either connect your Google Places account or manually enter the information. This is a great way to catch walk-ins and people who are new to the area.

  • 7. Failure to set up ad groups

    When you hire professionals to put together ad campaigns or perform SEO for dentists, you expect them to hit multiple platforms and tailor their advertising efforts accordingly.

    You need to take the same stance when it comes to AdWords, and Google provides an easy solution via the creation of ad groups. By setting up multiple campaigns, you can assign different ad words to each, in essence grouping different sets of words together, with each campaign or group associated with different advertisements.The PPC benefit for dentists is that you can target a variety of demographics with specific ads and the keywords that are most likely to appeal to them.

    The benefit here is that you can target a variety of demographics with specific ads and the keywords that are most likely to appeal to them.

  • 8. Lack of attention to phrasing

    The way you say something is often more important than what you say - just ask any professional that engages in online marketing for healthcare professionals. The phrasing you use carries different connotations and spurs different intellectual and emotional responses, so you need to think about how your phrasing affects those viewing your ads.

    For example, your PPC for dentist ads could use phrases like "find dentist," "discover dentist," "call dentist," or "search dentist". All mean more or less the same thing, but some are more appealing and compelling than others - and therefore more likely to drive traffic to your dental websites.

    The way you say something is often more important than what you say.

    The way you say something is often more important than what you say

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  • 9. Failure to track results

    You don't spend major money on dental website design and SEO and then fail to follow metrics in order to track and analyze your efforts. So why wouldn't you track your results when it comes to PPC ads?

    Less than half of small businesses track their PPC conversions. But Google provides you with all of the tools needed to stay up-to-date with the numbers on CTR (click through rate) and resultant sales, so take the time to peruse them, look for trends, and then use the information to improve your AdWords experience.

    Keep track of your CTR (click through rate) and QS (Quality Score) along with other metrics. You’ll want to dump the ads that aren’t converting and test new ads out. If you want something that is a ‘set it and forget it’ solution, PPC may not be for you.

    We also recommend that you use call tracking. It’s a feature only 1 in 20 small businesses take advantage of, but it will show you how many calls you are getting from your ads, which ads are generating the calls, which keywords trigger calls, and allow you to record the calls.

    ppc ads with call extensions

    Use a call extension and you can track calls made using your advertisement, while dynamically changing the number shown on your website when someone clicks through from your advertisement. This way, you can track every single lead you generate through your ad, allowing you to track the return on investment for your dental pay per click advertising.

  • 10. Cost versus conversion

    Call and location extensions aren’t the only way extensions can improve your ads. Many other AdWords extensions allows you to add different information to contextualize your ads:

    • Sitelinks Extensions
    ppc ad sitelinks extention

    There are two ways to display the Sitelinks extensions.

    Second method to using sitelinks extensions on ads

    The issue with adding more text is that Google decides how the ad will appear. Because of this, it’s best to set up the ad to have both kinds of links to be sure that all available information and links are featured.

    • Review Extensions
    ppc ad with review extensions

    Dental practices run on referrals and having a solid number of reviews show up when someone finds you on Google is a great seway to generate new business. Review extensions allow you to use third-party reviews in your ads.

    In order to use this extension, you need to first find reviews on reputable third-party sites such as TrustRadius or another Google-approved site. Here are Google’s review extension guidelines to help you get started.

    • Callout Extensions
    ppc ad using call extensions

    Callout extensions let you add more text to your advertisement. You can add short blurbs of text under your ad to help it stand out. This is a great way to talk about special offers, and services you offer, helping your dental practice stand out.Using both callout extensions and sitelinks is a great way to increase the size of your advertisement (as you add extra lines to your ad), making it more visible and, therefore, more likely to be clicked. Think about the special offers you might highlight. For example, a discount may attract leads.

    Take advantage of other extensions and Adwords features to make your dental PPC ads as relevant as possible.

    11. Cost versus conversion

    It's hard to determine the value of advertising in the beginning, but over time you can evaluate the amount you pay for certain keywords, the number of clicks you get, and the amount of conversions that result.

    Your goal may be to get as many visitors to your dental website as possible, but you probably don't want to pay $5 per click for it. On the other hand, you may be willing to pay more for keywords that deliver results like customers making appointments for cleaning, whitening, or other specific services advertised.Regardless, you need to take the time to weigh what you're spending for AdWords against what your PPC campaigns are bringing you in terms of paying customers. If the value isn't there, you'll have to change your strategy.

    12. Betting on PPC alone

    Another common mistake dentists make is putting all their marketing dollars in one advertising basket. PPC is a valuable strategy, but it is always best to diversify your efforts. You never know when something is going to change.

    My recommendation is try to make no marketing effort more than 25% of your budget. By diversifying you can ensure that your company stays afloat should one of your methods take a hit.


    Need Help with Your Pay Per Click for Dentists Campaign?

    Unless you are a dentist who moonlights as an online marketer, you probably need some professional help to create PPC ads that do what they’re supposed to — bring you new customers.

    For example, you will need a web designer to create your landing pages, and someone who is proficient in techniques like keyword research and A/B testing. Additionally, you need to combine PPC with other digital marketing techniques, dental SEO, to benefit from the synergy that happens when you combine multiple marketing strategies.

    If you are a dentist who needs help perfecting your PPC strategy, contact me for a candid discussion to figure out how we can help you start getting a major return on your investment from your PPC campaigns.

    How Much Are These AdWords Mistakes Costing You?
  • About the Author

    Tyson Downs, the owner of Titan Web Agency, has years of experience working with small businesses and helping them meet their revenues goals. Prior to starting Titan Web Agency, he freelanced in SEO and Web Design while working in the corporate world. Tyson is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the father of 5, and a passionate bodybuilder.

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