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June 2015

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Search Marketing

How PPC Can Help Outperform Competitors

Google doesn’t explicitly advertise it, but you can use pay-per-click (PPC) ads to appear above competitors and get access to more advantageous real estate on the search engine results page.

Behind the scenes, however, PPC campaign managers and search engine optimization (SEO) experts know the truth: over time, Google searches have skewed toward serving ads – in the form of paid search.

These ads are all PPC, and they appear well above organically ranked results.

According to Web Strategies Inc., PPC ads account for 25% of all clicks on a search results page. You can see why in the image below:

Capture Of Google

 

In this image, I’ve Googled “dentist in Philadelphia” – and the top 3 results are PPC ads, as well as the 6 results on the right side.

What you might not realize is none of the results pictured above are organic listings. The seven starred listings on the left are local-maps listings, which aren’t the same as organic results.

This means the practices with PPC ads are getting better search results real estate than their best-ranked competition. Google is pushing the boundaries of how far down they can shove the top-ranked organic listing. So far, organic is now below “the fold.”

The reason why is clear: Google is a business, and organic listings don’t pay the bills. They’re useful, but user experience does not trump profitability.

So, PPC is a surefire way to get your practice to the top of search results – which is great news for practices who feel like they’re behind the curve when it comes to their competition. Organic rankings take more time overall and can take a while to see results from your efforts. PPC levels the playing field – but what does that mean exactly?

While PPC ads get 25% of clicks, on average, the very top organic listing gets about 30% of clicks.

If you aren’t the top ranking result, or even on the first page, you can easily double, triple or quadruple your click rate by appearing in a PPC ad above the competition.

That’s because after the top organic rank, clicks drop off precipitously. The 2nd top organic listing gets about 14% of the clicks. The 3rd gets about 10%.

By the 6th organic rank, the listing drops to less than 4% of the clicks.

So, if you rank somewhere after the top 5 organic listings, a PPC campaign could easily quadruple your click-through rate from 2% to 8% – which is a huge increase that would also quadruple your leads.

One Caveat

PPC can be extremely powerful, but it’s not an overnight solution to automatically increase the number of patients to your practice. As with every other type of advertising or marketing, it needs to be a part of a cohesive strategy.

Be wary of marketers and self-proclaimed PPC experts who tell you that PPC can change your business overnight.

Have any questions or comments? Leave them below and we’ll answer them as best we can!

 
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Practice Marketing

How PPC Can Help Reach Your Ideal Patient

You probably have very specific types of patients you want to bring into your practice. There’s a way you can target these people, and speak to them directly – though you might not realize how simple it can be.

I’ll illustrate how easy it is with a (true) story about a young man named Alec Brownstein who was looking for a job.

Job searches are similar to searching for new patients. There are lots of jobs and patients out there, so in order to find the one you’re looking for, you need to focus on specific traits and attributes. For a doctor, those traits might be a specific medical need, or a specific location – or it could get even more detailed, like how old they are or the kind of bedside manner they prefer.

For Alec, he was looking for a specific type of job in the advertising field in Manhattan.

So he started what he called the “Google Job Experiment.”

He set up some pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns through Google AdWords, targeting the specific people in Manhattan’s advertising world who could hire him for the job he wanted. When these people inevitably Googled themselves, his ad was at the top of the search results.

Alec’s experiment worked. He got several interviews, and two job offers. His total out of pocket costs? $6.

This example might sound far-fetched (you can view the video here), but it’s illustrative of how you can craft a message that’s for the exact type of patient you want. The beauty of PPC is that you only pay if someone clicks. Someone only clicks if they’re at least somewhat interested in what you have to say.

For a practice targeting new patients, the costs are significantly more than $6, but the return on investment can be just as compelling.

What is an ideal patient worth to your practice? Someone who is in dire need of your services, comes back year after year for continued appointments, and pays on time, in full could be worth thousands of dollars.

A recent white paper we published estimates an average patient’s lifetime value could be worth over $9,000.

Your ideal patient could be worth even more – especially if you’re offering expensive services.

Normally, to find this type of patient, you can hope they’ll walk in the door, or you can hope your existing ideal patients will refer similar friends and family – or you can advertise.

The problem with typical advertising methods is they’re not very targeted, which means you’re paying for lots of people to see your ad, most of whom are not at all interested.

Moreover, you could spend thousands of dollars on advertising and never have a clear idea of its efficacy.

PPC is different because you can see exactly how many people are looking at the types of ads you want to place. You know exactly how many clicks your ad gets, how many visits to your site, and how many phone calls and appointments.

You can accurately measure your return on investment with concrete data.

The Key Takeaway:

If you’re already spending money on other forms of advertising, you should seriously consider starting to use PPC. It doesn’t have to be expensive to get started. There’s a learning curve to the process, but once you find something that brings in your ideal patient, it can be a game-changer.

 
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Search Marketing

Get New Patients with Permission Marketing

Permission marketing can help you reach exactly the types of new patients you want, for less money than other types of marketing, and generally less effort.

But first, let’s talk about how permission marketing differs from “interruptive” types of marketing.

You see interruptive marketing all day long and you either ignore it, are interrupted by it OR, in some very specific and minute circumstances, you respond favorably to it and take action. You may even have paid for interruptive marketing channels, like newspaper ads or radio spots.

While this type of marketing is common, it isn’t very focused, and you have no way of knowing if most people who see your ad have interest in what you’re offering. People put up with interruptive marketing because they realize it’s what pays for the content they’re receiving – and even though it can work, no one particularly likes the interruption.

Permission marketing is different. Only people who want it, get it. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it’s a relatively new way of looking at your initial relationship with your customers.

Instead of interrupting your prospective patients with a disruptive advertisement, you get their permission (or tacit permission) to give them helpful information they actually want.

According to Seth Godin (the online marketing expert who coined the phrase back in 1999),

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”

This type of interactive marketing is only possible in an interactive medium – like the Internet.

Newspaper, TV, billboards – these medium are one-way, non-interactive platforms. The customer’s choice is only to look closer or to look away.

Permission marketing, like opt-in email subscription, search engine results, pay-per-click (PPC), social media and text messaging alerts, work better for the simple reason that the people who get the messages have asked for them because they’re interested in the subject matter being presented.

These forms of marketing are also much easier and cheaper, (if not free) for several reasons:

  1. Paid permission marketing is efficient.

For paid forms of permission marketing, like PPC, you target exactly the small subset of search terms you think your customers will search for. You’re not paying to have an ad appear in every printing of a newspaper – you’re only paying to be seen by people who want exactly what it is you have to offer.

Even better, since everything online is tracked, measured and documented, you can easily see how well your paid efforts are working. You can make meaningful changes based on feedback and get exact data on what kind of return on investment you get for each campaign.

  1. Free permission marketing (like Social Media) is easier.

When someone friends or follows your practice on social media (like Facebook or Twitter) you have multiple chances to forge a meaningful, helpful, informative and even collaborative relationship with your potential patients. You don’t have to ask for them to book an appointment up front, you can have a conversation that displays your value, dispels objections, and provides answers to questions. Ultimately, it lets them choose when and how they want to contact your practice to schedule an appointment.

  1. Permission marketing is not salesy or pushy.

You don’t have to come up with catchy marketing tag lines or aggressive sales techniques. You can be yourself, post about your practice and share your thoughts and experience in an honest, “no-strings-attached” manner. For the 98% of us who aren’t pushy salesmen types, it’s much more natural and less stressful to be straightforward.

So how can dentists get started with permission marketing?

Keep in mind, permission based marketing is all about talking to people who are already interested in what you have to offer. Where interruptive marketing is focused on a specific action or result, permission marketing takes a longer, more relaxed view at your relationship with potential patients.

And that’s what you want, right? You want a result where patients who come to you based on trust, who get to know you, and ultimately decide you’re the right fit.

 

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