Are you on page one of Google? Or are you just waiting for your SEO to kick in?
Pay-Per-Click advertising often gets a bum rap, but the truth is people do click on sponsored ads if they are ready to take the next steps. According to http://www.wordstream.com/articles/google-ads, almost two-thirds of clicks go to sponsored results for high commercial-intent keyword searches. Even better, 89% of traffic generated by the search ads is new traffic outside of the organic reach.
What to know about PPC
It is appealing to think that natural searches and rankings can drive all traffic to your site, but in truth, Search Engine Marketing (also called SEM or Pay-Per-Click or PPC) should likely be part of your marketing plan. If you don't use it, and your competitors do, it is almost impossible to grow your customer base and your business.
MediaSmack does a nice job explaining SEO vs. PPC. In a nutshell, SEO is an expensive, long-term approach to ranking well in an organic search. PPC is a more immediate way of ranking high and converting users. PPC advertising puts you in front of potential customers whether or not your site appears on the first page of search. Functionally, it interfaces directly with the effectiveness of your SEO. The more relevant your site is, the better your pay-per-click marketing performs. In turn, Google rewards you for relevance with better placement or better rates.
Why think about PPC
While we whole-heartedly believe that content marketing is best for organic/relevant search and key to any marketing strategy, it's hard to imagine a doctor wouldn't pay $200 to acquire a patient needing a $10,000 procedure. If you look at PPC as a complement to your other marketing efforts, it makes sense.
How to do it
The key to effective SEM is fine-tuning your strategy before agreeing to pay-per-click charges so that the dollars you spend on clicks are most likely to convert into clients. This takes you back, once again, to knowing your customer. Are your clients male or female? Young or old? Where do they live? What procedures do you offer that they want most? Over time, you can adjust your placement and pricing to ensure the necessary return on investment for this marketing outlet.
As with SEO, you can set up SEM on your own, but SEM experts are plentiful and a worthwhile investment. There is an art and science to PPC and these professionals will save you tons of time evaluating the most appropriate SEM programs. As with all of your marketing tactics, the more research you and your SEM vendor conduct, the more accurately you target your customer at an ROI that works.
Be sure to tie your PPC program to Google Analytics (see Google Analytics post). This is one more nugget of valuable customer insight. Google Analytics can track all PPC data for Google Adwords to help you get the most from your investment.
What to expect
Effective SEM will require up-front planning on keyword strategy and good control over a clean client database so you can target your marketing geographically. Once your campaign launches, review results regularly! Look at click rates, conversion rates, bid rates, and cost-per-lead numbers to optimize your program. You’ll want to routinely test ad copy and landing pages to maintain – no, maximize success! It’s really an ongoing review and tweak-as-necessary process. As the program pays for itself, plan to increase the amount of your budget you spend on SEM
For more information about PPC and other essential marketing tactics, download our Marketing Checklist for Doctors and Dentists (Download PDF for Free)