So, your practice is doing okay. You’ve built a local reputation, have a good list of past patients… but your goals are bigger than “okay!” Now, you need ways to drive in more NEW patients. You’ve heard of practices using Pay-Per-Click (PPC), but wonder: is it really worth the time & money?
Or, perhaps a big competition is moving in and starting to take some of your traffic. Maybe they’re already using Google ads… Will you be able to compete & achieve your marketing goals?
Here’s the problem: PPC takes effort and mistakes can be expensive.
There’s no “easy button” either! Results don’t just happen by taking action, you have to actually do it well which makes the playing field not-so-level for practices without a large staff.
That said, Pay-Per-Click remains one of the most popular forms of advertising for small businesses.
And it has been for over a decade! So, it must be profitable when done correctly… right?
Well, let’s take a look at this example of a Dental Practice in Washington State:
Their goal was “significant new patient growth.” To accomplish that, they made a plan and added PPC to their website marketing. Results immediately began to climb each month. 10 months later, the practice had reached a 400% Increase in Website traffic, 500% Increase in phone calls, more new patients per month, and even maintained an affordable patient acquisition cost:
With a well-made plan and some best practices, this business succeeded at boosting new patients AND made it worth the money spent. They created a source of many new patients at a good acquisition cost that they can control – turning up or down depending on how much they want to spend.
“But do I have time & resources to get the same results?”
That’s a valid question to ask yourself. After all, jumping in unprepared could waste all your ad budget and leave you feeling like PPC will never work (meaning your competition can have results to themselves).
Not to fear!
I’m going to outline the 7 vital steps you need to confidently build a PPC Marketing strategy that acquires new patients and avoids expensive mistakes.
7-Step PPC Plan For PT Clinics:
Start With An Effective Website
Once you start your PPC campaign, you will see an influx of traffic to your website. The most important preparation step is ensuring your website ALREADY does a good job getting people to schedule with you.
Think about it: If your current website gets 1,000 visitors per month, but only 1 or 2 patients, paying for 1,000 more visitors will only get you up to 3 or 4 and isn’t likely to be profitable.
To convert visitors into patients, your website will need to follow a handful of proven tools including condition-based pages, appointment forms, and more. Check out the 9-step checklist we use for our sites here: The PT Website Checklist
Create Specific Landing Pages
A landing page is simply a website page that a searcher lands on after clicking your ad. Using a landing page instead of your homepage greatly increases conversions by keeping visitors focused on the topic they searched for. If your keyword is “Back Pain,” use a back pain landing page that talks about ONLY back pain and has a clear call to action to schedule a back pain evaluation.
Be sure to include plenty of information on your landing pages. In many cases less is more, but Wordstream advises healthcare advertisers to provide plenty of content because people want a LOT of information when it’s a matter of their health.
Write Down Your Keyword Strategy
Keywords are phrases potential clients use when searching for a pain that you help relieve. At a basic level, a user types in a keyword you are bidding on and your ad gets shown. This should be the biggest part of your research.
First, start with the obvious. “Physical Therapy YourTownName” and “Physical Therapy Near Me” are the most likely to attract the right visitors. However, they’re also most likely the most expensive and have high competition. So don’t stop there.
Next, what are 3-4 common conditions do you treat? Back pain? Neck pain? Knee pain? This is a way to reach people who don’t realize they need Physical therapy yet. Don’t start with too many especially if your budget is small, but doing this will give you as much as 5x more reach than just using “physical therapy.”
After you write out your keywords you’ll need to learn about the different Match Types. A “Match Type” is Google’s way of matching your keyword to what people actually search. Understanding match types is important, so here’s Google’s explanation. To put it simply though, don’t use broad keywords if you’re just starting. Phrase and exact match will waste less money.
Calculate Costs & Competition:
There are a lot of free tools that can make Competitive research a whole lot easier. Comparing your competitors paid search efforts will give you an idea of which tactics are used in your niche.
First, you can see how many people are searching for the keywords you chose AND see what others are paying for them to get an estimate of the costs of doing PPC in your region. Here’s how:
A good benefit about Google is it allows you to bid manually to have total control over your budget. But if you want to have your ads appear at all, you need to know what others are paying for the same spot & try to start there.
Next, do a Google search for the terms you want to bid on & write down what your competition is saying in their ads. What are some ways you can stand out from them?
Commit To Your Plan
As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. Don’t plan to try Pay-Per-Click if you aren’t ready to stick with it for at least a few months. Google’s algorithm learns your audience over time, so give it that. On average, PPC campaigns make 3,300% more return on ad spend on Day 30 than on Day 1.
“On average, PPC campaigns make 3,300% more return on ad spend on Day 30 than on Day 1”
Activate Conversion Tracking
What’s the one thing worse than wasting money on ads? Spending it and not knowing whether or not you wasted it.
Between Google Ads and Analytics, you can track everything from how many people are seeing your ads to what they do on your website after the click. Decide what stats you’re going to watch & make sure they’re set up before starting. These stats will then tell you if you’re getting worthwhile returns from your investment or if you need to change an ad or landing page.
Schedule Regular Times To Evaluate & Test
One critical action that separates successful PPC users from average ones is testing. There’s no perfect answer on what ad types, verbiage, images, etc. are best in your town. But if you keep up with your reporting you can see what’s working and what isn’t.
Schedule when you will set apart time for testing & reports – at least 1-2 times a month. (Keep in mind after you make a change, it can take 2-3 weeks to have enough data to make an informed decision).
The Final, Most Important Step:
Get started! Give yourself a target date to turn on ads by & work your way through the list above. If you do, you will have a source of many new patients at a good acquisition cost that you can control. What’s more, this plan will keep you ahead of the competition.
PPC advertising can drive a lot of new patients IF it is planned & implemented well.
Just don’t underestimate the time needed. As a practice owner, you don’t have to go at this alone. You can plan & implement a successful strategy that grows your clinic while delegating parts of this either internally or externally.
As long as it’s done well, it will be worth the investment.
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