By Amol Nirgudkar, CEO
Whether you’re opening your first practice and wanting to drum up a patient base—or you’ve been practicing for years and want to increase your daily revenue, you know that being visible is the key to attracting leads and turning those leads into returning patients. One of the better known dental online advertising tools is Google AdWords, a paid service that positions ads for your practice at the top of Google’s search results page. Like any marketing strategy, the success of AdWords depends on the skill of the person deploying it.
No AdWords campaign can be successful without properly testing and re-testing your keywords and tweaking them to achieve targeted results. For your dental practice the most important element, however, is the ability to hold the AdWords campaign accountable. In other words, tracing the success of a particular campaign ultimately to a specific phone call from a potential patient is key.
AdWords campaigns that do not complete the customer loop can be a huge waste of your precious marketing dollars. With Dentist Profit Systems, you can easily complete this essential loop with our system of custom tracking phone numbers.
What is Google AdWords?
AdWords is the most profitable product offered under the Google brand and in 2012 was responsible for generating $42.5 billion for the company. When a front-end user performs a search on Google, the very top results on the search engine results page (SERP) are generally AdWords. These ads are designed to look like an organic result, but you can distinguish AdWords by their subtle blue, pink, or yellow highlighting. Adwords belong to a category of online advertising called pay-per-click. The advertisements themselves can be customized according to your specifications so that they reach your target audience via specific keyword search phrases. For example:
A high-end Tampa cosmetic dentist wants to make sure that his ad reaches his target demographic of older married women in a higher income bracket. He should customize both the wording of the advertisement itself and the keywords that will pull in traffic from Google accordingly. He may use keyword/phrases like teeth whitening, veneers, and smile makeover. He would want to avoid keyword/phrases like family dentistry or inexpensive Tampa dentist since those terms are not likely to be used by his target audience.
Do es Google AdWords Work?
Yes, with conditions. The numbers clearly indicate that AdWords can help improve an advertiser’s business. For instance, the Google Economic Impact Report asserts that, on average, advertisers make $2 for every $1 they spend on AdWords. Practical eCommerce also states that ads at the top of the SERP (where AdWords appear) experience 10 times more clicks than ads on the side of the page.
However, AdWords only works when it is deployed correctly and this is where you can expect to pay more than merely the cost of ad space. In addition to selecting a robust list of keywords and keyword phrases, the ad itself must be well written and well designed. Google provides a great deal of AdWords training, from free online guides to formal exams and certification programs. You or a staff member might invest time in training, setting up, and maintaining your ads. Alternatively, you have the option of working with a marketing firm that specializes in AdWords. Your accountant or marketing consultant can offer trustworthy recommendations in this regard.
What Does the Research Say?
A great deal of research has been conducted on how Internet users look at an advertisement. Using calibrated webcams, researchers can track the eye movements of a person looking at an ad to determine where the most effective visual elements are located on the ad or computer screen. The researcher is presented with a color-coded “heat map” that looks very similar to an infrared scan. Areas of an ad that attracted more immediate or more concentrated visual focus appear red, while areas of less visual interest appear yellow, green, or blue. Google AdWords heat-map tracking shows that the highest concentration of visual interest occurs at the top of the SERP screen, where the AdWords ad appears. Thus, the research clearly shows that the top position on a SERP is important in drawing the attention of search engine users.
Organic Results: The Magic Bullet or Not?
As opposed to paid results, organic search engine results appear on a SERP as the natural, unpaid result of original, keyword-rich website content and social media activity attracting Google’s attention. Research conducted independently by GroupM UK and Nielson showed that Google and Bing users click on organic search results an incredible 94% of the time, while only 6% click on paid ads. Organic results are clearly the most viable option but, like AdWords, their success depends on a strong online presence and the skills of the person writing, designing, and managing your website and social media content. If your website does not get picked up by Google, you won’t show up on the SERP.
Over the past decade, Google has done an incredible job of observing and documenting behavior of people who search. Using smart algorithms, they can predict user preferences and match them to search results within a millisecond. Thus, top organic rankings are achieved only if you truly provide the most relevant content. By spending money with Google Adwords, you are allowed a real-time peek into actual searches performed by prospective patients within your local reach. A perfectly calibrated Adwords strategy not only allows you to show up in more places, but more importantly it allows you to define and calibrate your organic strategy.
A word of caution is important here. In our experience, we have noticed that many dentists get caught up in daily management of Adwords campaigns. The Adwords system has hundreds of options that offer endless customization vis-à-vis your chosen keywords, ad groups and various settings. Running an impactful Adwords campaign takes enormous time and effort by virtue of the options but also by virtue of Google changing the rules on a daily basis. At Dentist Profit Systems, we have a dedicated Google partner team on our staff that adjusts, monitors and enhances your practice Adwords campaigns on a daily basis.
In today’s rapidly changing world, it is hard enough to keep up with our own fields of expertise. Trying Adwords at home is not a recommended strategy as it can lead to significant overspending for not so great results.
In our view, Adwords is an absolute must to your dental online marketing strategy. Using it wisely is more of an art and at Dentist Profit Systems, we believe we have made great strides in refining that art.