Digital marketing can be very effective for healthcare practices. Search marketing techniques, like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, can get the word out about your products and services to people who wouldn't otherwise know about your practice and the healthy services you offer to the community. If you've hesitated to use pay-per-click advertising to increase the revenue generated by your medical practice, it's probably time to re-think your position. PPC advertising is a cost-effective way to get your products and services in front of consumers who are actively searching for information on your specialty in your target market.
What is PPC advertising?
PPC advertising is a digital marketing technique where ads appear on websites, search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, MSN, etc…), content networks and social networks (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn) when web browsers are looking for complementary information or related keyword search terms. For instance, if a person searches for diabetic dessert recipes, your ad for your class on nutrition for diabetics might appear. Or, a search on Google for tooth pain may yield ads from cosmetic dental practices promoting wisdom tooth removal. The advertiser pays each time a viewer clicks on the ad, not for placing the ad itself. The click directs the reader to your website/landing page, where it's up to you and your staff to convert that reader into a contact or new patient appointment.
Points to consider when deciding on PPC advertising
PPC advertising has proven to be an effective and efficient way of driving new patient referrals. PPC advertising is affordable (especially when compared to TV and Radio), yields almost immediate results, captures patients in their moment of interest and is not affected by periodic search engine algorithm changes (which Google seems to do many times a year). However, PPC is not the right choice for every healthcare practice. Before you invest your money in a PPC ad campaign, stop to consider the following:
1. Your product mix. PPC advertising is most effective for businesses--and medical practices--that sell specific products and services in addition to general healthcare. If your practice offers medical equipment, wellness seminars or health and exercise classes, pay per click advertising is likely a good choice for you. If your specialty is of a sensitive nature (infertility, incontinence, ileostomy, bariatric surgery, etc…), then PPC advertising can be a perfect match for capturing new patients conducting searches in the privacy of their own home.
2. Your commitment to your website. For PPC advertising to work, you need an attractive, easy-to-navigate and user-friendly website. PPC campaigns will drive potential customers to your website or landing page, but you still need to capture the contact information and ultimately the appointment. PPC doesn’t work if you’re only concerned with the number of clicks your ads are getting. Make sure your website is optimized for conversions to maximize your PPC investment. If you don't have the time or personnel to keep your site updated and functioning well, PPC advertising is probably not worth the investment.
3. The popularity of your products. PPC advertising depends heavily on the popularity or search volume of the keywords in your ad campaigns. If you have a terrific service or product, but it's not something people know about and/or are looking for, then keyword selection and targeting strategies becomes more vital to the success of your program. Advertising on competing keywords may be able to increase your impression size and awareness for your product or service, but you must spend some time researching search volumes in your targeted market. If you don’t have the time to invest, then PPC may not be the best fit for your service at this time.
Ways to use PPC advertising in healthcare
PPC advertising can be extremely useful to clinics and healthcare providers looking to drive cost effective referrals and generate new patient revenue. Below are just a few ways you can use PPC to boost your bottom line and your impact on the local community:
1. To launch new auxiliary services or products. Is your practice launching a new wellness campaign, such as "living with diabetes" or nutrition classes? Or, perhaps your surgery center brought on a new physician, allowing your clinic to offer new services to the community. PPC advertising could be a good way to get the word out and increase the awareness/participation in your new program.
2. To find participants for a clinical trial. If you are spearheading a clinical trial and need additional patient recruits, digital marketing can reach people who aren’t aware of your trial and might meet all of your inclusion criteria.
3. To promote a new clinic or location. If your practice is opening a new office and clinic, PPC can reach potential patients in that new market who might not already be aware of your practice or the services offered at the new location.
PPC advertising can help healthcare professionals grow their business and help sell complementary health care products and services. However, before you decide to launch into pay-per-click marketing, stop to consider your product mix, your commitment to your website and the popularity of your keywords. Don't think that PPC advertising is just for traditional retailers or e-commerce websites. Healthcare related searches rank as one of the most commonly searched topics on Google. You can use this effective and affordable marketing technique to help improve both your healthcare facility's bottom line (revenue!) and its impact on your community's health.