If your medical practice or hospital is investing in search engine marketing, make sure you avoid these common pitfalls.
For healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes, search engine advertising has become a cornerstone of any successful digital marketing strategy; however, campaigns that are improperly designed, implemented, and/or managed can end up costing you more than you might expect.
Here are five common mistakes that many medical marketers make when running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google. Luckily, with a bit of research, time, and support, issues like these can be addressed in a relatively quick and painless manner.
Underutilizing Google AdWords’ More Advanced Features
AdWords offers a number of key features and functionalities that medical marketers can leverage to increase the efficacy of their ads.
- Dayparting: allows you to specify specific days or times in which your ads will run
- Sitelink: include additional links within a standard text ad
- Click-to-call: allows users to click on a phone number in your ad and have a call placed to that number
- Location extensions: allow you to include location information in standard text ads
Advanced features like these will help you increase the overall degree of customization, take up more real estate on the search results pages, and increase the click-through rate and ROI of your campaigns.
Failing to Leverage Google’s Location and Demographic Targeting Capabilities
Google provides an array of advanced targeting options for advertisers. Segment your audience based on location (either a permanent residence, zip code, or current physical location), or based on key demographic information (age, sex, average income, etc.) For example, if you’re running a general practice, you can serve ads for gender- or age-specific treatments.
Not Actively Managing Your Campaigns
AdWords offers an array of performance monitoring tools designed to help you assess the impact and cost of a given ad campaign. In turn, this allows you to make informed, strategic decisions in real-time, or leverage those insights when designing new campaigns. While there are many metrics worth tracking, the four I recommend keeping a close eye on are:
- Cost per click
- Cost per lead
- Conversion rate
- Tracking URLs
These data points will help you evaluate the overall success of your campaign, as well as provide clear evidence of the ROI of your marketing efforts when budgeting season rolls around.
No Landing Pages Associated With Your Campaigns
One of the mistakes I see time and time again is healthcare ads linking to a provider’s homepage. Importantly, this is not the same as sending a user to a landing page. In addition to providing users with information that’s highly relevant to the ad they clicked on, an effective landing page compels the user to take action, such as booking an appointment or requesting additional information.
Keep your landing page free of extraneous links or too much unhelpful information — these will only serve to overwhelm the user, or distract them from taking action. Each individual campaign should always have its own, unique landing page so its performance can be monitored on an individual basis.
Bidding Incorrectly In Paid Search Markets
Your goal on AdWords should be to balance your cost per click with your rankings. Bidding too aggressively can dramatically increase your cost per click; underbidding will likely result in your competitors consistently outranking you, diminishing your visibility on search and therefore, your ability to attract new patients online. While of course there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, being proactive about performance monitoring and adjusting your bids will help you make informed decisions and maintain that optimal balance.
With consumers taking more and more control of the decision-making process in the buyer’s journey, you need to be sure your online marketing efforts are aligned with prevailing best practices — the livelihood of your medical organization literally depends on it.