Should I do Google Ads for my practice? Does PPC marketing in dental work?

We get this question a lot so we thought we would finally talk about it. Pay-per-click or Google Ads in the dental space can be an effective way to drive new patients to a practice if done properly. Before we get into what “properly” means, let’s first set the stage with what PPC Ads are […]

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We get this question a lot so we thought we would finally talk about it. Pay-per-click or Google Ads in the dental space can be an effective way to drive new patients to a practice if done properly. Before we get into what “properly” means, let’s first set the stage with what PPC Ads are and how they work.

In the most general term, Pay-per-click ads refer to an advertising model where marketers pay a anytime a consumer clicks on one of their ads. You see PPC ads frequently on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc when you search for something.

Pay-per-click ads can also be found in other places such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and just about anywhere else in your digital life. We won’t get into those other platforms right now since most of the time, clients are asking us about Google Ads.

In search engines, advertisers place a “bid” (or an offer) on a search “keyword” (e.g. “dentist near me” for $20). If they are selected by the search engine (meaning, their offer was high enough bid, their ad is relevant to the search, etc) they get to show their ad to the consumer. After that, if the consumer clicks on the ad, the advertiser then pays the search engine for that click. The amount they pay is the amount offered on their bid.

The reason why PPC ads can be a good avenue, especially for new dental offices is that…

You don’t need to have a high SEO ranking, a long digital history, an active social media presence or anything else in order to play.

If you are willing to pay for the clicks, you are in the game. For new practices without a lot of history or brand recognition, this can be an effective way to create some awareness and get some new patients quickly.

Now back to an earlier point; what does doing PPC marketing “properly” mean. At Pain-Free Dental Marketing, we believe it has to do with how carefully you choose the words you bid on and how precisely you capture a searcher’s “intent”, not just the keywords themselves.

To illustrate what we mean, let’s do a little experiment. Open a new browser tab right now and type in “worst dentist near me”. Here is what I see:

Is this really a search you should be willing to pay money for? OF COURSE NOT!

A practice showing an ad for “worst dentist near me” or “cheapest dentist near me”, almost 100% of the time is just throwing money away.

If their google campaign is being triggered for low quality terms like those, it is likely being triggered for many other keywords we’d consider “trash” and/or very low intent. This is usually due to the fact they are targeting the words “dentist near me” and other dentistry terms without being specific enough.

But let’s say that the keywords are great and there is no waste in there. The next question is…

What do the ads say to consumers? Is it engaging? Does it contain site link extensions or click to call button?

Remember that on PPC ads, showing up on the page is now really a victory if the new patient doesn’t click on your ad. With that in mind, it is important that the ads are compelling and take advantage of all the features Google make available in order to give your ad the best chance to stand out. Continuing our experiment, which of these ads most catches your attention:

Let’s look through them.

  • The red ad, is the least engaging ad. All they say is that they are open and they are near my area.
  • The yellow ones, while still not super robust, they at least have their phone number as an extension. The first one, gives us a value proposition at least by showing that they have same day care available.
  • The green one on the other hand, is doing a lot of things right. It gives the most information about what they offer, has the phone number available and links to common pages on the site. The ad also takes up the most room making it more noticeable.

That example above shows how important having a compelling ad is. This is your first shot at capturing their attention, you need to take advantage of all that is available.

At this point, your keyword selections are really honed in and your ads are looking great. You are finally getting those clicks. Hooray! Right? NO!

Once you get users to click on your ad, you have to take them to a place that will make them feel connected with you and want to book an appointment!

This is where having a really well built landing page or website comes into play. It is important that you capture their attention right away. The area on your site that visitors see before they have to “scroll down” is the most valuable for that. You need to show off your personality, what makes your dental practice unique and why they should choose you. Your landing page for your ad should also be relevant to what the user searched for. If they searched for dental implants, make sure to take them to a page where you talk about that. Video testimonials also work really well. This is your chance to convert a visitor into a new patient, you have to make it count.

So to answer the original question, “Is Google Ads effective in getting new patients for a practice”? The answer is a resounding Yes! IF… you have the right strategy behind it! That means:

  • carefully crafted keywords
  • compelling ad copy
  • landing pages that engage with the perspective new patient

Not all Adwords or PPC campaigns are created equal.

If you are not seeing enough results (whether you are doing it yourself or via a company), there is something out of alignment. We recommend you start investigating each of those areas we talked about today to diagnose where the issue may be. If you do hire someone, we recommend you look for a company that is Google Certified and Microsoft Ads Certified as they will typically have a little more knowledge on those main platforms. We also highly recommend someone who knows the dental space since it is very different that selling widgets online.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!