Pay per click advertising can be an extremely effective advertising media for general dental offices looking to generate new patients, if done correctly.
It is very easy to waste a large portion of your advertising budget if you’re targeting and settings are not optimized correctly. The wrong setting can have your campaign show for the wrong search terms or show in the wrong geography, potentially wasting over 50% of your total ad budget, which no dental office can afford. Taking the time to set up and manage your PPC campaign correctly is well worth the effort, and here are some tips to guide you.
Which keywords should I target?
Not all dental offices are created equal. Their focus and positioning in the market influences the types of patients they want to attract, and in turn the keywords they should target with their digital ads.
If your dental practice is ‘fee for service,’ then you probably don’t want to target phrases that include dental insurance terms. Should your dental practice have a bright and modern office with new technology, then including terms around ‘modern dentists’ or ‘high tech dentist’ may make sense (but make sure your website has images or videos that convey this). Not all dental offices focus on children as patients, so the terms related to ‘family dentist’ may not always be appropriate.
For example, some of our dental clients want to target terms related sedation dentistry, or patients who suffer from dental anxiety or who have not been to the dentist for many years, whiles others clearly do not. On one side, these patients have shown a greater tendency to travel farther to go to a dentist of their choosing and are less insurance driven, but on the other side, these patients can be ‘higher maintenance’ and require a higher level of care and time. Other clients also have different opinions on targeting treatment phrases on ‘root canals’ and ‘wisdom teeth,’ both of which have significant traffic, but some dentists prefer not to focus on those treatment areas.
Another example relates to the equipment or technology dentists have invested in, which they want to target and promote. If a dental office has a CEREC machine, then we’ve found success in targeting ‘same day’ or ‘single visit’ dental crowns, as all patients want to save time with their treatment and this provides a competitive advantage. Dental lasers in an office also present the opportunity to target ‘no shot,’ ‘no drill’ or ‘no pain’ dentistry terms, again a way to differentiate a practice in their ads.
Which keywords have a higher tendency to convert into dental patient leads?
This is the million dollar question. What are the red ‘meat phrases’ that we’ve found have generally converted at a higher percentage and get potential patients to email or call a dental office?
Over the years running these dental Pay Per Click digital ad campaigns, we found that certain key phrases tend to drive more conversions. We look for phrases that patients likely would not search if they are just information or window shopping. Rather the phrases which generally are searched when patients need to see a dentist. One good example we can highlight:
‘Emergency dentist’ – If we needed to choose one phrase, this would be it, as if someone is experiencing a dental emergency or is in pain, they immediate concern is how soon can a dentist see them. This can cover ‘emergency,’ ‘same day,’ ‘urgent’ and ‘24/7’ terms coupled with dentist and dental office. And few, if any, people would casually search for an emergency dentist, so this can be a highly motivated audience to target with ads.
One note about targeting emergency patients, if your may want to schedule your ‘emergency’ ads to correspond when your office is open. Emergency dental patients want to be seen within a day if not sooner, and generally won’t wait a few days. If you do not offer Saturday hours, then you may not want to schedule your digital ads to show Friday evening or Saturday, and start up again Sunday, to correspond with your Monday appointment availability. PPC ad platforms like Google Ads give you the flexibility to manage when your ads show, so again don’t waste your limited ad budget.
Don’t forget your negative keyword list
Building an effective and targeted negative keyword list is one area we see many genral dental offices overlook. A negative keyword list are the terms, whether alone or part of a larger searched phrase, for which you do not want your ads to show. For our dental clients, our negative keyword lists usually include phrases such as cheap, discount, pro bono or clinic. So you may want to show for all search phrases that include the term ‘dentist,’ but with this strategy your ads will not show when someone searches ‘free dentist’ or ‘cheap dentist near me.’
Additionally many patients will search the names of specific dental insurance to see who accepts that insurance in their area. So for example if your practice does not accept participate with ‘Delta Dental’ insurance, the term ‘Delta Dental’ should be added to your negative keyword list, so you don’t waste your budget one terms like ‘dentists near me who accept Delta Dental.’
By not effectively building and managing a negative keyword list strategy, you can easily waste a large of your total advertising budget.
These are a few tips on how general dental offices can maximize their reach, targeting and return of pay per click ad campaigns. Start small and be very targeted, as you can easily expand your campaign, but better to be laser focused (no dental pun intended), and find the right patients online. There are many other tips that can build better digital ad campaigns, so if you’d like to discuss a PPC ad campaign for your dental practice, give us a call, and ask for Rob.