Google AdWords and AdWords Express are one of the most popular and effective pay-per-click (PPC) platforms. Google AdWords is impressive but a medical practice or healthcare agency must allocate a sizable amount of money directly to PPC marketing. So what considered a sizable amount of money? For more competitive industries (and keywords), like medical billing, estimates range from $6000 to $25,000 per month. This is usually more than what most small or medium-sized medical practices can afford. Does this mean that PPC advertising is impossible for these smaller healthcare providers? Not at all, instead, there is AdWords Express.
Google AdWords Express is a good option for small to medium-sized medical practices. The more complex and expensive AdWords system is something that is likely too much for many healthcare agencies and providers. AdWords Express is a more direct and affordable option that allows health professionals to set up a PPC campaign that will not break the bank. The Google’s PPC platform has added some helpful features that allow users to gain more control of their PPC ad’s keywords, as well as what other keywords their ads are displayed on the search engine results page.
There are also important features such as ad scheduling and improved geo-targeting. However, in practice, these features can hurt a PPC’s ads performance in AdWords Express. As a result, this advertising platform still needs to be used carefully in order to maximize your advertising dollars. Understanding how AdWords Express works is essential for generating any results.
With this in mind, here are 5 tips for healthcare providers who are using Google AdWords Express for marketing campaigns.
- Start with a Small Budget (and Monitor It)
For medical practitioners who are new to AdWords Express, this is probably one of the most important tips. It is recommended that one starts with a small monthly budget ranging from $300 to $400. Why start with a small budget? Perhaps the most important aspect of Google AdWords Express is that it is built as a budget-based advertising system. Google uses automated processes to control most of what the system does (or does not do). This means if a busy physician fails to set a budget, or monitor it, these accounts can pretty quickly burn through money. The system is built to streamline PPC marketing. It is great for advertisers who only want to spend a few hundred dollars a month on marketing, not a few thousands a month. Start by creating a small budget and build their way up to a comfortable budget level. This comfort level should be based on their PPC advertising success and comfort in using the AdWords Express dashboard.
If budgets are left un-monitored, Google can quickly spend the entire budgeted amount due to the use of automated bidding, broad match keywords, or irrelevant search queries. Each of these areas should be taken into account. The PPC platform uses broad match as the keyword match type, which means your ad can show up for a wide variety of search queries related to your products and services. As a result, this can waste money in a budget due to an excessive number of irrelevant searches and clicks. Keeping the initial budget low allows healthcare providers to take stock of how this affects their advertising results without spending too much money.
- Know Your Keywords and Switch Off Irrelevant Keywords
Once providers have selected a medical specialty in AdWords Express, Google will automatically generate a lengthy list of keywords that it considers to be related to your industry or specialty type. It is important to review this list in detail in order to see which of these terms are particularly relevant. These terms should then be added to the actual text of an ad. These additional terms and keyword phrases will increase the probability of patients clicking through an ad when they search for these healthcare-specific phrases.
Just as important, a recent addition to the AdWords Express dashboard allows advertisers to switch off some of Google’s suggested keywords. Showing up for irrelevant keywords is expensive in the long run for any PPC campaign. Non-desired searchers may click on a medical practices ad, which will, of course, cost you money each time they do so. For example, if a dental practice is advertising teeth cleaning, they would not want their ad being viewed and clicked by people looking for car cleaning services. Simultaneously, a poor click-through rate will negatively impact an ads quality score and lead to higher costs for more important keywords. As an initial step, PPC users can remove the keywords that they know are irrelevant before starting any AdWords campaign.
- Use Geotargeting & Ad Scheduling
This is a very helpful feature for medical practitioners and clinics. Healthcare facilities can use the AdWords Express dashboard to limit their ad placements to within a 40-mile radius of their location. There is also the option to target any geographic area, based on a town, county, or state. In fact, there is even a worldwide setting, but this would burn through a budget very quickly. However, most healthcare providers would never need to advertise on a worldwide scale. On the municipality, county, metro and state even level is where they will find advertising success. Setting the geo-targeted parameters correctly can be the difference between success and failure with this PPC platform.
At the same time, ad scheduling is just as important as geo-targeting. Ad scheduling allows health professionals to define exactly when they want their ads to show. For example, is the medical practice’s office hours limited to 8:00 to 4:00? Does a clinic only have people at the front desk between the hours 10:00 to 3:00? Depending on the healthcare specialty, ad scheduling can make a big impact on how well potential patients respond. If a clinic is running ads that drive phone calls after hours, these calls cost the clinic money; but are they really capitalizing on these calls. When using the ad scheduling feature, providers should set the PPC ads to display during normal office hours or customize them on a day-to-day basis. Some multi-site healthcare facilities or practices may only want to promote their PPC ads for specific locations at certain times. By using geotargeting and ad scheduling, healthcare providers can control their search presence to focus on the most profitable geography and times.
- Use AdWords for More Advanced Features
It is highly recommended that advertisers use either AdWords or AdWords Express, but not both at the same time. If doctors use both simultaneously they can end up effectively bidding against themselves, with both ads entering the same auction for the same search query. The key is for marketers to understand when the balance is starting to tip in favor of AdWords. AdWords Express allows seamless campaign set-up, some important levers to aid performance, and a slick dashboard to monitor performance. As budgets grow, advertisers may start to want more sophisticated options. AdWords requires more effort, money and time but can produce significantly better results than AdWords Express. However, for businesses with a smaller budget, AdWords Express can be a successful advertising option.
- Link Google AdWords Express & Analytics
Last, but not least. All medical professionals who are advertising their clinic or practice should have a Google Analytics account set up. After that, this account is easily linked to any AdWords Express accounts. The addition of Analytics allows a brick and mortar location to set more tangible advertising goals. Google Analytics provides helpful tools that help to clarify the success of any marketing campaigns. In addition, it allows for a much clearer view of how profitable a paid search (PPC) campaign is in relation to other the metrics. Healthcare providers can target their campaigns to attract clicks, calls or encourage on-site interactions.
Google AdWords Express is one of the easiest ways for small healthcare practices to use PPC tools and strategies. Many healthcare practitioners in smaller agencies and clinics are often forced to wear many hats and operate on a tight budget. Running an online PPC advertising campaign takes time and money. Two things that are often in short supply for smaller facilities. However, using AdWords Express is a possible solution that can drive traffic to a website and generate more new patients.
At ABCS RCM, we offer healthcare-focused marketing and website development for medical professionals. We also provide experienced medical billing, credentialing, HCBS Medicaid Waiver billing and workforce management tools (SaaS). For additional questions about this topic or other healthcare-related questions, please contact us.
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