Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a method of paid promotion that requires you to pay for ads to your site whenever someone clicks on them.
There are lots of different PPC outlets that you can use, and they're all great ways to get qualified traffic.
However, not every PPC outlet is necessarily a good fit for your private practice. It's important that you spend your money on PPC platforms that can reach people in your area who want to see a doctor.
Fortunately, lots of PPC outlets give you options for who you want to target and how you want to run your campaigns. The major selling point of PPC is that it's nearly impossible to overspend, making it perfect for any marketing team regardless of the funds at your disposal.
Platform #1. Google AdWords
Google AdWords is credited as the first modern PPC outlet. It launched in 2000, and it's been Google's cash cow ever since.
In fact, Google earns billions in revenue from AdWords participants. But individual advertisers don't actually pay that much to get their ads on Google.
You can use Google AdWords for pennies each day, if you wanted. It all depends on the keywords you want to target, the traffic you want to acquire, and the competitors you want to engage.
One of the best features of Google AdWords is that you'll never pay for impressions, or times when people see your ad and click on someone else's. You only pay for your ads when someone clicks to your site from the ad itself.
So if you show up in organic search results for a certain keyword and you also have ads showing up for that keyword, you won't pay anything if someone clicks to your site via the organic results.
With all of that in mind, Google AdWords is a powerful advertising tool. And when you consider that Google is the most popular search engine (and website) in the world, it's no wonder that it's also the most popular online advertising platform.
The AdWords system is one of the most simplified and streamlined advertising processes in the world.
- Make an account
- Research keywords you want to target
- Research your competition to see what they target
- Decide which keywords you'll target
- Create landing pages to accompany those keywords
- Create an ad on Google AdWords for a keyword that links to your landing page
- Set your bid limits
- Set other parameters you want (like time of day)
- Launch your ad campaign
To make an account, all you have to do is create a username, password, and set up your AdWords information. That includes everything from your name to payment methods.
Next, you need to research keywords that you want to target with your campaigns. You can use the AdWords Keyword Planner to find out how useful a keyword is, and you can use third-party tools like FAQfox to generate additional keyword ideas.
At the same time, you should check on what your competitors target. You can do this by looking at the data from the AdWords Keyword Planner, searching for industry keywords in Google to discover ads, or using tools like SEMrush to learn about your competition.
Once you have all of that information, it's time to decide which keywords you'll target. The best keywords will often consist of multiple words that show a user is looking for something specific. So if you want to get people to your office for flu shots, the keyword "where can I find flu shots in [your city]" will be much more valuable than the keyword "flu shots." The longer keyword shows that someone is looking for a specific service in a specific area — one that you can easily fulfill.
Your next step is to create specific landing pages that deliver the information someone would want from your ad. For a private practice, that could mean linking to a page that lets people make appointments, a page about certain illnesses, or a graphic you created about a certain topic.
Finally, it's time to create your ad. For AdWords, you'll most often use text-only ads that consist of a few short sentences to entice users to click to your site. Then, you link that ad to your landing page to create a good user experience.
Once your ad is ready to go, you can set your bid limits. Google AdWords operates on an auction system, and the higher you bid for a keyword, the better your ad will show in search results (generally). You'll never big higher than what you set, and if you beat all of your competitors with your bid, you'll only pay a penny more than the next-highest bid.
One of the last steps is to set the parameters of your ad. For most practices, this means setting a time limit during the day when people will see your ad. It could also mean restricting your ads to a certain geographical area. For example, if you ran a doctor's office in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you wouldn't want your ads to show up for users in Lancaster, California since they're too far away to become clients.
After everything is set up, it's time to launch your campaign. Start it up and track your results to make sure your ad performs well. Make some changes if it isn't. And if it is, enjoy the results!
And remember — because Google AdWords lets you advertise for such a small investment, it may only takes one new client to completely pay for an ad campaign and then some!
Platform #2. Bing Ads
But Bing doesn't have nearly as much traffic as Google, and its advertising platform isn't as popular either.
So why would a private practice use Bing Ads?
Actually, there are a handful of compelling reasons to use Bing instead of (or with) Google.
- Bing Ads has fewer advertisers, so there's less competition for your practice
- Fewer advertisers also means lower bids
- Bing processes about 20% of all US searches, which is still a huge audience
The first point is one of the most important for small private practices. If there are other doctor's offices in the area, they probably don't use Bing Ads because fewer businesses in general use Bing at all.
That means you have full access to anyone who researches your industry using Bing.
The second point is also important because it means you can spend less money for the same keywords. In some cases, you may be the only advertiser targeting a keyword at all!
Finally, the third point is critical since it proves that even if you work in a small town, you can still reach people with Bing Ads. They process billions of searches each year, and some of them are bound to be for your business.
The best part about Bing Ads is that you only need one new client from your PPC campaign to pay for the whole thing. A single client can potentially pay for all of your PPC initiatives with plenty left over for profit.
So while Bing might not be as popular as Google, Bing Ads can still be profitable for your private practice!
Platform #3. Facebook / Instagram
Facebook's PPC network is similar to the systems that run Google and Bing. But instead of keywords, Facebook lets you choose your target audience based on their interests and page likes.
There are a few advantages and disadvantages to that system.
On the one hand, you can engage people directly on the most popular social network in the world.
On the other hand, you can't base your whole ad campaign on individual interests as a private practice. You could get clients who have any number of different preferences, so narrowing them down by interest isn't helpful.
That's why it's more important to use Facebook's geographic options. That allows you to show your ads to people in a certain area, like your city.
These Facebook users are safe bets for potential clients since they're nearby. But still, you can't tell when someone on Facebook will need a doctor's visit.
With that in mind, Facebook is definitely an option for a private practice if you want to advertise. But Google and Bing may provide a more reliable source of new clients.
For more on Facebook advertising, check out our page on Facebook marketing.
Platform #4. Twitter
Twitter PPC is all based on targeting customers by the people they follow, what they tweet, or what they search on Twitter.
This makes Twitter an excellent resource for a private practice looking to get the word out and attract some new clients. Twitter has hundreds of millions of users, and some of them are bound to be near you.
Still, Twitter is one social network that's more popular in some areas than others. It's important for you to know whether your audience of potential clients uses Twitter at all. If they don't, taking out Twitter ads probably won't help your practice that much.
To find out if your potential audience uses Twitter, go to Twitter and search for your city's name. Then, sort the results by "Account" and scroll through what you find. This will show you whether people in your area use Twitter.
If you don't find many relevant results, then Twitter may not be a safe bet for your practice.
But if you find lots of users in your area, Twitter ads might be a great way for you to get new clients.
Setting up an advertising account on Twitter is as easy as doing it on Facebook. You can start at ads.twitter.com and follow the instructions from there.
Platform #5. StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon is a great way to drive traffic to your private practice's site, but it probably won't all be qualified traffic.
That's because StumbleUpon only limits ads by interest categories, as opposed to geographic locations. So if you take out an ad to popularize an infographic you created, you probably won't get a new client from the ads.
Still, you could get a link from it.
StumbleUpon is a double-edged sword — it attracts lots of unqualified traffic that can promote your brand, but that doesn't necessarily translate into new clients.
Instead, StumbleUpon is best used as a link or traffic building strategy.
All you have to do is create an account, navigate to the Ads portion of the website, and add the pages you want to advertise.
StumbleUpon will then promote those pages with their users so people with similar interests can find your content.
Most of the time, StumbleUpon works best with visual content. That includes images, infographics, and videos.
Blog posts don't work as well since they're primarily text. Still, if you find an interest category that's complex and requires text, you could be able to use it to get traffic and awareness.