The Quick Start PPC Guide for Orthodontists
By Amanda Weber
In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics you need to know before you attempt PPC advertising. Whether you plan to take a DIY approach or work with a professional, this is critical information you need to know.
What is PPC?
You likely see PPC ads on a daily basis, even if you aren’t familiar with this type of marketing. Frequently, PPC ads appear right at the top of Google search results, giving them prime placement.
PPC stands for Pay-per-click. As the marketer, you only pay for the ad when someone clicks on it. Hence the name.
PPC ads are a good option for orthodontists because you can target your specific audience—both by location and the type of dental services they’re seeking. And you’ll only pay for your ads if/when someone actually clicks on them.
“PPC can pay off if you have the budget. It’s a guaranteed way of getting your ad the best placement …” – Forbes
How Does PPC Work?
Because PPC ads appear right alongside organic search results, the process for getting prime placement is similar to the process of ranking organically on Google. The price for your PPC ads will depend on the demand for similar ads.
The more orthodontists who are using PPC in your area, the more expensive PPC ads are likely to be.
You’ll be bidding on specific keywords. Google will analyze bid prices, combined with the quality of your ad and the landing page your ad is pointed to. From there, Google will determine an overall ranking score.
The higher the score, the more visible your ad will be.
Let’s take a closer look at the specific components Google considers when determining your ad’s rank.
The keyword for your ad should be a specific word or phrase related to the service you’re promoting. You’ll want to identify several of these and use them as a set.
You’ll also need to determine the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per click.
Finding the right keywords for a PPC campaign is a bit of an art. The goal is to maximize performance while minimizing cost.
Every PPC ad links to something. That “something” is almost always a landing page on the advertiser’s website.
While you could use your homepage (or any other existing page) for your PPC ad, we recommend against it. PPC ads perform best when the associated landing page includes copy that closely aligns with the message of the ad.
Your best bet is a custom landing page for each separate PPC ad you run.
SERP stands for “search engine results page.” It’s the list of results you see when you do a Google search.
Google’s algorithm will analyze searches and determine if your ad is relevant. Relevance is based both on your keyword and on the content of the landing page your ad points to.
This is important. Strong keywords and well-crafted ads aren’t enough. You need relevant, compelling landing pages, too.
If Google determines that your ads and the linked landing page are a good match for the search and you’ve bid enough on the related keywords, your ad will display with organic search results.
This is the whole shebang. It includes your selected keywords, text ads, URLs, and landing pages.
The better the overall package, the higher the quality score Google will associate with your ad.
What Are the Pros and Cons of PPC Advertising?
Is PPC advertising suitable for your orthodontics clinic? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Your orthodontics office is almost certainly focused on a local area. After all, people aren’t traveling far for the kind of services you offer. That being the case, there are some strong advantages to PPC for building your book of patients.
Here are the pros to PPC advertising for orthodontists.
If done well, PPC is very cost-effective.
You only pay when a visitor comes to your page. Plus, you get to decide exactly how much you're willing to spend.
That makes it easy to determine (and stick to) a marketing budget.
You can adjust your campaign and keywords along the way, constantly optimizing them for better performance.
If a campaign isn’t working the way you expect it to, you can course-correct on the spot.
You can target your audience based on things like language, geographical location, and even device type.
That makes it really easy to go after the potential patients you want to go after—whether they are located in a large metropolitan area or in a specific neighborhood.
PPC ad campaigns yield almost immediate results, making them much faster than organic campaigns.
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As strong as the advantages are, PPC ads aren’t for every orthodontic practice. There are a couple of cons you should be mindful of.
PPC is more technical than other forms of advertising. And while this guide is enough to get you headed in the right direction, it’s hardly everything you’ll need to know to run successful PPC campaigns.
If you want to get the most out of PPC ads, you’ll need to do one of two things:
- Become a PPC expert, yourself. That means pouring over multiple PPC guides, learning how to run campaigns, doing your own keyword research, and keeping up with changes as Google adjusts how PPC ads perform.
- Hire an expert to handle PPC for you. This is far more efficient but comes at a cost. If you’re not prepared to budget for both the PPC ads and the professional help needed to make them successful, this may not be a good option for you.
“If you want your PPC campaigns to remain effective, you have no choice but to evolve. In some cases, that evolution will mean thinking about things very differently than before.” – Search Engine Journal
If you don't manage and optimize your campaigns constantly, their costs can increase while the conversion rate drops. You could end up paying a lot for not much in return.
In other words, PPC is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. You (or your PPC partner) will need to monitor results and make adjustments as needed.
How to Set Up PPC for Orthodontists
Whether you choose to work with a pro or tackle PPC campaigns on your own, it’s helpful to have an overview of the setup process. This is a high-level summary of what it takes to actually set up PPC ads.
1. Research the Competition
Before you design your campaign, you’ll want to do some quick competitive research. If you know what your competitors are doing, that will give you an idea of what currently works.
For example, you’ll learn about keywords you may want to target, Google searches that include PPC ads for other area orthodontists, and what kind of landing pages those PPC ads are pointing to.
Pay special attention to their ad text and their landing pages.
2. Find the Right Keywords
Keywords are the heart and soul of a PPC campaign.
Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find out average click-through rates (CTRs), cost-per-click (CPC), and search volume for various keywords. Google Keyword Planner will even show you a difficulty score for each keyword. That will tell you how hard it is to get your ad to show up in organic search results.
3. Focus on a Specific Location and Service
To attract local patients, you’ll need to include your location and specific services in your ads.
Why? Because a shocking number of people use basic, location-based searches when looking for service providers on Google. Terms like “orthodontist near me” or “braces in Buffalo Grove.”
The better you know your ideal audience, the more specific you can get with location and services.
4. Build Your Ad Account
You’ll need to define your ad campaigns by adding keyword groups. Each campaign will have a total budget, and each ad group will have a list of keywords.
You’ll need ad copy for each ad group. This copy is what will get patients to click through, so it’s important.
Keep the following in mind:
- Use the target keyword in the headline and body of the ad
- Use action-oriented language
- Use language that differentiates your services from your competitors
- Highlighting the benefits of your orthodontics service
You should also have a well-designed landing page with a clear call to action (CTA) that further entices visitors to make an appointment.
5. Start Your Campaign
Once you have everything in place, all that’s left to do is actually launch your PPC campaign.
PPC is complex. That’s as true for orthodontists as it is for any other industry.
A PPC expert can help you create and run your campaign. They’ll research keywords relevant to your business, set up your ad accounts, track your ads, and optimize your content for high conversions.
Furthermore, if you get a specialist who has handled PPC for orthodontists in the past, you will be drawing from a wealth of knowledge on how to market dental practices successfully.
If you’d like more information about how Market Hardware can help you launch high-converting PPC ads that pull in new patients, contact us today.