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How Dentists Can Stay Competitive in the PPC World

Maria Lopez

6 years ago



Today, competition in the dental market has become tougher than ever. Patients have more options at the tip of their fingers; they can find a family-friendly dental practice that takes their insurance, 15 minutes away from their home. After they find the specifics they are looking for, they will check what other patients have to say about you, your clinic, and your service.

Dental industries tend to target a radius location since users are only willing to travel a certain amount of miles to fulfill their needs. This is not only applicable to dental services but any other local service you can think of, too. The only thing that would make a client travel further than usual is a lower pricing, a promotion, or anything else that would compensate for the extra time taken up by travel.

When it comes to online marketing, you need to know the right location or radius you want to target to get potential patients who are actively looking for a practice close to them.

To run your dental practice successfully, you have to think about business operations, in addition to consistently delivering quality service to create loyal patients. It can be even harder to find new patients. You know how to be an outstanding dentist, but in a competitive market, how can you stand out?

Here are the top 7 things you need to do to stay ahead of your competition:

1. Define the Difference Between You and Your Competitors

You probably already know what sets your practice apart from the rest, but it is crucial that your potential clients are aware of your unique selling propositions, too. Focusing on your practice’s unique characteristics are sure to make you stand out. Remember, there are thousands of users out there who could be potentially looking for you or your services, but if they see the same thing on all the ads they encounter, there is no reason for them to be drawn to your practice over that of a competitor.

At the end of the day, you want to bring more clients to your office, get them to set up appointments, or have interest in your dental services. Therefore, make sure you:

  • Highlight your discounts
  • Emphasize that you take insurance
  • Outline the type of insurance accepted
  • Detail the type of services you can offer

Providing this information will not only save the users time but will also work as a filter to bring the right audience type to your clinic.

It is also important to mention, that you need to stay competitive in the market. If you are going to use messaging like “We offer the lowest price in the area,” make sure that this is true. You can lose customer loyalty if, after going to you, they find out your prices are not really the lowest in town. This is especially true if lower prices are what got them into your office in the first place. That could lead to bad publicity, like bad reviews.

2. Earn Your Patients’ Trust

The healthcare industry is all about trust, reviews they can find from your current patients, certifications you have earned through years of practice, or local listings you are enrolled in. To cultivate trust, make sure you keep these certifications and listings updated, and invest as much attention to detail as you would to your PPC efforts.

Make sure you encourage patients to leave feedback on your social media pages and review sites and ask them to provide testimonials based on the experience they had with you. Provide incentives that they will find beneficial if possible, so they feel appreciated and you can reward their loyalty. There is nothing better than having real-life testimonials about how awesome your practice is, especially when it comes from a credible source, like a patient.

Now, let’s be honest – not every patient will be happy and it is not your fault. However, something you can be blamed for is how honest and responsive you are whenever an unhappy client chooses to leave a review about your practice. Being responsive will not only show your dissatisfied customers that they are your main priority, but it will also show your potential customers that even though not everything is perfect, you are able to listen to what they have to say and make changes about it.

Focus efforts on the following review sites. You, or an expert digital marketing partner, can add your practice to these sites without paying an extra dime, which means more exposure at no additional cost. These listings are not only free of charge, but the traffic generated through them is ideal for local businesses like yours.

3. Define Your Campaign Goals

A common mistake you can make when starting your AdWords campaign is setting it up for a sole purpose, like brand awareness. It is true that brand awareness will get your practice’s name out there, but having awareness as your only goal will set you off track at the beginning. One account can have multiple goals, and each campaign should be set up for a specific goal. Knowing what is it that you want to accomplish before you set everything up will help you better gauge the success of your campaign.

But, before you define these goals, you need to take a hard look at your practice and identify the current state of your business. Is your practice not yet established compared to the local dental practices? Or, have you been in practice for years now and you want to promote a new service? Though these objectives might sound similar – they both are geared toward getting a new type of patient in your practice – the approach for each would be different.

Keep in mind that brand awareness can be accomplished with a Display setup, which wouldn’t require you to spend thousands of your marketing budget to get your name out there. While in the second example, the best approach would be to work on keywords related to the new services you offer with local variations.

4. Focus on Your Services

While selling yourself and your practice will be your number one goal to generate more patients, keep in mind that customers won’t be looking for your name or practice name, unless they know you. You need a different approach if you want to reach is new customers who are actively looking for dental services.

Therefore, instead of using keywords like “dentists near me,” you should consider using keywords that are focused on services you offer like “dental implants near me.” The second approach is targeted to people that already know what it is that they need from a dentist, while the first searcher is looking for a dental practice they can go to whenever they need it. The more specific you are with your keywords, the closer you come to generating a conversion, based on the searcher buying intent or funnel.

This keyword setup will not only reduce irrelevant searches you could potentially generate with your campaign, but it will also help you invest your pay-per-click budget efficiently. For example, if you do not offer Invisalign aligners, and only offer braces, you would want to by adding a keyword that reads “dental braces” and excludes Invisalign as a negative keyword. This tailors your traffic and gets the right audience to your site.

5. Create Attractive Ad Copy

Now that you have a clear goal in mind and know what it is that you want to accomplish with this campaign, you need to make sure your ads depict what clients will be able to find in your practice. No matter how much money you allot to your campaign or if you have set up your bids to be in first place at all times, you need enticing ad copy. If you don’t have that, potential customers will barely glance at it before they move on to the next ad.

When it comes to dental procedures, people like to get an idea of the cost of the procedure, especially if it is cosmetics related since most insurance plans don’t cover it. Including this, as mentioned before, will help with excluding irrelevant clicks on your campaign. Also, make sure you include keywords you have on your ad groups in your ad copy to increase relevancy and mimic the client’s search intent.

6. Include Extensions to Your Campaigns

Extensions are your best friend to include information you want to share to your potential clients, not only will it help your ad real estate, but it will help with the ad rank you can have when it comes to the additional information you could not include in your ad this is the place to add it. Here are some examples of extensions you can have on your PPC campaign to stay ahead of the game:

Location Extensions

When it comes to local campaigns, local extensions come in very handy to users, especially the ones that consider distance a main decision-maker for conversion. Not only will it show where you are located, but it also saves them time. They won’t need to click on the ad and look all over your site to try to identify where is your practice located.

Another great thing a location extension can provide is the hours you are available to take care of clients’ needs. Keeping this information up to date on your Google My Business page is imperative. You definitely want to highlight if you are open 24/7 versus an 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule, especially for users looking for an emergency dentist. If your GMB only mentions your regular hours, you could be driving patients away for having mismatching information.  

Sitelink Extensions

This extension will help you take patients to additional pages you consider important or provide them with additional services you have to offer in the practice. For example, if you have an appointment-setting page or a “Contact Us” page, you can take them directly there through a site link. Or, if you have a services page where you can find all services you offer, you can have a site link for each service and link to your high-level service page.

Remember to add descriptions to your sitelinks and use all available space. This will help users identify what they will find on each page in case they click a site link instead of the original ad.

Callout Extension

Callout extensions are mainly used for unique selling propositions. You can highlight additional information about your business within a 25 character limit. Callout extensions are very similar to sitelinks. The only difference between a site link and a callout is that callouts are not clickable, meaning it will not send you to a different landing page or require for you to set up a landing page when you are adding them to the campaign.

Call Extension

Call extensions, just like location extensions are a priority for a local campaign. More and more searchers are now using their mobile devices to look for services on the go, especially if it is an emergency. When you’re in a time crunch, the last thing that will cross your mind will be, “Let me get home and Google this.” So, having the phone number visible and ready to dial from the ad will be a great advantage.

Structured Snippets

Lastly, structures snippets are ideal for giving a list of options available in your business. When it comes to dental services, we recommend highlighting services, brands, amenities, and accepted insurance if available.

7. Using Campaign Types that Work

So far, we have covered extensions, services, ad copy, competitors and more. Now, let’s look at the ideal type of campaign you should use. When it comes to this, there is no right or wrong answer, because it all depends on the budget, goal, and audience you would like to target. Explore the types of campaigns we recommend and a common scenario for each campaign type.

Call Only Campaign

Call Only campaigns are a great traffic source for the dental industry. You want to target mobile searchers since they commonly remember to visit when they have a pain or realize they are overdue for a checkup. Now, keep in mind this will be the same mindset a lot of competing advertisers will have. So, you need to make sure you have the right budget if you want to launch this campaign type since the CPCs tend to be more expensive.

Searchers will also use their phones for an emergency, like a chipped tooth, the never-ending pain of a tooth infection, broken brackets, or any other pain. These would be considered emergencies for anyone experiencing them at the moment. So, the first thing they will do is take their phone out to look for dentists near them, while they look for their car keys or wait for a friend for a ride. The terms they will search will be closely related to location and/or emergency.

Search Campaign

Search campaigns will have the same approach as a call only campaign. They intent to drive traffic and generate conversions. The users that look for dental services from the comfort of their home or office are very methodical. They are not trying to rush their decision. They are actually looking for the best fit, based on their needs. These users will shop around, compare prices, look for discounts that may apply to the service they are interested in or search for a schedule that will allow them to go after they are out of work.

This is the type of user you want to demonstrate your unique selling propositions to and you want to be in front of them as often as possible. Top positions are important for this type of industry due to the fact that people tend to compare practices with top results.

Display Campaign

Lastly, display campaigns are amazing for brand awareness and cost-efficient exposure. This not only means getting the name of your clinic out there but also promoting new products or services you will be introducing to the practice. You can incentivize signups by offering free service or special discounts. Again, all depends on what your end goal is and how you want to take advantage of the campaign type.

While some of the marketing ideas shared in this guide are easy to follow up on and implement in your account, you need to devote time to set these things up the right way from the beginning. Failing to do this can lead to spending money out of your pockets without securing high returns. But, if you do it the right way, you will be investing time and money in loyal customers. In turn, these patients will help your business grow by sharing their positive experiences with others.