4 Common PPC Mistakes Medical Practices Make

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be an effective and affordable way for a medical practice to attract new patients. But with so many elements to consider when launching a PPC ad campaign, it’s easy for inexperienced practice owners to make mistakes. Costly mistakes.

Here are four of the more common PPC advertising errors we run into with our healthcare clients.

Are you making any of them?

1. Not Monitoring your Campaigns Properly

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. This is true in all areas of our lives and something most of us consider to be common sense. But as the old saying goes, “the problem with common sense is that it’s not so common.”

Conversion tracking is your PPC campaign’s oracle. Without conversion tracking in place, and running properly, you’ll be hard pressed to know what’s working, what needs fine-tuning, and what needs an overhaul.

2. A Lack of Focus

If you don’t target your ads correctly, you’ll end up with the wrong visitors who just won’t generate revenue for your practice.

Match Type Misfire

Practices make this mistake frequently with keyword match types. Match types are often misunderstood and more often than not, keywords are too broad – which inevitably leads to ads showing up for irrelevant searches.

In the search below, you can see a typical example: in the 3rd position, therapy counselling is showing up for a popular physiotherapy search term. Obviously, when one is searching for a physiotherapist, the intent of the search query is to solve the problem of a physical ailment, not an emotional/mental health issue.


Adgroup Overload

Too many keywords in an adgroup is another place where practices bleed money. More is not always better, and this is especially true when you’re setting up your adgroups. Too many keywords per adgroup makes it almost impossible to “message match” with your copy and landing page.

Throw Everything at the Wall to See What Sticks

Because you’re not sure what’s really important to your potential patients (and you’re spending good money) – you include everything on your landing page. Every review that’s ever been written, every offer you have, anything and everything.

And this is confusing to the visitor that just clicked on your ad and now has to try to make sense of this mess. Nothing drives visitors away faster than confusion. Stick to one goal, one message, or one desired action per page.

3. Not Customizing Landing Pages to Specific Campaigns

This is widespread across a variety of industries, and something that drives PPC professionals into fits. But it is particularly common in healthcare.

Relevance matters. So, try to match your ad to a specific page as much as you can.

If your ad is aimed at women in the early stages of pregnancy, make sure there is a pregnant woman on your landing page…and/or, the same language (“Best San Diego OB-GYN”) that you use on your ad. Don’t send them to your general clinic page that lists the 10 other services you offer.

In other words, don’t create different ads with significantly different copy and send them to the same landing page.

Homepage Hang-Up

One of the biggest mistakes that AdWords beginners make is driving paid traffic to their homepage. This may be okay if this is a small part of a larger “awareness campaign,” but it’s generally a recipe for campaign underperformance.

Want to get new patients for a new procedure your clinic is offering? Create a specific campaign for that objective. Then, a specific corresponding landing page. A landing page dedicated to that objective is a huge part of maximizing the return you’ll see from your ad investment.

Keep in mind, visitors who click on ads and arrive on a landing page normally have a specific goal or intention in mind. So the most important thing you have to do, is instantly show relevance – by helping them achieve that goal.

Page Level Diagnosis

Here are some of the more obvious errors we see at the page level:

  • Not aligning the CTA (call-to-action) and the contact form with the landing page copy.
  • Too much information at the page.
  • Asking too many different things of the visitor.
  • Competing visual elements on the page.
  • Poor copy.

4. Not Geo-targeting Effectively

Would someone drive 100 miles for your expertise? If you’re an orthopedic knee surgeon, that may be reasonable. A family dentist? Not likely, unless there are no other local options.

That’s not to say that you can’t add a reasonable radius. You can and it may be the best thing you can do depending on your specific location, the density of your area, and the number of similar providers in the area.

In fact, you can get very specific with your targeting, even by zip code – which can allow you to tailor messaging and speak to specific demographics.

Being mindful of how proximity influences our medical choices is something that needs to be considered and planned out at the campaign strategy level, as it has trickle down implications for much of your marketing campaigns.

PPC is not easy. If done wrong, you can burn through thousands of dollars. But if you target the right people, with the right expectations, and measure, test and iterate – you can make PPC an effective instrument in your medical marketing.

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