Google AdWords Campaigns for Beginners

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I’m sure you’re already familiar with what Google AdWords is (also known as PPC or pay-per-click). In case you’re not familiar with it, Google AdWords are those little sets of ads that pop up on your browser when you’re searching for a term. Let’s say you’re searching for “golf in New York” — suddenly at the top and right of your browser appear all these ads relating to golf in New York. This ingenious advertising platform is what’s known as “search marketing” — being able to deliver ads that are as closely relevant as possible to what you’re searching for.

Google AdWords is an incredibly powerful medical marketing tool, and is an essential basic foundational marketing tool for your practice. However, a word of warning. If you are relying on Google AdWords as the primary source of new patient leads to your practice — you are in a very vulnerable position. Google changes its search algorithms (determining which ads show up in which order) as often as most women change shoes. For months, your AdWords campaigns can be running like a freight train, consistently bringing you new patient leads. And then overnight, new competition jump in, increasing the costs of ads, and upsetting everything. Your best ads suddenly stop working… your phone stops ringing…it’s bad all around. And it’s easily preventable — by ensuring you’re using at least 10 different lead-generation methods to consistently bring you new patients. But I’m jumping ahead here… let me demystify Google AdWords for you and explain a bit more about how it works.

Here’s the real genius of this advertising platform. As a PPC program, AdWords only charges you when someone clicks on your ad. At the same time, because it’s keyword-based, your ads will only show up for people performing searches related to your chosen keywords, making it more likely that they will click on your ad and see your page. Of course, just like any other powerful tool for physician marketing, you really need to know how to use AdWords effectively to get it to work for you and drive new patients to your practice.

For example, do you know how Google ranks the ads it shows in users’ searches? It’s anything but random, but the algorithm is actually pretty simple. Basically, your ad rank is the product of your Quality Score multiplied by your Bid Rate. But what does that mean? Let’s break it down.

Your Quality Score

Google sets your Quality Score based on ad relevance, expected click-through rate, and how much traffic (they call it “experience”) your landing page has. Google has instructions for checking and improving your Quality Score here. In general, though, you’ll need to ensure that the keywords you bid on are relevant to your ad and/or landing page to get a higher Quality Score.

Your Bid Rate

Next, you set the bid you’re willing to make on keywords for your AdWords campaign. If you’re only willing to bid $1 per ad on a key phrase like “Physician in [Your Area]” — you’re not going to get a very high ranking. The more you bid, the higher your rank will be, so you’ll need to figure out how much of your advertising budget you can afford to dedicate to AdWords, which keywords your potential patients are searching for, and how high you can get in the rankings when you start your campaign. Make sense?

Now that you have the basics, let’s get into how to choose the right keywords and how to write effective campaign ads.

Do Your Keyword Research

First, if you choose the wrong keywords for your campaign, you might get high rankings, but you won’t get a lot of clicks, and the clicks you do get are likely to be wasted. You don’t want to pay for clicks from people who’ll go to your site for just a few seconds, find out it’s not what they’re looking for, and bounce away immediately.

That’s why keyword research is so essential to a good AdWords campaign, especially when we’re talking about physician marketing. You need to know what your patients are typing in when they search for the services that you provide. You can start this process by putting yourself in their shoes. If you’re a General Practitioner, a lot of your patients probably search for keywords like “primary medical care in [Your Area]” and/or “flu treatments in [Your Area].”

Once you have a list of keyword ideas, move on to an online keyword research tool to see how popular the keywords you’ve come up with are, and to get ideas for the best keywords for your campaign.

Make Sure Your Keywords Are Linked to Your Ad’s Wording

After you have your keywords selected, take a look at your ad. Are those keywords relevant to the title and text in your ad? In most cases, you’ll want the ad to feature specific keywords, but you don’t want your ad to read like a list of keywords, either. Just like writing quality content for your blog or for social media, you want your ad to be catchy and easy to read, and you want your keywords to fit naturally within it.

If you know how AdWords works and you create an effective campaign, you can make it a useful part of your medical internet marketing endeavors. Put these tips into practice for your next AdWords campaign, and you should notice a significant improvement in traffic to your site (or landing page). You’ll avoid wasted clicks, get higher ad rankings, and improve your overall physician marketing, all at once.