The key to growing your dental practice is reaching new patients and convincing them to make an appointment. You’re already aware of the importance of search engines in your digital marketing strategy, or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). In this article, we’ll address a crucial component to any effective SEM plan: Search Engine Advertising or SEA.
What is SEA?
Developing high-quality content on your dental practice website and using good SEM strategy can help more patients find you faster. Under the umbrella of SEM, there is SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which we’ve already touched on in this blogpost: optimizing your practice website using localized and long-tail keywords to make it come up more often in search results. These are called “organic search results.”
SEA goes one step further than SEO. When you use SEA, people who search for the keywords you choose with a tool like Google Adwords will find your practice in their “sponsored results.” Internet users spend 21% of their time on search engines, which makes searching the second most popular activity in the internet after social networking. How can you leverage the popularity of search engines to your advantage and improve conversion rates? Specify localized and specific keywords: not “dentist office” but “Ft. Lauderdale dentist office” or “sedation dentistry.” You can also specify a specific area (even a range of only a few miles!) where your ad campaign will appear. This kind of targeted advertising can help you reach the perfect audience in a very cost effective way.
Why SEA and not just “organic search results”?
Although it’s great if people find your dental practice organically, there are other benefits to SEA. For one, organic search results simply point to your website or blog, but SEA ads are designed with a call to action. Language like “Book an appointment today” or “Click to receive a discount on tooth whitening” with a link to a campaign-specific landing page encourages more clicks from potential patients. Be sure to include a call to action when writing your ad, rather than just the name and description of your dental practice.
And what if new patients simply aren’t finding your practice organically? There may be too much competition in your area or in your specialization. With sponsored search results, you pay to appear on the first page of the search every time certain keywords are used. If you don’t want to rely on chance, try SEA!
How to get started with SEA?
In order to improve your SEM strategy by adding SEA, you’ll need to choose a search engine, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, or even Facebook. Platforms like Google provide keywords searches that point to related keywords and project click rates. You can adjust your advertising budget using various options — like number of keywords and geographical range. Write your ad text and get your campaign started. Although you will pay per click on your search result, you can still set a maximum budget in advance to ensure cost control. You may also decide to add “extensions” that would display your contact information, address, or reviews and ratings with your ad text. Did you know 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?
Remember to consider your patient personas when writing and targeting your ads! Each campaign should be localized to an area where patient types are more likely to search: for instance, young moms can be targeted to certain family-friendly neighborhoods in your city. Tailor your landing pages to patient personas: if you’re targeting senior citizens, create a landing page with them in mind!
Search Engine Advertising is a great way to actively find people that have the greatest potential to become dental patients. Search engines make it easy for small businesses to use paid advertising. Even with a small budget, you can increase visibility for your dental practice. Just remember, the more targeted and action-oriented you make your ads, the more success you’ll have!