What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC)?
Pay-per-click advertising is a service provided by search engines – as well as other types of social media and websites – that lets you advertise and pay only when your ad is clicked by a prospective patient. For search PPC, you bid on certain keywords in order to get traffic to your plastic surgery website.
It is part of a larger concept known as search engine marketing (SEM), which is made up of two strategies: PPC, which is paid, and search engine optimization, which is organic. A typical search engine marketing campaign is made up of both.
This page focuses on PPC for plastic surgeons: what it is, how it best works, and how it can help your digital marketing campaign.
How Does PPC Advertising Work?
You bid on keyword terms that you want to be found for. So for instance, if you are a plastic surgeon who performs facelift in Cleveland, Ohio, you would put ‘Facelift Cleveland’ as one of your keywords, and you would bid on this. It functions much like an auction, and based on the value of the keyword, you and your competitors will bid for prospective patient clicks.
Let’s say the average bid for you keyword is $5. You’re going to bid $5 every time someone clicks on the ad for this keyword. Also, the bid determines the placement in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) – the higher you bid against your competition, the higher your placement in the results. (There are other factors, such as Quality Score in Google Ads, but amount of bid is the primary factor).
Let’s say you create a budget of $100 a day. Provided there is sufficient traffic volume for the keywords you’re bidding on, you will get a maximum of about 20 clicks per day. And if you do that for a month, you would be spending about $3,000 a month in order to get about 600 clicks from prospective patients.
These clicks will take visitors to the pages you have created for the ads. Your goal: to convert visitors into patients at a rate that would make the campaign profitable.
How To Use Google Ads
The most well known pay per click service is, of course, Google ads, but there are others. Bing powers ads for both Bing and Yahoo. There is also Facebook ads, and then there are other social media like Twitter and so on that also have pay per click functionality.
Most of this article is about Google ads, along with a few words on Facebook ads and other types of pay per click.
AdWords is set up in the following manner:
- Create a campaign.
- Create Ad Groups
- Create Ads
- Add Keywords to Ad Groups
In a campaign, there can be multiple ad groups (or just one, if it’s a small campaign). In each ad group, there can be multiple ads. You can have as many as you like, but best practice dictates limiting to two or three ads per ad group.
In those ad groups, you are going to put a certain amount of keywords that relate to those ads. Then when someone clicks on that ad, it would then take them to a landing page. So you’ve got the campaign, ad groups, the ads, the keywords, and ultimately, the landing page.
You can set these as nationally or regionally, and even down to the locality such as a city or even a ZIP code. This is usually a wise idea, especially for medical practices that do not need to be bidding on keywords in other states. So it allows your campaign to be more efficient.
It would reduce the cost of the bid if you’re only bidding against other people bidding locally, and it makes your click through rate more efficient because you’re not wasting money on people clicking in other states who would likely choose someone local rather than travel to your practice. So this is basically the nuts and bolts of how pay per click works.
Tips for Setting Up a Google Ads Campaign
Selecting Keywords – There are three main factors when selecting keywords for an ad group: relevance, search volume, and competition. Select keywords with high relevance and search volume; look for these keywords with as low competition as possible for cheaper bids.
Keyword Matches – As you create your keyword lists, you will be asked which kind of match to select. There are 4 types: broad, Broad Match Modifier (BMM), Phrase, and Exact, and the difference from Broad to Exact defines a spectrum of the amount of searches your keyword will qualify for versus the accuracy of relevance. A broad match for ‘facelift’ will pull synonymous searches and misspellings, while an exact match will only show ‘facelift’ as written, while the versions in between will offer something in the middle. It’s a good idea to test different matches for different terms.
Negative Keywords – Negative keywords are terms that you do not want to be found for. This can be especially useful if you are using a lot of broad matches. For example, perhaps you bid on a broad match for ‘face wrinkles’ and you find that your ad is coming up for ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ This is highly irrelevant, and it’s costing you money. Best to put that term on a Negative Keyword list to prevent it from appearing again.
Quality Score – Quality score is the other main factor in both placement and cost of bid. Not unlike PageRank, Quality Score (QS) gauges the level of quality of the keyword, the ad, and the landing page. Low quality scores make it harder and more expensive to place; high quality scores do the opposite. Make sure you have excellent written copy on your landing page and ads, and that they relate well to the keywords you’re bidding on.
A/B Testing – Because of the reliability of volume, it’s a great idea to A/B test various aspects of your campaign, from your ads to your landing pages. It’s a good idea to test out two different ads against each other, or two different landing pages, to see which performs better. This should be done for the life of the campaign.
PPC vs. SEO
Is pay per click better or worse than SEO? This is a common question. The answer is that they are two different types of search engine marketing, and both should be components of an effective internet marketing strategy. Both have their pros and cons.
The main benefit of pay-per-click is that you get steady and immediate traffic. You don’t have to build up your pages over time, and you don’t have to do anything special in order to get traffic. The traffic will come as you pay. You get excellent SERP position. SERP is search engine result page. You get excellent SERP position by Google, because they want people to click on your ads, they make money off ad revenue.
Your ads will get very high placement, especially if you are the highest bidder. You also get high placement in things like local search for Google Maps results, which is a fairly new function.
So there’s a lot of benefit to paying for a good location. And lastly, a well done campaign — a campaign that someone is regularly monitoring — will bring a good return on investment.
The cons: you’re only renting traffic, so you’re not creating a real asset. The second you stop paying, the traffic stops coming. It does require constant maintenance, which means you need to either do it yourself or pay someone to maintain this for you, because people are constantly changing their bids.
You want to constantly be optimizing your PPC campaign, making it a more efficient, more effective tool, especially as the inflation of bids is constantly going up, as it tends to do. And lastly, it requires good landing pages and good content, which is a function of SEO as well, but you really want to maximize the traffic in the form of a conversion rate, so you want to make sure that your landing page is relevant and effective with respect to the ads that you’re putting forward.
How Much Should I Spend on PPC?
So how much do you need to spend? This should be based on the calculated return on investment, which is dependent upon what you’re trying to sell. PPC for plastic surgery is a more viable option than it is for a lot of industries because the cost of a procedure is relatively high. In our findings, the average cost of plastic surgery nationally is about $4,000, so let’s use that for a quick calculation of the numbers and show you what you would need to spend in order to make money.
Let’s say you start off with a campaign of $3,000. Your average spend per day would be about $100 per day. Figuring for an average cost per click (CPC) of $5 in order to simplify the math, you would get 20 clicks per day. Again, that translates to about 600 clicks per month.
[In the plastic surgery industry, this can range anywhere from very cheap to very expensive. Very expensive to me would be over $20 per CPC bid. This is not uncommon for broad searches for terms like ‘breast augmentation’ or ‘rhinoplasty’ in large markets.]
Next we need to factor in the average conversion rate, meaning the people who call or send in contact forms based on visiting your site. That tends to be roughly around 2%. So 2% of 600 is going to be 12 people.
Lastly, using conservative industry standards, we assume that 25% of the people that contact you are going to become clients, giving us a total of 3 new clients a month thanks to our PPC campaign. So you got three clients out of spending $3,000 a month.
If we use the procedure average of $4000 listed above, we would have generated $12,000 gross, meaning we’ve made $9,000 on the campaign.
Granted, all of these variables are estimates and subject to change. If your average cost per click is not $5 but $10, that changes the numbers significantly, and then maybe you’re only getting one to two actual clients and you’re basically breaking even. Your price point may be lower or higher; your management costs may be greater.
Ultimately, you’ll want to know:
- Your Monthly Budget
- The procedures you’re bidding on and their Ad Group-level costs
- Your Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rates
- Your Lead-to Client Conversion Rates
- Your Management Costs
- Your Monthly ROI
If you can answer these questions honestly, and if the math makes sense to you, then perhaps PPC is right for you.
Final thought: a lot of people get intimidated by the cost and naturally want to spend less initially, However, if you only allot a spend of $1000, you’re really not going to make your campaign work. It’s going to take way longer to make that campaign successful in terms of ROI.
Facebook is a bit different — whereas in Google ads, you are basically letting people know you exist who are actively searching for your service, meaning that they are hot, while you may be kind of, in a inbound marketing method, cold calling them, meaning they want your service, but they don’t know who you are.
What Facebook ads do is they are putting you in front of somebody who may not necessarily be looking for your service, but they fall within the demographic target audience of prospective patients that you are looking to sell to. This is what makes Facebook ads powerful and very affordable, is that you are bidding to a type of person rather than someone looking for a service.
So whereas Google Ads only allows you to target a certain region, Facebook allows you to target, for example, women between the ages of 25 and 34 who make over $100,000 a year and live in your area. That’s a pretty small market to target, but you can make really targeted campaigns for them, meaning something that resonates with that demographic, and it will come up in their newsfeed, making them likely to check it out, especially if what you are offering really resonates with that demographic.
The cost of FB Ads is much less than for Google Ads, usually just a fraction of the cost, and with the right campaign, you can really get some traction. You can get some brand awareness. You can grow your Facebook page in terms of getting more likes, getting more reviews, so it’s a way of increasing your social media marketing as well through targeted pay-per-click ads. Twitter and Instagram have similar functionalities in that respect.
How We Can Help You
How can Surgeon’s Advisor help you? We are a leader in the industry of search engine marketing and digital marketing. Pay per click is something that we’re intimately involved in. It requires an understanding of keywords, especially with Google ads, and of the digital landscape. It requires content to work seamlessly with the campaign, meaning that your landing page and your ads need to be coherent and cohesive.
You want all of these moving parts working together with a singular vision of increasing ROI. This also goes for Facebook. We create content that can be used for posts. We are able to do a lot of this in a seamless and efficient manner. So if you are looking to increase your search engine marketing, not only through SEO, but through PPC, Surgeon’s Advisor is a single operation that can manage both of these aspects expertly and in a way that complements each other.