Should I be using Google AdWords to grow my private practice?



This is a question I am often asked and my answer is always ‘If you get it right, paid advertising can be a great way to grow your practice. Get it wrong and it can be a very expensive mistake.’

If you are going to jump into bed with Google and spend your hard earned dosh on paid internet traffic, you first must really understand how it all works. This ain’t one of those times to dabbling if you don’t know what you’re doing.

It sounds so obvious doesn’t it, but when a new Ninja asks for my help, often it is clear that they need to take the time to grasp how best to get things set up. If at all possible, in the initial stages, I would encourage you to learn how to do this, rather than immediately abdicate the responsibility to a so-called expert.

Learning to manage paid marketing is easily within your capability and you can always hand over the responsibility of running Ads, once you are way too busy seeing patients. By all means get advice, but you have to get your hands dirty and give it a go. If you don’t roll up your sleeves, you will struggle to understand why your Ads aren’t succeeding. Worse still, you’ll not understand why someone else’s management of your Ads campaign isn’t succeeding, whilst you’re paying them for the privilege.

There isn’t an invertebrate on the planet that hasn’t heard of Google and I’m sure the vast majority of us have also heard of Google AdWords. Maybe you have even been having a go at it.

The idea of a Google Ad is that you get somebody to ‘do’ something as a result of seeing and clicking on your advertisement. This may mean that you want to them to book an appointment or sign up for your email list or marathon workshop. If you have dabbled in AdWords, you may have experienced the phenomenon whereby you seem to be getting a lot of leads or people being directed to your website, but strangely the leads really aren’t converting into paying customers who have booked.

You might even have found that enquiries are coming in, for a service you don’t even offer

Private practice Ninja helper  One of the first problems is that you may be using a Google AdWords term that is way too broad.

The remedy is to understand the noble art of using ‘long tail keywords’.

What the heck is that? You may be asking.

Here’s how Google works; when you set up a Google AdWords campaign, Google wants you to spend lots of dosh on nice expensive ‘words’ (a.k.a ‘terms’). These are the words that many, many people will tap into a Google search. It could be ‘Physiotherapist’ or ‘Dermatologist’ and these are typically expensive terms because they are broad and many people will want to bid for them.
It’s very important that you get your head around the idea that you aren’t necessarily wanting to use the keywords that attract the biggest volume of traffic. Whilst this might seem counterintuitive, you actually want to be attracting customers by using the terminology they will use when they search in Google.

For example…

Instead of using the term ‘Dermatologist’ or ‘Dermatologist in London’ you could instead use ‘Dermatologist specialising in acne in Harley Street’. Although the actual volume of traffic for that term will be lower, it will be targeted to the people you want to attract, and you will get a much better return on your spending. It’s far better to have a lot of juicy targeted traffic, rather than expensive generic traffic.

Click HERE  for more about using Keywords to your advantage in your Private practice.

Private practice Ninja helper  The next important thing is to get familiar with tracking what’s happening with your Ads.

The best way to do this is to spend a little time getting savvy with Google analytics, which isn’t as scary as it sounds. When you sign up for Google Ads, you will go through the process of setting up what’s known as a ‘custom campaign’.

Let’s imagine that your campaign is all about getting patients to sign up for ‘Six Pilates classes to complement physio care.’ Google will generate for you a customised URL for your campaign, which means that you can easily track your traffic from that campaign.

You then need to think about where the Ad will divert your potential patient to when they click on it. One of the big mistakes I see is when people set up the Ad so that it drives potential patients to a regular page on their websites, such as the ‘contact’ page or ‘home’ page. What works much better is to drive the Google traffic to a standalone (unique) page called a landing page.

 Private practice Ninja helper A Landing page is a website page that is about the Ad and nothing but the Ad.

So, if you are wanting people to sign up for your Pilates package, you will want to gently, (but firmly) direct them to your sign up box, rather than allowing them to drift around your website. You don’t want them wandering off to take a gander at that photo of you on your ‘About’ page, (which only your Mother loves).

We want to remove all clickable distractions on your landing page, and this makes tracking your Google traffic super easy because they will only have arrived there if they have clicked on your Google Ad. If you or your website design buddies are setting this up for you, it’s important that you block the landing page from the eyes of a search engine (email me if you want more information about this) as you don’t want stray traffic randomly arriving there confusing your tracking numbers.

Make sure you make the purpose of your landing page very, very clear. There should only be one call to action, for example ‘sign up to receive ten percent off our package of six Pilates sessions’.
You can set up your Google analytics to look for what we call a ‘conversion’. This might mean that patients are redirected to a ‘Thank you’ page after they sign up. You can set the analytics to see how many people who click to open the landing page, and who then eventually arrive at the Thank you page, having clicked and signed up.

Private practice Ninja helper When it comes to spending money, you need to set a budget and consider this as a long-term project rather than a quick dabble.

There is no point dipping in and out, and you need to give it time to see how trends are emerging and give yourself time for tweaking. Whatever you do you must be comfortable with your spend. £200 spent on one fantastically put together long tail keyword Ad is much better than splashing out on £700 on a poorly put together generic campaign.


 Private practice Ninja helper Finally, you must monitor what’s happening properly.

Another mistake I see is people micromanaging their tracking. Don’t look at it every flippin day. Once a month is perfectly fine but don’t look at it more than once a week or you will miss some overall trends. Schedule a time to dip into your Google analytics and bring up your numbers and pop them into an excel sheet.

Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on a campaign that’s performing poorly and remember this is a long-term game and not just for a week or two.

If you need help on deciding on whether or not paid advertising is a good option for you, then why not get in touch.

Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in building our practices – from a business perspective, as well as a clinical one.

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