Physician PPC Campaign Benefit: Is It Even Worth the Bother?
For physicians, running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is a great way to boost their online presence and get new leads. However, PPC campaigns can be time-consuming and costly. You might wonder if it is even worth the trouble. The answer depends on your practice’s unique needs and goals.
This guide weighs the pros and cons of PPC for doctors, answering the following questions:
- What are the untold benefits of PPC campaigns?
- What are the hidden risks?
- Is running a PPC campaign worth it for physicians?
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The Untold Benefits of Physician PPC Campaigns
Being doubtful of the effectiveness of PPC ads is valid. However, you must not conclude that PPC ads are a bad investment because of fear or a lack of information. When done correctly, they offer many benefits you do not want to miss. To further illustrate what a PPC campaign brings, we discuss advantages you might not know about.
1. Greater Control over Public Perception
Reputation is arguably the single most important factor in the success of a medical practice. When a physician’s or clinic’s reputation is destroyed, so is their business. No more patients, no more income.
A PPC campaign helps physicians protect their reputations by giving them more control over public perception. With organic search results, potential patients might see reviews that paint your practice in a bad light. While you should not hunt down the negative feedback you receive, you do not want parties that slander you to receive exposure.
PPC ads, on the other hand, give you control over the narrative. PPC presents an opportunity to highlight the desirable aspects of your practice. These include testimonials from happy patients, successful treatments, and other factors that distinguish you from the competition.
2. Faster Feedback Loop
A data-driven approach is the key to marketing success. With so many analytics tools, almost any physician can use data to inform their marketing decisions. Those who ignore the power of data or fail at using it are left in the dust.
A PPC campaign provides real-time metrics that fuel the feedback loop necessary to optimize ads. Since data generation is instantaneous, the feedback loop is faster, allowing physicians to adjust rapidly. These insights can inform everything from keyword optimization to ad copy revisions.
For instance, if a PPC ad focusing on "pediatric asthma treatment" is not performing well but an advertisement for "childhood asthma specialist" generates significant clicks, a physician can quickly reallocate funds to capitalize on the latter’s success.
3. Geographic Targeting
If they could, many physicians would treat patients throughout the globe. However, most doctors can only operate within a specific geographical area. Their primary target audience is most likely people who live in their city or locality. Hence, their ads need to be highly localized.
A PPC campaign ensures your ads are highly localized by focusing on potential patients in your region. It boosts the return on investment (ROI) of your ad spend by targeting people who are most likely to book an appointment.
Say you are a dermatologist in Brooklyn. You can set your PPC campaign to only display ads to users within Brooklyn or even specific neighborhoods. This ensures you are not wasting funds targeting users who are unlikely to travel from Los Angeles to Brooklyn for a skin consultation.
4. Ad Schedule Customization
Doctors work long hours with a constantly changing shift schedule. In addition, peak times vary for each specialization. For instance, emergency room doctors and pediatricians might see the most patients on weekends or late evenings. Meanwhile, cardiologists’ peak hours fall between mid-morning and early afternoon.
With a PPC campaign, you can set your ads to show up during hours when potential patients are most likely to seek your services. A pediatrician can schedule their ads to appear only on weekends to ensure they are highly visible, maximizing their effectiveness.
The Hidden Risks of Physician PPC Campaigns
If you doubt the effectiveness of PPC campaigns, you are most likely familiar with the associated risks. High competition, cost, and possible ethical concerns might be enough reasons for many to stay away from PPC. If you are wondering what other risks PPC campaigns bring, read further.
1. Ad Fatigue and Diminishing Returns
Since PPC ads focus on a target audience, they have a higher tendency to result in ad fatigue. People exposed to your ads become less likely to engage with them. Your ads will eventually become less effective the more you run them. This phenomenon is most relevant to specialized doctors because they have a smaller niche.
2. Overdependence on One Marketing Channel
While PPC is great for patient acquisition, becoming overly reliant on it can expose your practice to vulnerabilities. If algorithmic changes occur or competition spikes and costs increase, an overdependence on PPC can become a liability.
Take, for instance, an orthopedic clinic that generates 80% of its new patient leads through PPC. If a significant change occurs, such as Google altering its ad placement algorithm, the clinic can experience a sudden, dramatic drop in new patient appointments.
3. Stringent Advertising Guidelines
Healthcare is among the most regulated sectors. Ad platforms and regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have strict guidelines regarding what can and cannot be said, especially regarding medical claims.
These restrictions leave little room for creativity in your PPC ads, making it harder to effectively show audiences your value proposition.
A pediatric dentist, for example, might want to highlight the use of a new, less painful technique for cavity treatments. However, due to regulatory guidelines, making such a claim in a PPC ad might be prohibited. Hence, the dentist is forced to use more generic language that fails to encapsulate the uniqueness of the service.
Is Running a PPC Campaign Worth It for Physicians?
As stated earlier, the value of a PPC campaign is largely dependent on your medical practice’s needs and goals. You must consider the broader context of your marketing strategy. Here are some pointers:
- Target demographics. If you are a specialized physician, PPC can help you target your demographic. However, be wary of ad fatigue.
- Marketing portfolio. How diverse are your marketing channels? Running a PPC campaign can be a great way to diversify your portfolio.
- Regulatory constraints. How comfortable are you with navigating the advertising limitations in healthcare? If this is a challenge you are eager to take on, PPC can work well for you.
- Budgetary concerns. The upfront costs of running a PPC campaign can already seem high. To avoid receiving a surprise bill that is too expensive for your budget, factor in hidden fees.
Consider these points carefully. If they align well with your practice's goals and limitations, then a PPC campaign is worth the investment.
Investing in a PPC campaign is not a decision a physician should make lightly. Take the time to assess your medical practice’s unique needs, goals, and present marketing situation.
To navigate these intricate pathways and make the most of your digital marketing endeavors, consider working with Digital Authority Partners for expert guidance. Contact us today.
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