Dental Marketing: PPC Marketing Part 4

Dental Marketing: PPC Marketing Part 4Top the Search Engines!

For $0.10 to $100 a click, your name and ad are now at the top of the search engine results for Cosmetic Dentist New York.

Aren’t you proud to see your name at the top?

Isn’t it amazing what money can buy?

Unfortunately, what you are buying is web positioning and visitors – not patients.

The fact is those visitors must be converted to new patient appointment requests. Sounds easy, but consider that 90 percent of dental websites are so badly designed that even finding an address is a major investigative feat.

The top 4 reasons dental Web sites can fail:

  1. The number one rule for all marketing is “Ask and You Shall Receive.” You must ask for the appointment on every page of the site! This means an obvious link to your appointments page – think “Make an Appointment Here.”
  2. You forgot to put your practice’s address and phone number on every page of your site! About 80 percent of the potential dental patient market is making its buying decision based on geographic proximity. It’s also critical that your phone number is always visible.
  3. You forget to have at least four different email response forms, including:
    • A New Patient Appointment Request Form
    • A Recall/Recare Appointment Request Form
    • A Special Promotion Response Form (Free Cosmetic Exam, Save 50 percent on Whitening, etc.)
    • A Practice Newsletter Registration Form
  4. Too much flash and dance and not enough real content. Consumers are trying to make a decision on a dentist or dental procedure. They are not visiting your site for a 60 second mini-movie of flashy graphics!

The bottom line is that unless you have a well-designed website that can convert potential new patients into appointment requests, you are wasting your dental marketing budget on PPC marketing.

To learn about how to create an Internet marketing campaign that works, download our complimentary video program: “Internet Tutorial #1: Advanced Website Strategies to Generate High-Value New Patients!”

Dental Marketing: PPC Marketing Part 3

Dental Marketing:  PPC Marketing Part 3Top the search engines, part 3!

For the last week we have talked through how you can buy your way to the top of the search engines results with Pay-per-Click (PPC) marketing.

The first requirement on our list for a successful PPC campaign was to first calculate the “Marginal Profit” you can expect from the type of new patient you want, and then your Return on Investment (ROI).

We demonstrated how to calculate your marginal profit on new patient. In our example the marginal profit of a new Cosmetic / Restorative dental patient, is about $4,000.

This means that if you spend $2,000 on an Internet PPC marketing campaign to generate one additional new cosmetic patient, with a gross production value of $5,500 and a net contribution/marginal profit of $4,000, your ROI is $2,000.

If all of this has put you to sleep, that’s OK. You just don’t want to be a Wealthy Dentist. That’s fine; not everyone is cut out to be a financial success. There is an old saying: “If it was easy, we would all be millionaires.

For those still here, the second step to generating gobs of new patients from PPC marketing is to know how much you can afford to pay per “click,” which is to say for each visitor that visits your Web site.

Each of the three major search engines – Yahoo, Google and Microsoft – have their own PPC marketing programs. But before you start, you need to know what the target “keyword” marketing phrase is for your ideal high-value new patient. In other words, know which keywords you actually want to bid on, the keywords being the phrases a Web user would actually need to type into Google or the like to view your ad.

For a high-value cosmetic patient, you have two immediate choices: “Cosmetic Dentistry” and “Cosmetic Dentist.” I’ll make it easy for you; pick “Cosmetic Dentist.”

Consumers searching for the term “Cosmetic Dentistry” are looking for information so they can make a decision. If your Web site has tons of information on cosmetic dental procedures, then you may have a chance here. Otherwise, I strongly suggest you stick to “Cosmetic Dentist.” People who specify “Dentist” are generally looking to buy now.

Now, unless you are “The Dentist to The Stars,” (I know of a least seven doctors using that tag line) and expect people to fly from every state and province to your practice in Iowa, “Cosmetic Dentist” alone just simply isn’t enough. People from across North America are going to be seeing your ad. You are going to be paying up to $2.00 a click for the privilege of having them visit your Web site, yawn and leave because they don’t know where Iowa is. This is a quick trip to marketing/financial suicide.

Instead, use the term “Cosmetic Dentist” in combination with your local geographical market – “Cosmetic Dentist San Francisco,” “Cosmetic Dentist Peoria,” “Cosmetic Dentist Burbank,” etc. People want a dentist that is geographically close to home.

Each search engine has a different way of calculating the price for the same “Keyword” phrase for your target market, so you will have to visit each of their sites to determine your cost-per-click.

For the search term “San Francisco Cosmetic Dentist” on Yahoo, for instance, the cost of is about $10.00 a click. With a gross production value of $5,500, a net contribution/marginal profit of $4,000 and a desired profit of $2,000, you could afford to spend $2,000 to acquire a cosmetic patient. At $10.00 a click, that’s 200 visitors to your website.

Normally, I would say that was a “No-Brainer” marketing decision. Out of 200 visitors, you should be able to convert at least one to an appointment request, and then into an actual appointment. Unfortunately, that is not the norm for the average dental website.

The sad truth is that 90% of the dental websites on the Internet are so lame that they don’t even provide a simple way for a patient to request an appointment. What’s more, up to 50% of all new patient appointment requests are lost at the front desk due to poor call handling.

We will deal with the conversion problem next time.

PPC Marketing Part 2

Top the search engines, part 2!

Last week, we discussed how you can buy your way to the top of the Internet search engine results with PPC or Pay-per-Click “Sponsored Links.” These sponsored links can cost you anywhere form $0.10 to $100.00 for each and every Web surfer that clicks on an ad leading to your site.

The real question: “Is this a smart way to market for new patients?” The answer is a qualified “Yes,” and some of the primary qualifiers are:

  1. You must know the “ROI” (Return-On-Investment) and the “marginal profit” of the type of the new patient you are trying to attract to your practice.
  2. You must know how much you can afford to pay for each visitor who visits your Web site.
  3. You must be able to convert Web site visitors into appointment requests.
  4. Your front desk team must be able to convert the appointment request to an actual patient in your chair.

Let’s start with ROI and marginal profit.

Return on Investment and Marginal Profit

At, it is standard procedure to analyze the net value of a new patient in each of our client’s practices. The value, or contribution to overhead (marginal profit), is the amount of money generated by a new patient in the first nine months of care, less the cost of providing the dentistry (variable cost). This means we take the gross production of a new patient and subtract lab fees, dental supplies and collections losses to determine how much money goes into paying overhead.

For a detailed and (I hope) entertaining explanation of ROI and marginal profit, you can access or our online video training program, “Maximizing Your Marketing – Targeting the High-Value New Patient.” This program is available at no charge until August 15th, after which it will be returned the Training Vault and you will have to pay $89.00.

For a 1-minute course, including a chart of the marginal profit values of 19 different high-value patient types, click here.

The marginal profit of a new Cosmetic / Restorative dental patient, as illustrated in our High-Value New Patient Chart, is about $4,000. This means that if you spend $2,000 on an Internet PPC marketing campaign to generate one additional new cosmetic patient, with a gross production value of $5,500 and a net contribution/marginal profit of $4,000, your ROI is $2,000. Sounds pretty good to me.

But before you jump into PPC marketing, you must know the value of the high-value new patient that you want to target on the Internet. This is not debatable.

Dental Marketing: PPC Marketing Part 1

Top the search engines!

Just about every day I get an email (sometimes three or four) that reads a little something like this:

“Is your site at the top of the major search engines? If not – it should be, and we can get you there quickly and with little expense. We have worked with many companies and can give you solid references from many happy clients. Want a free quote? Reply to us. List all the web addresses you want us to check and the best way to reach you.”

Each one is signed by a different woman: “Karly,” Buffy,” “Marly,” etc. After three months of these emails, I realized that this must be a vast company run solely by women. Not one of these emails was ever signed by a “Ralph.”

While this type of spam is endemic on the Internet, I sill get at least one doctor a month calling me about these offers. How can they get your dental website to the TOP of the search the major search engines?

It’s easy. It’s called ‘Pay-per-Click’ (PPC) marketing.

To understand PPC marketing, you must first understand that when you search for a phrase like “Cosmetic Dentist” on Yahoo, Google or Microsoft, you actually get two sets for search results.

The first set, which is usually displayed in the top three positions and along the right side of the page, displays “Sponsored Result;” i.e., paid PPC ads. Pay-per-Click, means that every time you click on the “Ad,” the sponsor pays a fee – from $0.10 to $100.00 – to the search engine.

Once you click on a sponsored result – remember this is a paid ad – your browser automatically takes you to the advertiser’s website where he or she hopes to convert you into a customer.

The second set of search results are usually listed, 1-10 in the main body of the page.

These are called “Organic Results,” because they are the normal or natural search results based on the search engine’s relevancy calculation. When you click on a “Sponsored” or PPC link, the advertiser pays a fee. When you click on and “Organic Result,” the website does not pay a fee.

Ok, what does all this have to do with the spam email at the top of this story? It means that anyone can put your website at the “Top” of the search engine results by setting up a PPC account with each of the three major search engines. They are in essence “buying” the top position. How much do you pay for this privilege? There is no easy answer to this question because you must “bid” for your position.

Take a look at the bids for the search phrase “Cosmetic Dentist,” both by itself and combined with a city, for PPC ads on Yahoo. For the term “Cosmetic Dentist,” we can see that the top bid is $1.76 per click. So the top three bidders are paying from $1.78 to $1.76 for each and every click to their dental websites.

For the term “Cosmetic Dentist San Francisco,” however, the top bid is $10.01 for the number one position.
This table
shows you the actual ads and just how much each dental office will pay for a Web visitor.

Remember, the top dentist on this list is paying $10.01 for each Internet visitor – not for a definite appointment, or even an appointment request. The doctor may also be paying a PPC management fee to a marketing company on top of this, ranging from 15 percent to a whopping 50 percent of his PPC ad budget!

So, what should you make of that daily spam email when it makes its way to your inbox? Just say “NO!” You should always know who you are sending your dental marketing dollars to, and blind email spam is not a good way to find a trustworthy marketing partner.

Is PPC a smart way to market for new dental patients on the Internet? Is it economically worth it? We will explore dental PPC Internet marketing and more in later editions of this newsletter.


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