Get the Google Business Boost for Your Medical Practice
By: Tina Bell Director of Marketing, HealthCARE Express When someone wanted to find medical help 10 years ago, they picked up the yellow pages and searched for a doctor. Today, a large number of people are turning to the internet to search for medical help, and one search engine, Google, continues to lead the pack. Google estimates 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses on-line. If your Medical Practice has a website, chances are you still may not be utilizing Google to its fullest potential to ensure the maximum number of people who need your services can find you. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure you get the most out of Google. Today we’ll examine two of the most popular: Google Places and Google Adwords. Google Places for Business The first step to maximizing your exposure on Google is to claim your Google Business Place Page. This free page often pops up at the top of searches on Google under “Places” and also on searches in Google Maps. To claim your place page, you must verify either your business phone number or mailing address with Google on the Place Page Google has created for you. To do this, you will need a Google Account. The second step to setting up your place page is to add customization. Update your phone number, physical address, methods of payments accepted, and business hours on the page. Also add photos of your clinic and your clinic’s commercials in the photo and video sections. Having a Google Places page allows your patients to add reviews about your Medical Practice. In addition to reviews placed directly onto Google, Google also pulls reviews from third-party websites where ratings about the services you offer may already exist. Realize you may receive negative reviews from unhappy patients. While you have the ability to negate those reviews on Google Places, the standard practice is to leave them. If you’re able to identify the customer, contact them to try and fix the problem and then ask them to update the review. If you believe the review is posted by a competitor, you have the right to contact Google and report the review as abuse. While Google Place Pages are free, some businesses opt to use Google Boost to pay for specific targeting of their place page on Google Maps and in Google Search results. You can learn more about Google Boost and Google Place Pages at www.google.com/placesforbusiness. Google Adwords The next step to optimizing your reach on Google is to set-up a geo-targeted Google Adwords Campaign for each location where you have an Medical Practice clinic. Geo-targeting your campaign means you select the areas where your ad shows on Google Searches. If you only have a clinic in Dallas, Texas, there is no reason to pay for Google Ads to show across the United States. While setting up a campaign is fairly easy, setting up a campaign to generate a positive return on your investment takes some education and a fair amount of time. Brad Geddes offers a two day seminar called Adwords Seminars for Success, where you can learn a great deal about how to maximize your Google Adwords Campaign. You can learn more about his conferences at www.bgtheory.com/adwords-seminars. I highly recommend setting up a Google Adwords account and toying around with the Google Adwords interface before attending the conference. Google Search Psychology Before starting a Google Adwords campaign, you must understand the psychology behind searches. In general conversation, people typically ask questions. In internet searches, people typically type concepts into the search box, and before they hit the search button, they already have an expectation of what they want to see in the results. If your Google Ads do not meet those expectations, they will search again. Thus your Google Ads become the 140 character bridge between your website’s landing page and your prospective consumer’s thought process. For example, a person may think, “Where can I get medical attention on a Saturday?” They are looking for an answer stating, “Medical Practice, Open Saturday”. The phrase they may type into Google will be, “Saturday medical clinic” or “walk-in clinic Saturday”. Your campaigns need to be customized with keywords and ads matching your consumer's thought process. You also have to understand people search Google at different stages in their readiness to visit your clinic. The majority of searches on Google, 75 percent, are informational in nature. This means people want to know the answer to a specific question before they decide to visit your Medical Practice. Thus the landing pages your Google Ads link to must provide direct answers to their questions. Generic landing pages will result in minimal returns on your advertising efforts. Remember, people think differently. Searchers who become ill at 8:00 p.m., may attempt to find your clinic in different ways. Things they enter into Google may include: “Local Medical Practice”, “night clinic”, “Medical Practice phone number”, “emergency medical clinic”, “Medical Practice website”. If your Google Ads and landing pages do not handle these searches uniquely, or if you do not have the right keywords associated with your ads, you may miss a click on your ad, and ultimately a patient conversion. Google Keywords Setting up your keyword and ad campaigns can be daunting at first. If you plan to do it by yourself, allow at least three days to work on the project. You can use the Adwords Keyword Tool to help generate keywords. Remember, however, that just because Google tools suggest you use a keyword doesn’t mean you should actually use it, so never use the “add all” option for suggested keywords. Make sure keywords are specific to your Medical Practice and the services you offer. Once you have your keywords picked, pide them into categories, called Ad Groups. Each Ad Group should focus on a specific category with ads devoted just to that category. Each ad should have no more than 10 to 20 unique key words. Those words should appear in each ad’s copy. Thus you should create unique ads for specific keywords. As you write your inpidual ads, remember ad copy should direct your potential patient to take an action, establish your credibility, and use action words. Ads should offer benefits and not highlight features. Benefits are why people are likely to utilize your Medical Practice. Optimized Landing Pages Finally, make sure the pages on your website where your ads direct people to (called landing pages) offer answers to what your ad promises the searcher will find. Landing pages also need to have calls to actions on them. If you offer web check-in, make sure there is an option to encourage a visitor to check-in on the page. If you offer DNA Testing or other services where you can offer a discount, consider having a place where the consumer can e-mail you for a coupon. This will not only give you the contact’s information, it will also allow you to remind them about your services. Also have brochures available for searchers to download. Downloads give you a presence on the searchers desktop long after they have left your site. Utilizing Google Places and Adwords takes time to learn, but you shouldn’t be afraid to give it a try. For as little as $0.10 to $2.00 per click, you can greatly increase the number of people finding your Medical Practice. Often times you can get $50 or $100 coupons to try Google Adwords for the first time, so go ahead and get started on creating a Google marketing campaign today. To learn more about Google Adwords, visit our page featuring videos from the Google Adwords On-line YouTube Video Classroom. [Editor's Note: Tina Bell is the director of marketing for HealthCARE Express and the director of business development for Medical Practice Success. She will be speaking on this and other topics at the upcoming Medical Practice Success Summit. Click here to learn more about the Success Summit.] LIKE THIS ARTICLE? Click here to register for your complimentary subscription to Medical Practice Success. In addition to getting the latest article every Tuesday morning in your inbox, you'll also be given a free copy of our e-book The Five Mistakes Medical Practice Owners Make, and What You Can Do to Avoid Them.