Today’s consumers have high expectations for their healthcare providers and vast amounts of care options to choose from.
For that reason, nearly all consumers conduct research online to learn more about health conditions and to find health systems that offer high-quality patient care. In fact, one in 20 Google searches are for health-related information.
This means that search, whether it’s paid or organic, is a key digital channel for health systems that are looking to acquire and engage new customers. Healthcare organizations need to build effective digital marketing campaigns that improve search visibility in key service areas.
One of the ways to guarantee visibility for priority keywords is to develop pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on search engines like Google and Bing. Optimizing these paid campaigns to improve click-through-rates (CTRs) and drive measurable results takes time and effort. Here are four best practices to improve your results:
1. Design Data-Driven Campaigns
The days of executing marketing tactics and not being able to truly measure results are over, or at least they should be. The most effective search marketing campaigns use data to deliver personalized messages to targeted groups and individuals, as well as make constant improvements as the campaign runs to optimize results. This not only helps marketers reach the most relevant people, but also saves money in the long run.
Leveraging a healthcare CRM, marketers can derive consumer insights from a combination of internal and third-party data sets and then use them with a number of advanced targeting tools available on ad delivery systems. Using filters like age, interests, and geo-fencing (for mobile users) sets the groundwork for an intelligent campaign that’s designed to reach an audience with the greatest potential of clicking through and finding more about your organization.
Think of the extra time it takes to develop data-driven campaigns as an investment in success.
2. Choose Words Wisely
With a limited space, every letter, number, and punctuation counts. Finding the right words that convey your message in a persuasive way can be an art form.
A recent study by WordStream analyzed the ad text of top performing ad copy from their database. They looked specifically at non-branded ads to determine the most persuasive words and CTAs that drove clicks. The top 10 words appearing most often in effective ads were:
- Shipping, and
While some of the words are more related to e-commerce (i.e. save, shipping), the others can be applied to the healthcare industry. For example, the inclusion of “you” and “your” mean that ad copy should convey the benefits to the consumer (example “Your Health Assessment”).
It’s a best practice to include a clear call to action with a strong action verb. It’s worth noting that “click” as a CTA did not appear in the best ads.
These insights can provide a framework to start drafting more compelling ad copy. Test different phrases and CTAs to see what effectively gets across your message, drives clicks and, ultimately, lead generation.
3. Test and Optimize
The work doesn’t stop once a digital marketing campaign launches – in fact, it’s just beginning. Post-launch, marketers need to measure performance, adjust targeting, and optimize ad copy to drive results. Each day brings a new set of data in which to examine and discover what’s working.
Consider implementing an A/B testing protocol to determine the ad elements that drive the best results. Try different CTA versions and change-up targeting. Start small with one element at a time and work methodically, giving each test enough time to generate accurate results. Routine A/B testing can help increase CTR, drive more qualified leads, and improve conversion rate.
For healthcare marketers with a focus on lead generation, the landing page experience is as important as the ad itself. If your ads have a solid CTR, but are not converting, marketers need to take a closer look at their landing page, run A/B tests, and optimize accordingly. Consider your first landing page a starting point (consider these best practices) and let the customers decide what is the best-converting page.
4. Don’t Stop at CTR
As marketers, CTR can be a helpful metric to track and measure performance, but it only tells part of the story. Turning those clicks into patients is the ultimate goal. As your campaign is running, look beyond CTR to the greater customer journey.
As alluded to above, providing a great customer experience once potential customers are on site is essential. The ad’s landing page is the first interaction, but are they converting there? Is there even a conversion action on page? Are they clicking into the site to find out more information? Are those landing pages providing visitors with enough information about your services?
It’s important to understand how your marketing dollars invested in digital ads, PPC or otherwise, are impacting business objectives and goals such as customer acquisition and retention.
In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, marketers need to provide a digital experience that not only get patients and customers in the pipeline, but also gets them in the facility door. With more and more consumers using the Internet to research health information and potential care providers, digital ads play a critical role in the success of healthcare marketing.
When done thoughtfully, digital ads can reach patients and customers that traditional channels are missing and optimizing for CTR is a critical step toward developing a more robust and effective digital campaign.