Google Adwords – Should You Pay For Clients?

When we talk about search, we’re of course talking about Google. They control roughly 90% of the UK search market. It’s a truly terrifying concept if you ever really think about the control they have. But I’m not here to write about dystopian nightmares, we are where we are and if you want to get new business, any kind of business, in 2017, then you need to be aware of the power of search engines.

Some practices simply don’t advertise or promote themselves and have a referral network that enables them to grow organically and if you can do this then you’re onto a winner and no need to read on. But if you’re starting out with a private practice and you want growth then you need to be thinking about your sources of clients and whilst word of mouth is great and referrals and insurance companies are a proven strategy, you also want to be able to control a flow of new business that isn’t dependent on anyone else. One thing I’ve discovered over years of being in business is that if you are dependent on other people for your customer traffic there is always the possibility that they may one day stop. And that would be bad.

So we’ve established that Google can be an effective way of acquiring new clients but how best to leverage it.

Google is split into two elements.  Paid for (Adwords) or the Organic listings (which is free). The image on the right explains what’s paid for and what’s free.

Free / Organic

Most clients we come across want to be on the free section. Why wouldn’t you? I mean who wants to pay for things when you can get them for nothing, right? The first part of this paragraph is important here, because nearly everyone is gunning for the top spot (the free top spot) which means that the competition is intense. Ranking factors like site build quality, relevance, updated copy, age of site, inward links all play a part in Google deciding how far up to rank you and to be frank most sites won’t get anywhere near the top. There are 100s of practices trying to get to that position and it only takes a few of them to do it better to prevent you from getting there. Also it isn’t free. You’re either going to be paying a company to get there or you’re going to be spending a lot of your time working on your site and, as Benjamin Franklin said, Time is Money. Also remember it can take months, if not years to get to the top position.

Paid / Adwords

The alternative is to pay to be at the top. At which point many of my clients shuffle their feet a bit and say, erm well…, and then try and change the subject because they want the ‘free’ option.  But as we’ve already ascertained, it’s not free at all and also it’s going to take you a very long time to get there. And you want to have new clients today.  With Adwords you can literally have your name at the top of the search engine, locked into your local area within a few hours. You can be taking enquiries today and the best bit, you can work out how much it costs to acquire a customer. You’re in the driving seat.

COST PER ACQUISITION

Remember this phrase, or it’s jazzy acronym ‘CPA’. It can transform your practice. The long-used methodology that most businesses employ to calculate the cost of getting a new client, but strangely one that is rarely uttered in medical circles. Even though we know patients are clients and we know that a client is a customer and we know that a customer represents the revenue on which your practice (business) relies, very seldom is this ever spelled out. Just because we’re in medicine or healthcare doesn’t mean that business logic doesn’t exist.

There is a cost to acquiring a client and Adwords enables you to work this out relatively simply and in a short amount of time.

So if the price for a surgical procedure is £4,000 and it costs you £150 to acquire the patient then you can make a decision if this is something you want to do more of. Sure, it would be better if there was no acquisition cost, but the world doesn’t work like this. Google Adwords gives you the power to test, establish the cost of getting the client and then scale it up to match your capacity. There isn’t a successful business out there that doesn’t budget on acquiring customers and you need to do the same. Also, bear in mind that the medical community is waking up to the power of marketing and your competitors are going to be doing it even if you’re not.

You can set up your own campaign by clicking here but be warned: set your daily spend limit or you can find yourself throwing a lot of money into the platform.  Many of our clients choose us to run your campaign for you – the money saved in wasted spend will be more than made up by our management skills, drop us a line via the contact form and we’ll give you a free consultation as to what you could expect to generate.

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