When to consider Pay-Per-Click advertising to attract new patient sign ups

Google AdWords in your dental marketing campaign

AdWords costThe use of Google AdWords is growing in popularity as part of holistic dental marketing campaigns and to complement organic (free) search ranking. But do you just “do it” or is there a more considered approach to take to ensure best results within your budget?

As a baseline, today’s blog considers where a dentist might roll-out a pay-per-click (PPC) programme to support other forms of on-line marketing. There are typically four scenarios as follows:

The launch of a new website on a new domain name

Where you have just established a complete new website for your practice, gaining good rankings in the organic (free) Google placements can take some time, even when supported by an SEO campaign. Whilst pursuing the free search positions is always our recommendation for mid to long term sustainability (and value), it is well worthwhile considering a PPC campaign to get traffic to your website in the short term. A well-structured Google AdWords campaign will drive traffic to selected pages of your website, or better still, to bespoke landing pages.

To secure a proportion of paid traffic even when organic placements are good

Many of our clients already have excellent organic search ranking but still choose to place paid adverts to ensure that they grab some of this traffic too. This is becoming increasingly important when you consider how Google are pushing their ad programme. For example, on mobile ‘phones, when you make a search in Google, most of the screen is dedicated to paid ads – consequently paid traffic, particularly from this source, is increasing. So to be part of this, you have to “pay to play” unfortunately.

When you have good organic search positions but your practice is not in a large population centre

This is a particularly interesting case and one which needs to be considered very carefully when choosing where to buy or open your first (or next) practice. There will be benefits from having less competition if you open up in a village somewhat remote from a large town, for example you should benefit from a good organic search position quite quickly. However, the number of people finding you in search will be significantly less than if you held those same positions for searches in the nearby, large town.

Unfortunately you won’t easily be able to compete for searches in remote locations due to the way that Google search works – local businesses will always be shown to local searchers. However, you can get around this by launching a PPC campaign which isn’t bound by the same “localisation” constraints you find with organic search. So even if you are “out in the sticks” if you feel it is viable for patients to travel to you from nearby towns, then you can place ads targeted to those locations.

When you need to target a new service or event quickly

Let’s look at the scenario where you’ve launched a new treatment, maybe implants or short-term ortho, and need to get the message out. Gaining organic search placements will take time, particularly for competitive searches, so to gain a presence quickly, Google AdWords is your best bet. This needs to be done in a very targeted way to keep costs down, but you will still need a decent size budget to get suitable traction.

What does it cost and does it pay back?

There is no definite answer regarding what PPC campaigns of this nature will cost. You can expect anything from a few hundred pounds per month to several thousands depending on what you are targeting and what the local competition is like. This can be researched in advance. However, it is important to realise that you do need a sensible budget to gain sufficient traction and enquiries. Remember that a click on an implant advert can cost several pounds and most of those clicks will not actually result in an enquiry. So you can see straight away that the costs can mount up quite quickly. However, you can set a daily budget which will stop costs from running away.

So does it pay off? The answer to this is “yes” – but only as long as you are committed to it and are willing to allocate a suitable budget in line with the types of treatment enquiries you are targeting. Another key point here is to avoid the ‘DIY’ approach; setting up and managing high-quality PPC for dentists takes time and experience and you will waste a lot of money if you don’t know what you are doing.


Pay-per-click advertising for dental enquiries can be useful in several scenarios to support other forms of on-line marketing as discussed above; particularly where you need to make an impact quickly. However, you do need a sensible budget and experienced support to get moving.

If you would like to discuss PPC using Google AdWords in more detail, please call Dental Media on 01332 672548. We’ll be pleased to help you get underway.