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9 Essential Questions You Should Be Asking Your PPC Provider


Pay per click (PPC) is a proven tool for filling your patient pipeline, but when venturing into these waters, we recommend donning a shark suit.

That's because you need protection from inept PPC providers who implement poorly designed campaigns and turn what should be a profitable option into a money pit.

We also recommend looking carefully at PPC campaigns that "look" successful. Too often we see PPC campaigns set up for eye-popping "results," but when you look below the surface the numbers look fishy.

Did you really want to shell out money for clicks in San Diego when you do business in New York City? Yes, we've seen PPC campaigns do just that.

The technique can produce a lot of clicks, but few are going to turn into actual patients coming through your door.

So if you are testing the waters of online advertising, here are nine questions you'll want to ask PPC providers to see if you have a shark on the line.

9 Questions to Ask PPC Providers

  1. Question: How do you define "success" in a PPC campaign?

The Correct Answer: True success — the kind that gives you a return on investment (ROI) — is not measured by clicks alone. At the minimum, you need to measure both clicks and conversions. (Conversions are people who click on an ad and also take the next step of filling out an online form or calling your office.)

But if you want to measure true ROI then you need to connect all the dots, from clicks and conversions to actual patients and surgeries.

"Success" in our book means tracking clicks and post-click activity. It's a process that includes "qualifying" leads by passing conversions through a sieve to eliminate duplicate entries, abandoned phone calls, and people who do not answer follow-up emails. We even track qualified leads through to booked consultations and actual surgeries.

A full-service PPC program gives you the data-driven tracking that holds your clicks accountable to the bottom line.

2. Question: Have you cracked the code that limits the visibility of plastic surgery ads?

The Correct Answer: Yes. We can maximize your ad's online visibility, even when talking about sensitive topics.

Due to concerns about nudity, plastic surgeons face unique obstacles when it comes to online marketing.

Many plastic surgeons — and even many PPC providers — do not realize that sensitive plastic surgery ads can run across Google's full advertising network. But only if they adhere to Google's best practices guidelines.

Unfortunately, most agencies fail the client by improperly linking the PPC ad to pages with nudity. Running afoul of Google standards limits ad visibility and hampers the ability of plastic surgeons to maximize ROI.

Just as in the surgical suite, successful PPC requires meticulous technique and careful customization.

3. Question: Do you use software like WordStream or AdSpike to automate my campaign performance?

The Correct Answer: No.

When it comes to PPC, you want your account rep monitoring your account daily because PPC pricing fluctuates like the stock market. If a PPC campaign is left running in "set it and forget it" mode on automated software, your return on investment will be at risk.

4. Question: How often do you review PPC accounts, keywords, and negative keywords?

The Correct Answer: At least every three days, at a minimum.

Anything longer can cause wasteful spending in the fluid world that is PPC. Your PPC provider should be monitoring traffic regularly to identify emerging keywords with a high return in clicks and conversions.

At the same time, your PPC provider should be identifying and filtering out keywords that cause your ad to appear in irrelevant consumer searches, which puts you at risk for worthless clicks and drains your budget.

As an example, consider a PPC campaign for "breast implants." To protect the budget, negative keywords need to be implemented to eliminate your ad's visibility in searches for other types of implants, such as "dental implants."

5. Question: Do you offer in-house reporting for my campaigns?

The Correct Answer: Yes. That, and more. A truly transparent PPC provider provides both a summary report and access to your advertising platform.

Why both?

Summary "in-house" reports are informative, but they are susceptible to spin on the part of the PPC provider. If a report is sanitized, it may omit information to cloak what is really happening with your campaign. Take for example a PPC campaign that attracts lots of clicks, but they come from outside your market area. That's money down the drain.

Neutral third-party reporting, such as Google's AdWords dashboard, provides the transparency and assurance you need when it's your money on the line. Our mantra: Trust but verify.

On the other hand, we understand that Google's dashboard (or the dashboards from other advertising platforms) can be a source of confusion rather than illumination. So we also provide a summary report that explains the dashboard analytics in user-friendly terms.

By offering both kinds of reporting, we ensure our clients have both clarity and transparency. It's the best of both worlds.

6. Question: Is your advertising budget a separate line item from the management fee?

The Correct Answer: The only correct answer is YES.

Do not work with a company that only supplies a "budget" without a separate line item for management fees. With separate line items, you will have a clear picture of how much is spent on management and how much on the keyword bids themselves.

You don't want to be in a situation in which the management fees siphon most of your ad budget. In that scenario, there may not be enough money left over to fund a robust PPC campaign.

7. Question: How much do I need to spend to start a PPC campaign?

The Correct Answer: They can't give you a dollar amount right away.

That's because there is no one-size-fits-all PPC campaign. A seasoned expert analyzes your market and keywords to supply an accurate answer.

If a PPC provider gives you a dollar amount immediately, such as in a "package" deal, then they are not the right PPC provider. Package deals fail to factor in how pricing fluctuates from market to market.

In a competitive market, a packaged program may lack the funds needed to mount a successful campaign, especially if a significant portion of your money is siphoned off for management fees.

The reality is that - sorry to break this to you - some PPC markets require a minimum threshold to be competitive. If you can't hit that threshold, then you end up frittering away money in a campaign built to fail.

However, your PPC company will gladly pocket their monthly management fees.

To get an accurate picture of what a competitive PPC campaign looks like in your market, a PPC provider needs to perform an audit to assess your business needs and your market.

No two clients are alike. No two markets are alike. Don't work with an agency that uses the same "package deal" for everyone.

8. Question: Where will your PPC ads appear?

The Correct Answer: On multiple platforms (Google, Bing, and social media).

Today's paid digital marketing is so much more than Google's Adwords. A savvy PPC provider is current in all available programs and platforms, which includes social media.

In fact, social media advertising allows you to use a much finer sieve to better target your audience. An added bonus is that social media advertising costs significantly less than Google AdWords campaigns.

But remember: There are pros and cons to every ad platform. Your PPC provider should understand the nuances of each.

9. Question: If I were to switch agencies or move PPC management in-house, what would happen to my campaigns, the processes, and the reporting you've put in place?

The Correct Answer: We will readily transfer your campaigns over to your control.

We recommend only working with companies that say you own the data, including historical reporting, and agree to hand over your campaign when you part ways. Unlike many agencies, we don't believe in holding your data or your program hostage.

Do You Need a PPC Agency?

Obviously the first question you'll want to ask yourself is whether you really need a dedicated PPC agency. If you're reading this, you've probably decided that you do, because:

  1. You don't have the time to manage your PPC account(s) in-house.
  2. You don't have the expertise to effectively manage your paid search campaigns internally.
  3. Your current advertising agency doesn't specialize in PPC, and lacks the skills and bandwidth to maximize return.

Are you looking to take advantage of the immediacy and flexibility that online advertising offers? Or are you still researching your options? Either way, we are happy to answer your questions.

We can also explain the newest options, such as social media ads, which are growing in popularity and are less expensive than PPC ads.

Feel free to call (800) 606-0003 or write us. Or simply fill out the form below.