A Clear Look at PPC: What Optometrists Need to Know


What is PPC?

PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, has become a significant portion of the marketing budget of many small businesses, including optometrists. This advertising tool has been around for nearly 20 years, through various networks, and allows advertisers to push their message to the top of search engine results pages.

PPC advertising is typically set up as an auction, with advertisers bidding on specific keywords that relate to their business. This may be one word, like “optometry,” or a series of words, like “eye doctors near me.” The advertiser willing to pay the greatest amount of money, through the predetermined bid, will spark the ad placement in a better location on the search results page.

These ads often look similar to the organic search results list, listing the company’s name or header, link to the site, and a blurb of copy, but with a small icon or small icon or component that identifies the entry as an advertisement. When a person clicks on the advertisement, the advertiser then pays the search engine company.

When an optometrist uses the best practices in the company’s PPC advertising, the small fee paid for an ad — sometimes only a few dollars — is often increased exponentially through new patients and other opportunities.

Several search engines offer PPC programs, but by far, the most recognizable is Google’s AdWords program. The program began in 2000, and is expected to generate at least $57 billion in ad revenue for Google in 2016.

Through the AdWords program, and other PPC opportunities, companies have seen tremendous increases in bottom-line profits, site traffic, customer conversion rates, and click through rates.

That is, when the advertisement is done right. Optometrists and others who choose to attempt their own PPC advertising campaign don’t always see the results they’d hoped to achieve the first time they run an ad. Those who are working with pay-per-click specialists, though, have seen tremendous growth and engagement through a successful AdWords or PPC program.

Top 10 Ways to Maximize Your PPC Money

  • Set a Clear Goal

The first step any optometrist should take before adding PPC to the marketing budget is to decide upon a goal for the campaign. Many companies will set vague, general outcomes that they would like to see, such as increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to the Web site, or scheduling more appointments; all of these are great ideas, but are too broad to track. Increased appointments and Web site traffic could be a result of a mixture of advertising, and monitoring brand awareness is nearly impossible to measure.

Ideally, any optometrist looking to start a campaign should analyze the reason for doing so, and should set a specific, desired action for the prospect from the get-go. Perhaps you’d like to increase the number of customers who switch to prescription sunglasses. There are several avenues to do that: giving them a phone number to call, filling out a form for information, or submitting a prescription to order glasses online. Pick one as the goal, and center your campaign around that desired end result.

  • Optimize Optometry Keywords

PPC centers around keywords, or the exact words and phrases your customers will use when looking for you online. The most effective keywords for optometrists have been found to contain at least three words — and optometry on its own might not be the best choice. More prospects are searching for words like “eye exam,” “eye doctor,” “where to buy glasses,” and “new eyeglass frames,” as examples. Start by brainstorming the words that are relevant to your practice.

One important practice in bidding on keywords is to not only focus on the keywords that you expect will drive traffic toward your goals, but the negative keywords that will keep non-qualified prospects away. Negative keywords will also help direct the ad placement. These words keep your ad from being shown to the wrong audience.

For example, if you bid on “eye doctors,” you will most likely show up in searches for children’s eye doctors. If you don’t actually offer pediatric eye services, you may be paying for clicks that never pan out and won’t give you a return on your investment.

  • Check Out the Competition

When you’re thinking about your own keywords, it’s highly beneficial to think about your competition’s keywords, too. These are keywords that will help place their advertisement in front of their ideal audience — which is also your audience.

There are several different online tools that can help you find your competitors’ keywords, or you can do some digging on your own.

  • Examine your Landing Page

As prospects and customers click on your ad, they are directed to your landing page, or a page on your Web site that was specifically designed for those individuals. The content should be related to both your ad copy and the exact service or product you offered in your ad; eye exams, frames, white papers, or even advice.

Rather than a homepage, where various avenues compete for the user’s attention, the landing page strictly revolves around the need your call-to-action promises to fulfill, that should be the singular goal of the page.

Make sure the page loads quickly; slow-loading pages typically have a higher bounce rate, indicates users who aren’t staying on your page. A landing page that captures the user’s attention and draws them in for a longer period of time is more likely to convert the visitor.

  • About Ad Groups

Ad groups are an ideal way to create message consistency and comprehensive integration by generating keyword groups, landing pages, and ad text that work together to reach and convert customers. These ad groups direct the search engine’s decisions on who should see the ad, which keywords will trigger each different ad, and the ultimate destination for users who click on your ad.

Each ad in a group shares a set of keywords, and is related and relevant to the other ads in the group and the landing page. They can share both exact and broad match types through segmentation in the campaign, be used to hone in converting keywords while discovering negative keywords, and increase the value to help you see greater profits.

Ultimately, ad groups create organization, order, and hierarchy in your PPC account, while increasing value and profitability.

  • Focus on Your Audience

Ultimately, this is what PPC is about. You are trying to reach new and prospective customers to draw them to your business. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Contextual targeting, where you choose keywords and topics for each ad group. The search engine will then analyze various components of your ad, including the text, links, and landing pages, and will compare them against the search terms to determine where to place your ad.
  • Individual demographics, which are used to target your optometry ad to certain prospects by setting details like the age, gender and location of your desired audience, as well as their top keywords and Web page interests.

Think about the type of language your ideal client would use and the solution to problems your customer might be facing. Do you offer a fantastic glasses repair program or warranty? What about exceptional customer service? Have you won any awards for your service? All of these are factors that can be included in your ad copy to attract the attention of the diverse groups of people you are looking to attract.

Keep in mind the way your visitors will be searching for you, as well. Web sites should be mobile-friendly, and ads are not viewed the same between different devices. For some businesses, like restaurants, there is a higher likelihood the user will be searching on mobile devices and expecting instant results. For your optometry practice, though, individuals will more than likely not demand or expect instant results, and may also use a desktop or laptop computer or other device.

  • The Color Vision of Your Ad

Just as you can test the color vision of your customers, words have a tendency to color our perspective, and it’s important to gauge the effectiveness of your advertisement. PPC ads are brief, typically only a few lines long, with a headline, Web address, and compelling copy.

  • Headline: The few words you choose for your headline could make or break your ad. Including your keywords in your headline, asking questions, and appealing to their emotions are some of the top ways to grab the attention of your prospects. Numbers tend to stand out from the crowd, as well as easy-to-understand language. You only have about 25 characters for your headline. Use them well by keeping your users in mind and remembering that they are looking for solutions to problems.
  • Ad copy: The 35 characters for your ad copy should also hone in on how you provide a solution for the user’s problem. Try several different copy techniques to determine what works. Some customers are driven by numbers while others will prefer a more emotional appeal. Google recommends having three to four different ads in each ad group to rotate the placement and get you the best possible results. Your copy should also include a clear call to action.
  • URL display: Your URL displays about 25 characters, you should use as many as you can. One of the best ways to make use of this is by creating a tracking URL. Rather than including your page’s real address, you can create a separate address that directs traffic to that page while still allowing you to tell which method helped the customer or prospect arrive at your site.
  • Prescriptions for your Prospects

A call-to-action is the text you’ll use to attract your customers’ attention and encourage them to do the goal you’ve set for your campaign. Maybe you want to increase the number of patients who schedule their eye exams online. You can direct them to the scheduling page of your Web site. Keeping your call-to-action wording close to the words and phrases you select as keywords and place on your landing page help to increase the likelihood of a conversion while avoiding paying for clicks that won’t bring you a positive return on your investment.

Your call-to-action doesn’t always have to be sales driven. You can encourage prospects to read reviews and testimonials, highlight warranties or guarantees, prompt them to think about how life would be different after seeing you, appeal to their emotions, offer added value or a bonus, and give instant access to information, materials or both.

Each call to action should begin with a strong verb, have a sense of urgency, and be optimized for either desktop or mobile use, as mobile users are more likely to call you than to click through to your Web site.

  • Test Your Ad Acuity

Each search engine offers a detailed report throughout the campaign of the results achieved throughout the campaign. From the cost of your ad to the click through and conversion rates, the numbers will help you mold and shape your campaign.

The first step in examining your campaign’s progress is to understand the terms being used in your reporting dashboard.

  • Conversions: This tells you how many people not only clicked on your advertisement, but also took the next steps; these could include calling a phone number, filling out a form, or watching a video.
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of clicks that led to conversions.
  • Cost-Per-Conversion: How much you paid for each conversion, determined by dividing your cost by the total conversions.
  • Quality Score: This AdWords number summarizes the relevancy of your ads, keywords and landing page, to tell you if customers are receiving a good experience. A higher score typically means you’ll pay less per click and will have a better ad position.
  • Keywords: The words and phrases you list that will determine when your ad will run.
  • Search term: The actual words and phrases that trigger your ad. You may have listed “new eyeglass frames” in your keywords; if someone uses the term “new eyeglass frames for men,” your ad will most likely run.
  • Negative keywords: These words help to keep your campaign relevant for users and cost-effective for you, by only triggering the ad when it’s appropriate. If, for example, you only offer women’s eyeglass frames, you can add “men” in the list of negative keywords.
  • Automatic bidding: This tool allows the search engine to get you the highest number of clicks in your budget, which features that can maximize clicks, optimize conversions and enhance the cost per click.
  • Click-through Rate: The percentage of people who saw your ad and then clicked to read more.

Once you’ve learned what the reporting capabilities are, you can use them to your advantage to get the best possible rates. This will show you the performance results of your ad, as well as helping you to get the best possible prices.

  • Tracking: It’s Not Just for Eyes:

From the very beginning of the campaign, until the last cent has been used, PPC search engines show you exactly where each penny went. At any point in the campaign, you can see how much was spent, the keywords and ads that got the highest clicks, and the conversion rate, which tells you what percentage of users not only clicked on your ad, but also followed through with your call to action.

This ability allows you to constantly monitor and adjust your campaign’s performance. These little tweaks throughout the time frame can make a significant impact on your overall results.

One way many optometrists have ad copy that gets results is through A/B testing. Try out two different possibilities. For example, you could try running an ad for two weeks stating “Half off a new patient eye exam.” Once those two weeks are over, you could run another that says “35% off new frames.” Throughout the course of the testing, you’ll want to note the click-through-rate, or the people clicking on your ad, and the conversion rate. By comparing those results, you’ll be able to pinpoint the keywords your customers prefer, while designing the most effective ad copy and design. Regularly tracking A/B testing will help you continue to get the best results possible.

Contact us today. We’ll help you create and develop a pay-per-click campaign that will give prospects and customers a clear first look at your optometry practice.