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Clinical Solutions Blog

New Changes To Adwords Brings More Competition For Clinic Owners

Posted by Rick Lau on Mar 9, 2016 4:59:00 PM

Google Adwords Brings More Competition For Clinic Owners

Google AdWords have just made a massive change to how their paid ads appear in the search engine results. If you’re a clinic owner who uses Google Adwords or you’ve been thinking about adding it as one of your healthcare marketing strategies, the competition is about to get a whole lot fiercer!

If this is all news to you, I’ll be sharing the Google Adwords changes in just a moment.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve had ample operational experience with managing over 200 multi disciplinary centers and from working with countless clinic owners in my Clinic Accelerator Program. Out of that experience I’ve learned that using paid advertising is a great source of physiotherapy and chiropractic marketing for bringing in new patients - IF you know it is an effective channel for your business.

What I see all too often is people don’t track their Adwords marketing, they don’t know what to measure, how to work out if it is actually effective, and if it’s translating into new patients or not.

With the new changes, if you want to make Google Adwords work for you it is going to be essential to have a better understanding and better management of your Adwords campaigns. The new changes will limit ads to 7 per page with no right hand side advertising. You will lose your shirt if you don't know how to properly optimize Adwords

So let’s talk about the Google Adwords changes and some solutions that can help solve the issues that these changes will bring.

Google Adwords Changes

When you browse Google you would have noticed that ads appear in three places, above and below the organic listing, and a list on the right hand side. Since 2000 Google has been displaying the listings like this with an average of 11 ads per page, 2-3 at the top, 2-3 at the bottom and the rest on the right hand side.

The new changes will limit ads to 7 per page with no right hand side advertising. It will only be 4 ads at the top and 3 at the bottom. The space on the right hand side will now be allocated to shopping ads for companies like CSC that sell products (ie knee braces). For us that’s good news and perhaps it’s time for your clinic to think outside the square and sell products.

Clinic Supplies Canada Google Adwords


Really, though, the big issue here is that it is going to be super competitive to fight for the top 4 places. In other words, you either know how to properly optimize Adwords or you will lose your shirt. Plain and simple.

This is really going to be a game changer for newbies to Adwords marketing and perhaps more beneficial for those that have had their hand in the pie for sometime.

As you can imagine, one thing that will likely change quite substantially is the cost per click you’ll have to pay to be in one of those top 4 positions - you will be paying more and that could get very expensive.

Winners and Losers of the New Google Adwords Changes

WINNER: PPC Marketers Come Out as Winners

Ads in the top position of Google ads have historically come out as winners anyway, with a 14X higher click through rate (CTR). Therefore, if you are doing pay per click (PPC) advertising, this change is giving room for one more ad in the top position.

According to Search Engine Land there are also going to be many more benefits for PPC marketers to get better results from their campaigns.

They say: “now all ads can use call-out extensions, sitelink extensions, location extensions and so on, which were previously only a benefit of top-of-page ads.”

WINNER: Paid Ads Will Look Even More Natural

Majority of browsers already don’t know the difference between paid and organic listings, but with the right side ads removed, paid listings will look even more natural - meaning the CTR could dramatically improve.

LOSER: Get Ready to Supercharge your Adwords Management

Because the impression share will change, some ads are going to get a tough hit, which is why it is going to become more expensive and more difficult to make the claim - you'll need much better management of your ads overall - meaning a higher time or cost investment.

LOSER: SEO Search Loses Out Slightly

Unfortunately, with one more top position being claimed by paid advertising, organic search positions are naturally going to be less. And, with 4 ads positioned at the top, getting prominent position above the fold (without the need to scroll) on desktop and tablet computers, organic pages will lose a little of the claim. 

This means PPC advertising is going to be worth the investment but you will have to have effective solutions to make sure you get the results of the investment.  

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Effective Solutions to Get Results on Your Investment

Get an Adwords Expert

Firstly, you can’t just set up a campaign with a few keywords and let it run on autopilot. You need someone who can be accountable for managing your Adwords and bringing a result. And not one of the services offered by the internet providers or yellow book directories - you need a dedicated company with expertise in Adwords.    

You must have a way to measure performance and track how many qualified phone calls are being generated to your clinic from your Adwords campaigns. Just looking how many clicks you got through to your website is not a measurement of success.

Without these fundamental steps, you’ll likely be spending far more than you need to and you won’t get the results that you need.

However, if you are going to hire a physiotherapy adwords expert, make sure you choose a company that only works with 1 client in your industry and community. Many of the big companies manage Adwords for 20 other physiotherapy or chiropractic clinics in your community, so how in the heck will all 20 clinics rank at #1 or #2?

They can't! You'll be putting your money down the drain!

When choosing an Adwords company to work with, I highly recommend working with experts who are exclusive to you so they don't pick and choose which competitor to rank #1 or #2.

Know your Cost Per Assessment

How much do you pay Adwords to book a new assessment?

This is a metric you need to know.

For example, If you spent $1000 on adwords in March and you got 20 phone calls and booked 10 appointments, your cost per assessment is $1000 / 10 = $100.

You can use this number to determine whether Google Adwords is an effective marketing channel for you. And you can compare your other marketing channels to see if it’s more effective than others and whether it is actually worth the investment.

The point being, that you must track all your marketing so you can determine these numbers.

Understand Lifetime Value

The lifetime value of your customers is the value of how much each person is likely to spend over the duration of them being a patient of your clinic.

While spending $100 may seem like a lot at first glance, in my opinion, if a customer is worth $500 annually and $2000 lifetime value, then spending $100 to get this customer in the door is a great number.

Once the customer books an appointment with you, it’s your job to give them such an amazing experience that they stay and share raving reviews that refer their friends and family too.

Extend your Opening Hours

Traditionally most owners / managers extend clinic hours based on utilization or when they look at the schedule and it looks full. This technique works if you’re trying to fulfill demand of existing patients but it doesn't tell you the complete story.

People don’t leave voice messages anymore. So do you know how many new patients you’re losing because you were not open to answer the phone?

If the annual value of one patient is worth $500, what this means is that every phone call you miss or don't covert is worth $500 minimum. In a month, this is worth $10,000 and $120,000 in a year - that's how much money your clinic could be losing. 

When people are looking online for help, they want help now. If they click on your Google ad and your clinic isn’t open, you’re going to be losing a lot of money.

Therefore, it makes sense to have an admin staff member available to pick up ‘out of hours’ phone calls. And this can be a simple method that will deliver better results on your campaigns.

Combine these steps together and you’ll still be able to come out on top with your Google Adwords campaigns. See the example below when you search "Calgary Physiotherapy" and notice the hours of opening. 


Need help to take your clinic to the next level?

Join my New Patiient Booster Program and we will cover Adwords and other effective healthcare marketing techniques so you'll never have to worry about maintaining your competitive edge in the market.


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