Best Practices for Tracking PPC Leads

PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is a great digital marketing option for those looking for fresh prospects, especially if your market is flooded with traditional marketing efforts. The problem is that online marketing efforts can be difficult to track in the office.

Some people will simply say “Google” or “I saw your website” when you ask them how they heard about you, but they may not know to tell you they saw your paid ad—or even realize that they clicked on an ad! Another issue is that there’s an added complexity if you are running other initiatives like direct mail. A patient may say they got the mail piece, but their phone call is tracked to an online initiative.

So what do you do?

There are two sides to the equation: how your digital marketing vendor should be tracking your PPC and how you track it once prospects reach your practice. Let’s start with the first—the best practices when it comes to how a vendor can track their PPC efforts:

  1. Landing Pages – PPC best practices include having a landing page related to your paid ads that feature a contact form that you can track to that specific page. What is a landing page? This is a simplistic stand-alone web page where a visitor “lands” after clicking your ad. This page is designed to have one single focus and for the audiology industry that’s typically to contact your practice. It should include enough information to be relevant to the ad but not a recreation of your entire website; less is more in this case.
  2. Form Submissions – By featuring a contact form on the landing page, visitors can quickly and easily send you their information. This form submission is emailed to the practice and can be translated as that visitor asking your practice to reach out to them. The quicker you can reach out to them, the more likely you’ll book a new appointment.
  3. Google Analytics This tracking effort is typically set up by your PPC provider but may be even more important if you’re managing this effort in-house, especially if you’re not using a PPC-specific contact form or call tracking. Google Analytics tracks an overwhelming amount of data and one of the most helpful tools is the ability to set “goals” which could be contact form submissions or smartphone click-to-calls. If you’re not using a landing page, you can track the number of visitors to the specific page you’re directing your ads to.

Ok, you’ve gotten the lead. Here’s how can you track those prospects in your office:

  1. Office Follow-up – Someone in your practice should be following up on any prospects, both from phone calls and form submissions, within 24 hours of being received during business hours. Checking your voicemail after lunch (if the office breaks for lunch) and first thing in the morning can ensure you’re following up with those who want to hear back from you. Also, often times, you can set up the forms to be sent to multiple people so that an FOP and management can get them. This way the FOP can follow up quickly and management has a “receipt” of the contact and make sure any tracking matches.
  2. Call Tracking – Call tracking can be incorporated on both your website and PPC landing page to optimize tracking. By using different tracking numbers on your website and your landing page, you’ll be able to track PPC-specific leads. Tracking all calls from your website is a generally good idea so that you can understand how many prospects are calling to make appointments and how many are current patients. Some call tracking providers feature a technology called “dynamic number placement” which is great to implement in your tracking. The idea is that the numbers on the website automatically change depending on where the site visitor has come from—meaning organic search, PPC ads, and even social media channels! In other words, you’ll be able to track incoming calls from all of your digital efforts, not just your PPC. Call tracking is also helpful when patients are calling the digital tracking number but indicate that they received a mail piece. You would attribute this call to your digital efforts because it’s the effort that spurred the person to contact the practice.
  3. Practice Management Software – Making sure your front office staff understands that you’re running PPC ads can be very helpful when it comes to tracking in your practice management software. This way, they’ll know to ask callers which initiative they’re calling from as well as which referral source to use. Also, call tracking can help ensure you’re listing the correct referral sources as it can help you differentiate between general “online” activity and PPC-specific activity.

Why is tracking your PPC important? For ROI of course! Because digital marketing is happening in real time and doesn’t feature tangible collateral for someone to save until they’re ready to act (like direct mail), it can provide a shorter buying cycle.

Still not sure how you can track your digital marketing efforts? Consult YHN can help! 

The Consult YHN Marketing team can translate reporting into actionable items and make suggestions on how to improve your current tracking efforts. We can also consult on your overall digital marketing strategy, including reviewing proposals, developing budget suggestions, and more.

Contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com to get started today!

About the Author

Rachel Atar joined Consult YHN in 2015 as Marketing Account Executive. With experience in multiple industries, Rachel has consistently helped small businesses navigate marketing for their end consumers. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was Taylored Home Health Care’s Marketing Manager.

SERP, Meta Data, SEM, CTR…what does it all mean?

You went to school to be a top-notch hearing healthcare provider, not a top-notch marketing executive, right?

Reaching your customers, however, requires you to engage digital marketing and the language that goes along with it.

Don’t stress yourself if you don’t know your site impressions from your unique visitors, or your bounce rate from your conversion rate — you have Consult YHN’s Marketing Department and this glossary of website/digital marketing terms to help you make sense of the information.

Website Design

Blog

A blog is a site page that features regularly updated content. That content could include office announcements/changes, event invites, and discussions about new device technology or health information.

Content

The copy, images and videos that make up a website.

Domain

The registered name of a website, purchased through a company like GoDaddy. For example, ConsultYHN.com, yourhearingnetwork.com.

Hosting

The “space” you rent on the internet where all the code and content (pictures, videos, copy) that makes up your website lives. A company such as GoDaddy must host your website for it be visible.

Keyword

A word or phrase that people use when searching for something online. Keywords are also the words or phrases included in a site’s content to increase search engine rankings.

Meta Data

Information built into the coded structure of a website that helps tell search engines what the site, individual site pages, images, and video are about. This can include meta-tags and meta-descriptions. Providing this information is part of the site design process and updating it can be a part of an SEO strategy.

Mobile Responsive

A site designed to automatically resize content and adjust to different screen sizes used across devices. The site would automatically resize to accommodate smartphone, tablet and desktop viewing. This is a must-have feature in 2017.

Platform

A reference to how a site was built. WordPress has become a standard platform used by many sites.

Search Engine

Website designed to provide a list of “results” based on the keywords searched. Google, Bing, Yahoo (in that order) are the three most used search engines.

SERP

Search Engine Results Page. The list of sites returned as answers to a search engine search. For example, if you were to search for “women’s suits,” you would want the search engine results page to list sites where you can buy women’s suits.

URL

The full web address of a website that is typed into an internet browser to access the site. For example, www.ConsultYHN.com, www.yourhearingnetwork.com.

Webmaster

The person who manages, and typically can make changes to, a website. If you use a “build-your-own website” platform like Wix, you are the webmaster. If you use a company to build your website or perform ongoing digital marketing, they may be the webmaster. Please Note: If you have a company managing your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, they may not be managing your website.

Website Analytics

Analytics

The data and statistics about the users of a website and how they interact with the website. This can include the device they’re using, where they are, how long they visit the site, if they perform an action on the site (fill out a form), and some demographics.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of site visitors that leave from the same page they enter. For example, a person visits the home page and exits the site without viewing any other pages.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of unique site visitors who “convert” to leads. For an audiology practice, this would typically be someone who filled out a form on the site or called the office.

Rank

The place in search results where a site appears. This is determined by an algorithm (Google’s is considered the industry standard). The actual factors are secret but include keyword density (how many times keywords are included across a site), mobile responsiveness, content quality, and whether recent and regular content updates are made. The Google algorithm is updated about once a year.

Session

Can be interchanged with “visit.” Each time a site is viewed.

Site Impressions

The number of times a site was shown in search results.

Traffic

A total of how many people visited a website. This is typically broken into three segments:

  • Organic Traffic — Those who visited the site as a result of a web search. E.g., they searched for “hearing aids Philadelphia” and they clicked on your site in the search results.
  • Referral Traffic — Those referred to a site from another website. E.g., a person may visit a site from a Facebook link or clicked on a link to your blog, which you shared on your Facebook page.
  • Paid Traffic — Those who visited the site because they clicked on an ad.

Visitor

A person who visits the site. Analytics software will typically break this count into unique (first time) visitors and total visitors.

Digital Marketing

Ad Impressions

The number of times your paid ad is displayed with search results. This is dictated in part by ad budget and quality of ad (how well Google says it matches a search keyword)..

CPA

Cost per “acquisition.” The average cost per conversion..

CPC

Cost Per Click. The price paid when a person clicks on an ad. This is determined by a bid system and can vary widely based on factors such as geographical location, keyword competition (how many people want to buy a keyword), and time of day.

CTR

Click Through Rate. The percentage of ads that were clicked on.

Display ads

Image ads that are displayed on outside websites to people who have not been to your website.

Landing Page

A page visitors are directed to after they click on a paid ad. These are specifically built to encourage conversions and feature information specifically tied to the ad, a form, and a strong call to action. These pages can have a higher bounce rate than the rest of a site because they are specifically built to capture lead information rather than provide overall education.

Local Listings

A term for online directories that act like phone books, confirming a business’ NAP (name, address, phone number) across the internet. Google Maps is one of hundreds of public local listing resources online that search engines rely on to confirm information.

PPC

Pay Per Click. Ads that appear at the top and bottom of search engine result pages based on searched keywords. The cost is based on a bidding system and you only pay for an ad when someone clicks on it.

Retargeting ads

Also referred to as remarketing ads, they are image-based ads displayed on other websites, shown only to visitors of the original site. Have you ever looked at an item on Amazon, only to have an ad for that item shown on a news website later that day? That is a retargeting ad.

SEM

Search Engine Marketing. The broad term for continuing digital activities like search engine optimization (SEO), social media advertising, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization. The idea of using design and content to give a visitor the best possible user experience (menu order makes sense, images load correctly, mobile responsive), the most relevant information (developing quality content with relevant keywords throughout the site), and to obtain the best possible search results rank.

Social Media

Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that allow users to create and share their own content. These sites now also have their own advertising programs.

If you have questions about any of the terms in our glossary, need guidance to effectively market your practice, or don’t know where to start, please call us at 800-984-3272 or email us at marketing@ConsultYHN.com.

We exist to alleviate the stress and jargon associated with marketing your practice so that you can stay focused on helping individuals hear well.

About the Author

Rachel Atar joined Consult YHN in 2015 as Marketing Account Executive. With experience in multiple industries, Rachel has consistently helped small businesses navigate marketing for their end consumers. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was Taylored Home Health Care’s Marketing Manager.

Advanced Digital Marketing Strategies: SEO vs. PPC

seo vs ppcAs business-focused professionals, we all know that simply having a static online presence is no longer an option if we want to drive traffic to our websites and ultimately into the business. There are a plethora of advanced digital marketing strategies for attracting online traffic, but which ones are best for your practice? If you currently have a robust online presence with a content-rich website, you’re ready for at least one advanced option. Let’s examine both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and help you to determine what is the best tactic to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy.

When attempting to understand the difference between SEO and PPC and which one to implement, let’s first define the differences and benefits of each:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Overview: The purpose of implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to get your website to rank organically near the top of page one in the search results. For example, if a Google search with the keywords “deep dish pizza in Chicago” is conducted, the organic results that populate at the top of the search engine are dependent upon several factors, one of which is SEO. Here’s an example of the search results for that specific phrase:

seo

Based on the results, it appears that the businesses Giordano’s, Pequod’s Pizza and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria have invested in SEO tactics such as reviews and keyword optimization on their respective websites. We can determine this since they’ve appeared at the top of the organic results, based on our keyword search.

How does it work?: Google (and other search engines) use proprietary algorithms to determine how relevant the information on your website is when someone searches a specific keyword or phrase. In the example above, the results for “deep dish pizza in Chicago” generated listings for three popular pizzerias; obviously the results are relevant to the keyword search and in turn, the content on the respective websites is optimized for those keywords. Therefore, it’s important to understand that when incorporating an SEO strategy, you must focus on adding relevant content to your website via keywords. This ensures that your products and services are promoted authentically to match the terms that consumers are searching.

Cost: An investment in SEO typically begins at a few hundred dollars per month if working with a digital marketing partner.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

 Overview: The overall goal of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is to quickly generate new leads for your website. In essence, businesses pay a “media” fee through Google AdWords to appear at the top of the search engine and hope that they’ll click on the first ad they see. For this example, let’s conduct a Google search for the keyword term “Starbucks coffee.” Here are the results:

ppc

In the example above, you can see where Starbucks has sponsored an “Ad” in order to appear at the top of the search listings (arrow A). You can also see that companies such as Jet.com and Staples which carry Starbucks products have purchased sponsored content (arrow B). With any keyword search, PPC ads will display above and below the organic search results. Adding PPC to your digital marketing strategy can create traffic to your website quickly, but you want to make sure someone is monitoring the results closely.

How does it work?: The advertiser or sponsor pays each time someone clicks on the link that is included in the ad; if no one clicks, the Google AdWords account is not debited. PPC costs are determined by bidding and can be set based on keyword searches and geography. In the example above, Starbucks is targeting anyone that searches the keywords “Starbucks coffee,” no matter where they are located in the United States. With PPC, you want to ensure that the person managing the account understands the bidding of your specific keyword terms and can properly manage the Google AdWords (media spend) each month. You also want to make sure that one clicks on the PPC ad it is directed to relevant information on your website and it encourages them to call the practice.

Cost: An investment in PPC has two components, the media buy (paid directly to Google AdWords) and the management fee. Expect to pay a minimum of $500 for AdWords and $300 in management fees per month if working with a digital marketing partner. The AdWords budget is typically determined by the keywords and your market.

Which strategy is best for you?

SEO and PPC typically work best when they co-exist within a digital marketing strategy; attaching consumers from both organic and paid searches. We know that’s not always feasible from a readiness or budgetary standpoint, so let’s approach the “best” strategy by understanding the goals of the practice. If a practice just opened or has added a new location, PPC is the short term solution to get new patients in the door quickly. SEO, in contrast, is a longer term strategy and may be best for a practice that just completed a website update or doesn’t have much competition. Your practice goals combined with the maturity of your online strategy and digital marketing budget will help determine the appropriate next steps.

Regardless of which strategy you decide to pursue, ensure that you are tracking effectiveness via Google Analytics and following your investment through to sale, if possible. You’ll want to ensure that all of your marketing dollars are spent effectively.

Consult YHN can help! Consult YHN partners with several digital marketing vendors that offer both SEO and PPC programs. The Consult YHN Marketing Team is also available to consult on your digital marketing strategy, including reviewing proposals, developing budget suggestions, offering recommendations, and more. Contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com to get started today!

More of: Do This, Not That (Part 2)

Want to know more of what not to do with your online presence? Here’s the remainder of our list of 10 do’s and 10 don’ts to keep your online activities on the right track in 2013.

Don’t: Hide your contact information away in an obscure spot or buried page.

Do: Present your contact information (address, phone number, email address) and other critical details noticeably on your website. No need to go overboard and plaster it in 60 point type everywhere either – that does not send the message you are looking for, does it? Make certain it is in one primary spot, then use the footer or text-based references to sprinkle it throughout the site. The same thing applies to listings, social media profiles, and any other online space that you have created. Be sure to check for accuracy and consistency across your entire online presence, it will help search engines recognize and elevate your business in local search rankings.

customers

Don’t: Disregard the fact that happy customers are your best promoters.

Do: Share positive reviews and comments from some of your best customers. It is up to you how elaborately you want to do this – whether written or via video clips. Video can be impromptu personal video camera quality, or professionally shot and edited, however you choose and whichever your budget allows. Use them on your website, social media pages, and/or company blog to establish credibility for your practice. This process ensures you are paying attention to feedback from your customers and provides a “voice” of your patients for others to gauge. That voice needs to be authentic and real, not prescribed and contrived – consumers can tell the difference.

Don’t: Assume you are immune to criticism, or take your reputation for granted.

Do: Create a plan for monitoring and managing your online reputation. Set up notifications, like Google Alerts, to be aware of what consumers are saying about you online. Also, follow up on any negative comments in a timely and professional manner. Do not engage in an online debate with an unhappy customer, take your actions offline and address them immediately. Be certain to recognize and thank customers who leave positive feedback.

pushpinsDon’t: Go unlisted online, or fail to extend your presence.

Do: Claim business listings on Google+ Local, Yelp, and other business directories. The term ‘free directory listings’ applies to local search engines, internet yellow pages, local vertical search engines, special directories (like free 800 listings), and consumer review websites that focus on local businesses rather than products,. By claiming your business listings in these places, you can ensure your information is current and accurate. Plus, by updating and optimizing your listings, you increase the chances that consumers will find you as they search online.

Don’t: Ignore or underestimate your online marketing campaigns.

Do: Just like in traditional direct marketing you must create smart, effective ads with strong calls to action (CTAs). In this market an online ad can be part of your customers’ research and possibly the first impression of your business, so make it a strong one. As in offline marketing, you need to actively monitor your campaign performance to see what works. Monitor campaigns frequently to assess the source for the most leads and adjust your efforts in real time. The key benefit of online marketing is the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments. Be sure to keep any online incentives, offers, or specials listed in your ads (or on your website/social media pages) up to date.

Intro to Digital Marketing

Consult YHN’s recommended digital marketing strategy is centered on the development of highly relevant and flexible websites built upon a Content Management System (CMS) platform. CMS websites allow the user (Associate) to make routine changes or updates to their own website (e.g.: store hours, employee bios, headshots, newsletters, blog posts, etc.) These sites are rooted in consumer intensive content and communicate the Associates’ clinical service message. The results of this approach are sites optimized for search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) helping to drive traffic to their website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization improves page ranking.

An important addition to any website development is the incorporation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Focusing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through content, keywords, and tagging (keywords inserted within the code for the site) encourage search engines to find and competitively rank your website higher than competitors relative to specific search terms. Different search terms will have different results rankings. Optimization improves the search results for several key words or phrases by emphasizing those words within the content or structure of the site. This type of SEO is known as organic and helps raise website page rankings and remain at or near the top of the search listings. Using organic optimization requires continuous SEO management and is necessary to keep a viable online presence.

Another optimization strategy is Search Engine Management (SEM) and a tactic known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) web managers help businesses increase their online presence. Paid links appear as the first few search results from the search engines (usually in a shaded box) and also in a narrow, vertical column along the right-hand side of the results page. PPC requires a monthly budget as the advertiser is charged a fee each time a consumer clicks on a paid link. Keyword fees are negotiated and bid upon by multiple advertisers, with highly sought after words drawing higher rates. This type of optimization is best added to a website once a strong organic SEO methodology is implemented.

Consult YHN has created a website development program that allows Associates to create a new site, revise an outdated one, or supplement their current site with additional services and support.  Contact Consult YHN Marketing at 800.984.3272 to discuss your goals and objectives or speak with your Associate Manager to get more details and pricing.  A capabilities presentation and a portfolio of websites are also available.