In what can only be described as a highly volatile and unprecedented year for private healthcare, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. As with almost every other sector, just over a year ago the COVID-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on the private healthcare sector. Private clinics, hospitals, and practices were forced to postpone marketing efforts and paid search campaigns as workers turned their attention to supporting the NHS.
Fast forward to today… As we move into the summer of 2021, healthcare marketing activity is on the rise, with many looking to market their services and be more aggressive with PPC spend. With this in mind, we thought, being experts in building and managing healthcare PPC campaigns, we would dust off our digital quill and share some of the top healthcare PPC tips to consider for the rest of 2021.
- Speak Clearly Within Your Advert Copy
As some of the disruption associated with COVID-19 is predicted to rumble on for the short to medium term, it’s essential you are clear with your messaging when communicating with your target audience. Whether you are trying to convey the safety procedures you have in place, revised opening hours, or whether you are even open at all, focused and concise advert copy is imperative. No longer can you rely on the advert copy combinations that may have worked for you in the past. Users’ needs have changed and factors such as safety procedures, opening hours, and appointment availability have become more important.
- Be Aware of Competitor Activity
The last 12 months has brought unprecedented change within the healthcare sector, forcing many to innovate and adapt. If this rings true for you, it’s likely it was also the case for your competitors. Take some time to look at how they have responded to this uncertainty. To help you with your spying, we’ve provided this checklist below.
- Has their advert copy changed?
- Are they trying anything new (display ads, remarketing, Microsoft Ads)?
- Have their opening hours changed?
- Have they amended their pricing?
- Are they using new keywords?
- Has their advertising budget changed?
- Have they even re-opened at all?
With private clinics and hospitals still adjusting to the new market, opportunities are aplenty. Making sure you have taken the time to scope out the competition will help provide you with a competitive advantage and gain valuable insight into the sector. From improved cost per clicks, to ensuring you are bidding on the newly best performing keywords, all these factors can better inform your campaigns thus improving performance.
- Revisit Your Target Audience & How Their Patterns May Have Changed
Just as your competition may have changed in the past year, this could also be the case for your target audience. As an example, many central London hospitals and clinics are feeling the impact of less commuters and visitors in the capital due to travel restrictions. Taking the time to review just how your target audience’s behaviour may have changed can help influence a variety of factors within a healthcare PPC campaign.
From reviewing time of day bidding and looking at how booking patterns may have changed, to mastering location targeting and bidding appropriately based on the likelihood of a user converting in a certain location, re-analysing your target audience’s behaviour is crucial.
PRO TIP: Get the team together and have a 10 minute brainstorm. Ask yourselves: what have patients been saying, how have bookings changed, and crucially, are there any concerns or opportunities you could look to take advantage of?
- Get Ready For The Surge
As prominent figures in the healthcare space, such as Karol Sikora, campaign for patients to not be put off getting checked for cancer or other serious illnesses, the number of people postponing or having non-essential procedures cancelled has also skyrocketed. Data from NHS England shows that around 4.7 million people were waiting for routine procedures in February, the highest figure seen in the NHS since as far back as 2007.
Even though people have been putting off seeking treatment and many have postponed planned procedures, those suffering from ailments are still in pain and have discomfort. As healthcare returns to normal we expect the demand for private procedures, clinics, and consultants to surge. With the NHS waiting list longer than usual, more and more people will look to affordable private solutions, while others will simply want their conditions taken care of as soon as it is safe to do so. With this in mind, we recommend keeping a close eye on your healthcare PPC campaign performance and budgets. If business is picking up, make sure your campaigns aren’t running out of budget on your busiest days and that if your budget is stretched, you are assigning it to the most lucrative areas of your private practice.
- Track Your Conversions Accurately
As patient activity picks up, it is essential you have conversion tracking in place for your healthcare PPC campaign. Admittedly this topic could be a blog piece in its own right, but we will try and break it down nice and quickly into a short paragraph (or two!).
In the healthcare space, the key elements you ideally want to be tracking are as follows:
- Bookings on your site
- Transactions and revenue (if relevant)
- Contact form submissions
- Phone calls
- Direct emails
Depending on the build and complexity of your website some of these can be more difficult than others to track. While it might be a fiddly process to get right; clear and concise conversion tracking is imperative to measuring your ROI and ensuring that your marketing spend is being used effectively.
PRO TIP: However accurate your conversion tracking is, remember it’s never perfect. The obvious example we like to use is the desktop user in their office. They click your beautifully constructed PPC advert, love your expertly crafted landing page, and immediately dial your number from their office phone. According to Google Ads, no conversion was ever tracked. According to Google Analytics, that person bounced from the site. But that person could make a booking for a private hip replacement costing £10-15k! We generally recommend allowing 20-25% on top of conversions you were able to track internally. It’s not a perfect measurement, but it will provide a more realistic measure of your campaign ROI.
The remainder of 2021 is sure to be an active and interesting period for healthcare marketing and medical PPC campaigns around the UK. The key is to remain vigilant, try to be proactive, and ensure you have procedures in place to effectively track the performance of your campaigns.
If you need some expert insight and advice on how best to maximise performance from your PPC campaigns then look no further. With many years of in-house and agency healthcare experience as well as working with some of the top private hospitals and clinics around the UK, we can help provide specialist healthcare PPC management to really get the most from your Google Ads account.
Call us on 07850088687 or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org