The Therapist’s Guide to Google AdWords
To harness the power and traffic of the world’s biggest search engine… or not?
In the immortal words of Shakespeare, that is the question.
In our popular blog, Paid Advertising – Does It Make Sense for Your Private Practice?, we discussed how private practice paid advertising can make a massive and rapid impact to your client numbers and profits. For the right practice that wants to grow and is ready to focus on simple, crucial metrics, advertising can lead to exponential growth.
Paid advertising for therapists can be the light at the beginning or middle of the tunnel rather than a last desperate gasp; it can lead to booked-solid consultation times; and it can help you become the recognized local expert, the go-to professional.
So is private practice paid advertising worth it? If you are the right fit, absolutely!
Which brings us to the best paid advertising for therapists and the behemoth that is Google… Let’s start with the basics.
Not too keen on AdWords? No problem!
Sign up for our 8-part email course on Unique Ways to Get More Clients to Your Private Practice!
How to Navigate AdWords in Private Practice
How does Google Adwords work?
Google Adwords is Google’s advertising platform. It enables companies, including private practices just like yours, to advertise directly to potential clients.
A Google searcher types in a word or words linked to what they want to find. (These are also called a keyword or keyword phrase.)
When they hit ‘enter’ Google’s digital brain kicks into gear using its impressive insights and algorithms to return both unpaid (“organic”) and paid results. The organic search results are free and your site’s organic ranking is built on a number of metrics. The top two metrics you can and should implement:
1) A search engine optimized website
This is what we do at Brighter Vision and it’s crucial to your success for a number of reasons. With this post all about Google Adwords, let’s stick to the reasons relevant to this topic.
When you pay for the click (which I’ll explain in a moment) and someone lands on your site, you’d better provide them with what they want. If what they see when they land isn’t what they want and need, or your site looks unprofessional, or you don’t offer value, they will leave in a heartbeat never to return and take your hard earned advertising money with them.
To ensure you get a hearty return on your private practice paid advertising, a professional website is key.
We both know how important a great website is to your success (especially with Adwords).
Why not get started with a FREE TRIAL to Brighter Vision so you can GET MORE CLIENTS and be a more successful therapist.
2) Regularly add fresh, unique content
Blog posting is a powerful way to boost your find-ability and Google loves it! We know you are busy but this step is key so we actually created an educational mini-series just on this topic called, Write Your Way to a 6-Figure Practice. Check it out if you’re looking for some writing or blogging advice!
Plus, you can harness your fresh unique content to dazzle your readers and incorporate high converting posts in your Google Adwords strategy.
Google’s first page is golden
People are lazy.
The vast majority do not look past the first page of results. So while you may offer incredible value and insights, if you’re not here, you may as well be nowhere… And “nowhere” won’t grow your practice.
But Adwords allows you to shortcut the route to the top. How?
When a search result is returned it will, most often, show both paid and unpaid options. Paid ads sit at the top and to the right hand side of the page, fronted by a small ‘Ad’ sign. They’re placed to catch attention, as you can see in the below example. You can take advantage of this strategically placed listing by combining the power of the dollar and a Google Adwords account.
Notice I said… strategic? As with all transformative advertising, strategy is imperative. With it, you can change your world. Without it, you can throw yourself into an expensive well of self pity.
Which leads me to…
The nuts and bolts of Google Adwords
Google Adwords works on an auction basis: You choose relevant keywords, you place a bid, and you pay each time your advert receives a click. This is known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising for obvious reasons.
Yet as easy as it sounds, as with all things business it’s not quite that simple. After all, an auction means you are competing for the click against others with your ideal client in mind. Again, this is where strategy comes in, allowing you a positive outcome. So let’s dive into so you understand Google Adwords better, and how to strategically use rather than lose with this resource.
A beautiful keyword in the right location
Competition can be tough, but there are sensible ways to reduce your costs and improve your success. When someone starts out with Adwords, enthusiasm can be expensive. By jumping in without due care — credit to you for reading this post! — the baby can be thrown out with the bath water. In a rush to grab immediate success, some key understandings are missed.
Can you imagine if someone untrained simply hung up a shingle and offered therapy consultations? You’re right. Disaster! While you need years of education to become a therapist, with only a little training you can learn the essential Adwords strategies required to enhance paid advertising for therapists. Yes, that’s you!
Now let’s focus on the example of depression so we can get our minds around some important concepts. Say you’re a therapist who specializes in depression, can’t you just include “depression” as a keyword? Well, you could but imagine how many times “depression” is searched? Millions! It’s what’s called a “short term keyword” simply because it’s a single word. And like a posh apartment in the hub of a major city, everybody wanting it makes it expensive.
The good news? You can narrow down your keyword phrases so you’re catching more of the eyeballs you want, and less of the ones you don’t.
Location, location, location
If you are like most therapists, the vast majority of your clients will come from the suburbs surrounding your practice. In fact, they’re likely to come from the neighboring few miles.
With Adwords, you can and should use Google’s location targeting. This enables you to restrict your adverts to only being shown to those who are within geographic reach. There’s no point paying for a click in Arizona if you practice face-to-face therapy in New York.
The keyword beauty and the beast
Ok, so this might sound like a strange way to focus in on keywords but stick with me.
As Google Adwords are based on your keywords and your competition we’d better get familiar with how these two players commingle so you can make informed decisions. To do this, let’s head back to our depression example. If not “depression” as a keyword, then what?
Google isn’t like eBay or Amazon where people head to these sites with the intent to buy. People use search engines for a very wide variety of reasons, even when it comes to mental health care.
Some are indeed be curious about depression, others research for a school assignment, some search to better understand what a loved one is going through, others seek resources for a patient (maybe you’ve done this yourself), and many look for insights into their own personal experiences. Dr. Google has a cure for every ail! And some searchers – those you want to connect with – are actively searching for help.
And the differences in language between how lookie-loos search and how potential customers search can vary a lot, meaning your keywords need to as well. How?
Keyword terms like “depression,” “what is depression,” “depression signs and symptoms” just aren’t as profitable as something like “find a depression therapist” or “depression therapist Princeton, NJ.” The searchers looking for help, and willing to pay for it, are your Adwords targets.
Similar, but different: Keyword searches are pedantic!
Google Adwords is fussy. It just is!
It considers “depression therapy” and “therapy for depression” entirely different beasts. When you add keywords to your Adwords campaign, you should include both. In fact, you would include a long list of considered keywords because Adwords allows you to experiment and measure the results for each one.
It’s important to think of lesser known keywords relevant to your expertise and your private practice paid advertising. Sometimes you’ll find a cheaper related keyword because you simply thought outside the box.
And you’ll be relieved to know there are faster ways than brainstorming on your own. Google Adwords offers suggestions through their keyword planner. LSIgraph.com is a great tool for hunting down long tail keywords (yes, as opposed to “short tail” keywords, “long tails” are basically anything with two or more words).
Wonderful, your keywords are now sorted, it’s time to…
Let’s Write a Google Adwords advert
So! You’ve decided on your location, have a list of considered keywords to try, and now you need to write the ad.
As you’ve probably seen while searching, each Adwords text ad has three components: The headline, a display URL (or website address), and the descriptive text. These three elements in this small space is where the magic comes together. You need to be succinct to woo your searcher to your site.
Picture: Maximum character length for each component of a Google Adwords advert.
In his article on Acquisio, Mark John Hiemstra shared an insightful post about how to write great Adwords ads. It is well worth the read. Here are his 5 main takeaways:
1) Craft three versions and find the top one
2) Test and measure…. Test and measure!
Adwords enables you to test two of your ads against each other to see which performs best. This is called A/B split testing. While it might sound like another scary term, it’s just that. A simple term.
3) Include power words
You don’t have much space to cast your captive spell so well chosen words matter. Luckily, those who’ve been writing advertising copy for eons have discovered there are some wonder words that we all respond well to. They can vary depending on who you ask, but here are 10 of CrazyEggs’ top picks:
4) Emotionally engage
Those seeking out the services of a therapist are often face-to-face with difficult emotions. Many may even realize they should consult with a therapist but are having trouble committing. While it may feel like it goes against the grain, emotionally engaging with people in their struggle is important. Talking about their biggest challenge in ways that trigger positive responses are key. Ethically incorporating words and phrases current clients have actually said about their struggles can help.
You must realize, if the right readers do not click on your ad and don’t get the professional care they need, no favors are done. If you can’t sell your professional services, you can’t help.
Having trouble connecting with your potential customers?
The problem could be your branding! Check out our podcast on the importance of branding yourself here.
5) Share a little of your personality
People connect with other people. Show them you are human by sharing your own experience and displaying sympathy for theirs. Here’s a tip: a little honesty goes a long way.
Besides Hiemstra’s takeaways, another very important point to remember is that you must give those who click exactly what you promised. If your offer is “7 Tips To Reduce Your Depression,” don’t direct them to an irrelevant homepage. Send them to the article itself!
Does your link title “Learn How To Increase Your Mood?” Don’t send them to a Family Counseling page. As we talked about in our post 6 Social Media Tips to Increase Engagement, you must give people what you’re promising them and what they want.
Choose your bid & set your budget
Welcome to where the rubber hits the road! To start your Adwords ads running, of course, requires figuring out your budget. In order to do that, it’s important not to miss two important steps when setting up your Adwords:
1) Choose maximum bids that make you feel comfortable.
2) Place a daily cap on your Adwords spend. You might exceed this on certain days, but over the course of a month your daily cap will even out accurately.
Metrics and Monitoring
There are a few easy metrics you’ll need to learn as you settle into the Adwords world.
Cost Per Conversion
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Quality Score (QS)
Cost Per Click (CPC)
Conversion Rate (CR)
I promise, these won’t set your head spinning. Want to know more? Matt Wheeler’s brief article will help.
Test and measure
I often talk about this crucial topic and, I’ll admit it, sometimes people glaze over. But in reality, it’s something therapists do in practice daily. The DASS, Millon® Behavioral Medicine Diagnostic, SSIS™… Testing clients via assessments, reassessments, and trying different approaches to identify what works and what doesn’t, is part of everyday clinical life. This is the focus you need to bring to Google Adwords to craft campaigns that transform your practice and the lives of those within it.
And because you are able to test and measure, and cap your spending, now is a great time to begin.
Google Adwords makes it simple to connect with those you can help and to reach a community of people you would otherwise never gain exposure to. Learning more about its features and metrics can lead to exponential growth.
And if it makes you feel a little nervous, great!
Paid advertising for therapists is an under-utilized service that could be just what the doctor ordered. It may be time to shower some google Adwords therapy on your therapy practice.
If you’re still hesitant to put down cold hard cash to advertise on Google, then it’s crucial to make sure your website’s SEO is working hard for you! At Brighter Vision, we provide all of our therapists with high quality Search Engine Optimization so that your potential clients can find you online. And we do it all for no extra cost.
If you’re struggling with getting clients through your website, contact us today to see how we can help!