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5 Tips to Optimize Your Digital Ad Spend

Shawn Sandahl

Every savvy digital marketer wants to get the lowest cost for the highest return on investment. That’s one of the reasons healthcare organizations partner with digital agencies. But many agencies lack the ability to look beyond the click and measure what really matters. The key is to look at the campaign not as individual parts but as the sum of its parts.

We have a formula that helps us guide the creation of new ads for clients’ campaigns. It’s not a one-size-fits-all template, but rather a set of guidelines and a series of tests we perform to get the biggest bang for our clients’ bucks. The “winning ad” doesn’t just win. We want it to keep getting better and better.

Every campaign in every market is unique. While there’s no single “secret recipe” to get the best cost per click, our Google AdWords-certified digital marketing team compiled five tips from our formula to get you started on the path to optimizing your digital marketing budget.

1. Study Up to Save Some Green

Vertical Slide TabletAnalytics2Research is the most important step before launching any type of marketing campaign, particularly in the fast-moving digital world. We recommend starting in Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Display Planner to get a feel for the keywords you want to target. From there, you can create a budget based on those keywords.

A huge part of the research phase is strategizing with your digital agency. A good guideline is to invest one month’s worth of ad spend in strategy and planning. This initial investment can save a lot of money in the long run.

For example, we ran a stroke campaign in early 2017 for one of our top-tier digital marketing clients. One of the top two related search terms in their market was “mini-stroke.” Rather than buying that term right away, we used five minutes of strategy time to ask the client specific questions about their stroke services. Turns out, they don’t even treat mini-stroke! We saved half their budget just by uncovering that simple fact and planning keywords accordingly.

A quality healthcare digital marketing agency can optimize your campaign with the right keywords and winning creative, all within your budget and while maximizing conversions. Much like our partners on the content marketing team, we recommend interviewing your stakeholders during this research phase. Learn as much about their service line and expertise as you can, including:

  • Market reach
  • Saturation for location targeting
  • Differentiating statements you can prove (first in the region, 100-plus cardiologists, etc.)
  • FAQs from the call center (to use as potential ad copy)
  • Specialties in which the clinic/doctors excel
  • Up-to-date accreditations, awards, and certifications from the clinic level all the way down to the physician level
  • Cost per patient (or, even better, revenue per patient)

Estimate a cost-per-acquisition target for ROI. Even if you don’t know what it should be, start the conversation before your campaigns start.  Cost per patient can be tough to determine in healthcare, but your digital agency can help you find a decent average, set up measurements, and prove ROI to stakeholders over time.

Getting profitability data into your account is the first step into determining your ROI. You can start by providing your digital marketing team with the following metrics:

  • Gross profit $ (revenue - cost of goods sold)
  • Gross profit margin % (revenue - cost of good sold) / revenue
  • Close rate on leads % (closed leads / conversions)

Let’s Talk Ad Strategy: Contact Us!

2. Rock the Landing Page

The landing page is another often-forgotten (or disregarded) key element of a successful digital campaign. Landing pages can become an slick conduit for conversions if the strategy is right. But if the strategy isn’t right, the landing page can turn into an expensive dead end.

Use the keywords you’ve chosen for your campaign and budget to create new landing page content. Whether this is a built-from-scratch page or an update to an existing template, infusing it with appropriate terminology and clear calls to action that match your campaign goals is key to being found online. In digital, if people can’t find you, it’s not that they aren’t searching right. It’s that your campaigns and landing page aren’t optimized properly.

3. Plan for the 95 Percent

In healthcare digital marketing, you can’t increase demand like you can in retail. But you can make clear, easy conversion paths for when the visitor is ready to use your services. When you set up a landing page, it’s important to think beyond conversions. What about the visitors who are interested but not yet ready to convert? We call them “the 95 percent.”

Set up your landing page to collect information that can be used to generate leads and continue nurturing them. While you don’t want a busy landing page, offer the main call-to-action and one relevant alternative, such as signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to a video channel, or exchanging an email address for a whitepaper. These additional touches will keep you top-of-mind when the need for care arises, provided the content you share is relevant and useful.

4. Always Be (A/B) Testing

We never launch a campaign and just let it run. Testing is an incredibly important factor in optimizing your digital marketing budget and ad efficacy. All campaigns benefit from continual experimentation, from general “Get a Colonoscopy” campaigns all the way to targeted campaigns for complex heart or cancer treatments.

A few examples of things we continually test for clients are:

  • Ad extensions
  • Ad groups
  • Bid strategies
  • Campaign structure
  • Demographic targeting, including household income
  • Headlines
  • Imagery
  • Value statements

If you’re unsure which ad image or copy will work best, use them both! Split your ad budget and do some A/B testing. This can be particularly helpful if personal preference or politics become campaign roadblocks. It’s tough to argue “because the boss likes this picture” when data clearly shows what is and isn’t working.

5. Make Updates on the Fly

Collating your ad and landing page content creates a streamlined experience for potential patients and simplifies their conversion path. Often, however, personnel who need to make expedient changes don’t get access. This can hurt not only your campaign by creating a disconnect for visitors but also the drive of your internal team that is putting forth valuable time and effort to make your campaign succeed.

Remember, a successful campaign is so much more than than the number of clicks you get. We focus on the overall campaign quality: impressions or clicks, the visitors’ next steps after reaching the landing page, and the value per conversion.

If you’re considering starting a digital marketing campaign, set yourself up for success by following these five tips. Your budget — and your future patients — will thank you.

Let’s Talk Ad Strategy: Contact Us!

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