Should Doctors Run Google Ads? Or Advertising in General?

Should Doctors Run Google Ads? Or Advertising in General?

If a medical practice or doctor has excellent SEO rankings, does she still needs to do online advertising?

Online advertising and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  are related and similar tactics, however they overlap with each other and are different. Many online advertising experts will argue that they compliment each other. We agree.  
Even with top SEO rankings for your medical practice,  SEO cannot replace online advertising, specially Google adwords (if done properly). Top SEO rankings do not replace online advertising, they complement each other. In the example below, from a real customer. Location of the medical practice is suburban area outside  major US city on the west coast, with medium competition.  They have excellent medical SEO rankings for all of the major services. In the figure below, during the month of Dec, Jan and Feb – online advertising is active with a budget of $1000 per month (80% Google, 20% Facebook Ads) – You can see the number of “new patient” leads is 753 new leads – total of 3 months. Now compare this with March, April and May  – With no online advertising  is 408 new leads during the 3 month period.  The difference is  345 less leads.  

SEO Based Medical Marketing ROI Calculated – Example

Based on existing data, conversion rate is 34% of new inquiries are converted to patients, this means 117 new patients are lost.
If each patient’s initial visit is $312  with a lifetime value of each patient is $4000 – this means that : 
Initial revenue of $36,504 is lost and lifetime value with 70% retention rate, $327,600 is lost  by not running online advertising.  
So conclusion is that yes, SEO is extremely important for your online success, but you should also consider online advertising, specifically, Google Ads and Facebook Ads. 
 
The example below is based on a primary care practice in the midwest USA. This practice focuses in diabetic patients and heart patients. Reasons for stopping the ads are that practice has been sold to a new owner, and they are deciding on their own marketing strategy based billboards and yellow pages. So as a digital marketing company, your obligation is to provide ROI based data. 
 
We see very similar results for all type of practices. 
 
 

To learn about How Online Advertising For Doctors Websites, this is a good starting page. 
To learn about How Facebook and Instagram Advertising For Doctors, this is a good starting page. 
To learn about How SEO Works For Doctors Websites, this is a good starting page. 
To learn about Short-cut SEO for Medical Practices, this is a good starting page.
To learn about Pricing and cost of SEO services for medical practices, this is a good starting page. 
To learn about How Much Do Doctors Spend On Advertising?
To learn about Medical SEO Voice Search Optimization For Doctors (BERT)
To learn about Local Medical SEO For Doctors
To learn about Key Items For SEO Evaluation of Medical Websites

How Much Do Doctors Spend On Advertising in USA?

Range is $600 per month to $15000 per month, depending on specialty and competition. 

The actual advertising budget for each clinic and practice is different. Some clinics/doctors are very aggressive and spend $1000 per day (or more) and some spend $1000 a month on advertising. We also have few clinics/doctors who do not spend any money on online advertising, they doctors rely on referrals and very strong SEO rankings. This data refers to online advertising, not offline advertising spend. 

Also you have to understand that every practice area is different. For example  let’s review specific specialties:

Medspa and aesthetic practices

For Medical Spas and Aesthetic practices, it is highly recommended to have  online advertising budget. The typical range is $3000 to $10000 per month,  with average budget of $4210 per practice in USA.

Plastic surgeons

Plastic surgeons need online advertising, more than any other category. It is next to impossible to be successful without proper online  advertising budget. The typical range is $5000 to $15000 per month,  with average budget of $6677 per practice in USA.

Dermatology practices

The typical range is $1000 to $4000 per month,  spend on average spend $1960 per month per location.  However these are “average” locations with medium competition. If a dermatology is also focused on cosmetic procedures, their budgets are more like Medical Spas and aesthetic clinics.

Urgent care centers

The typical range is $1000 to $9000 per month,  spend on average spend $3600 per month per location. However these are “average” locations with medium competition. There are many factors, number of exam rooms and how many providers, and fixed overhead also dictates how aggressive each owner is. Brands and chains spend more on advertising than stand alone locations. We have also noticed if the owner is a doctor/physician, vs a business person, doctor/physician owners will have a hard time understanding value of advertising. doctor/physician owners view advertising and marketing as an expense, rather than an “investment” with an ROI (Return On Investment).

Walk-in primary care practices

Walk-in Clinics – with primary care services and some “urgent care” services spend $1000 to $3400 per month, with an average monthly budget of $1900 per month. 

Primary care practices

Primary care doctors spend $600 to $1300 per month, with an average monthly budget of $890 per month. 

Pediatric care practices

The typical range is $600 to $1600 per month,  spend on average spend $900 per month per location. 

Sexual healthcare practices – multi-focus

The typical range is $3000 to $8500 per month,  spend on average spend $4200 per month per location. 

Sexual healthcare practices – Erectile Dysfunction

The typical range is $4000 to $10000 per month,  spend on average spend $6700 per month per location. 

Dental practices – General Dentists

The typical range is $750 to 1900 per month,  spend on average spend $1230 per month per location. 

Dental practices – Specialist Dentists

The typical range is $1300 to 3210 per month,  spend on average spend $2540 per month per location.  These type of practices include Endodontists, dental implant  focus, Invisalign focus etc.

Orthopedic Surgeons 

The typical range is $800 to 1900 per month,  spend on average spend $1380 per month per location.  

Women’s Health and OB/GYN

The typical range is $500 to 2700 per month,  spend on average spend $1600 per month per location.  

Medical Fat loss / Physician Supervised Weight Loss Practices

The typical range is $2100 to 8700 per month,  spend on average spend $4300 per month per location.  

Integrative practices – Serving multiple focus areas

The typical range is $1200 to 3210 per month,  spend on average spend $2341 per month per location.  These type of practices include multiple focused areas, like heart health, general wellness, diabetic patients, mind – brain wellness, pain management, hormonal imbalance and many other areas. These type of practices have to compete with traditional non-integrative  practices, so conversion cost per patient is higher than traditional primary care practices.

Sleep clinics and TMJ clinics

The typical range is $500 to 1580 per month,  spend on average spend $940 per month per location.  

Pain clinics – Chiropractors

The typical range is $1200 to 2200 per month,  spend on average spend $1400 per month per location.  

Pain clinics – Spine focused – minimally invasive pain management and regenerative medicine

The typical range is $1500 to 3000 per month,  spend on average spend $1900 per month per location.  

Please note:  Data from 2018 to 2019.  Also note that brands spend much more than non-brand focused medical practices, they also have more patients and perceived medical care provided is of higher value to patients, as evidenced by reviews received by the medical practices. The data is here for your guidelines and not guaranteed to generate same or similar results.

Healthcare Advertising VS Healthcare Marketing

Many healthcare professionals confuse Healthcare Advertising  with Healthcare Marketing.

Advertising is just ONE of the many “things”, “programs” or “techniques” launched to achieve a successful Marketing Program.  So Medical advertising is one, but very important part of Medical Marketing for a practice.  For example if you are a pediatric physician with focus on urgent care for children, and your goal is to acquire more patients, you may want to “market” your practice in 20 mile radius for potential parents of patients who may seek Pediatric Urgent Care.  For this effort you would typically  have many things to do :

Step 1: Sign for the building
Step 2: Business cards
Step 3: Doctor’s bio printed and promoted to local primary care physicians
Step 4: Providing free “meet-and-greet” for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 5: Collaboration with local schools for “low-cost” physicals for school athletes 
Step 6: Mail drop in 5 mile radius using USPS mail and flyers for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 7: Networking with other local businesses close to your own location
Step 8: Using social media campaigns
Step 9: Making the lobby of the clinic a pleasing place for parents of potential pediatric patients and for children
Step 10: Referral program to market using existing for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 11: Launching your online strategy to market your practice
Step 12: Offline advertising offline for your healthcare practice
Step 13: Online Advertising for your healthcare practice

Healthcare Advertising Defined

Advertising for doctors can be offline or online. Offline advertising for doctors refers to Billboards, Newspapers, Paper Yellow Pages, Ads in Cinemas, Radio Ads.  

Online Advertising for doctors refers to advertising focused on internet based mediums. For example:

  1. Google search advertising
  2. Facebook display ads
  3. SEO / Search Engine Optimizations
  4. Website conversion techniques to improve the actual patients generation from your website
  5. Advertising on Instagram 
  6. Email marketing
  7. SMS/Text based marketing
  8. Display advertising 

Impact of Medical Marketing on Physicians Earnings

Thousands of Physicians & Specialized Medical Practices struggle every day to fill their calendar with patients. Despite having a great location, a dedicated and professional medical staff, proper equipment, and hard earned certifications and qualifications, their daily patient counts aren’t where they’d like them to be. Many clinics don’t realize that what they are missing is online expertise and a sophisticated software solution to power their patient acquisition efforts. These days, your clinic’s strategy for generating new patients online has to be more than just having a good looking website.  Review of 162 online campaigns reveals that 72 percent of the patients are searching for medical services on a mobile device. Exactly the same test revealed that this number was 54 percent 12 months ago. PatientGain.com predicts that this number will be close to 90 percent in the next few years.  As a healthcare practitioner and a physician you are aware that average income of primary care physicians, while has increased in the last 6 years (possibly due to ObamaCare), and averaged $194,000 per year. But this should not be compared with “savvy” physicians, who are using online medical marketing software to increase the value of services they provide.  For savvy physicians, these numbers are significantly higher.  We wish you to be in the “savvy” category.

PatientGain.com is a certified premier google partner for healthcare.

To learn about Website Strategies and Website Examples for Doctors & Medical Clinics, please go here.

To learn about How Much Do Doctors Spend On Advertising, please go here.

To learn about Search Engine Optimization for Doctors & Medical Clinics, please go here.

To learn about Pay Per Click PPC Advertising for Doctors & Medical Clinics, please go here.

To learn about Content Marketing Strategies for Doctors & Medical Clinics, please go here.

To learn about GOLD Package Marketing for Doctors & Medical Clinics, please go here.