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Wallet Burn and the Nasty Side of Pay-per-Click Advertising

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

pay per click advertisingOn the surface, Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising—sometimes known as cost-per-click—seems friendly enough. Advertisers only pay for the advertising space when someone clicks on the ad.

One analogy, however, says that PPC can be like high-stakes gambling. The casino will never turn you away, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s really easy to lose your shirt. Unfortunately many people have tried PPC thinking that it’s quick and easy.

Unprepared, they learned the hard way that PPC is deceptively challenging, and the only things they won at the high-stakes table was a hard-earned lesson and a big hole in their wallet. That's no way to pay for an education.

A quick caveat here: Pay-per-Click Advertising is a powerful tool for select healthcare marketing and advertising plans. We’re in favor of PPC where and when it’s done properly and it’s able to produce a Return-on-Investment (ROI). What we’re NOT in favor of is allowing inexperience to squander precious, and often limited, advertising resources.

Risks of the game…

Actually, PPC seems simple, (but don’t be fooled. Apparent simplicity is one of the main reasons that hospitals, medical practices and other healthcare advertisers can easily get burned.

Google and other search engines will happily sell you an advertising spot adjacent to a visitor’s search results. Although that sort of high-visibility ad placement sounds ideal, the actual cost is determined by a rapid-fire, behind the scenes auction. The bite to your budget can rapidly escalate if other advertisers have their chips riding on the same keyword(s).

Keep in mind that this digital bidding war happens behind the scenes and at the speed of light—in that fraction of a second from when a visitor enters a search term and when results appear. And commonly searched words and phrases command premium prices.

Managing your Internet advertising…

Pay-per-Click advertising may, or may not, have an appropriate place in your online marketing plan. Perhaps the top shelf advice--to reduce your risks and hasten your rewards for would-be PPC advertisers--is to get professional guidance first to know if there is a cost-effective fit that supports your goals.

What’s more, experience counts. Before you come away from the felt-covered/high-stakes PPC gaming table without your garments, you’ll want to talk with a seasoned advertising agency for advice. They’ll know about such things as the precision selection of keywords and phrases, setting realistic operating parameters for PPC, meaningful tracking techniques, and balancing PPC among six (or more) tactics to maximize your online presence.

If it’s a proper fit, a carefully managed Pay-per-Click marketing effort can deliver several positive advantages and benefits. For one thing, you have the ability to manage a defined budget, control costs. And with precision planning, you can deliver the right message to the right target audience, and do so at the right time and place. And with a properly designed strategy, PPC can produce results rapidly.

For more on this topic, visit these addition reference pages titled, Pay Per Click Marketing and Getting New Patients from the Internet Tomorrow.

Lonnie Hirsch

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