With stay-at-home orders being lifted and life starting to return to normal, it is just a matter of time before you open your doors. Before that happens, it is important to make sure you have a plan in place to ensure your digital marketing materials have consistent messaging and provide your patients with the information they need.
What is SEM?
In digital marketing, SEM or search engine marketing refers to paid online advertising. Because Google’s search engine commands 80 percent of the total market share, Google Ads is the platform most commonly used and the one we recommend at Fuel Medical Group.
What Are the Benefits of an SEM Campaign?
- SEM ads appear at the top of Google’s search results, so they’ll be the first thing a user sees after they make a search.
- SEM ads are placed independently of organic search results, so you do not have to rank well for your ad to display when someone searches for major key terms like ‘hearing aids’.
- SEM campaigns may provide a small boost to organic rankings for specific key terms and service pages.
How Does an SEM Campaign Work?
You set the budget. Our specialists determine which specific keywords and keyword groups your ads should display for based on your needs. The ads direct users to short and impactful custom created landing pages that instruct readers to take action and contact your practice.
We’ll track what ad groups and landing pages are performing well and make small adjustments to increase form submissions and phone calls to your practice or larger changes that reflect the evolving needs of your practice.
How Has COVID-19 Affected Ad Spends?
According to WordStream, Google Adword clicks took a steep dive in early March and conversion rates for Google Ads have dropped by 21%. Some industries like shipping, medical supplies and on-demand services have increased.
A number of practices have stopped or limited their Ad Spend while working to adjust to changes in patient behavior. Some have closed during state-wide quarantines.
How has COVID-19 affected patient search intent?
Google has identified five major shifts in search behaviors since COVID-19 quarantines first began. They are as follows:
- Assembling critical information.
- Discovering new connections.
- Adjusting to changes in their routines.
- Praising everyday heroes.
- Taking care of themselves and others.
Has Anything Changed With Google Ads?
Ad spends are less than they used to be for certain terms. This is likely to change as more businesses begin to reopen but will likely vary by location.
What Should You Let Your SEM Specialist Know?
Shift in search trends to include “at-home” keywords. If your practice has added any new remote services, contact your SEM specialist if you would like to have them integrated into your campaign.
Search behavior has changed from desire-based purchases to those users consider essential, like medical care. Consider focusing on critical time-based services where communities have been underserved during quarantine. Patients will be seeking these services first, and though competition may be greater amongst practices, the opportunity to acquire new leads is likely greater as well.
Paused SEM Campaigns
If you are ready to resume a paused campaign, landing page content may require some editing as there have been a lot of practice changes that need to be addressed. We recommend including the following information, if applicable:
- Updated hours
- Limited schedule
- Available services
- New safety precautions
- Addition of telehealth
If You Haven’t, Create a COVID Specific Web Page
If you have not done so already, you should have a page on your site dedicated to COVID-19. Not only does this provide your patients with pertinent information, but it helps sustain some traffic loss and has proven valuable for quarantine-related SEO.
The focus on this page should be what your practice is doing, rather than a collection of information on the ongoing pandemic.
When you are ready to open your doors, make sure this page is updated to reflect your new hours, service offerings and safety protocols.