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7 questions dentists should ask PPC agencies before they sign

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Getting the best out of your digital advertising or pay-per-click (PPC) agency requires transparency, especially when it comes to budget. 

We’ve compiled a list of questions that should form the backbone of any conversation you have with a digital advertising agency or PPC provider.

1: How much of my monthly spend actually goes towards my advertising spend on Google?

Some agencies use 40 percent of your monthly budget to manage your campaigns, so that money doesn’t get anywhere near your advertising spend.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with paying a decent amount for a good service. As a digital marketing agency, we would never argue that running a successful, high performing Google AdWords account doesn’t take time each day to optimise. 

However, it pays to be transparent about pricing, so that companies – and particularly newcomers to digital advertising – understand exactly what they are paying for.

2. Who owns my PPC campaigns – me or you?

It’s not unusual for PPC firms to set up campaigns under their business account. It’s not how Somnowell Marketing operates, but with larger companies and agencies it’s not uncommon.

However, understanding what this means is important. If your agency owns and control your Google AdWords account then if and when the client/agency relationship ends, everything that has been set up and managed for you is worthless. That’s because the account remains the property of the agency, within their master account and you are back to square one.

Ideally, you want to ensure that your campaigns are set up under your own business account, so that whatever you’ve paid your partner agency to do is yours to keep and do with as you please.

3. What ad networks does your firm manage?

In dentistry, Facebook and Instagram are highly cost effective channels to market to prospective patients. However, with some companies that manage PPC campaigns, such as Yell, when you buy a ‘digital marketing’ package from them what you’re really just buying Google AdWords, whether or not it’s the right channel for your audience and market. 

4. Will you provide search term results?

Understanding your search term results is the only way to get a true gauge of the quality of traffic that’s being driven to your website via your Google AdWords campaigns.

The search terms report allows you to see how your ads performed when triggered by actual searches within the search network. A search term is the exact word or set of words a customer enters when searching on Google, whereas a keyword is the word or set of words created for a given ad group to target ads at your potential customers.

Your search terms report is a great indicator of how well your campaign is managed.  If your agency is doing a good job, then the keywords list will contain high converting keywords and relevant negative keywords.

Low-performing keywords should be regularly and proactively removed from your keyword list. Adding negative keywords drastically improve the return on investment from your campaigns and stop you wasting clicks on irrelevant searches.

5. What is the fee structure?

Beware of any company that claims you can buy a fully managed PPC advertising campaign for just £50, where 40 percent of that budget goes to the agency running the campaign. It’s simply not being honest. 

In certain industries – dentistry being one, where keywords are very competitive – it would make no sense at all to run campaigns.

The reality is, some agencies will take a percentage of advertising spend. Others will work for a flat fee. The more money you spend, the more inclined you’ll be to negotiate for a flat fee. You really don’t want to end up spending, say, £10,000 per month in advertising only to have £4,000 of that paying for management fees.

6. Do you use landing pages or send traffic directly to our website?

You might not have this in your mind when you’re first searching for a PPC agency, but landing pages are an important aspect of a paid search campaign. Every decent PPC agency knows that Google’s Quality Score is based on three things: keyword, ad text and landing page relevance.

To maintain the highest score possible, it’s best to use fewer keywords; smaller, targeted ad groups and highly relevant landing pages. Dedicated landing pages should provide what the ad promises and what the user wants. By using landing pages, your campaign will obtain a higher quality score, achieve a better cost per click and better ad rankings.

7. How will you measure my results?

There’s no point continuing to waste your time and budget on keywords and advertising methods that don’t generate new enquiries. It’s essential to know before you sign a contract, what KPIs will be measured to determine how successful your campaigns were.

Clicks, click-through rates; impressions, and conversions are all relevant metrics, because they indicate how your campaigns are performing. Your agency also needs to understand which ones are most important to your business.

Ultimately in dentistry, you want to know how much your enquiries are costing by the treatment. Any good agency should be able to tell you what your patient acquisition cost is. Specialist dental agencies should also be able to tell you in advance what to expect in terms of a cost per enquiry by treatment. They should be able to base this on data they’ve accrued from campaigns they’ve run for dentists around the country.

Over to you

There are plenty of other questions you’ll want to ask an agency about contract terms, the KPIs they measure, how they report on your campaigns, who manages and optimises your account on a daily basis, and so on. Beware of contracts that lock you in for 12 months, regardless of whether you’re happy with the results or not. 

If you’d like to find out more about how to grow your dental practice through digital advertising and the common mistakes to avoid, download our free resource.

Loran Simon

Loran Simon

Loran Simon is the Founder of Somnowell, one of the UK’s leading oral appliances to help to cure snoring and sleep apnea. Over the past 10 years, Somnowell’s growth has been mainly achieved using the digital marketing services of Somnowell Marketing, an agency that Loran Simon also founded and manages. The agency consistently generates thousands of new patient enquiries for Somnowell’s network of dentists.


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