Should dentists use AdWords off hours?

Some dentist and dentist AdWords management companies have hard and fast rules when it comes to scheduling AdWords when a dental practice is not open.  The rule is if a dental practice is not open for business then Google ads should not be running.  Seems like a pretty good rule and makes sense right? If there is not someone available to help dental patients, it doesn’t make sense to attract phone calls and clicks, right?  Sometimes, that is absolutely the right way to look at dental AdWords management, sometimes is way wrong.

Like everything else with Google AdWords, it all comes down to return on investment for dentist spend.  If your dental practice advertises at 2am and gets clicks but never gets ‘form fills’ or phone calls, that’s bad and not worth the expense.  If a dentist advertises on Sundays (when your dental practice is closed) and you get form fills and voicemails from prospective dental patients who never become real dental patients (because they find other dentists) well that’s bad too obviously.

However, if most other dentists are are following the golden rule of “don’t advertise on google on weekends, nights etc” well you might just have a golden opportunity.  Remember, the Google AdWords system is really just an auction and dentists AdWords clicks get so expensive because dentists compete against one another and outbid each other.  So depending on the dental procedure, it might be super profitable to advertise on Google when your dentist competitors at home sleeping in their comfy jammies. If you can advertise with Google AdWords for terms like “root canal” or “dental implant” at half the price you normally spend maybe that is a good idea.  If you can run ads when other dentists are not competing with their Google ads maybe that’s a good idea.

Keep in mind, you can control Google AdWords scheduling and spend at the Campaign level.   You can create very specific ad groups and ads that are intended only for weekends.  This way you can further control your budget.  You can even write ads that acknowledge you are currently closed but will open soon and want the patient’s info.  You can even use AdWords to focus more on mobile searches or maybe more on desktop searches.

We think there a couple keys to making off hours dentist AdWords campaigns successful.  First, if at all possible to accept calls off hours that should be the goal.  But short of having someone to field initial calls and web inquiries, your dental practice should consider a ‘quick follow up strategy’.  We know it is a drag for your employees to deal with off-hours inquiries but for highly profitable procedures it might worthwhile to provide an incentive program so your employees will actually look forward to getting new leads and helping out new dental patients while watching NetFlix at 8:30 at night. If you can’t have a real human contact the dental patient, you should figure out an email system that clearly lets the patient know that although your dental practice is close you are eager to talk to them as soon as you re-open.  Maybe even send a couple emails to let them know you don’t plan to disappear.  If there are enough new dental patient leads coming in during the off hours because of Google AdWords, your dental practice has a good problem and can (must) find a workable solution.

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