(AdWords now offers Message Extensions so dental patients can click on Google ads and start texting with dental offices to get help right away.)
If you don’t think texting is going to matter for your dental practice expansion plans in the years to come, you are probably old. (sorry!)
Imagine the freshly graduated college student looking for their first new dentist. Would that 23-year-old prefer to text and get more information or would they prefer to call a new dental practice?
Imagine the soccer Mom trying to calm down two kids and find a new pediatric dentist. (Get pediatric keywords here!) As she gets a random 5 minutes to actually get something done while she waits in a waiting room, would she prefer to text to get more information and get the process started?
Imagine the young professional with a toothache trying to schedule a dentist appointment without letting his boss or colleagues know.
Dental patients will still be calling your office for a long time. Dental patients will continue filling out landing pages on your dental website.
However, more and more prospective dental patients are definitely going to prefer to text your dental practice. You need to be ready for this new method of dental patient engagement or your dental practice will be left behind.
According to SearchEngineLand, 57% of overall online traffic is mobile based and only 43% is desktop based. Now imagine a typical new dentist search and the percentage of mobile searches grows even more dramatically. There are certain things you need a desktop for (planning your Disney vacation) – searching for a dentist is not one of them.
How Can Dental Offices Start Texting With Patients Via Google Ads?
If your dental practice is already using AdWords, setting up Message Extensions is easy. AdWords now officially supports texting with an ad extension called Message Extension.
Where Are Message Extension In AdWords?
Simply click the Ads & Extensions Tab in AdWords and then click Message Extension. (see below)
How Do You Set Up A Specific Message Extensions in AdWords?
Once you click Message Extension, you will be able to change the Extension Text which is essentially a Call To Action. Just like other areas with AdWords, you should test the Message Extension to see what language gets best results in your local area. For instance, “text for details” might work well in a college town and “text for help” might work better in a suburb.
Your dental practice also has control over the first text the prospective dental patient will send you. Simply change the Message Text to something you think your dental patient would want to send your dental practice.
A catch-all statement like, “Text me back. I need pricing, appointment, help etc.” is a good idea because it will be meet the needs of most people trying to reach your dental office.
Turn On Message Extensions Reporting
For some reason, Message Extension reporting is not turned on automatically in your AdWords account. Reporting will help you learn what is and what is not working. Make sure you turn on Message Reporting when this notification (below) pops up in AdWords.
Will Message Extensions / AdWords Texting Work For All Dentist Practices?
If your dental office is in a retirement community, Message Extensions probably won’t work so well. Instead, you would be better advised to try Call Only ads in AdWords. But just like anything else in AdWords, you should try out Message Extensions and let the data tell the story.
How Does Message Extensions / AdWords Texting Work From A Patient Perspective?
First, the dental patient will see a Text Icon below the Google ad. (see below)
When the patient clicks the text option, their phone will auto-populate with a pre-written text. (created by your dental office) Next, it will just be a normal back and forth text conversation between the dental patient and the dental clinic.
Why Texting Can Be Better Than A Dental Landing Page Form Fill
Because your practice will actually be texting with the patient, you will get their cell phone number. This is a great opportunity to make sure the dental appointment sticks. Also, you will be able to send future dental promotions to the prospective patient.
Learn more about setting up Message Extensions Directly From Google.
Here’s a great video that further explains Message Extensions set up from our friends at InternetAdvertisingPros.
Need help setting up AdWords? Check out our Easy Dentist AdWords Set Up Guide.
ConversionSmiles is a Dental Marketing Agency.