Hey, welcome back y’all. It’s been two weeks.
Today, we have a pretty cool episode. This is episode #1 of the Winter Business Series; episode 1 of 3 where I’m going to be tackling a specific business topic each episode that I think will be very relevant to your practice.
Today’s episode is an interview with John Sanders from revkey.com. Today, we’re going to be talking all about Google Ads, which used to be called Google AdWords. John is a Google Ads specialist. So we’re going to be talking all about how Google Ads can benefit your practice, when to consider Google Ads, why they might be beneficial for a mental health practice, different dimensions of Google Ads, and things to think about when you are considering setting them up.
So this is an action-packed episode. I think you’ll walk away with a lot of items that you could take some action on pretty quickly. The idea is that you’ll get a good sense of this really powerful marketing tool and try to figure out if this could be a good fit for you and your practice.
Just a little about John. John has been in the sales and marketing world for a long time. Before launching RevKey in 2010, John held many positions related to sales and marketing. He was in inside sales, he did purchasing, he was in e-commerce, and he was a marketing manager. He’s been doing this for a long time and he has a ton of experience in that marketing world.
He’s really been specializing in Google Ads since 2010. Their company works with everyone from medical and mental health practices to other businesses and national product brands. So John knows his stuff, and I think you’ll see that as we get into the podcast.
Before we jump to the episode, I wanted to talk with y’all about the Advanced Practice Mastermind and Beginner Practice Mastermind groups. These are my group coaching experiences that have been, let’s see, we’re in our 3rd cohort now that’s going to be wrapping up in two months. The next cohort will be opening in late March or early April.
This is something that has been really powerful for folks who are trying to either launch their practices or grow and scale their existing practices. So far, I have not put it out to my email list or done any announcements in that regard, and the groups are both about half full just from folks being on the waitlist.
So if you are interested in a group coaching experience where you’re hanging out with about 5 or 6 other psychologists right at your stage of testing practice, give me a shout and we can talk about whether one of those mastermind groups might be a good fit for you. So you can find more info at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. That will take you to the links to both of those mastermind group pages.
All right. Without further ado, let’s get to my conversation with John Sanders.
Hey y’all, welcome back to The Testing Psychologist podcast. Like I said, I am here with John Sanders and I am excited to talk all about Google Ads. We haven’t really dove into Google [00:04:00] Ads yet, and I think this is something a lot of you all will be interested in. John, welcome to the podcast.
John: Jeremy, thanks for having me. I’m super excited to talk about Google Ads to a population of people who are very near and dear to my heart.
Dr. Sharp: Wait, what do you mean by that?
John: Well, my wife is a testing psychologist. This is very important to me to be able to work on. So I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you guys.
Dr. Sharp: Of course. And of course, I am joking. Laura is one of the co-moderators of The Testing Psychologist Community, and that’s how you and I got connected. Since then, we’ve shared some clients and I’ve seen some of your work firsthand as you’ve run some ads for Laura who’s moving to my town. So I see these Ads. I know they work and I’m happy to be talking with you about that here today. I think a lot of other folks…
John: I appreciate that.
Dr. Sharp: Oh yeah. I’d love to hear just a little bit about why you’re doing this. How do you get into this niche and specifically for psychologists?
John: I got started with Google Ads about nine years ago. I got hired right after my MBA. I used to be a marketing manager for an industrial supply company, of all things. One of the things I learned while I was at the industrial supply company was starting to do Google Ads.
And then in 2015, two things happened: I moved to a marketing agency to specifically build a Google Ads group for them, and then Laura also went out on her own to start her private practice. So I started running some ads for her testing psychology practice. After a while, I decided that I wanted to eventually go out on my own. So I started doing some freelance clients and picked up some clients on through some Facebook groups. And then in May 2018, I quit my job and started doing this full time. Now, most of my clients are actually people in the mental health space, either psychologists or counselors.
Dr. Sharp: That’s wonderful. I have to ask the obvious meta question. Do you run Google Ads for your own business?
John: I do. I’ve turned them off recently. They do come and go as I need some new clients, but yes, I have certainly used Google Ads for my own business.
Dr. Sharp: Nice. Super cool. You said a lot of your clientele at this point is mental health folks and even testing folks?
John: Yes, absolutely. As I’ve gotten a reputation for this, I occasionally will get clients from Facebook groups. The best is when I can get a referral from a former client that sends multiple people my way so I can help them out with their Google Ads needs.
Dr. Sharp: Very cool. Well, I know this is something that is popular in Facebook groups. I see a ton of questions about Google Ads and online marketing in general. I know that we plan to touch on Facebook Ads at least briefly here at some point over the next hour or so.
I think that people are super interested. I’m really excited to dig into it a little bit with you. And so just for folks listening, I think that we will try to get in the weeds a little bit and talk about some technicalities just to really give you a good idea of what Google Ads are and how they might help you in your practice.
The place I’d like to start is something I’m very curious about. When we are developing an outline for the interview, the first point is how Google Ads is like psychological testing. I’ll just turn that over to you and see where we go with it.
John: It’s very much like it in the fact that you start with a hypothesis. In testing psychology, you’re testing for something in particular, and then you take out your various test kits and you look at those results.
Very much the same with Google Ads. You’re going to try different keywords. You’re going to try different areas to run your Ads. You’re going to try different Ad copy and different things on your website. And then you measure those results to see what works and what doesn’t to help you. And obviously, what you’re looking for in that case is people to either call you or fill out a form on your website.
And so, it’s all about looking at that data and going where the data leads because you can think something is true, but until you actually do the testing, you don’t actually know. And just being open to being able to challenge your assumptions and follow that data and go, well, maybe I was right on this, or maybe I was wrong on that. That’s how the two are very similar.
Dr. Sharp: I like it. I’m totally with you on that. Just a big process of hypothesis testing and test a certain way.
Dr. Sharp: Nice. Well with that groundwork laid, knowing that we’re on the same page here, let’s talk about Google Ads. Now, we’ve done some episodes in the past that touched on Google Ads certainly. So some of this might be a little bit of a repetitive overview, but I think it’s important. Can you just start to talk about… I’ll just start with a very broad question for folks who may not know. What are Google Ads?
John: Okay. If you do a search in Google, there are essentially three different sections to Google. The first section is going to be paid advertisements. As of today, they have a little tiny tag that says Ads in green next to them. These are paid search results, and this is what Google Ads controls.
After that, you’re going to see some of your listings from the map that is generated from a program called Google My Business. And then third, you’re going to see what we call organic results. These are the results that Google generates. You cannot pay to get into these results. And these are the results that Google generates based off of what you searched for, where you are and what it thinks is the most relevant thing to your search.
Google Ads is the process of controlling that first section. And so when a search is run in Google, every single search in Google, this happens, there is an auction that takes place in Google Ads to see whose ads are eligible to come up for that search and whose ads will ultimately come up for it.
It’s very much a bidding process and that’s part of Google Ads where the person who has the best content and bids the most is going to end up with the first spot on the page, and the person who is second in that auction will show up second. Sometimes there are not any search results or ad search results on a page. Sometimes there will be four. It just depends on what device you’re on, and what you’re searching.
And so Google Ads is your ticket into getting into this auction process to show your ads up at the top of the page. And often at times, it’s the first thing that somebody will see when they do a Google search. They’re quite valuable because of that.
Dr. Sharp: Yes, of course. That makes sense. I like how you frame it. It’s your ticket to get into the auction.
John: I’m glad you liked that line. Thank you.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that’s a good way to frame it. I’m just getting really basic here that the ads that you see up there, you don’t get there unless you pay to be there, right? It’s not like anyone is going to just show up in a Google Ad at the top of the page. You have to go through a process to bid for those spots, which is largely what we’re talking about.
John: Right. You have to go in and make what Google calls a campaign where you specify what keywords you want your ads to show up on, what ads you want to show, where you want your ads to show, what times and really control everything about that advertisement. The good news is that you get a lot of good backend data so you can find out whether your ads are successful or not. That’s some of the things that we’ll go through today.
Dr. Sharp: Yes, for sure. Let me ask a very basic question. I think there are going to be several of these, just as a heads up, but why would someone want to run Google Ads?
John: A number of reasons, especially if you are a new practitioner- you’ve just started your practice much like the case that we found Laura in 2015. You don’t necessarily have any referral sources. You might have some competitors out there who already have some Google search results on the organic side, which is the long game. It can take 3, 6, or 12 months to get in those organic results. If you’re just starting a practice, this is the best way to get on top of the page really quickly.
Even if you are an existing practice, this is a good way to get at the top of the page because as Google has gone along, especially over the last two years, it is starting to put more and more ads on top. The organic results are getting pushed further down the page.
It used to be, you wanted to be the first organic result, but in today’s world, that organic result probably is the 8th thing that you’re going to see on Google. You’re probably going to see four ads and then three [00:14:00] map pack spots that are showing local businesses. So if you’re the first organic result, you’re still halfway down the page. So this is another way of putting yourself on that page.
You can almost think of it like a retail store shelf, where if you can get more shelf space than your competitors, you’re going to be better off. So if you have your ad up at the top and then you find yourself in the map pack, and then you find yourself in the organic results, that’s also going to show customers that you’re a serious business.
Dr. Sharp: I’ll have to admit. I was very disappointed and upset to figure out that organic results were getting pushed further and further down the page because we’d had pretty good success with that for a number of years, and it’s just not as visible anymore. That’s a bummer.
John: My friends on the search engine optimization side are very disappointed at that as well. Google is just continually changing. They’re constantly introducing things into the platform. They’re constantly changing how they’re running their search ads. As we sit here in December, 2019 and record this, Google is supposedly about to start showing images in search results. We keep hearing that that’s a beta test. That’s going to be called gallery ads. I’ve not seen any live yet, but we’re supposed to be getting that. So look for that in 2020.
Dr. Sharp: Oh, wow. Do you have any idea how would that fit into our business?
John: It’s going to be interesting. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on an account that has that. I think right now it’s largely locked up in beta with some car and hotel chains and things like that. But I think it’s going to be an opportunity to show a picture of your logo, show a picture of you, show a picture of your office so people can know, to get a sense of what your office looks like and ultimately, who’s going to be testing them for anywhere between 2 to 4 hours.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. On the surface, it seems like a good thing. And as I’m thinking about it just emphasizing more and more of the need to have professional photos and quality images of your office and yourself, which is something…
John: Absolutely. You need those for your Google My Business anyway. As these come along, those images you put in your Google My Business, you’ll now be able to put those in your Google Ads once that feature actually gets started.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. So thinking about other considerations for folks around that question of why would I run Google Ads? I get a lot of questions. Let me back up. I’ll put it this way. It seems like a lot of folks would like to have success with in-person marketing, word of mouth, those warm handoffs, that kind of thing.
So I get a lot of questions around, do I really need Google Ads? When do I need to start running Google Ads? How do I know that my in-person stuff isn’t working? There are a lot of questions in there that I could ask, but I wonder if we could distill it to, have you found any characteristics either based on location, age of practice, size of the city, or any variables like that, that seem to lend themselves more to running Ads quicker than otherwise?
John: I don’t think it’s a question of doing in-person and getting referrals from doctors and therapists or doing Google Ads. I think it’s really doing both. You have to have a digital plan and then you also have to have this offline marketing plan of where you’re going to get these referrals from. Those two very much work hand in hand, especially for a younger practice where you don’t necessarily have those referral sources and you’re looking to get those built up.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. I like the idea of having both working at the same time. It seems like there are some folks who either don’t want to do in-person marketing or are just not sure where to start or maybe they have been doing it and it’s just “not working.” In those cases, it seems like Google Ads is a good way to jumpstart the marketing plan. I don’t know if I’m looking at it the right way or not, but it seems like a little quicker bang for your buck than waiting for some of those other options to pay off.
John: It certainly is. Once you actually launch your campaign, you can be on the first page up towards the top of Google within a day, versus we’ve talked about for search engine optimization, it can take 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, and getting those referral sources, I know that can be difficult. That’s getting in front of referral coordinators and trying to network with doctors. That can be a long process.
Some people’s personalities are better for that than others. But when you’re thinking about your practice, you have to have this overall marketing plan, and digital certainly an important piece. But I’d never tell anyone to ignore those referral sources. You’re going to get so many good patients out of that.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, of course. Do you find that Google Ads work “any better” for private pay versus insurance practices? Is it more beneficial for one or the other?
John: Most people don’t actually include their insurance information when they do a Google search. And this is true of my time when I was doing dental ads, and then also now with psychology Ads. Rarely are you going to find a search where somebody says, Blue Cross Blue Shield testing psychologist near me? Just not going to happen very often.
Most people are just going to say something like psychological testing near me, or ADHD testing, something along those lines. They’ve got their insurance in the back of their mind, but then you have to show them that information on your website and talk about whether you’re private pay or which insurances you take.
Dr. Sharp: That makes sense. So let’s talk about, let’s say someone has decided they have figured out that there is some value in running Google Ads. They want to try to do it. Where do they go from there? What are the options to actually run Google Ads?
John: If you go literally to ads.google.com is where Google Ads lives. And so you’ve got a number of different options. When we’re talking about Google Ads, and a lot of people talk about Google Ads, generically, we are talking about what Google calls, search ads. These are ads for when people are doing searches on google.com.
They have a number of other campaign types that can get kind of confusing. For instance, ads from YouTube are run out of Google ads. Ads for display advertising like those banner ads that you see on CNN or ESPN are also going to be within Google Ads. But really what we’re talking about is search ads.
They do have two simplified ad options. It used to be called Google AdWords express. They’re now calling it smart ads. They also have something called dynamic search ads. These things, in my opinion, don’t really give you enough control over your advertising. You’re really depending on Google.
In the case of dynamic ads, Google theoretically scans your website for keywords and then advertises based off of that. But you don’t really have any control over what keywords you’re targeting or what your ads are necessarily. You can’t segment things as much.
For instance, if I want to have an ad for ADHD testing, I want to talk mainly about ADHD testing in that ad. I don’t want to talk about autism testing or dyslexia testing. Whereas with some of those other ad formats, you’re just a little more limited in some of the options that you can use when you use the full Google ads, just traditional search campaigns.
Dr. Sharp: That’s good to know. I think that a lot of us understandably are drawn to the DIY options. In many cases, we try to do a lot of things ourselves and historically tend to do things well. And so think, why not this? I can do this. But I’ve said, a lot of times on the podcast and elsewhere that this kind of stuff really is a science to do it well, and it’s easy to lose a lot of money not doing it well.
John: Right. Talking about the DIY customer, if you run Google Ads yourself, there are two tips I’d like to give people. As you create your campaign, you’re going to create your setup of keywords. And if you just type in the word ADHD testing by itself, that is what is called by Google, just pure broad match. And so you’re giving Google some interpretation over that keyword, and you can end up with some things that aren’t necessarily what you are looking for.
This is an important point to define the difference between keywords and search terms. Keywords are what you target in the campaign or what I target when doing advertisements or if you’re doing some SEO, what you’re really targeting. Search terms are what people actually type into Google. And so those are two very different things, but those two terms flow together in a lot of cases.
The most basic thing that you can do when you’re running your campaign is to go in and look at the search terms that you are getting, i.e. the search terms that your ads are showing up on top of and are getting clicks. If you run just pure broad match, you can get some funky search terms. And so it’s worth being careful.
When you put in those keywords, you want to use things like phrase match or modified broad match, which they put these funny little symbols around them. For instance, phrase match uses quotation marks around them. Modify broad match, you put a plus symbol in front of the keywords that you want to be a little more tightly controlled.
What that allows you to do is not give Google as much interpretation to go out and find you searches that might not be relevant for you. And I think the main danger for a testing psychologist is to get therapy search terms, people who are looking for therapy or counseling. We want to avoid those things because, in a lot of cases, a lot of those testing practices do not offer those services.
Dr. Sharp: Right. Can you explain a little bit about the danger of that? Why is that not a good thing?
John: Well, you can end up spending a lot of your budget very quickly on those terms because more people are looking for therapy and counseling online versus say autism testing. So if you’re trying to spend $300 in a month and you [00:26:00] end up accidentally spending half of your budget on services that you don’t provide, you’ve essentially wasted 50% of your budget. That’s not what we want to do. And that’s going to limit the amount of success you can have with Google Ads.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. So maybe we could back up and just talk about when you even say wasting your money or your budget, where is this budget going and how are people even being charged for Google? Where does the money go in Google Ads?
John: You set up a budget for your campaign when you start, and it’s a daily budget, that Google and kind of a way view it as a monthly budget. A lot of my customers, for example, will start out with a $ 10-a-day budget. If you are running your ads every day of the week, your average month is about 30 days. So you end up with about a $300 monthly budget.
And so what you do is when you set up your account, you will actually set up a credit card. Google will typically let you spend about $350 before they bill your credit card or they’re going to bill it every 30 days if you don’t spend $350 in a month is typically how that works.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. Is that ballpark fairly standard for someone to count on maybe $300 a month for Google Ads for a testing practice?
John: I think that’s a good place to start. To make the math easy, I would say most of my therapy customers or testing psychologist customers, most of the time, you’re going to pay about $3 for every click you get. And so let’s back up and talk about what that means.
You only get charged on Google Ads when somebody actually interacts or clicks on your ads. So you might have a case where 2000 people see your ads, but you’re not going to be charged based off of that. You’re going to be charged based on the number of clicks that you get. As I said up at the top of the show, Google Ads is an auction. And so, you put in essentially a bid for those keywords and Google ends up charging you.
Overall, I would say most of my customers are seeing about $3 to $4 a click. This can vary greatly by the location that you’re in because once again, we talked about this being an auction. So this is competitive with some other practices. So if you don’t have a lot of competitors, your cost per click could end up being $2.50.
This is especially true if you’re in more of a rural or remote area. If you’re in downtown Chicago, if you’re in Brooklyn, it’s going to be more expensive because there are more people bidding on that keyword. And so that auction system is going to make that a little more expensive.
Dr. Sharp: Does that also vary by keyword?
John: I would say, absolutely. For testing psychology is a little less expensive. If we compare this to our friends over in the therapy world, marriage counseling and couples therapy, are more expensive keywords than say anxiety counseling, or even ADHD testing or autism testing. Those are seen as more valuable clients over in the therapy world just because you’re going to end up charging more per session for couples counseling. So those keywords tend to be a little more expensive.
Also, when you put on a modifier to a search like, what would you rather have ADHD testing or ADHD testing near me? ADHD testing near me is a much more valuable search term. You probably want to bid more for that keyword than just ADHD testing by itself.
Dr. Sharp: I see. Even as we’re talking, I’m just thinking there’s no way I would be able to know all these things. I’m glad we’re talking about it. Is this part of the process that you walk people through in the beginning as they’re figuring out their campaign and their budget and so forth?
John: Absolutely. When you’re doing this bidding, you can either do it manually where you go in and say, okay, I want to bid $5 for this and $3 for that. Google also does have some automated bidding strategies, which is really what, in a lot of cases, they’re pushing people towards where you say, just get me as many clicks as I can for my budget.
Another one that a lot of times you can end up using is, to try to get me as many conversions or leads for my budget as you can. Those are two very different things. Google has got a lot of automated strategies that you can also deploy or you can handle manually on your own.
Dr. Sharp: Nice. When we were talking ahead of time, you mentioned that there are some dangers of some of this stuff. Dangers of what you call gold advertising. You talked about bad placements. I’m curious what those might be and how those fit into this picture here.
John: It really goes back to looking at your search terms and seeing are your ads showing up on the right searches. If they’re not, what you have is what is called a negative keyword list. And this is where you can put things that say, if this word appears in a search, do not show my ads. And so this is good for doing things. You can find some really good standard negative keyword lists online that’ll help against things like people looking for jobs or libraries or research or any number of things.
One of the things that I’ll often have to do probably more for my therapy clients is putting names of local competitors into your negative keyword list because you don’t really want your ad to show up on top of those, because those people are specifically looking for that therapy practice. You don’t necessarily want your ad to show up and people to accidentally click on your ad, which causes you to spend money and for them to go, oh, I didn’t mean to do that. I was looking for this other practice.
Dr. Sharp: Can I ask you a question about that?
Dr. Sharp: Funny, you bring that up. I would say probably eight years ago, I figured out that a local practice was running ads with my practice name as a keyword. That didn’t feel good. I didn’t like that exactly. My sense was that this was not a mistake. They were trying to capitalize on maybe our reputation and maybe gather some folks who didn’t know exactly what they were clicking on and might schedule with them instead of us. Is that allowed, I guess, is my question?
John: It’s a little bit complicated. You can bid on almost anything as a keyword. There are some keywords that Google will restrict, especially when it comes to adult content or pharmacies or addiction counseling is another example. So you can put in that keyword, but you really can’t use it in your ad, for example.
If somebody was targeting your practice’s keyword and their ad showed up and they put your practice name and their headline, you could actually file a grievance with Google and you would probably win. Google would probably go in and tell them, you can’t do that. You’re being very deceptive in your advertising and Google doesn’t ultimately want that.
So sometimes it’s an accident, but especially in the case of, sometimes larger competitors, yeah, people will do that. I don’t think it’s super effective, however, because if somebody is looking for your practice, they’re looking for you. And if they click on the ad and they end up at somebody else’s website, they’re going to go, well, this isn’t Jeremy’s practice. And then they’re going to get off their website, and whoever was targeting probably wasted a bunch of money.
Dr. Sharp: Well that makes me feel better.
John: There are some people out there who say that you should target competitors. I am not one of them.
- It’s just dishonest and nasty.
- I just don’t think it’s very effective.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. Good to know. You said something in there that I wanted to ask about as well with the addiction counseling. We ran a set of Google Ads to promote our substance use evaluation services and we had a really hard time with the setup because they kept getting rejected. What is the rationale with that in that area specifically?
John: I think it was about in 2017, Google got in trouble because a lot of low-end addiction counseling services were advertising on Google. And so a lot of people complained to Google, you’re advertising these things that are not effective.
What Google did is they now have, if you do try to do anything with addiction counseling or substance abuse counseling, you have to go through a third party company called LegitScript. LegitScript has to put this little script on your page that says you can run ads, but they go through and they will vet your practice or your company to make sure that you are providing good quality substance abuse or addiction counseling.
The problem with this is that to get on LegitScript, I think you have to pay a one-time setup fee of like $1000. And then I think it’s $2000 a year. I’ve never actually had a customer who’s called me and said, hey, I want to do addiction counseling. And as I lay this case out, they go, oh, that doesn’t sound like a good use of money. Obviously, that’s so expensive that really only larger rehab facilities are going to be able to really afford that. The solo practitioner or even small group practice, that’s price prohibitive.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. That opens a fascinating can of worms of Google policing the quality of people who advertise with them that we don’t have to get into, but that’s super interesting to me that they would pick that specific industry to all of a sudden be concerned about the quality of the service that is being advertised.
John: Yeah. You’ll hear about Google will occasionally disapprove ads, especially around politics or something that’s particularly sensitive, Google will sometimes get involved, but one of the things to also keep in mind about Google, even just for your testing psychology practice is, I talked about this being an auction and there are two parts to that auction.
One part is how much you’re willing to bid. The other part is what Google calls the quality score. What this is, is Google judging your ads, is judging the page that you’re going to be sending people to and whether these are high-quality content for that person. So that auction is a combination of this quality score factor and what you bid.
So theoretically, if somebody bids a whole lot on a keyword but their landing page is bad and their ad isn’t relevant to that search term, they could end up on the page lower than somebody who’s bidding lower than them, but has a better page and has an ad that’s more specific to that search term. So Google is constantly judging us based on that factor as well.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. That really flows into the topic of Search Engine Optimization, and the copy on your page, making sure that it is good copy and that it matches the ad and it’s giving people what they are searching for. Is that fair?
John: Absolutely. I’d like to refer on this topic, everyone, back to the episode you did with Kat Love. She did a good job of laying out what you need to do on your website. We’ll talk more about this later, but before you run Google Ads, you really need to make sure that that landing page experience is going to be good for users who end up on your page.
So they ultimately do the two things that you want them to do, which is fill out a form on your website or call you for testing. And if your website is not good for that, then you need to do some things on your website before you start running Google Ads.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. I know that’s part of the service that y’all offer. I think most places that do Google Ads will also help tweak your copy and do the search engine piece as well. Is that right?
John: So very specifically for me, I specialize in Google Ads. I do work with two other freelancers who I bring in on a regular basis to help out with website issues and help out with copy issues.
And in a lot of cases, when somebody calls me, they’ll say, Hey, I want to do Google Ads and I’ll look at their website and say, I want to do Google Ads with you, but before we do that, I want to make sure that you’re going to be successful. So let’s go over here. Let’s work on your copy. Let’s make sure your pages are fully formed. Let’s make sure that your website is okay. And then let’s come back in and run Google Ads so you can be successful with them.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, it really makes me think, as we’re talking about this, that there are essentially three parts of this whole acquisition process. There’s the ad; making sure the ad is on point, there’s the page that they go to and making sure that that page is on point and has a call to action or a means for them to contact you, and then there’s the actual contact that they have with you and you close the sale, so to speak on the practice side. So just to highlight that for folks that just because you start running Google Ads, or maybe even have a great website, there’s still that third component of closing the loop that we got to keep in mind.
John: Right. You have to think about that entire process. I’ve even seen cases where I’m looking at Google Ads stats that look pretty good. You’re getting a high click-through rate, which is how often people who see your ads actually click on your ads. That’s often called CTR. And so you’ll have a good click-through rate and your cost per click will be low and everything will look good, but then you don’t get leads or people don’t spend a lot of time on your website. So part of it’s working, but then you have to fix those other parts like you said, the back end of what happens when somebody actually calls you or what’s going on in your website. So you have to have all of these things set up before you really start running Google Ads.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, for sure. I think that’s a nice segue too to figure out if your ads are successful or not, and how to gauge that. Can you talk through that a little bit?
John: I would say that there are four measures that we should talk about. The first one I just mentioned is the click-through rate. This is the idea of how many people see your ads versus how many people click on your ads. The internet average for this is probably 2 to 3%. I would say for testing psychologists, I usually see that this is higher because they’re not necessarily a lot of testing psychologists out there. So you have a little lower amount of competition.
If your clickthrough rate is 3% or better, you’re probably okay. If it’s 1% or below, you probably have a problem with your ads or your ads are being pushed to the wrong search term. So like, if you have ADHD testing in your ad but it’s being served to a bunch of things that don’t have anything to do with ADHD testing, your click-through rate is going to be low. So that is the first thing to look at.
Let’s say that’s good. Much like the case I was talking about a couple of minutes ago, you could have a good click-through rate and then people get to your website, but you can import statistics from another Google program called Google Analytics, which I suggest everyone put on their website. This tells you how many pages people go to, how long people spend on your website, and how often they come to your website and look at one page and then leave, that’s called a bounce rate.
You could import these statistics into your Google Ads campaign. And so if people are spending less than a minute on your website, or they’re only looking at one page and 80% of the time they’re leaving immediately, that’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
For those stats, typically I want to see people be on your site at least 60 seconds. I want them looking at it at least two pages. You’re always going to have probably something of a bounce rate. But as long as it’s 60% or below, I’m fine with it. Also, keep in mind with that bounce rate that sometimes people can look at just one page and then pick up the phone and call you. So that’s not always the best indicator, but I think it’s really looking at that time on site.
My second success factor is this idea of what are people doing on your website? The third part that we want to build in is, so we’ve gotten people to your website, they’re spending a lot of time on it. Are they taking the actions that you want? That’s often called conversions or we can call that leads. And that is recording how often people are calling you and how often people are filling out a form on your website.
The internet average for this is probably 2% to 3%, but that’s not what we’re shooting for. I like customers to have 6, 7, 8, 9, 10% conversion rate of people getting to your website. And if you can get 6% or 10% of those people to do what you [00:45:00] want and call you or fill out a form, that’s going to help make your campaign a success. Google will give you all of those stats and you can set up those conversions how you want to within Google Ads.
And then I’d say the fourth part is, are you getting a return on investment? If you’re spending $300 in a month, are you getting patients who are going to ultimately lead to revenue for you? Now, this is a little easier for testing psychologists than our friends over in the therapy community, because in the therapy community, I ask questions of, how long does this person stay with you, what is your hourly rate, to try to get some gauge of what their average customer is?
I think testing psychologists have a little easier there because you do the testing, and you’re going to get your invoice paid. So you have a little better idea of that. Also, you get your money upfront versus the therapist who it can take 6-9 months for them to recoup all of the revenue from that patient. And so, if you think about it like this, if you get one patient off of spending $300 and they spend $3,000 with you doing testing, that’s probably a win, right? And you’d want to keep making that bet as many times as you can.
And so, it’s really just making that evaluation to see, are people from your Google ads turning into patients? If so, keep doing it. If there’s a problem in any of those steps, you need to go in and address that. Like you said, if your website is good and people have clicked on your ad, there’s a problem with your phone system, for example, you’ve got to get that fixed. Or if there’s a problem on your website and people aren’t spending enough time on it, you need to get that fixed. Or if people aren’t clicking on your ads, you’ve got to fix that. So, it’s trying to fix that entire process and looking at what I would call those four success measures.
Dr. Sharp: I love the way that you walk through all that. I enjoy numbers and math.
John: I would hope so.
Dr. Sharp: Touche. So hearing that all laid out is interesting to me. I like how we finally landed at this place of return on investment because a lot of us, I think get sticker shock with all the services that we can pay for or do pay for in our practices, especially monthly charges especially if you’re just starting out and maybe don’t have a huge budget for monthly expenditures.
So to say, if you spend $300 a month, but you get one client from that, for most of us, that would pay for at least 4 to 5 months of Google Ads. One client would pay for 4 to 5 months of Google Ads. So for those people who don’t like to dig into the numbers and maybe track all of this, is this something that a Google Ads agency would be tracking? So, the click-through rate, the conversion rate, and so forth to help people really dial that in and know about their return on investment?
John: Absolutely. And it’s that the regular process of looking at those search terms, looking at your bids, looking at are people spending enough time on your website, and then really with that conversion tracking piece of tracking those phone calls and the forms, that’s where a lot of people have issues. It’s pretty easy to go into Google, set up a campaign, and get some search terms going, but knowing whether they’re actually calling, sometimes requires a little bit of phone knowledge.
I use a program called CallTrackingMetrics which will actually track those phone calls. That’s a HIPAA-compliant piece of software where we can record the calls for people who come in from Google Ads. And so you can directly see, okay, this person I know came from Google Ads, or I know this form came through Google Ads. And so you look at those people and say, how much revenue did this person actually end up bringing in for me? And then that’s how you can look at that return on investment.
Dr. Sharp: At the risk of losing nearly all of our audience out of boredom, can you briefly talk about how that software works and tracks phone calls specifically from Google Ads? How does it know that?
John: Specifically what it does is you take one little line of code and insert it into your website. Usually, whoever helped you with your website can help you with that. What it does is CallTrackingMetrics will look for any clicks on your website that come from Google Ads. And if a click comes to your website from Google Ads, it dynamically changes the phone number and then records any calls to that phone number. So that phone number should only show up if somebody comes to your site from Google Ads.
You could do that for Facebook Ads, you could do that for organic, but I very much specifically use it to track my calls from Google Ads to see if we’re getting that success and then you can listen to those calls. And then let’s say your practice has a receptionist, and if they’re not handling those calls right, you can listen to those calls and you can find out about that, and you can adjust that behavior.
Dr. Sharp: I like it. This has been super helpful. I want to touch on Facebook Ads because people ask about Facebook Ads. I’ve lost money on Facebook ads many years ago before I gave up and just conceded defeat. What do you have to say about Facebook ads versus Google ads, pros, cons, etc?
John: I think Facebook ads are good for certain types of products and services. I don’t know that it’s good for testing psychologists. I have tried running a couple of Facebook ads for Laura’s practices and have not really enjoyed the results. And so let’s talk about the differences between those two.
Google search ads- people have already completed a lot of what a salesperson would call their buying cycle or their buying journey. They’ve already recognized they have a problem and they are now actively searching the internet, and you are going to show them that.
For Facebook, it’s a little bit more of a fishing expedition. You have to say, I want to show my ads to people who are interested in this or fit this demographic, or have done this. I don’t know that there’s necessarily a lot of that that’s good for testing psychologists. I think some of the targeting I’ve run is really trying to run ads toward parents of kids with certain ages.
So you can do a lot of things with Facebook ad targeting but I have just not seen a lot of success for it before for local testing psychology groups. The cases that I have run Facebook ads that have been successful have been for things like webinars, podcasts, classes, and things along those lines. I think Facebook ads are very good, but I think for testing psychology, I think that’s very much something that somebody has to be searching for. And that’s why Google ads are particularly good for that. I’ve not seen a lot of great results on Facebook.
Dr. Sharp: I see.
John: And the other thing you can do with Facebook ads is very much… You can go into your Google analytics program and you can see some of those stats that we were talking about earlier for Google ads. How long are people staying on your page? Are they leaving immediately? Are they only looking at one page? And in a lot of cases with Facebook ads, what you’ll find is people are staying on your site for 15 seconds and then they leave and that’s not worth paying for.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that makes sense. I feel like you hear anecdotes of people who ran this ad on Facebook and got 15 clients from it immediately and or filled this group or whatever. But when I dig into it and really talk with folks at least in our field, it seems rare to have that kind of success.
John: Yeah. I could see that maybe for our friends on the therapy side, but for testing psychology, I haven’t seen a lot of good results for it.
Dr. Sharp: I could understand that. I like the way you phrased it that in Google ads, someone is already searching. They’ve decided they need it and they’re searching for it. I would guess it’s pretty rare that someone’s presented with an ad on Facebook and decided out of the blue that it’d be a great idea to get an evaluation.
John: Yeah, it doesn’t seem to work.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Well, this has been cool, John. I really appreciate all this info and being able to really get into the nuances of Google ads. Any other pieces you want to throw out there in terms of resources or just things that testing folks should know if they’re thinking about running ads or maybe are running ads?
John: It goes back to some of the things we had talked about. Before you run ads, really work on that website, and make sure that it’s in a good place. Before you run ads, also you want to think about that budget and you want to give those ads some chance to be successful. You really need about 60 to 90 days’ worth of data because we need to collect. We’ll all be data scientists at this point.
You need a large enough sample size to say this worked, this didn’t work. So really having a good budget and being able to consistently spend that. Don’t start Google ads and then immediately panic after five days and then pause them. You have to give them a chance. Get 100 clicks to say what’s working and what’s not working, and then make the adjustments from there that you need to.
If a particular group of keywords or what we would call an ad group isn’t working, then pause it and try to put an emphasis on another group of ads. Once again, approaching it like a testing psychologist and saying, okay, this worked, this didn’t work, going from that way.
Dr. Sharp: Nice. I like it. That seems like a nice place to close where we started with look at the data, analyze it, and tweak it if you need to.
Dr. Sharp: It also makes me think that if you are a new practitioner launching a practice, it makes sense to do a lot of this work ahead of time before you “need to be making income” before you need clients. So if there’s a way that you can get this going three months before you plan to open your practice, that’d be fantastic.
Dr. Sharp: Well, this has been great. I’m very curious about this whole area. Like I said, I alluded to wasting a good bit of money on both Google Ads and Facebook Ads in the past and haven’t made that mistake in recent years, but it’s always good to know what’s out there. And like you said, established practices can use Google Ads too. It’s really just part of the whole online marketing suite.
John: Yeah, absolutely, especially when it comes to therapy. I’ve got a number of practices who have 10 therapists done them. We’re running Google ads, they never get full because if everyone’s schedules are full, they just hire another two therapists.
I would say that there are two cases where you want to maybe not think about running Google ads as I try to talk myself out of a job here. One of those would be if you are so full and you’re scheduling six months out, don’t pay for advertising. You clearly don’t need it if you’ve got all of those other sources going.
And then, if your website is problematic, don’t run ads yet. Wait until your website is fixed. Or if you don’t think that you have the immediate budget to be able to do that 60 to 90 days’ worth of testing, you might want to hold off on ads until you do. Those are some of the reasons that you might want to consider holding off on Google ads.
Dr. Sharp: I appreciate that. I think people always want to know that too.
Dr. Sharp: Is this appropriate?
John: I’ve had people call me and say, “Hey, I’d like to run Google Ads” and they’ll tell me what’s going on and I’ll look at their website, and I’ll say, you shouldn’t do this for two different reasons, you might not want to do this, or I don’t think it’s going to be successful for you.
Dr. Sharp: Well, it’s good to know that you will tell people that if that’s the case.
John: Absolutely. I don’t want to run a bad campaign. I take it personally when my campaigns have issues and it’s not a good feeling to have.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. Well, I really appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on and talking through all this with me. I think people will get a lot out of it. That’s really important.
John: Well, thanks for having me.
Dr. Sharp: Of course. I’m sure our paths will cross again soon since y’all are going to be moving here.
John: Yes. We’ll be moving up there probably this summer.
Dr. Sharp: That’s fantastic. All right. Well, thanks again, John. I appreciate it.
John: Thank you.
Dr. Sharp: All right y’all. Thanks again for tuning into the episode with John Sanders all about Google Ads. I hope that you took away some items that you can act on or at least some things to think about and some clarity about whether Google Ads can be helpful in your practice. I’ve seen a number of practices really launch using Google Ads and I think it can be a powerful tool.
Like I said in the beginning of the episode, the mastermind groups are open and taking reservations. So if you’re an advanced practice owner with gross revenue consistently over $75000 a year and you’re looking to take that next step and really expand or scale your testing practice, give me a shout. Likewise, on the other end of the spectrum, if you are a beginner practice owner and looking for support and help in launching that practice and making sure that you got all your ducks in a row and you’re going to build a sustainable testing practice, I would love to help you out too. There are other folks out there like you.
So if you’re interested in the Beginner Practice Group or the Advanced Practice Group, go to thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting, there will be a link on there to apply for either of those groups when you scroll down the page. I would love to have you. And like I said, both groups are about half full. The Beginner Practice is a little more than half full at this point and I have not put it out to my email list yet. So if you’re interested, reach out, I would love to talk with you and see if it would be a good fit.
All right y’all. This was winter business series #1. Next week, we’re going to be talking all about US-based virtual assistants and how they can really benefit your testing practice. So tune back in then. Take care.