I’ve done Adwords for The First Dance (total failure for many reasons, all my fault.) I’ve done Google Adwords for my husbands private practice therapy (learned quite a bit, stopped it at 80% of our free money and may have gotten 1-2 clients but because he ranks high for free, “Google” clients don’t say pay per click vs natural results.) And now I’m doing Google Adwords for my father, Bill Doherty, who sells fantastic CEU trainings on couples therapy work.
I want to use this latest one, selling DVD’s that offer other therapists CEU’s, as an example of just how complicated Google Adwords really can be and how, if you aren’t careful, you can lose a ton of money, really fast. I also hope I inspire you to think more carefully about your real goals and whether you’re really dedicated to the mental energy, and website reorganization, necessary to succeed at Google Adwords. I also want to inspire you to simply think more deeply about your goals and to REACH your ideal client type with the fantastic options Google Adwords offers!!
First of all, you may call yourself a therapist, but you know who is on Google with those words? Massage therapists! Physical therapists! Way more than all you folks. Perhaps massage and physical therapists don’t go to as many conferences so they end up searching online in much greater numbers. Whatever the reason, mistake #1 would be to simply throw money at “therapy CEU’s.” We’d get a huge variety of people that have nothing to do with psychotherapy and waste money really fast in the process. (Not to mention a lot of annoyed, confused, or frustrated massage or physical therapists wondering why we were advertising to them!)
Secondly, I talk about website organization (have a whole CD / MP3 on the topic!) When it comes to making money on your website by using Google Adwords, it is ESSENTIAL to have things very clear, very direct, and send people to exactly what you’re advertising. In the case of my dad’s website, he has five DVD’s and they were all on the same page yesterday when I began this project. I’ll get into this more in a minute because it brings up another nuanced point but before I even did research on keywords for my ads, I had to split out ALL the topics onto their own page. (That helps with my free search engine optimization, too!)
Third, you may have the “broad category” in your head. The broadest would be to say, “I want new clients!” Less broad would be, “I want to fill my teen support group classes.” And even less broad would be, “I want to hone in on teenagers who are online from 3-5pm after class, in a small geographic area, searching for advice on how to handle peer pressure or mental health issues they face, and I want to advertise my class coming up in 4 weeks.” (Even more crazy would be to hone in on exact websites your ideal client visits and embed your ad inside those websites, which is an option you have.) You may even be global enough in your thinking to realize it’s better to spend more money than you’d like to fill that FIRST class, because word of mouth advertising from those support groups is not only free, but a lot more effective than Google Adwords. (Hint: losing money sometimes makes you more in the long term. If you were willing to put $100 into filling a class, maybe consider what $200 can do…?)
This brings us to the fourth point. If you are thinking about that class that starts in 4 weeks, you’re thinking about the topics you’ll cover and the mindset of the teens who may sign up, why would you EVER do the #1 mistake every type of business does? The mistake? Making your ad go to your HOMEPAGE, rather than directly to the class date, time, and details page. Why would you engage someone to sign up, only to send them back to your homepage and make them hunt… they don’t care THAT much about you! They may try “events”, or “support groups”, or “classes”, only to realize you labeled it differently than their first impression. (You may realize it’s easier to call something a class but then do a switch and make it a more open, sharing environment, knowing more people will sign up for a class than group.) And if week days and time matter, put those details ON YOUR AD so you don’t get people who work after school clicking on your ad.
Selling CEU DVD’s for therapists is turning into a big octopus, but one I’m having a blast trying to figure out. This is my strategy, and I hope you noodle on what you would do and what I’m planning to see if you can see the nuance.
Keywords – I’ve done my research and I’m staying exclusively with the CE, CEU, CEU’S phrases. I’ve decided there are way too many phrases actual couples may be using and since these DVD’s are for therapists-only, I want to be conservative in where I put my dollars.
I’ve also found three groups that I’m going to focus on. Social workers, LMT’s, and the word “counselor”, or LPC. Again, those words WITH the CEU in it. This will ensure that my ads only show up for 1) the audience I have a product for, 2) the exact need they have, which is to fulfill ongoing training requirements. I don’t want to show up for people searching for PROGRAMS on becoming a therapist, or finding a workshop to attend, or someone looking FOR a counselor.
Now it comes to the ads themselves. Think about it. Even if you did a “social worker CEU” Google search you don’t want ANY type of training. You work with certain types of people, or perhaps want to get training TO work with a new client type. Either way, some topics float your boat and others don’t. Why would I ever want a generic ad, knowing you may never see couples and therefor not buy? The biggest mistake would be to have ads simply saying: “CEU’s for social workers, MFTs, and counselors.” You may get a lot of clicks, but how many are interested and will buy? I’d rather see you have a harder time GETTING clicks but having them turn into sales.
This is where the octopus starts. Google has CAMPAIGNS (which you’d want to use if you wanted to focus on different geographic areas or times of the day, say for teen classes vs parent classes at night.) I don’t care about the time of day for my searchers, nor about their location, so I am just running one campaign. But, I have different ad GROUPS. Why? I want to hone in directly on my three audiences (social workers, LPC’s, and MFTs.) Each of them is always nervous about buying a CEU product that doesn’t qualify for their license, so by having their role in the ad itself, they will have more confidence on clicking to learn more. It’s also going to catch their eye because it’s the phrase they used to create the Google search.
The final part, since you may think I’ve done as much “honing down” as I can, is to actually hone in FURTHER on the exact topic of EACH DVD. Each DVD deserves its own ad because each has a different lesson. This means I’ll have at least 5 ads, representing each DVD, for EACH of my 3 audience types. Some might argue I should really have 2-4 ads PER dvd, to see which ones work the best. For now, I have $100 free Google Adwords money and think I’m making enough of a monster that I’ll just see what happens. If we do sell DVD’s then we’ll use that money to keep the ads going, since they’re proving good “ROI.” (return on investment.) I could be fancy and have a bundle “buy 8 CEU’s now!” with a Google Checkout button in the ad, for example.
Final words. If this post as horribly confused you, don’t worry. It either means you’re learning and stretching and with time will “get it”, or it could mean you are a brilliant therapist but analytical stuff like Google Adwords may not be your cup of tea. That’s completely valid! I’d then consider hiring someone to do the work for you, or AVOID Adwords altogether. Not every type of client is going to be reachable by Adwords, or perhaps not as timely as you’d want filling a practice or support group. You may be better off spending $3 on a cup of coffee for the personal trainer at the YMCA, picking her brain on what she’d love to see to help her clients with their mental health!