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Reaping rewards from targeted SEM

  Article , Health and Wellness , Success stories

Residential Home Health reached “true customers” with less spend

Easing the transition from child to “parent”

For most people, there comes a time in life when you make the transition from child to parent with your own parents. Oftentimes, the moment sneaks up on you, forcing you to suddenly make big decisions about their health and independence. Even if you think you’ve prepared for that moment, you never feel prepared.

At times such as these, you do what any 21st century human does; go online and hunt for information. This is the target audience Residential Home Health strives to reach with its paid search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. With the Bing Network, Dreu Adams, manager of strategic outreach at Residential Home Health, feels he’s succeeding.

Residential Home Health is one of the largest homecare companies in Michigan and Illinois, with upwards of 900 people out in the field providing in-home nursing and therapy care for 3,500 patients, most of them seniors. Partnering with physicians and hospitals, the company tries to reduce readmission rates for patients. “People want to maintain their lifestyle and independence in their home as long as they can,” said Adams. “It’s very important to me and close to my heart to be able to help others find good providers who can be trusted and do an excellent job.”

I'm getting more clicks over the total period from Bing, averaging a better click-through rate with a significantly lower CPC average.

—  Dreu Adams, Manager of Strategic Outreach, Residential Home Health

Growing a business with paid search

Adams handles the company’s digital marketing, which means anything from video production to website content. When he started at the company close to three years ago, he found himself gravitating towards content strategies and social media. “I was thinking about building a well-executed blog and using social media and email marketing to drive traffic and capture leads,” said Adams. “I also devised a digital strategy that relied on keywords.” Organic strategies such as these take time to connect with an audience. Adams wanted something more immediate. "If you want to have real growth, there's really only one way to get at that right away, and that's with paid search strategies such as paid search remarketing, ad extensions and display ads," said Adams.

To prove his point, Adams convinced his company to give him a small budget to test the waters of paid search ads. Not wanting to blow the opportunity, he reached out to WordStream, a Boston-based online advertising agency with a do-it-yourself platform, for help. WordStream Advisor combines machine learning with industry norms and account history to come up with an automation and optimization platform. By driving SEM through the platform and consulting with Navah Hopkins, senior customer success specialist at WordStream, he felt in control of the flow of his advertising dollars.

Hopkins has seen people such as Adams enter and then quickly leave within this arena. Adams, however, proved different. “I wish that all companies could have a champion like him governing their marketing spend and initiatives,” said Hopkins. “He actually motivates me to grow so I can continue to help him to the best of my ability.”

Targeting the right audience

Table illustrating Bing data, October 2015.
Working together, they slowly built a strategy, brick by brick. First came the target audience. “We had to choose between targeting the patients, their children or their spouses,” said Hopkins. “We discovered that it was a far more useful proposition to target the children.”

According to Adams, they found their primary target audience in female caregivers between the ages of 45 and 65. Research told Adams that this age bracket tends to use the default search technology that comes with their device. And since many of these people own Windows devices from Microsoft, they’d often utilize Bing by default.

Next came testing a structure out, which they successfully did in one county. “I think all advertisers should take this approach,” said Hopkins. “By proving it out in one area, you really get a sense of what your markets are and what your option prices are going to be.”

There's so much to gain with Bing Ads. I'd pick higher click-through numbers at a lower cost any day. That's key.

—  Dreu Adams, Manager of Strategic Outreach, Residential Home Health

Tracking performance

Adams today utilizes both Google AdWords and Bing Ads. And while he finds both useful, he notices certain intricacies that make Bing Ads stand out. For example, 60% of customers from AdWords are what he considers “true customers” whereas Bing Ads tips in close to 100%. Granted, both platforms have similar lead-to-conversion rates and AdWords does have a larger audience. But the percentage difference in true customers makes Bing Ads a much more profitable platform. Hopkins concurs, which is why she recommends Bing Ads, especially for certain audiences. “For every single customer of mine that has even a hint of medical, legal or financial services, my goal is always to eventually get them onto Bing,” said Hopkins. “It’s just so much cheaper and you can do so much more with targeting.”

Adams’ performance statistics over the past year back up that thought:

 Bing Ads performance figures for Residential Home Health: More than 1 dollar lower cost per click than Google AdWords, and 2.12 percent click-through rate compared to  1.84 percent with Google AdWords.

Furthermore, Bing marketing numbers have continued to consistently trend upward since Hopkins first directed Adams towards the Bing Network ten months ago.

Bing also has a slightly higher number of total clicks. “I'm getting more clicks over the total period from Bing, averaging a better click-through rate with a significantly lower CPC average,” said Adams. According to Hopkins, Residential Home Health has seen a substantial ROI since coming aboard.

In terms of keywords, Hopkins noticed early on that a lot of the ones in Adams’ account spiked the cost because they crossed over into common medical terminology such as “nursing homes” and “dementia.” Today with Bing Ads, Adams uses almost three times as many keywords as he does with AdWords. “The searched terms and phrases in Bing Ads are different than those being searched for in AdWords,” said Adams. “Bing Ads keywords are based more on what the searchers are actually searching for and finding, or what my ad is being triggered for.”

Adams also adds lots of negative keywords to try to help manage the medical terminology issue. Those people searching for “assisted living,” for example, or someone to do cooking, bathing and housekeeping for their parent, get directed elsewhere. “I’m trying to spend my whole Bing Ads budget, but I'm getting so much value that I find it hard sometimes,” said Adams. Hopkins agrees. “It’s a lot harder to waste money on the Bing Network than it is on Google, in my opinion, particularly since it's not nearly as competitive,” said Hopkins.

All gain, no loss

Photo of Dreu Adams, Manager of Strategic Outreach at Residential Home Health.

Dreu Adams, Manager of Strategic Outreach at
Residential Home Health.

Adams uses the WordStream Advisor dashboard to get recommendations within his account, monitoring bid adjustments based on ad performance. Some of those are automatic recommendations, including terms Adams would have never thought about. For example, the term “interim” with healthcare popped up, which happens to be true. “We come in for about 60 days, but ‘interim’ or ‘temporary’ aren’t ways that I would think our audience searches,” said Adams. “So I’m seeing terms that I may want to bid on.”

The dashboard also flags underperforming ads. “It helps me very quickly get a high-level glance — which is what I need because I don't sit at my desk all day long,” said Adams. “I'm editing video and doing other things, so I need a tool that can let me fly the ship and keep an eye on everything.” Twice a month he meets with Hopkins, who looks through any changes that Adams makes per analysis of the account structure and what's going on. Currently he’s working to activate Sitelink Extensions as a channel for getting additional messaging.

As for Bing Ads in general, Adams looks forward to getting more involved with the platform. “I'm still in the process of really digging in deep to the Bing Ads platform, the core and best practices within Bing advertising itself,” said Adams. “There’s so much to gain. I'd pick higher click-through numbers at a lower cost any day. That’s key.”

Keep reading

See a quick summary of how Residential Home Health uses negative keywords to reach a more relevant audience faster than search engine optimization.

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