Thomas Vecchio

Thomas is a PPC Specialist at Sagapixel, where he works with clients across industries to run Google Ads and paid social campaigns to drive growth.

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

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Are you interested in learning more about how home care agencies across the country are using PPC to bring in leads and caregivers for their agencies?

Searches for “in-home senior care” have skyrocketed in volume, increasing by 123% from this time last year (2021), which means there is potential to bring in leads in your geographic territory.

Other searches like “caregivers near me,” “in-home senior care,” and “in-home caregivers” have all increased in search volume as well, ranging from ~22% to ~50% from this time last year. 

If you’ve done any research into how to get more leads for your home care agency, more than likely, you’ve come across digital marketing as the forefront tactic. Typically, digital marketing includes everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to social media. That said, these methods can take months to deliver the results you’d want. PPC, however, starts as soon as your campaign launches. 

Our team has worked with home care agencies across the country, from smaller, privately owned agencies to large, nationally recognized companies. In this article, we’ll touch on everything you need to know about running an effective Google Ads campaign for home care agencies, and we’ll pass on some of the industry-specific lessons we’ve learned along the way. 

Looking for more information? If you’d like to learn more about PPC for Home Care Agencies, or if you’d like to discuss PPC management services for your Home Care Agency, click here. 

What is “Home Care Agency PPC?”

Pay-Per-Click, also known as PPC, is a digital advertising model that drives traffic to your website via search engine ads. These ads are almost always on the top of every Google search you make, especially for home care. If someone clicks on your ad, you pay for that click, simple as that. 

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

These ads come in every shape and size, from the ones you see above to other varieties like the ads before YouTube videos or the ads you see on the side of online news articles. 

Below these ads are where your organic results will show. If you’ve already begun investing in SEO, you’ll see your results just below here, either in the maps or in the search results. Taking that into consideration, SEO is a long-term investment, so it will take time (usually months) to get your website ranked high. Even then, ads will still appear above it in most cases. 

If you’re interested in learning more about SEO for a home care agency, I recommend checking out our article about the 5 Tips to Get More Leads & Caregivers for Home Care Agencies. 

How PPC for Home Care Agencies Works

PPC is an essential part of a successful marketing strategy. Below, we’ll cover the ins and outs of how PPC for home care agencies works, but if you’re interested in learning more about overall marketing strategies for Home Care, check out our top home care marketing strategies to get more leads for your agency.

Google Ads, and the Bidding Process

Google Ads works around an auction that happens every time someone performs a Google search. There are a variety of factors, which we’ll discuss later in this article, that influence where (if at all) your ad shows. That being said, many have the wrong idea of how Google Ads operates. 

A common misconception about Google Ads is that all you need to do to get leads is pay more than everyone else; this is false. The amount you’re willing to pay for a click Is a factor, but it is one of several factors Google looks at before showing your ad to the end user. 

Google Support has a great explanation of how the Google Ads auction works if you’re interested in learning more.

How Google Determines Positions of the Ads

As we previously stated, Google Ads considers multiple factors before determining where your ad lands on the page. That position, which we know as Ad Rank, is determined by these factors: 

  • How competitive your home care agency’s keywords are
  • How high (or low) your bids are
  • The context of your keywords at the time of the search and the keywords you’re bidding on. 
  • Quality Score一which is determined by the following metrics (We’ll go into more detail later as to why this factor is important). 
    • Landing page experience – How relevant your landing page is to your ad and the keywords you’re bidding on. 
    • Ad Relevance/Strength – How closely your keywords relate to your ad copy
    • Expected Click-Through Rate – How likely is your ad will be clicked on when it shows

How Much Does PPC for Home Care Agencies Cost?

Most Home Care PPC accounts we’ve managed usually start around $1,500 a month on Google Ads and slowly ramp up from there. Ultimately, we stress the importance of setting a budget you’re comfortable with; then, we’ll create a strategy tailored to your agency and your budget. 

Your next question more than likely is, “what am I going to get from advertising with Google Ads?” Well, what we like to do with our clients is paint a picture that revolves around their cost per acquisition and the customer lifetime value of a potential client. Cost per acquisition (CPA) is the monetary value of getting a new lead. 

Common Issues Inherent to Home Care Agency PPC

While there aren’t as many complications to getting a good home care PPC campaign up and running, there are definitely some pitfalls to avoid; the most prominent of which is Google Ads’ Policies. 

  • Often, PPC campaigns will bid on keywords and use the phrase “in-home senior care,” which is usually flagged for a housing policy violation. According to the policy description, this kind of topic shouldn’t be flagged, but Google’s AI still does. 
  • Trademarks一if you work with a larger agency, more than likely, your franchise has been given rights to use their trademark in your advertising. That said, ad copy related to the trademark can be rejected. There is a process to appeal and a process to allow your account to use the trademark, but this process isn’t straightforward to the average user and requires some digging on the Google support website. 
  • Retargeting for anything related to healthcare is prohibited. 
    • Unfamiliar with retargeting? If you’ve ever done online shopping for anything, then see an ad for one of the items you looked into the next day that’s retargeting.
  • With so much potential for violations when running a home care PPC campaign, it’s important to know of Google’s strike system. If your account is flagged too often for policy violations, there’s a chance your agency can be outright banned from advertising with Google Ads. 

What Kind of Results Can You Expect From A Home Care Agency PPC Campaign? 

There is no “gold standard” when it comes to results for a home care agency PPC campaign. In our experience, the cost per lead for these accounts ranges anywhere from ~$40 to at its highest, ~$300. The results you can expect from a home care agency PPC campaign vary.

Let’s take a look at a high-performing Google Ads campaign with a $40 cost per conversion.

A $3000/mo budget would deliver roughly 75 leads; if you are able to convert 20% into paying customers, you would bring on 15 new clients with a customer acquisition cost of $200. Considering that the median customer lifetime value of a home care client is ~$11,000, this is very profitable.

Let’s consider a home care PPC campaign that is struggling, delivering a $300 cost per conversion (cost per phone call or contact form submission). 

At this cost per acquisition (CPA), a $3000 budget would deliver 10 leads. If you can convert 3 of these leads into clients, you have a customer acquisition cost of $1000. This does squeeze margins a bit, but should still be profitable for a well-run home care agency.

The 6 Types of PPC Ads

Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads (RSAs), also known as search campaigns, are the most common type of campaign rain by advertisers. These campaigns offer the most control and customization. 

Smart Campaigns

Smart campaigns have changed the landscape for what’s possible when running home care PPC campaigns. These newer campaign types lean more heavily on Google’s machine learning AI and can show across a majority of Google’s advertising network. For example, using this campaign type with one of our clients enabled us to cut their cost per lead from the ~$100 to ~$150 range to something closer to ~$55.

The most important thing to note is that Google controls where your ad shows. In the image below, you’ll be able to see the potential locations your ad can show. In our experience, we’ve seen the best results in campaigns that show the most on Google Search; this, however, takes time. If you’ve worked with Google Ads before, jumping into (and successfully running) an effective Smart campaign has a bit of a learning curve to it. 

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

Performance Max

Googe’s newest campaign type, Performance Max, utilizes all of Google’s extended advertising network, including YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Search, Display, and Discovery. These campaigns rely upon even more of Google’s AI to operate, but the benefit is the potential reach these campaigns can offer. 

In one instance, using a performance max campaign brought one of our client’s costs per lead to the ~$20 range.

YouTube Ads

Even though retargeting isn’t allowed for healthcare-related services, YouTube Ads can still work in some scenarios. More recently, adding videos to your performance max campaign also allows your ad to show on YouTube. 

Display Ads and the Google Display Network

Google Display ads are a great campaign type for exposure, brand awareness, retargeting ads, and in some cases for colder leads. 

Paid Social

Social media advertising can be another way to bring in potential leads, but more so, social media offers a great opportunity to build a reputation for prospective clients. You’ll come to find that social proof is the main draw of these platforms. 

77% of people read online reviews before making a decision; after a quick Google search of one of our clients, I found that the following search result was their Facebook page. Potential clients will find you (or your brand) online, so having a solid social media presence can be beneficial to reassure prospects.

Which PPC Campaign Types Should You Use for Your Home Care Agency?

In short, the only way to know which PPC campaign type you should use is to test them. Generally, we’ll split test our campaigns to see how the results vary, and ultimately whichever campaign brings in a better cost per lead is the campaign we decide should continue running. Campaigns will run differently based on your budget and geographic location, so what may work in Philadelphia may not work in San Francisco. 

How You Should Optimize Your PPC Campaigns for Your Home Care Agency

Ready to get into the nitty-gritty and optimize your campaigns? Below are our top tips for getting the most out of your home care PPC campaigns. 

Interested in scheduling a time to sit down with our PPC team to discuss what home care PPC advertising could look like for your agency? Click here. 

Structure Your Campaigns and Ad Groups Around Keywords

One of the easiest ways to optimize your campaign when you’re first getting started is to separate your ad groups by the different services you offer. This is essential to maximize your ad relevance, which we’ve covered means how closely your keywords relate to your ad copy. Not only is this good for organizing, but it will be leaps and bounds easier for you to physically see what is performing and what isn’t. 

For a home care agency PPC campaign, we’d recommend splitting your ad groups around the following subcategories: 

  1. Caregivers
  2. Alzheimer’s Care 
  3. Dementia Care
  4. In-Home Senior Care
  5. Home Care Agency

Within those subcategories, your keywords should all be very similar to the perspective category. This works because now the person searching will receive a tailored ad for them. Think of the inverse; If you searched for an Alzheimer’s caregiver, but the ad that shows says Dementia caregiver, more than likely, you would probably be less likely to click it. Your click-through rate won’t be as high since the searcher doesn’t see what they searched for in your ad. 

Not sure how to choose which keywords are best for your agency? Check out our other article on SEO keywords for Home Care. 

Limit Your Ad Schedule to Times When They Perform Best

Always set an ad schedule. The most important factor in optimizing your campaigns is having the data to make the right decisions. Setting an ad schedule helps you see when things happen and when things don’t. It also prevents you from spending more than you need to; we rarely see home care leads come in during the 1 am to 6 am timeframe, so why run ads then? 

Below is how we recommend setting up your ad schedule: 

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

Then, as your campaigns run, you’ll be able to decide when your ads should run. Below is usually what we change our ad schedules to after some time: 

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

Use Negative Keywords to Minimize Irrelevant Clicks

If you’re running a home care PPC campaign 99 times out of 100, you’ll find your search terms report is littered with searches like “senior homes near me” and “assisted living facilities.” Due to changes in how keywords work, Google will show your ads for these searches. 

Our practice is to check the search terms for campaigns at least twice a month, if not more. The amount you check your search terms ultimately depends on your budget. Higher budget = more searches. 

We’ve compiled a list of the generic negative keywords that we’ve seen across many of our home care PPC clients. The addition of this list when first starting a new campaign goes a long way in negating any potentially money-draining searches. 

Use Audiences to See Who is Most Likely to Convert

Applying audience segments when you first create a new campaign is another beneficial feature you can use in the future to optimize your campaign. Google Ads has a variety of pre-made audience segments you can apply to your campaign for observation; these segments include: 

  • Detailed Demographics – This includes everything from homeowner status, marital status, education, employment, and so on. 
  • In-Market Segments – These are people researching a purchase. 
  • Affinity Segments – These segments highlight people’s interests, like movies, beauty, media, news, travel, etc. 

Observing these audiences helps Google learn who to best deliver your ads to, and over time you’ll also be able to see if any of your observed audiences convert. For example, if Homeowners convert more than any other audience, you can then increase the bid for that audience. 

Custom audiences are also useful, especially in creating Performance Max campaigns where they’re mandatory. With these, you’ll want to keep your custom audience tight to make it as easy as possible for Google to identify the right audience. We’ll usually build these audiences around first-party data from Google Analytics or based on Google searches like: 

  1. Caregivers near me 
  2. In-home caregiver in (city)
  3. Caregiver (city)

Split Test Landing Pages

A good landing page is essential for converting good home care PPC leads. Your ads are only as good as the page you send them to; you want to make your page as easy as possible for the end user to use. 

  1. Easy access to a contact form or phone number 
  2. Social proof 一This can be testimonials, awards, or accommodations to show your experience or reputation. 
  3. Make potential customers need to get in touch with you for more information; provide them with just enough to get them to call. 

Use as Many Extensions as Possible

Call Extensions – This attaches a phone number directly to your ad. Ad extensions come in many shapes and sizes with the goal of providing access to the items those searching for your services actually want. We recommend using the following: 

  1. Sitelink – Sitelinks provide additional links to your ad that people searching may want to go to, like a “contact us” page or a “services” page. 

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

  1. Location – If you have a physical location you want people to see, you can link your Google My Business page to your Google Ads account and display your address in the ad. 
  2. Callout – Callout extensions highlight important facts about your agency you want people to know, such as “free consultations.”
  3. Images – Not all accounts have access to image extensions, but if you do, use them. Since these are few and far between, images on your ads will make your ad stand out. 

Target Mobile Primarily

Mobile users will make up most of the traffic your ad will generate. Here’s what we see with one of our home care PPC clients: 

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

This furthers the necessity of a good landing page that works well on mobile. If your site is too slow or not easy to navigate, you may lose that lead. Make the page as easy as possible to read and use and provide an easy-to-click call button to make getting in touch with you seamless. 

Maximize Your Ad Score When You Create Responsive Search Ads

Earlier in the article, we mentioned how ad strength is essential to getting your ad to show. 

An excellent ad score is the best possible score you can achieve for your ads. Here’s what you need to do to achieve it: 

  1. Your ad copy needs to be unique, visually appealing, and tailored to your target audience. Communicate your service, and tell people what makes you different. 
  2. In addition, your ad copy needs to satisfy the keywords you’re bidding on. 
  3. Keep trying 一 Writing effective ad copy is a challenging task. Creating an effective ad takes time to see what works and what doesn’t 一 don’t be afraid to change up some of your headlines and descriptions down the road to improve the performance of your ad. Even if you’ve satisfied all of Google’s requirements, your ad may still be at an average or good level instead of excellent. 

The Playbook for PPC for Home Care

Adjust Bids by Location Through Geotargeting

Location targeting is a must for setting up a home care PPC campaign. 

  1. Be specific 一Set your targeting to be as granular as possible, including zip codes, towns, cities, or counties, depending on how wide your targeting or territory is. 
  2. Be careful with your targeting settings 一 set your targeting settings to “presence” instead of the default, “presence and interest.” Your agency is only interested in potential clients in your territory, so by targeting presence, you can be sure your ad is only showing in the areas you’re targeting. 

At Sagapixel, We Specialize in Home Care Agency PPC

Our PPC team at Sagapixel specializes in Home Care PPC for agencies large and small. We take the time to learn the ins and outs of our clients and never take a “one size fits all” approach to PPC management because no two agencies are the same. 

If you’d like to schedule a time to meet with our PPC team to discuss what PPC advertising for your home care agency could look like, click here.