A lot of cosmetic surgeons spend money on pay-per-click (PPC) month after month, but these efforts may be in vain.

A recent report from Eloqua.com compared the Return On Investment (ROI) gained from paid search to the ROI from content marketing via e-newsletters, blogging, podcasting, whitepapers, etc.

The study found that:

• The cost per lead of content marketing was 31% to 41% lower than paid search (as calculated over a 24-month campaign).

• In the first 5 months, the cost per lead of content marketing dropped 80%. (In other words, once the content was paid for, the cost quickly amortized.)

• Unlike paid search, the value of content marketing is cumulative: After 36 months, content marketing resulted in more than three times as many leads as paid search.

Why would so many doctors cling to the PPC approach? There’s something very direct about placing three-line ads all across the Internet. They get clicked in real time. By contrast, rich content on your Web site seems indirect and speculative.

With PPC, you don’t pay unless someone clicks, whereas content has to be paid for up front. This creates the illusion that PPC is more cost-effective than content, whereas that simply isn’t true.

PPC also provides busywork. Content that sits there month after month on your Web site begins to seem like part of the furniture. PPC, on the other hand, requires lots of tweaking to be effective. Doctors like to stay busy, so PPC is a natural fit. But all of that fixing and tweaking comes at a cost – those monthly Google Adword bills.

Plus, you still have to nurture leads. PPC only gives you leads, it doesn’t nurture them. Whether an Internet lead comes from paid search or content, you’ve still got to contact that lead and persuade her you’re the right provider. Content marketing has your back by presenting you in a positive light whenever your prospect goes to your Web site to check you out. (And believe me, they go back again and again before they put their money down.) Your blog shows her what a thoughtful, perspicacious doctor you are. If she likes what she reads on your blog and your website, she’ll sign up for your e-newsletter. Now you’re proactively nurturing her with monthly messages.

Since most women shop for cosmetic enhancement months or years before booking surgery, content marketing provides the system you need to reel prospects in when they’re ready.

The bottom line? Content marketing will trump PPC every time.

About the Author

Joyce Sunila is the president of Practice Helpers, providing e-newsletters, blogs and social media services to aesthetic practices. You can contact Joyce at [email protected] or visit the Practice Helpers website at www.practicehelpers.com