PPC vs Content Marketing: Which Is Best for Building Trust with Your Patients?

Woman working on her computer to understand PPC vs content marketing.

The digital marketing landscape presents various strategies for health and wellness professionals looking to grow their practice. The age-old debate of “PPC vs Content Marketing” is one every business encounters. Both strategies have their strengths, but which one offers the best approach for building trust with your patients? Let’s dive a bit deeper to understand the intricacies of both so you can make the best decision for you and your practice.

What are PPC and content marketing?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a type of online marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. Since the dawn of Google Ads in 2000, PPC has become a staple of online advertising. It allows businesses to display ads to users who are actively searching for related products or services. PPC provides the capability for precise targeting, including keywords, demographics, device types, or geographical areas.

Content marketing, conversely, focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content. The aim is to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, drive profitable customer action. This marketing strategy stimulates interest in products or services by providing content that offers value to the reader. From blog posts to e-books, videos, and webinars, content marketing comes in various forms, each serving a unique purpose in the customer journey.

Now that we’re on the same page with what the terms PPC and content marketing mean, let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of PPC

As with any marketing tactic, there are pluses and minuses when it comes to PPC.

On the plus side, PPC provides immediate results. This is its most significant strength. If you’ve just launched a new service or product, a well-optimized PPC campaign can generate immediate awareness. Unlike organic SEO or content marketing, which can take months to bear fruit, PPC can get you to the top of search engine results pages (SERPS) as soon as your campaign goes live.

Another great benefit of using PPC is that you have complete control over who sees your ads. If you want to target health-conscious adults aged 25-34 living in a specific city, you can do just that. This level of precision is unmatched in other forms of advertising and can lead to high conversion rates if your ad resonates with your target audience.

Despite these benefits, there are some drawbacks to using PPC. And one of the biggest drawbacks is that it requires continuous investment. As soon as your campaign ends or your budget dries up, your ads disappear from the SERPs.

Another drawback to using PPC is that it doesn’t build long-term trust. PPC can drive traffic and conversions. However, it doesn’t contribute significantly to long-term trust-building with patients/clients. This is primarily because everyone who sees the ad is aware you’ve paid for the ad space, which doesn’t inherently build credibility.

Pros and Cons of Content Marketing

Let’s start with the positives about using content marketing to grow your practice and build trust with your patients/clients.

First, when you consistently provide high-quality content, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field. When patients read valuable content on your website, they start to associate you and your practice with expertise and trustworthiness. And we all know people like to engage the services of those they know, like, and trust.

Content marketing can also provide SEO benefits. That’s because quality content improves your organic rankings in the SERPs which helps you attract traffic to your website without having to pay for each click.

This means that a single piece of content, like a blog post, can continue to drive traffic to your site for months or even years after it was initially published. (Our clients really love this benefit because it helps them grow their practices. We love it too!)

However, there is a drawback to content marketing. It demands a lot of time and effort if you’re going to do it all on your own. Creating high-quality content consistently requires resources, planning, and strategic thought. It also requires patience, because the results aren’t immediate.

Measurement and Analysis

Measurement and analysis are critical regardless of the marketing strategy you employ. There are specific metrics and tools you should use to evaluate the effectiveness of both PPC and marketing strategies.

For PPC campaigns, the metrics you’ll need to consider include click-through rates (CTR), quality scores, cost per conversion, and overall return on your investment (ROI). You can get this data fairly easily from the PPC platforms (Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.) because they provide comprehensive analytics.

The key performance indicators for content marketing are organic website traffic, SEO rankings, social shares, lead quality, and conversion rates. This data can provide you deep insights into not only how your content is performing, but also how it is contributing to your overall business goals. You can get these metrics from tools like Google Analytics and SEMRush.

Regardless of whether you choose to implement PPC, content marketing, or both, it’s by keeping a close eye on the appropriate metrics that you can continuously optimize your strategies to better serve your audience, build trust, and achieve your practice growth goals.

Common Mistakes When Implementing PPC or Content Marketing & How to Avoid Them

No matter the strategies you choose for marketing, it’s always possible to make mistakes that can severely impact your ROI. Some of the pitfalls health and wellness professionals make that you need to be aware of before implementing PPC or content marketing are listed below:

  1. Not Tracking Metrics

    As mentioned above, the most important metrics for PPC include click-through rates, cost per click, and conversion rates. For content marketing, key indicators might be page views, time spent on page, social shares, and SEO rankings. These metrics allow you to know when it’s time to adjust your strategies and monitor the results over time.

    We recently had one client engage us to review their PPC on Facebook. Because they weren’t looking at any metrics, we found they were regularly paying $150 per lead to a $50 product. This is a real-life example of what can happen if you’re not reviewing the metrics for your PPC campaigns.
  2. Creating Content Without a Strategy

    Content marketing isn’t just about creating content. It’s about creating the right content. The best content marketing strategies are based on a deep understanding of your audience’s needs and preferences. One vital tool for understanding the needs and preferences of your ideal patient/client is keyword research.
  3. Setting and Forgetting Your PPC Campaign

    This is what happened to the client I told you about earlier. They didn’t know that PPC requires ongoing management. You need to regularly review and optimize your PPC campaigns to help you ensure that you’re getting the best ROI.

As you’ve probably realized, there’s no clear winner in the PPC vs content marketing debate. PPC offers immediacy and precision, while content marketing builds long-lasting relationships and trust. The choice between the two will depend on your specific goals, resources, and timeline.

To understand how your practice measures up to competitors in terms of content marketing or PPC, consider a Competitor SEO Audit (a $200 value) as our gift to you. Click here to register for your audit.


Karen Finn, PhD