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The Bottom Liine Ep. 16

You need to know about Google's Local Service Ads, with Bill Fukui

Google has recently opened up Local Service Ads to a variety of healthcare specialties. These lesser-known ad types can provide much higher ROI and help get your practice ahead of the competition. Bill Fukui from MedShark Digital joins us to explain what you need to know!



Ken: Alright welcome back to The Bottom Liine. Today, we’re gonna talk about local service ads.

And what the heck is a local service ad? We’ll find out shortly. but first, let’s introduce Bill Fukui. Bill is with Med Shark, and I will let him introduce himself

Charles: What’s up, Bill?

Bill: Charlie. Hey, Ken. How are you guys doing today?

Ken: We’re Great.

Bill: Great. Well, for your audience, my name is Bill Fukui.

I am with MedShark Digital, and we are, an internet marketing company that does everything from, websites, SEO, Google Local, Pay per click advertising, social media, pretty much anything that has to do with generating leads off of the internet is pretty much what we do. And I’m really excited about talking about really Google’s most recent, type of advertising made available to and it’s becoming more available to a lot more providers.

Charles: I remember we were in Miami. I can’t remember the name of the establishment, but, maybe in maybe summer spring last year and, watching some type of sporting event. and you told me about this, And I sort of forgot about it.

And then we were talking about, you know, having an episode together. You were telling me it’s starting to make its way. And, I think in this just in January, this has opened up in aesthetics. So really timely stuff to be discussing for the practices is that we, you know, we both serve. And so I think to kick us off, you know, we’re talking about Google local service ads. And the spoiler is it’s a way to engage in a cost per lead strategy with Google as opposed to cost per click. And then I know in your experience, there’s been way better ROI on these leads. so there’s a lot to unpack here. But to start with, just tell us a little bit about what how does that work? Or, like, what is a Google local service ad?

How does it differ from what people are really familiar with, which is having a Google My Business profile for their practice and doing cost per click stuff. What are the main things to know about what local service ads are?

Bill: That sounds great. I think that’s a good starting point. Number 1 is for the practices that are familiar with pay per click advertising, they typically will show up on a search result and are usually high on the page. It’s usually at the top of the page you’ll see the little sponsored, description, next to them and those are pay per click meaning if somebody clicks onto it you’re charged a fee that you bid a certain amount for.

So you’re willing to pay a certain amount for every time somebody clicks on that and comes to your website or landing page. Local service ads came out, gee, probably about 6, 7 years ago, maybe even longer, but they weren’t available to medical providers. They were, basically made available to home improvement, to other industries, and they showed up actually higher than the sponsored listings. They’re actually at the very, very top of a search result, and they visually look different and 1 of the things is it says Google screened and they aren’t charged on a cost per lead, meaning a telephone call has to transpire as a result of the consumer clicking on your stuff, It has to turn into a lead before they charge you. So you were charged on a cost per lead versus a traditional sponsored listing, which is a cost per click.

Charles: That is that sounds awesome. I bet a lot of them practices are like, what the hell?

Where has this been? Right? Why has it been why has it not you said it wasn’t available in med in medical, I assume, HIPAA related stuff or what’s taken

Bill: Yeah. And that’s And that’s ex that that’s a that’s it. At the end of the day, Google does not, it’s taken the lowest path, you know, the path of least resistance. Right?

It can offer these things to other industries that didn’t have any others, you know, strings attached to it. Right? Whereas medical, Google does not wanna mess with HIPAA, does not wanna mess with patient privacy. So even things like remarketing and retargeting on Google, You can’t do that to medical because it’s this creepy following people in their advertising And Google doesn’t want to be able to, you know, let consumers know that it’s collecting that information, so you can’t even do the marketing. So it’s avoided medical because of HIPAA and patient privacy.

Charles: Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that makes sense.

And, like, you know, GA 4, not HIPAA compliant. Like, a lot of practices are dealing with other elements of Google not wanting to sign a BAA and, you know, and all that type of stuff. Yeah.

And you were before when we were talking a little bit about this and you just mentioned other industries that have had it, I think you had some examples of legal. Like, you guys work with some law firms.

This has been going on for a while. What have the results been like and and your experience with those businesses that are leveraging, the Google local service ads.

Bill: Great. great question. you know, so MedShark is actually a subsidiary company of a legal advertising and marketing company called Blue Shark. So I specialize in medical, but they’ve been doing, legal, for a while and local service ads had were made available to lawyers, Again, probably 5, 6 years ago, and they don’t have HIPAA related issues.

so it was made available to them. What we found was we had clients that were doing both traditional pay per click, but once we started doing local service ads, We realize that when the clients are tracking the actual clients that are signing up and the cases that are being The quality of the leads on the local service ads are definitely ratchet up higher, they’re higher quality leads that ultimately turn into clients and revenue for the practice, on a much more frequent basis. I think couple of things. Number 1, they’re more trusted because it comes with a badge that says Google screened. People trust Google.

Hate to say it, goop. People trust what Google had when they Google stuff, there’s a reason they do it. Right? They Trust Google’s results. And when it says Google screen, that’s almost a third party endorsement.

Right? It’s a third party Google that everybody knows has already screened these providers and that they’re probably better than everybody else. Right. If you’re a Google screen, chances are you’re a better provider. So what we found was that the attorneys, there, return on the investment was by full tire.

And if we had clients that had a limited budget, We’d say, oh, if you’re gonna spend, you know, spend on paid advertising, do local service ads and don’t do pay per click Unless you have the extra budget to do it. Right? If you’ve got a limited budget to only do 1, do local service ads. Right. Local service ads first, then pay per click advertising, social media, you know, second and third.

Charles: That makes sense.

You mentioned something, this the Google Screen thing. Very interesting. If I you know, let I know just this is just starting to, roll into aesthetics. I think you it’s been in dental for a little while and dermatology, maybe some others. Let’s say let’s say I’m a plastic surgeon listening to this, and I’m like, That sounds awesome.

How do you get screened? Like, what’s the process to take advantage of this, option marketing option?

Bill: That sounds great. First of all, you’re right. It has gotten into certain medical industries before, say, aesthetics. Or in this case, you have to be a licensed Board certified plastic surgeon from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, right?

The credentialing in order to become screened is you’ve got to submit documentation. So there’s a process to go through and it’s gonna require a list of things that you need to provide it. It’s credentialing that you are a medical provider, that you are a board certified plat so you need your licensing from all these organizations in order to qualify to be a, quote, screened provider. we walk clients through that process And help them get the documentations so that Google can verify that they are who they say they are, because those local service ads are really tied to an individual. So, part of your submission, I need a picture of the provider whose license we’re using because that’s the provider that’s gonna be showing up in those local service ads at the top of the screen It’s gonna have your picture.

It’ll say Google screen. It’ll have reviews. It’ll have, you know, just great information. It’s really compelling eye candy. Those local service ads definitely get the highest volume of clicks out of that that area when you first click on a search result.

Charles: I would think so. And a part of that process also I mean, I would imagine basically every practice, certainly that we work with has a Google My Business profile for the business, then in this case, this is tied to a Google My Business profile of the provider. Like, that person is gonna have a profile that is you

have to you have to create that as well. Right?

Bill: Well, you don’t have to create here’s the thing. It is Google’s all all knowing, all seeing. Right?

Google knows a lot of stuff about you. and providers do fall into a category of your money, your life, what Google came out with. This was like 5 or 6 years ago. So you can as a provider create your own Google business profile. So if you’re in a group practice, If you’ve got 3, 4, 5 different providers you can have your business profile everybody’s familiar with that Google business profile, But each individual provider can and in those group settings, I recommend you have your own practitioner profile, And it’s different than a business profile, but it looks very similar, right, but at the end of the day Google wants to have individuals in those local service ads not a quote business right so it’s got it that’s why you need that Licensing and credentialing to show that you’re a board certified plastic surgeon, it’s also available to dermatologists, it’s open to dentists, even, weight loss.

Even if you’re a weight loss a medical weight loss provider, you prescribe things like, Ozempic or Some of these other weight loss medications, you can actually also get qualified and screened, you know, in that category. But there are categories that you have to qualify for.

Charles: That makes sense. The, has this become pretty standard in, like, the legal world. Like, I was almost assuming people that keep people that are able to pass the screening.

Is everybody now just doing this? And if you’re not doing it in that space, it’s like what you’re behind? is that is that how you would describe it now?

Bill: You know, Charlie, that’s a great question because With every new opportunity, right, it’s the mavericks. It’s the trailblazers that capture all the low lying fruit. Right?

It’s when you when it’s like buying stocks. When it becomes news that everybody’s doing this, It’s too late. Right? It you’ve missed you’ve missed the gap. Right?

So same thing with this. When practices, start looking into this, what they’re gonna find is if I do a search for, say, plastic surgeon Denver, You’re not gonna see local service ads showing up at the top yet because it’s so new yet. Right? Google will start showing those When there’s a critical mass of competitors and people willing to do this, and then those ads will start showing up. You won’t see them right away, but that doesn’t mean you don’t go through this process.

You wanna be the first 1 in line. You wanna get in line, Get qualified and so when those ads start running I’m gonna tell you that we saw this in legal. The ones that were the first ones to be there number 1 your visibility because you’ve only got 2 or 3 spots then if you’ve got 20 different providers all trying to get in there, who’s gonna get there, right? So there’s different credentialing and qualification and quote optimization of your ads so that you can actually show up. Just because you’re, quote, screened and you’re Willing to spend money, we found with, legal, they are maxing out the bids.

I mean, we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars a month. They’re maxing out their, you know, their budget just to try and show up on those locals, you know, service ads, and it’s just even now, it’s you can do that, but everybody’s now maxing out their bids. Right? So the

Charles: Kinda it’s like cost per click or pay per click,

But they don’t even worry about that anymore because they’re doing local service. Yeah. I think the summary here is that there’s there’s gonna this this is just gonna be something that people have to do just like they you kinda should do pay per click. but there’s gonna be this period of time.

No 1 knows exactly how long. As it’s introduced into health care, why wasn’t it? It’s because of HIPAA concerns, but, you know, Google’s found ways to not, to do it so they don’t have to worry about that. And then, also, Google knows that health care specialties and health care in general is a growing business.


So a lot of practices, of course, are spending lots on marketing, and it’s just too good of an opportunity for them. So It feels like, like you’re saying, there’s a there’s a window or wave coming,

Bill: Yes.

Charles: and

really, really look into this if you’re a practice listening to this to try to be ahead so

you can take, advantage of this initial period of time. And then you’re just gonna be so much more knowledgeable beyond that to keep, you know, keep this keep showing up in those first couple, spots as a, you know, a, verified, or

screen provider. Exciting,

Bill: Yeah.

No. Timing is everything, Charlie. Timing is everything. You definitely wanna be on maybe the leading edge. I don’t say the bleeding it, but you wanna be in those first group of providers because they will capture the vast majority of business when those things become available to consumers.

Charles: Really, really interesting.

Ken, are we any questions that you, were thinking about? I think we covered

Ken: I think we’re good. Yeah. I think this is a nice, important topic. So glad we got to talk about it.

Bill: Yeah. Bill? It’s a lot of fun talking cool.

Charles: Yeah. I had I mean, I hadn’t heard about this until you told me. Seriously, in Miami, like, I had never heard about this,

Bill: You know, Charlie, I even hear that from my competitors. They’ve never even heard about

Charles: You’re like, what? You

Bill: Oh my god. Hey. You’re in the business. You’re not you don’t know about this?

Charles: Just Google it, man. You know?

Bill: Exactly.

Ken: Thanks so much, Bill. Speaking of competitors, why don’t you tell us why you’re so much better than them and where people at home can find you guys.

Bill: Oh, well, if you have any interest in in local service ads or even just taking a look at your site or, your digital footprint, You can reach me. our website is you can also reach me directly from that website. you can also email me at, or you can just Google my name.

I’m pretty much all over the place, so you can find me 1 way or another.

Charles: Hey.

When was the last time you played golf, Bill?

Bill: you know, since I live in Denver, the courses have been, we’ve got about 2 feet of snow over the weekend. So, the good news with that though is, you know, when you hit a drive and there’s a lot of That ground is hard. Man, that ball you get a lot of rollout, man. I’m hitting a 320 yard drive, and I normally don’t hit it 2 50, yeah.

And the colder

Charles: Hitting some nasty bombs off the tee there.

Bill: the colder it is, the air is thinner. So winter time is Is if you wanna build up that testosterone and feel like you’re hitting the ball a long way, go out and play in the winter.

Charles: Heck yeah. I’ll have to I’ll have to get out there and enjoy that.

Well, great.

Appreciate you coming on. This was super fun. Ken, anything else? Are we locked and loaded here?

Ken: We’re great.

Thanks so much,

Bill: Super. Hey. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. I had a great time.

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