The process of finding the right digital marketing provider can feel like a series of bad relationships. The provider may seem dreamy on the first few dates (sales process), only to become bad a partner after the relationship is made official. We speak with healthcare practices daily who have been served a raw deal by digital marketing providers.
Here are some indicators that you may need to rethink your current provider relationship.
They lack specialization in and a successful track record in healthcare marketing.
Your patients seek you out for your expertise and successful track record within your specialty. Your medical practice deserves a similar level of expertise in a healthcare marketing partner for common ground in the relationship.
As Forbes so aptly puts it, “If you need brain surgery, would you go to a general practitioner? Of course not. You’d go to a neurologist who specializes in brain surgery. Marketing agencies are no different.”
Ask your digital marketing provider about their experience in your industry and request client references. If it’s lacking, it may be time to rethink your relationship.
You want to grow your practice but they never had a “What would success look like for you?” conversation.
If your marketing partner doesn’t know what success looks like for your campaigns, how do they know what they’re working towards? And where is the accountability on tracking that progress?
An effective marketing partner will have a conversation with you about what outcomes you desire for your medical practice and then create a marketing strategy and roadmap on how to achieve those outcomes. And if they don’t, it might be time to break up.
No matter how many fancy metrics are shared with you, if these aren’t KPIs tied to business outcomes, the metrics don’t matter. At the end of the day, your marketing provider should be moving the needle towards your desired business outcomes.
You’re sold a “Deal of the Month.”
Were you pitched a discounted special without first having a conversation about your practice’s needs, both short-term and long-term? These kinds of specials are run by some marketing providers to create sales competitions and are often based around a high margin product for which they want more business. In other words, the company that’s selling you the product is putting their company’s needs first. They haven’t thought deeply about your practice’s needs, especially those of the long-run.
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They sell you services for prices that are too good to be true. (like cheap SEO).
The most common offender we see is the cheap SEO provider. The adage “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” applies here, perhaps, more than anywhere. Companies selling SEO for $199/month or a similarly low investment are suspect and will likely not be able to yield the results your practice desires. To add salt to the relationship wound, these types of companies will also leave you little leverage to hold them accountable.
Effective SEO requires a significant investment of time creating on and off-site optimizations that are tailored to your practice’s needs, and that doesn’t come cheap and pre-packaged. To make matters worse, cheap SEO providers are built around a high volume of business. By the time you’ve become frustrated with their sub-par service and lack of results, they simply won’t care to make it right because they’ve moved on to their next victim.
They don’t provide the transparency you deserve in a digital marketing agency.
“Everything is looking good. Just trust us.” Does this lack of openness sound familiar? If so, you may need to rethink your relationship with that digital marketing provider. As a medical provider, you share test results with your patients to substantiate a diagnosis or clean bill of health and inform a course of care. Your digital marketing provider should provide a similar level of transparency.
Insist upon visibility into your campaigns, whether it be in the form of a dashboard that shows your campaign performance in relative real-time or consistent, ongoing meetings to review and discuss how your campaigns are performing. Ideally, your digital marketing partner will provide both.
They set up your marketing campaigns and forget them.
Some digital marketing providers promise ongoing optimizations during the sales process, only to later set up the campaigns and forget about them. How do you know if you’ve fallen victim to a “set it and forget it” relationship? Ask for a change history log to see what they have and haven’t done. If you encounter resistance or a refusal to provide this, you may need to rethink your digital marketing provider’s commitment to the partnership and the health of your campaigns.
Just as doctors have regular appointments to check on their patients’ health, so should digital marketing providers check in on the state of health of your campaigns and make efforts to ongoing improvement. Strong digital marketing providers make adjustments in response to ad performance (A/B testing, optimizations), the competitive landscape, current affairs, and the changing needs of your practice.
They’re not certified or up-to-date on the latest digital trends in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other platforms.
Just as medical providers complete continuing medical education (CME) requirements to stay current on the latest in their field, so it is with digital marketing providers. Does your digital marketing provider require that its employees maintain their certifications? Do they have Google Premier Partner status to reflect this? If not, it may be time to rethink your partnership.
Did you know that Google makes hundreds or thousands of changes in their search algorithm per year? When you’re investing in a platform, you want your provider to be certified and fluent in the latest changes on that platform. Digital marketing is a rapidly-changing landscape and requires ongoing education to deliver the best outcomes for clients.
There are more fish in the sea.
If you find yourself in yet another questionable digital marketing relationship, do not give up hope. There are more fish in the sea, including ones who are right for you. It’s worth taking the time now to find a digital marketing provider that you can trust and who is invested in your practice’s future.