What's the fastest way to attract more new patients to your practice? Every practice owner wants the simple answer so when the phone rings and some snake oil salesman starts talking; it can be easy to get suckered. And then be left paying month after month for a service that does little or nothing.
Here's how to avoid getting sold and instead find an online medical marketing firm that provides value. Ask these 5 questions.
- Do they measure success in terms of trackable new patient leads?
- Do they charge month to month or lock people into long-term contracts?
- Can they provide proof the service (s) generate more new patient calls?
- Are they transparent or do they hide fees?
- Do they manage your marketing for you?
- See below for the details on each.
1. Do they measure success in terms of new patient leads?
If you own a practice, the purpose of medical marketing is to do just one thing, which is to get more new patients calling and or emailing your practice. It's not to the number of ad impressions or Google views, branding, or page impressions or even total number of calls you get. None of those things can be converted into new patients and sales.
Most medical marketing firms try to bury you in data about stuff that has no tangible benefit. Some will even ask you to put special coding on your website throwing off your current marketing metrics. Instead look for a marketing firm that uses call tracking and form fill tracking to accurately determine how many NEW Patients contact you each month.
2. Do they charge month to month or lock people into long-term contracts?
Long-term contracts should be a big red flag. It's a sales strategy to sell a service people will want to dump within a month or two that keeps you paying for 6-12 months for something that does nothing. Make sure to pick a medical marketing firm that charges on a month to month basis. That way, they'll have to continue to earn your business each month.
3. Can they provide proof the service (s) generate more new patient calls?
Ever had someone call to pitch you "geo-fence display," "retargeting," "banner ads," "newspaper ads," "magazine ads," or "beacon marketing?" The most important thing you should know is that none of these work and one is even illegal. There is zero proof that using these marketing tools will attract a single new patient. However, there is a lot of evidence that these are just ways to charge your practice for services that do nothing.
Geo-fence display pushes text messaging out to prospects driving by your practice. Which is not only annoying, and if it worked would mess with our scheduling. In reality, it doesn't generate leads. Great idea if you had a bar in a sports stadium. Bad idea for medical practices.
Retargeting is a great idea, for many local businesses but Google's views it as a violation of HIPAA. Using retargeting ads could put your practice at risk.
Banner ads? Again no evidence they generate any new patient calls and lots of evidence they're a waste of money. Same for newspaper ads, magazine ads and beacon marketing.
Bottom line is before you sign up for marketing get proof the service works to generate new patient leads and then talk to a few clients who've used it.
4. Are they transparent or do they hide fees?
When it comes to price you'd like to know what you're paying for, right? Yet a common ripoff strategy in the industry is to charge for Pay-Per-Click ads based on a mythical ad cycle, say $ 1000 per cycle. Then the firm refuses to actually provide information on how much of that money is going to actual AdWords spend versus into their pockets.
The only transparent way to charge for medical PPC is to charge a monthly management fee and then have you pay the AdWords spend directly on your credit card. That way you know exactly how much you are paying the marketing firm to manage your medical PPC and how much went to Google's AdWords.
5. Do they manage your marketing for you?
There are a lot of low-cost online marketing services out there that give you access to software so you can manage your marketing yourself. For example, there are a handful of companies that sell online review software, and almost none that train your team how to use it and make sure it's working for you.
Getting access to powerful online marketing tools is great, in theory, if you have a Ph.D. in online marketing and 40 hours a week to spare. On the other hand, if you already have a job helping patients, these are just a big waste of time and money.
Make sure to check that the marketing firm does the work, so you can focus on what you do best which is helping patients. What's the fastest way to attract new patients? Make sure for every dollar you invest in lead generation you're getting leads and a positive ROI. It's that simple. And avoid all the nonsense about geo-fence displays, retargeting, banner ads and other stuff that does nothing for your medical practice.
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