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Choosing a Healthcare Digital Marketing Agency: 5 Key Considerations

Choosing a Healthcare Digital Marketing Agency

The truth is not all digital marketing agencies are created equal—and that’s okay! Neither are the clients. To select a digital marketing agency for your organization, you should find the right fit strategically, tactically, and culturally. Accomplishing this requires some understanding of the many aspects of digital marketing, including:

  • What types of digital marketing agencies are out there
  • How those digital marketing agencies operate
  • How to identify the one that is the best fit for your needs

If you want to save time and money by finding the right healthcare digital marketing agency for your organization, keep reading.

1. Why Do You Want to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?

It’s a simple question and one that we often ask when meeting a new client. However, in many cases, those organizations cannot clearly define their goals or what they hope to achieve through an agency.

Start with a clear objective in mind. Here are one-word answers to consider.

  • Patients: You want to draw in more patients or provide current patients with more information about your practice.
  • Scale: You’re ready to scale your medical practice to bring in more business. You might have recently added a new doctor to the practice or opened a new location, which requires more patients.
  • Awareness: You want to raise awareness of your brand, what your practice offers, or specific attributes of your practice.
  • Experience: You want to provide a better overall experience for your patients, such as a streamlined scheduling option.

Having a clear objective before you connect with a healthcare marketing agency puts you in a better position to ask essential questions that will inform your selection.

2. Do You Really Need a Healthcare-Specific Marketing Agency?

Every industry is different. You will find that each industry has its unique data points and anticipated ROI for specific types of campaigns. Healthcare, however, takes that to the next level. The complexity of the industry, when combined with the uniqueness of the patient journey and the increasing expectations regarding patient experience, can completely change the way you interact with your patients. Furthermore, you should consider growing compliance mandates—not to mention the stiff penalties for failing to adhere to those guidelines.

In our experience, hiring a “jack of all marketing trades and master of none,” particularly in a highly competitive healthcare market, is setting yourself up for failure. It leads to a much longer ramp-up time and lower ROI. In addition, you may face higher risks regarding ADA compliance, HIPAA compliance, and data security, which would result in significant consequences for your business. Instead, you need a healthcare marketing agency that knows your specific industry’s challenges and how to best meet them.

3. What are Your Goals? (Tip: The More Specific, the Better!)

You likely have an objective in mind. As you search for the best healthcare marketing agency for your needs, you may need to narrow those big-picture objectives into clear, obtainable goals. Your goals can vary significantly based on your practice’s size, specialization, competitive landscape, and local market.

As you create your goals, narrow them down as much as possible. You don’t want to start with, “We need digital marketing.” Instead, consider the outcomes you want to see. For example:

  • Our patient volume is down X percent due to an erosion of our base of referring doctors, so we need to make that up with “self-referring” patients.
  • We’re opening a new location and require a specific number of new leads or patients to achieve profitability.
  • Competition is heating up in our market, and we need to overhaul our website and related patient engagement tools to upgrade our patient experience.

It could be that you’ve already attempted to address these goals. You may have worked with an in-house team, freelancers, an agency, or a combination, only to discover that they don’t have the capacity for success or aren’t a good fit for your organization. As you realize your goals, consider those previous attempts, and determine how a new healthcare digital marketing agency can help you achieve your desired results. Here are some common mishaps:

  • The in-house team or agency didn’t have the specific technical experience or resources to execute your plans and achieve your goals.
  • You did not get the results you expected from working with that source. (If this is the case, it may help to consider what you expected and possible reasons those expectations weren’t met.)
  • You wish to take what you’re currently doing to the next level.

Laying out your goals and having a plan in place will make your interaction with your healthcare marketing agency go more smoothly and increase the odds that they will help you reach your goals.

4. What Factors Do You Need to Consider When Evaluating a Healthcare Digital Marketing Agency for Your Medical Practice?

According to LinkedIn Sales Navigator, as of 2022, there are over 300,000 marketing service providers in the US. Of those, around 610 have a healthcare specialization. To separate the wheat from the chaff, consider these critical elements.

Specific Healthcare Experience

As a medical practice, why not save the time, money, and hassle of hiring a digital marketing firm that’s “learning on the job”? Again, you should select an agency that specializes in healthcare. Even better if you find an agency with a proven track record in your specific field. The higher the degree of specialization the agency has, the better the agency can tailor your marketing campaigns to your unique needs.

Relevant Case Studies

Look at what case studies your agency provides. You want to verify that their recent case studies show a track record of delivering a solid ROI in your healthcare field. An agency that does not have those case studies may not have the experience you need.

Credibility and Trustworthiness

Does the agency you’re considering have clients’ reviews on Google or customer testimonials? Patients expect physicians to have a solid number and quality of reviews. Why not expect the same from your digital marketing agency?

Agency Staffing and Structure

Thanks to the internet, marketing has changed beyond recognition over the last 20 years. Digital ads now account for more than half the total ad spend across industries, including healthcare. Unfortunately, many agencies missed the memo and are still hiring like it’s 1999 by bringing on marketing generalists when they really need teams of technical experts and marketing specialists to keep up with innovation in digital technology.

Pay attention to the agency’s staffing model. A tell-tale sign that an agency is understaffed is if your point-of-contact is also one of the people responsible for writing, designing, or managing digital campaigns. Your point-of-contact should be solely in charge of managing client relationships with a team of specialists behind them.

Proven Results

Once you’ve narrowed your search down to the finalists, ask point-blank about ROI on past healthcare marketing campaigns. More importantly, ask about the campaigns that didn’t perform well or that took longer than anticipated to achieve the desired outcome. What was the specialty? The market? Factors that posed a challenge? And how did the company overcome them, if at all? Every digital marketing agency will face challenges. How they address them shows their caliber.

ROI Reporting and Analytics

The purpose of digital campaign reporting is to provide the client with the information they need to make informed decisions and provide accurate information to “report up,” whether it be to the C-suite or board. Unfortunately, many healthcare marketing agencies might talk a good game while delivering results that fall short of expectations and emphasizing vanity metrics that don’t provide true insight.

Look at what metrics the company focuses on to get a better feel of what matters to the agency and how it may impact your campaign. Also, look at the company’s results and ensure those results align with the analytics you expect to see. As a medical practice, you shouldn’t care how many people viewed your videos but how many people called or filled out an appointment form.

5. What are the Key Details Regarding Agency Pricing?

Focus on value over price. Good marketing should get results that pay for themselves. For example, on average, our patient acquisition pilot programs generate a 7-10x ROI within the first 90 days.

Unfortunately, many medical practices focus on finding the cheapest agency or try to beat an agency down on price. Doing so creates one of two scenarios. First, they may walk away if you’re dealing with a top-tier healthcare marketing agency. Well-established specialists with proven track records are already busy and look for long-term client relationships based on mutual respect. Second, you end up with a low-cost agency, which typically sets you up for a world of frustration and poor performance.

When it comes to medical marketing, as with so many other services, you will often get what you pay for. Cut-rate agencies are often poorly run, staffed with inexperienced generalists, and just take your money to survive for a little longer. A top-tier healthcare marketing agency, however, offers a better look at the tools and solutions you need to expand your marketing efforts and see results.

Are You Ready to Choose a Healthcare Digital Marketing Agency?

Selecting a healthcare digital marketing agency that is a good fit for your unique needs is critical. There are many digital marketing providers to choose from, and you want one that specializes in marketing for medical practices so they can deliver your desired results. During the selection process, ensure you have clear goals and objectives. Then to determine if they’re the right fit, examine key details about the agency you’re considering, from their past campaigns and satisfied customers to the metrics they focus on

Ready to get started? At Evolve Healthcare Marketing, we specialize in medical practice marketing that can take your practice to the next level. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you market and grow your brand.

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