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Seven Telltale Signs of a Bad Healthcare Marketing Agency

Your healthcare digital marketing agency can significantly impact your practice’s overall success. At Evolve Healthcare Marketing, we regularly have conversations with medical practices looking for a new healthcare marketing company. Sometimes, their previous agency failed to deliver on their promises. Other times, the practice determined that the agency was not well-suited to meet their goals. These realizations can happen immediately or after years of collaboration. Either way, once you figure out there’s a mismatch, it’s time to make a switch. Have you noticed any of these warning signs from your current or prospective healthcare marketing company?

1. They Don’t Discuss HIPAA and ADA Compliance

HIPAA compliance is crucial for healthcare practices. You want to ensure that your patient engagement technology and forms are highly protected and avoid unnecessary lawsuits. ADA compliance is equally important for healthcare organizations. Your website should be accessible to all potential patients. Failure to adhere to those ADA guidelines, which can mean anything from inaccessible colors or the inability to resize your text, can result in lawsuits and settlements averaging between $5,000 and $20,000. If a digital marketing agency doesn’t discuss compliance, it’s a red flag.

2. They Don’t Listen

Healthcare is very specialized. You likely understand your target market and their needs very well. One of the most common concerns we hear is that “the agency doesn’t listen.” While you should feel confident ceding marketing decision-making authority to your healthcare marketing agency, a good agency will leverage your knowledge to drive the program’s strategy. They should be extracting as much information as possible from you, a healthcare professional who may have operated in that specific market for years. If your current or prospective healthcare marketing agency does not listen, it may be time for a switch.

3. They “Bait and Switch” the Budget

It’s too common that an agency is provided a marketing budget by the client, and the agency later comes back with a budget recommendation significantly higher than initially agreed. A change of scope may explain this. But if not, it’s a glaring red flag.

4. They Provide Vague Reporting on Results

In the 1800s, department store magnate John Wannamaker famously said, “Half my advertising spend is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Today, marketing is measurable. It’s quantifiable way beyond vanity metrics like impressions, cost per click, or views. Your current or prospective healthcare digital marketing agency should be able to present meaningful metrics like cost per lead, cost per acquisition, and ROI. If they don’t offer those key measures, it may be time to look for a new agency.

5. They Overpromise

Be suspect of anyone who promises instant or overnight success, including promises of getting you to the top of Google organic listing in a month or doubling your results as soon as the campaign goes live. Those messages are typically too good to be true. Good marketing programs take time, effort, and refinement to be successful.

6. They Don’t Follow Through on Their Commitments

Sometimes, your healthcare marketing company may not follow through with its promises regarding project timing, processes, and cost. For example, we recently had a call with a practice looking to hire us because their current agency took seven months to deliver a website that they promised within 60 days. While even the best healthcare marketing agency may extend a deadline or two, it might be time to find a new marketing agency if they consistently fail to deliver on their promises.

7. They Aren’t Producing Acceptable Results

Marketing is an investment. For every dollar invested, you should get a positive return. That ROI expectation can vary significantly among healthcare providers. Some non-profits may expect to make their money back plus a dollar, while private equity-backed providers are seeking considerably better results. From our experience, top-performing programs generally average between 7x and 10x ROI. Regardless, there’s an issue if you aren’t making at least 3x-5x ROI on your patient acquisition program.

Your healthcare marketing agency should support your efforts and achieve a high return on your investment. It may be time for a change if you notice these red flags from your digital marketing firm or agency. At Evolve Healthcare Marketing, we aim to provide all our clients with a high standard of service and peak results. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reach your goals.

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