Healthcare marketing is incredibly important. Finding the right healthcare digital marketing agency can make a huge difference in your ability to market your practice successfully. Unfortunately, we regularly have conversations with medical practices looking for a new healthcare marketing company because they have determined that the old one simply isn’t a good fit anymore. Sometimes, that’s a quick determination early into the initial engagement. Other times, the medical care practice discovers over time that their needs have changed or evolved, but the current healthcare marketing company is no longer a good fit. Sometimes, you can see those changes coming. Have you noticed these telltale warning signs that may indicate that there’s a mismatch between you and your current healthcare marketing company?

1. They Don’t Discuss ADA and HIPAA Compliance

ADA compliance is particularly important for healthcare organizations. You want your website to be accessible to all potential clients. Failure to adhere to those ADA guidelines, which can mean everything from accessible colors or the ability to resize your text to alt and HTML tags that describe forms, images, and media files, can result in unnecessary lawsuits and settlements averaging between $5,000 and $20,000. If your digital marketing agency isn’t bringing up those potential issues, it’s a major faux pas. HIPAA compliance is equally important for your website. You want to ensure that your patient engagement technology and standardized forms are highly protected, making it easier for you to maintain patient privacy. If your digital healthcare marketing agency isn’t mentioning those key issues, it should serve as a major red flag.

2. They Don’t Listen

In general, healthcare is extremely complicated. The complexities of healthcare marketing may grow exponentially at the local level, explaining the mantra that “medicine is local.” You likely understand your target market and their needs very well. One of the most common complaints we hear, however, is that “the agency just doesn’t listen.” Of course, the healthcare marketing company has the marketing experts, and you should feel confident ceding reasonable decision-making authority to those experts. After all, that’s why you hired them! Your relationship with your digital healthcare marketing agency, however, should be a collaborative partnership. They should be extracting as much information as possible from you, a healthcare professional who may have operated in that specific market for years. You know your primary competitors, the PCP referral environment, and more. A good agency will leverage that knowledge to drive the strategy of the program.

3. They “Bait and Switch” the Budget

It’s all too common for an agency to be provided with a marketing budget by the client at the beginning of the relationship but for the agency to come back with a budget recommendation significantly higher than the initial agreement. It’s easy for that to happen, of course, when a scope change occurs. When the scope hasn’t changed and you get a budget “bait and switch,” however, it should serve as a red flag. It tends to occur more commonly with brand agencies rather than performance marketing agencies due to the higher level of subjectivity related to branding work.

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 should be measurable and quantifiable beyond vanity metrics like impressions, cost per click, or views. Rather, your healthcare digital marketing agency should be able to provide insight into meaningful metrics, including the cost per lead, cost per acquisition, and ROI. If they don’t provide those key measures, it’s time to run. Unfortunately, are a lot of agencies still stuck in the old-school view that marketing is all about the creative. That means you may get the traditional “deer in the headlights” look when you ask about the quantification of results.

5. They Overpromise

Be suspect of anyone who promises instant or overnight success, including marketing their efforts as able to get you to the top of Google organic listing in a month or doubling your results as soon as the campaign goes live. Chances are, those messages are 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 related to project timing, processes, and cost. For example, we recently had a call with a practice looking to make a change because their current agency took seven months to build a fairly simple website that was promised within 60 days. Even the best healthcare marketing agency can miss a deadline or two along the way. If they consistently fail to deliver on their promises or take a very long time to deliver on even simple goals, however, it could indicate that you need a new digital marketing agency.

7. They Aren’t Producing Acceptable Results

At the end of the day, marketing is an investment. For every dollar invested, you should be generating a positive return. That ROI expectation can vary greatly among healthcare providers. Some non-profits may just expect to make their money back plus a dollar, while private equity-backed providers are seeking significantly better results than that when they connect with a digital healthcare marketing agency. At a base level, if you aren’t making at least 3x-5x ROI on your patient acquisition program, there’s definitely a performance issue. Top-performing programs generally average between 7x and 10x ROI, which means that if you’re seeing substandard results, chances are, your healthcare digital marketing agency simply isn’t delivering. If you notice these red flags from your digital marketing firm or agency, it should serve as an indication that you need to look for a healthcare marketing agency that will help you genuinely meet your goals and achieve a high return on your marketing investment. At Evolve Healthcare Marketing, we aim to provide all our clients with a high standard of service. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your efforts.

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