The Best and Worst Ways to Choose An Inbound Healthcare Digital Marketing Agency

healthcare digital marketing agency

Most elite and seasoned medical practice owners decide at some point that they need the help of a healthcare digital marketing agency.

However, once you’ve come to this realization, it’s important that you choose the right healthcare digital marketing agency for you and your medical practice in order to get the best results possible.

Each marketing agency is different, which means that it’s not always as simple as going with the one with the best online ratings and the most affordable rates. A marketing agency partnership is more than merely a business relationship. In order for it to deliver you the results that you seek, it is imperative you strive to develop an intimate relationship right from the start that is built on the foundations of mutual investment and one that can stand the test of time.

This requires communication and working in tandem through the ups and downs that the journey will eventually invariably bring. As with all relationships, if you are fundamentally incompatible and without a natural fit surrounding your core values and worldview, then it will become an extremely tedious process to turn it into a successful partnership. 

When working with a medical digital marketing agency, make sure that you are cler on your business and revenue goals, and you communicate them clearly right at the onset. You need to be able to clearly identify what it means if you succeed, and what it would mean if you were to fail.

Even if you are only looking for help for a temporary period, you should always have long-term goals in mind. The right inbound healthcare digital marketing agency will be able to develop a custom strategy unique to your goals and will fit your business the best. This is why goal-setting is so crucial. You won’t be able to identify the best fit if you’re not even sure what you want to accomplish.

Here are the best ways to choose a healthcare digital marketing agency, along with a few methods you probably want to avoid. 

Look For Results, Not Necessarily Experience Within Your Industry

When you are evaluating potential marketing partners, your first instinct might be to see how much experience they have within your particular medical niche or industry. Sure, that can be valuable, but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor when you are ultimately making your choice.

A medical marketing agency that has a lot of experience in working with doctors (but lacking in good taste to understand the mindset of high-net worth individuals and failing to hold the attention of an affluent audience) may also be getting extremely cookie-cutter results that simply fails to attract and convert the right kind of patients for your elite medical practice. Therefore, these medical marketing services will simply not move the needle much for anyone seeking tangible growth in their sales. As such, their narrow experience and lack of depth are not helping them serve their clients as well as they deserve to be served. 

For example, we have worked with Fortune 500 brands like Chanel, Piaget, Boucheron, Cartier, American Express and the LVMH Group. On the other hand, we have also worked with fintech startups, lawyers and medical practices.

Here’s an example of one of our past campaigns:

That’s why focusing on the results that an agency has gotten for their clients is the best way to approach a search. All of the inbound marketing strategies and techniques can be used across multiple industries, and you can fill them in on the details yourself if there is something crucial they need to know. In fact, a good healthcare digital marketing agency will take the time to research your medical niche and your competition to get a handle on what will work and what won’t. That’s why when looking at their case studies you need to see a pattern of success, transparency and accountability for their clients. 

When you are in discussions with agencies regarding possible partnerships, take their experience with your industry right out of the equation. Tell them about your issues and goals, and see what they have to say. Be honest. There’s a good chance that they have experience with the challenges you are facing, and they will have strategies to overcome them that have worked with other industries and will work with yours specific to your business goals. 

Getting traffic to your medical practice website, producing engaging content that attracts and filters, building up qualified lead volume and optimizing conversion rates are all common marketing tasks and metrics that a good agency can work on. You might think that the solutions for your problems and challenges would be different between industries, but the fact is that the playbook is pretty universal, with some possible tweaks to customize for specific audiences, businesses and sectors.

You are not looking for the answer to whether they have worked in your industry before. What you truly want to know is whether they have helped other businesses with the issues you are having. That is an important step for getting closer to finding the perfect inbound healthcare digital marketing agency partner

Working With Clients

Another major factor to consider is how accountable a marketing agency has been to their clients, and the accountability they are willing to offer you. What does this mean? First and foremost, it means for the organizational leadership to show up for all calls and meetings and to take an active interest in understanding your own organizational vision and value-structure.

It also means that they provide you with everything you need to know regarding the project. There are no “secret”, “classified” or “proprietary” information that they are unwilling to divulge.

Your healthcare digital marketing agency should be upfront with timelines, strategies, how they will work, what results they will measure, and how long each step in the process will take. Accountability also means the organizational leadership being available to answer questions and concerns, and to work with you towards a solution, as opposed to handing off all their clients to junior account directors and project managers as soon as the sale is closed. 

All of this can be hard for a medical practice owner to determine, so it’s important to ask questions. Go beyond simply asking them about their strategy. Ask how execution of that strategy will work. You can also ask them how often they will report to you, and what measurables they will provide. Ask them about planning cycles, and what happens if you need to change tactics mid-stream. 

These questions will allow you to get a feel for how they value you as a client, and how they will work with you going forward. 

Evaluate How They Market Themselves

All marketing agencies can provide you with successful case studies of their past projects. Some even post them right on their websites for you to see. However, are they practicing their own expertise on themselves? How are they utilizing their own marketing to attract and close their own ideal clients?

The marketing agency should be their own best case study.

Surf their website and try to get a sense of how they approach their own marketing. What keywords do they use, and what conversion points do they have on their website? You can also ask them questions about their inbound marketing strategies so that you can get a sense of how they operate. In fact, if they are an inbound marketing agency, then they should use inbound marketing for themselves.

Discuss how the traffic for their website has grown since adopting inbound marketing strategies, and what their conversion rates are. Get into the raw numbers regarding the leads they generate for themselves, and what metrics they use to gauge success. All of this information can help you decide whether they will be effective helping your business reach new heights through inbound marketing.

If they are unwilling or unable to answer your questions or engage with you on the topic, then it is a huge red flag. If they aren’t confident in their personal marketing initiatives, then why should you be confident they will be able to help your business?

Clear Pricing Plans

While it’s important to understand how a healthcare digital marketing agency will walk their talk, it’s also important to get a clear understanding of how it will affect your overall budget. Some inbound digital marketing agencies aren’t very good at communicating their pricing structure with complete transparency, if they even have a well-defined pricing in the first place.

There are a couple of problems with this.

For one, you may end up paying less, but also end up receiving a diluted service that really does little to nothing to truly move the needle in tangible business terms that matter. Alternatively, you may also end up paying more than expected because certain services or fees that were not clearly communicated end up getting billed later on.

In either case, this could lead to your agency-client relationship being severely damaged with your marketing partner. If you pay too much without understanding the fair value of the offer, then there is  good chance you will feel cheated. If you pay too little, then the agency may feel like you weren’t as committed to them as you could have been, even though it is their fault for not communicating their pricing clearly. 

Inbound marketing agency pricing can be tricky because there is often a lot that goes into these services. For instance, there may be a monthly fee that depends on certain factors. On top of that, you may also have to pay for extra work hours beyond what was agreed to in your monthly fee, and there could be a surcharge for that as well.

You should also want to know how they will track the hours of work that they do, and how they will report that information to you. With so much that goes into pricing, make sure to ask as many questions so that you can get the full picture. If you simply accept an estimate without really breaking everything down to truly understanding the real value being created and the time it takes to create such value, then it could result in dissatisfaction and friction at a later point in the relationship. 

Retainer-Based Pricing

In the end, the agency pricing structure should be based on providing high-level services that will help you tangibly meet your business goals.

One of your most important questions when it comes to discussing pricing is how the services a digital marketing agency provides will help you meet your business goals.

Most top digital agencies will provide a catalog of services relevant to a medical practice converting more qualified new patients through online channels. From such a services catalog, you and your marketing agency partner can then build and develop a totally customized strategy that will be executed strictly based on your specific business needs and goals.

If a healthcare digital marketing agency is not able to provide you with a list of clearly identified inbound marketing services, then there is a very good chance that their pricing will also not be clearly defined. As such, they will always struggle to deliver you a tangible ROI (return on investment).

When an agency first meets with you to pitch their services, they should be able to give you an overall idea of what the project timeline and execution will cost, with some wiggle room for extras or for bargains that might come up as you go. They may not be able to provide a completely accurate price, but they should be upfront with you that they will be able to provide more accurate and detailed pricing as they learn about you and about your goals. 

Do not fall into the trap of accepting a healthcare digital marketing agency that will give you ridiculously cheap pricing before they have even taken the time to learn more about your medical practice business. This means that they are providing cookie-cutter solutions that may not apply well to your situation. 

This is why we recommend an introductory strategy session to all our new inbound prospects. Unless we really get to know you and your business, it is difficult to offer pricing. The strategy session allows us to share our screens, show you what we have done for our clients and design a custom patient acquisition blueprint for you.

Our minimum monthly retainers start at $5,500 a month with ongoing client relationships lasting 1 – 3+ years.

Shared Beliefs and Priorities

No matter what business you are in, it’s probably more enjoyable when you work with like-minded people with whom you get along and share a common worldview. That also goes with choosing a healthcare digital marketing agency partner. Not only must you like them as individuals, but you should also ensure your beliefs and values are aligned.

If you pride yourself on being dependable and passionate about your industry, then your ideal marketing partner should have those same attributes themselves. Be clear with the values that you hold for your medical practice, your staff relationships, and your branding. As a result, you can work with an agency that not only shares many of those traits, but is willing to work with you to ensure that those values are upheld throughout the process. 

If your branding, aesthetics and message resonate with your healthcare digital marketing agency partner and vice versa, then you have an instant good fit. As such, you are most likely going to be able to ride out all the ups and downs that usually always come up in business. 

Finding the right inbound healthcare digital marketing agency isn’t simply about finding the one with the lowest prices, or the one with the most experience in your industry or with the largest number of online testimonials. For this partnership to truly work, you need an inbound marketing agency that will work with you to achieve the goals that you have set for your business, and that will work to uphold the values and beliefs that you hold to be most important.

This is achieved through engaging with and starting a conversation. If you would like to start a conversation with us, schedule a strategy call here.

Let’s see if we click!