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So here’s the thing about full-service practice marketing agencies: They’re hard work, and they’re often less profitable than a specialty marketing agency doing just one thing, like web design or Google Adwords advertising. They’re also a lot of responsibility – when we take on a new client, we take on the challenge to make sure their marketing is “just handled”.
What Are Full-Service Practice Marketing Agencies?
What we’re talking about here is support in all the major service areas of practice marketing, from one source:
- Graphic Design
- Website Development
- Content Creation & Publishing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Online Advertising
- Social Media
- Email/Newsletter Outreach
- Traditional Media Advertising (Print, Radio, TV)
- Reputation Reviews
- Staff Client Service Training
- Additional Promotions (Surveys, Contests, Public Events)
Building Trust Both Ways
This requires a lot of trust – not just from you to us, but from us to you… we’ve seen clients decide to bring their marketing in-house and destroy the promotional synergy we’ve spent years building. Here’s a real example where the new owner decided to stop using our services and bring the marketing in-house after the practice was sold:
The red arrow marks the end of February, when we stopped all work for the client. Sad.
In fact, this is heartbreaking – like any craftsperson who shapes their creation piece by piece, we’re proud of the work we do. Watching hundreds of Google first page rankings leak away in just a few months is crushing for any SEO Agency. Each of those keyword rankings was a battle fought against thousands of competitors, that we won and then painstakingly defended. Please understand that we did nothing to “tank” this client’s rankings. We assisted with the transition and advised them on how to proceed and especially what not to do if they were going to take over the marketing themselves… but they didn’t listen, and arguably did the worst possible things to wreck how Google saw their online presence. They’ve also done nothing with social media since they took over.
Inbound Marketing, Not Just SEO
Search engine optimization is essential, but it works in synergy with excellent technical website design, speed optimization, visual design, usability, clearly conveyed services, site security and maintenance, storytelling… and that’s just some of the website concerns.
A great website with no local link support, content promotion or social media isn’t going to perform nearly as well as it could. An excellent client acquisition funnel needs the support of a good website, as does a local print advertising campaign.
It’s all synergistic – you may have heard that you need to “touch” a prospective client through marketing seven times before a purchase. This is a process of building brand awareness and trust. When you dominate your local market for your specialty and they’ve seen you often, you’re a natural to talk to when they’re ready to buy. We build your professional reputation as we build your practice, so that you’re the right choice when a prospective patient is ready to take action. You’ll know when it’s working – website traffic will rise and result in new clients arriving from the web, and your phones will ring more. It’s all trackable and we’ll measure the results together.
Then There’s The “Effective” Part
We said that effective full-service practice marketing agencies were rare, and there’s truly little competition in our niche for a number of reasons:
We Serve Individual Private Practices As Well As Clinics
Most of the really effective medical marketing agencies that offer full-service inbound marketing target the larger clinics. There’s more money, and there’s just not enough effective providers to serve them. The thing is, we’re really obsessive about choosing clients that make a difference for their patients.
We love working with innovative practices that go beyond treatment and seek health restoration. That’s why we enjoy working with individual naturopaths, chiropractors, and functional medicine doctors. Many of them work hard to shift the paradigm of prescription writing to helping their clients with positive lifestyle change. These stories are powerful when told online, and we know how to do it effectively. That’s a big part of how we’ve been able to rank clients so well, even in challenging niches such as weight loss.
Many Inbound Marketing Models Are Outdated
Many of the smaller agencies struggle with creating a model that serves their clients well. Online marketing, especially SEO, is a moving target, and if they fail to stay up to date or let themselves be lured by blackhat tactics, they can do more harm than good. It’s easy to do what you know how to do already… even if that’s not the best way to serve your clients. In fact, if you’re doing today what you were doing two years ago, you’re not doing a good job.
In addition, the technical SEO skills needed to succeed are very different from the design and patient psychology skills required to create great content. Full-service practice marketing agencies need to maintain a wider range of skills in their staff than is needed in an agency that only provides a single service such as social media marketing.
The Marketing Agency Has To Meet The Practice Goals
There’s no one-size-fits-all template for marketing a private practice or clinic. Each has strengths that can be promoted, such as a doctor who is willing and able to speak well on video, or even a great accessible location. Each also has challenges, perhaps with staffing, scheduling, or other issues that make it imperative to pace growth appropriately so that practice growth doesn’t come at the cost of patient dissatisfaction or practitioner burnout.
The Agency Has To Be Able To Lead The Marketing Dance
The personality of clients in this niche is a big factor too – that’s you doctors and medical professionals. Just as you don’t want to be told what treatment to give until you are able to examine and diagnose, we need to work with professionals who understand that their marketing is an area where they may not understand the subtleties and long-term implications of a choice. You might not know the “side effects” of a tactic that you’ve heard of – see the chart above which shows how quickly the wrong strategy can destroy SEO results.
Even a tactic that worked very well a few years ago can be destructive to your results now, so not everything you read will be accurate. This means you need to respect the guidance of the professionals you’ve hired – you can’t know more than they do about SEO or marketing, as your professional life is just too busy to allow you the time to learn enough. This means a good practice marketing agency will push back if you want to use the wrong tactic, or perhaps a good tactic, but at the wrong time. If you don’t appreciate the value of that, we’re the wrong fit for you.
Those are some of the main reasons why effective full-service practice marketing agencies are hard to come by. If you’ve struggled to find the right marketing fit for your practice, let’s chat.
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