4 Signs Your Medical Marketing Company is Scamming You
Physicians Constantly Being Sold Ridiculous Marketing Myths
Over the past several years, the competition for marketing services for physicians has grown exponentially. With the growth of any new form of business, less than scrupulous people look to capitalize on the trend and oversell their services to prospective clients. Nowhere is this more true than in Medical Marketing. Marketing companies see physicians as big dollar signs and promise them the world but are nothing more than a financial pariah to the physician and practice. Below are 4 Signs that your Medical Marketing company may be ripping you off.
1. You’ve Been Guaranteed a Set Number of Patients Per Month
When a prospective client calls me, it is not out of the ordinary for that physician to explain that he or she has also spoken to other marketing companies as well. In many cases, the physician will ask me, “How many patients do you guarantee per month? Bob’s Marketing Company guarantees me 10 patients per month.”
My answer is invariably, “Ok. How?” This usually followed by silence on the other end of the line.
The reality is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to guarantee any number of patients in a month, year or decade. This “promise” is nothing more than a sales tactic employed by companies who are only interested in adding as many physicians to their client list as they can in an effort to generate as much revenue as possible. These companies also have a very low retention rate as most physicians realize after a few months that this “promise” was never kept.
Guaranteeing any number of patients should be a giant red flag for physicians as it highlights a complete lack of understanding of all the basics of real medical marketing, including:
- Understanding Patient Decision Making Psychology
- Disease or Injury Presentation and Management
- Treatment Protocols
- Insurance Eligibility and Protocols
- Surgical Eligibility
- Online Search Habits
- Consumer Response Behavior
- Demographics and Psychographics
Medical and surgical care is not a retail product that marketing can create a demand for. Marketers can not increase the number of ACL injuries in a year and then send them to your practice. That is not how medicine works. If a company is guaranteeing you any number of patients, hang up the phone.
2. Your Social Media “Exists”, but is Garbage
The use of social media in medical marketing is becoming more and more important and most practices use things like Facebook and Twitter to reach audiences. However, social media is all about quality and not quantity. There are two specific scams that pervade “social media marketing”.
Scam #1 – Buying an audience
Many marketing companies simply do not take the time to build a relevant social media audience for your practice. A relevant audience is composed of people within the demographics, ages and locations of your patients. Finding this audience takes time and effort, two things scam artists do not excel at. Instead, they will use programs to build an audience of 2,000 followers overnight. Seems like a good idea, right? 2,000 people seeing your posts and updates? This could not be further from the truth. Most of these followers are fake profiles from other countries and have no chance of ever contacting you or even caring about the content you are sharing. However, marketing companies use these high numbers to show you that they are building an audience for you.
Scam #2 – The Asinine Posts
When sharing content on social media the most important thing is that it reflects your experience and expertise in a certain field. For example, many spine surgeons used Tiger Woods’ spine surgery to write blogs about spine injuries in golfers and discuss how they treat golfers with back injuries. This is a good content.
The sample below is one of the most infuriating things I have ever come across in my Medical Marketing career. An orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacement wanted to increase his case volume. He hired a “social media marketing” company who convinced him that social media was the most effective way to attract these patients. First and foremost, let’s discuss the first red flag right away. The majority of hip and knee replacement patients are 55 and over, which is the statistically the least active demographic on social media. So how is it possible that social media is the best option?
However, that is not even the worst part. The company was to post content on the physicians Facebook and Twitter that would engage users and direct them back to his website. Over the course of a year, this physician paid this company close to $75,000. These are ACTUAL Facebook posts that the company put up once per week on his behalf:
Not one of these posts has ANYTHING to do with hip or knee conditions, includes a link to his website or has any interactions (likes and shares). They are useless drivel that the company posted in an effort to show that they were “doing their job” and maintaining his social media account.
3. You Haven’t Been Provided Analytics/ Data
If your practice is investing money into a digital or physical advertising campaign there should be some ROI reporting done by your marketing company to make sure your money is well spent. Specifically, in the realm of digital and pay per click marketing you should be able to see every month what keywords are generating traffic and which are not. However, many marketing companies do not disclose this information to clients and instead say that they can not expose their “secret sauce”. The idea is almost as ridiculous as the name.
Why do they do this? Because they know that the words they are using are broad match words or phrases that generate a lot of traffic, a lot of which is irrelevant to your practice. The other reason is because they have not modified or changed these words in weeks or months. The plugged in 50 words in September and plugged in another 50 in February. That is not how digital marketing is done.
The same is true for SEO companies who are supposed to be maintaining and improving your websites organic rank. This article explains common SEO company scams.
Effective digital marketing requires daily maintenance and adjustments. A robust list of negative keywords must be built, bids need to be adjusted daily, words and phrases need to be modified, search terms need to be added or deleted. Most companies do not dedicate the time needed for this and instead just give the “secret sauce” excuse. Which brings us to our next scam.
4. You Have High Traffic but Low Acquisitions
If your marketing company is providing you with monthly reports they will most often focus on the number of clicks to your site. This is used as a distraction to the real question- how many patients did this generate. If your website was clicked 5,000 times but it only really generated 3 patients, what’s the point?
The most common reason for this is that the marketing company is using tactics that generate irrelevant traffic. In the case of digital marketing, this is known as broad match keyword searches. What this means as that so long as someone Google’s the words “orthopedic surgeon”, your ad will come up. Although this may seem to be a search you want, it is actually a waste. After they type “orthopedic surgeon”, they could also add words like “salary”, “prices”, “malpractice” or a litany of other words that are not relative to your practice. If these are the searches that are generating clicks to your site, you are paying every time someone clicks your site. This type of digital search marketing is an enormous waste of money.
What needs to be implemented is a series of phrase modifiers, negative keywords, phrase matches and a review of search terms that lead to your site. The next step is to set up goals on the site that can be tracked through Google. For most practices, the goal is the user visiting a contact page, calling a phone number for the practice or sending an email. This gives an actual snapshot of how many patients were generated for a digital marketing campaign. This can also be replicated for things like print marketing and public relations opportunities.
Clicks are irrelevant if it does not lead to patients.
Effective Medical Marketing
If your marketing company is engaging in any of the scams above, it may be time to cut ties both for the sake of your wallet and your reputation.
Gold Medical Marketing prides itself on our ability to generate patients for our clients using the most effective Medical Marketing and Public Relations strategies. Our experience, knowledge and understanding of patient behavior makes us the most successful Medical Marketing and Public Relations company. To see samples of our work, click here.
We specialize in Medical Marketing and Public Relations for Spine, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Multi-Specialty Practices and ASC’s. Our clients have seen their practices grow using a variety of marketing and public relations strategies. Unlike other companies, we are exclusively in the medical field and do not make the mistake of marketing your practice like a retail product.
To see if your practice is being scammed, Gold Medical Marketing offers NO COST MARKETING EVALUATIONS, wherein we will objectively evaluate the work of your current marketing company. The goal of this is to highlight areas in need of improvement as well as areas where money is being spent foolishly.
Contact us today to set up an evaluation.