I’ve worked in the digital marketing industry for over 12 years. I’ve run campaigns that range from $300 to $30,000 a month. I’ve also been involved with several marketing agencies that target very specific online verticals. Needless to say, I have a lot of experience in the digital marketing industry.
Before I started Solution Med Media, I was working for a large agency that only targets medical & dental practices. The biggest thing that surprised me was the length of the contract they required all clients sign. After doing a little research, I went on to find out this was a very common practice with medical & dental marketing agencies.
I personally have always been a fan in letting businesses go month to month with their marketing. I honestly think this keeps the quality of work much higher, and put’s pressure on the agency to perform. My opinion aside, I was curious how other medical inbound marketing agencies were rationalizing engagements that lasted for years and years. After talking to several practices and the actual marketing companies, I learned these were the 3 most common excuses used to justify lengthy contracts.
1. Breaking Up Costs to Redesign Website
This is definitely the most common excuse agencies use to justify a long obligation. The sales pitch they use is that they will build a website that usually costs 15K to 20K. Rather than paying for it all at once, you can break it up over the next 36 months. Along with the website redesign, there is always a marketing package attached to the deal. Of course, the obligation is to pay for the monthly marketing service as well as 1/36 of the price of the redesign. They justify the contract by saying they are doing you a huge favor by breaking up the payments and providing a great marketing service.
This is really just a sneaky way to lock a practice into a long contract. Where the agency really makes the money is with the marketing. When you sign one of these deals, you are getting stuck with a low quality service that will never have the impact they promise. The whole thing with breaking the website payments out over the next 36 months is just a tactic to lock you into a situation where you are paying a lot of money for crappy digital marketing.
The solution to this situation is very simple. Be extremely careful when committing to a marketing agency that pushes for long contracts and breaks up the cost of a redesign. If you think about it, you aren’t even getting a deal on the website. You will end up paying the full, retail amount in the end. Breaking the cost into smaller portions is just a way to trick you into signing on the dotted line.
You also need to be really careful to look at the fine print before committing to one of these deals. Many times there’s sneaky language that causes the contract to auto renew. That means they give you a very small window of time in which you can follow their cancelation process. If this isn’t done, you will be stuck with another binding agreement that can last for several more years.
2. The Profitability Trick
This is another really common excuse within the medical marketing industry. This scam goes a little something like this. The marketing agency tells potential clients they are going to front load a ton of extra work at the start of the campaign. They are doing this to make sure the dentist or doctor sees results as fast as possible. The marketing agency will go on to explain that they will actually be losing money on the campaign until after the first year. Again, this is just a tricky way to lock you into a contract. The idea that any online marketing company will be losing money on a deal is absolutely absurd
The best solution to the profitability scam is to really dig into the amount and kind of work you’ll be getting each month. If there are broad descriptions of what the fulfillment actually entails, be sure to ask for clarification. Don’t be shy about asking how much each task actually costs, and how many hours go into getting them done. Lastly, ask to see specific examples of each of the work items. With a little research and a critical eye, you should be able to tell if you’re getting cheated.
3. It’s In Your Best Interest
This is a classic trick medical marketing agencies use to justify extremely long contract. The scam will start off with them explaining the principles of digital marketing. They will then start talking about how their service is the highest quality and most effective solution to getting rankings, traffic, and leads.
The conversation will then turn into them explaining how it takes 8 to 12 months to start to see results from SEO. They will then start acting like they are your best friend or a close business partner. They will explain how the long contract is there to make sure you get the best results possible. They will act like they are doing you a huge favor by locking you into a long contract.
The solution to this scam is really simple. Any company that’s trying to manipulate you in this fashion can’t be trusted. Using the “best friend” tactic is a form of control. They are trying to trick you into thinking they have your best interest at heart. If you start to feel a sales person or anyone else is using this approach, stand up and run away as fast as possible. I promise you, the people that use this technique will do you wrong over and over.
I strongly recommend engaging with an agency that doesn’t lock you into any contract. I firmly believe if a medical inbound marketing agency is doing a good job and providing value, it’s customers will stay by choice. I also believe any company that can’t provide results doesn’t deserve a practice’s business.
Finding the right medical marketing agency can be extremely tricky. However, there are a few really obvious things all low quality practitioners do. If you find the marketing outfit you’re considering tries to rationalize a long contract in any of the ways we mention above, it would be smart to kick them to the curb.
If you’d like to learn what high quality digital marketing looks like, be sure to read about Digital Blend. This is a premium level, inbound marketing package that delivers results.