By Cyndi Miller, CEO of Miller Public Relations
Have you reached a crossroads in the growth of your practice where you realize it is no longer feasible to go it alone? Congratulations! I can’t think of a greater challenge to be faced with and the future success of your practice depends on what you do at this critical moment in time.
The truth is, without the expertise of a healthcare marketing agency, your practice is likely to slow, plateau or even decline due to intense competition. It is important to first identify your goals and creative needs. As a starting point, here are some key things to consider when evaluating a prospective agency partner.
1. GOALS: This is always an important place to start. If your core business objective is to produce measurable results (and it should be), I would encourage you to ask any prospective healthcare marketing agency to explain how they will directly support the specific goals and objectives of your practice. What is their system to quantify results, measure and actively report ROI? You’re investing in results; it’s a red flag if they can’t explain measurable and meaningful goals, and how they will go about achieving them on your behalf.
2. INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE: In healthcare, it’s unwise to assume that “marketing is marketing”. Doctors are held to higher standards and regulatory influences, and prior experience is definitely a must. The agency you choose must have this deeper understanding. Look at their list of past and present clients.
3. DIGITAL EXPERIENCE: Online and digital capabilities are more important than ever before, especially to a medical practice. Ask to see recent examples of the digital presence the agency has created for another client. Discuss local search, mobile site requirements, search engine optimization and support for SEO. If digital marketing and advertising are not key strengths at the agency you are talking to, it’s time to say bye-bye.
4. HOW THEY CHARGE: Long before the first invoice hits your inbox, it is important to agree on budget, billing and payments. Both agency and client must be on the same page regarding rates, fees, retainers and any potential “extra” charges. Agree in advance about things like approvals and changes. Unexpected financial surprises can be the kiss of death to any new business relationship.
5. STYLE AND PERSONALITY: Many marketing and advertising agencies have a certain personality—a creative culture and particular style they tend to lean toward. It might be trendy and young or more reserved and traditional…or somewhere in between. Consider this when choosing the agency you want to represent your practice. Know who you are and what you want your voice to be in the market. And choose accordingly.
6. PORTFOLIOS ARE PRETTY BUT ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY’!: Any agency worth its salt will have an impressive-looking portfolio. It will likely include websites, television and radio spots, print ads, digital ads, logos, brochures, collateral. These represent experience and capabilities, but don’t forget the most important question; “How well did they work?” What were the goals and the actual results? Talk about case examples that include a quantified measure of success.
Selecting a healthcare marketing agency is an important undertaking for sure, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Yes, pay attention to talent, reputation and experience but also, TRUST YOUR GUT. Do you like the people you will work with at the agency? Do they make you feel confident and comfortable and excited about the future of your practice? They should!
Growing your practice and building a legacy you can be proud of is exciting and FUN! Make sure the agency you choose to help take you there shares your passion and your vision.
I’m Cyndi Miller. I’ve successfully led some of the nation’s top practices to unprecedented levels of success. The Miller Public Relations team would be happy to partner with you to help you become the dominant practice in your specialty in your community. So, if you are interested in creative, intelligent marketing designed to increase your influence in the best ways possible, we would be delighted to consult with you, design for you, create a campaign for you…however, we can help!
Cyndi Miller and The Miller Public Relations Team