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3 keys to your success in finding the right marketing firm for your unique goals.
Dentists call me all the time because they read my articles and look me up on Google for keywords such as “dental SEO expert.” In almost every instance, dentists have hired at least one other SEO company who promised them the moon and the stars.
Interestingly, most of these dentists were never told what they could expect from this nebulous thing called “SEO.” With no concrete promises made, dentists often find that they simply can’t hold their SEO provider accountable. Worse yet, many marketing companies don’t even provide monthly reporting to allow you to measure your progress.
How is anyone supposed to know if SEO is working, if there is no way to measure what’s being done, and no way to measure if it’s working?
So you know what most dentists do before they contact me? They price shop. They find month-to-month marketing agencies whom they can fire at a moment’s notice. They never truly know what they’re getting, but they hedge their bets by refusing to truly commit to success (whatever success may be measured as).
It’s time to talk. This solution is worse than your original problem. You’re only making matters worse for yourself. What you need is a company who sees your vision, understands your goals, and provides a holistic solution for when the first marketing attempts fail (they often do).
Here are 3 keys you need to hire the best marketing agency, and keep you out of the dental marketing doghouse:
Anyone can form a cookie-cutter product and let it sit until it goes stale. A real marketing expert will provide advice on how things should change as the dental market changes along with you. For instance, a year ago I found that simply building editorial backlinks to dental websites was a shoe-in to rank any dental website within 3 months.
Google started optimizing its algorithm so that you actually need to provide more of a useful message on your homepage, so that you can appeal more to searchers who use Google. You have to match searcher intent. This means I’ve had to up my game when it comes to creation of content.
From professional videos that keep people engaged for longer than most photos, to clear, compelling sub-headlines which allow your patients to know they’re on the right track. Your website itself needs to be better today than it had to be in yesteryear in order to rank highly on Google. This is because of Google’s more modern RankBrain algorithm, which weighs the use of your website.
Another example is the increased weight Google is giving towards domain age as of late. Which dental websites are good candidates for SEO is impacted by these changes. It’s critical to work with someone who can roll with the punches and represent your brand aggressively in an ever-changing marketplace.
While many web designers and offline marketing agencies have less of an issue with this, many SEO companies have a real problem in the transparency department. If an SEO agency tells you that they can’t tell you what they’re going to do for you, how are you supposed to hold them accountable? How are you supposed to know if they will actually do anything at all?
Also, you need to know that you’re working with a real expert. This means they need to be a thought leader who can teach other SEO agencies how to rank dental websites. Are they ranking their website for keywords such as “dental SEO?” Can they show you case studies where they did Y to get X result? Do they have references who will answer questions regarding what’s actually being done? How about the clarity of communication by the SEO agency?
Up next: Keeping them honest
Keep in mind whether or not a dentist knows much about SEO before you consider them a great reference to know if an SEO agency is doing good work for them. Many dentists know less than you do, but they’re happy to provide a reference for their company because they don’t know how to measure success - other than they like working with their sales rep at the company they’ve chosen. This means that the SEO company might not be solely responsible for their current rankings.
For instance, in less competitive areas, you may only need to quickly build a self-made website, and within a few weeks, you’re ranking! An SEO company might be quick to take credit for your rankings, but this isn’t something you should rely on as a dentist looking for SEO services.
Another example might be that you’re a thought leader in certain ways. Dr. Robert Stanton of Fort Lauderdale, FL teaches CE to dentists about certain procedures. He might have an easier time ranking as a result of being authoritative with certain dental media outlets. This could cause him to rank more highly, with or without an SEO agency at the helm.
In my dental SEO course, I highlight some of the ways you can develop authority and relevance in your community without hiring an SEO agency. I’m not the only one.
Laura Maly of Wonderist Agency, a full-service dental marketing firm, says “transparency and a well-thought approach are key to digital marketing. We set expectations with our clients about the work we do on their accounts every month. Additionally, we have a reporting dashboard that gives them live access to their data streams, so they can see the progress with their own eyes.”
If there’s one thing patients want, it’s clarity. Patients want to know what they’re getting, and for how much. Why should dentists expect any less from a marketing company?
If you’re dealing with a cold-caller who promises to help you along your way, but won’t tell you how, you could be setting yourself up for a disappointment.
For instance, Dan Delmain from Delmain Analytics provides some insight for dentists looking for clear marketing solutions:
“Clarity is an absolute necessity, especially at the project outset. At minimum, dentists deserve an overview of prescribed tactics, supporting deliverables, defined key performance indicators, expected timelines, accurate budgets and desired results. But as importantly, dentists should understand their role in this shared partnership and how they can directly influence their success. Clarity gets both teams in alignment, mitigates future misunderstanding and creates laser-like focus on practice goals and objectives,” says Dan.