An effective dental marketing strategy is crucial to running a successful dental practice. With so many dental marketing companies, finding the right one that will help your practice grow can be challenging. Unfortunately, many companies out there claim to be dental marketing experts but are actually "black hat" dental marketing companies. These companies may take your money but fail to deliver any results or, worse, damage your practice's digital reputation in the pursuit of short-term success.
Here are 5 red flags to look out for when you are hiring a dental marketing company:
1) (Really) Fast Results
Marketing is a complex process that takes time, effort, and expertise to do well. No reputable dental marketing company will promise overnight success or guaranteed results. Avoid companies that make unrealistic promises and don't share their strategy with you. If a dental marketing company promises you a flood of new patients overnight - or a quick fix to your marketing problems, be wary.
2) Specific Ranking Promises
Any respectable SEO specialist will be the first to tell you that effective SEO is not a matter of getting as many #1 rankings as possible. Many black hat dental marketing companies will ignore this while promising you "20 #1 rankings within six months!". The issue with promises like this is that they incentivize your SEO to target easily achievable keywords instead of high-value ones like "dentist near me" or "dentist Denver CO." While other keywords can and should be used as part of a robust conversion and ranking strategy, the bread-and-butter keywords need to be a main focus. After six months, you may find that you have a plethora of #1 rankings for keywords that aren't relevant to your practice or the patients you are looking to attract.
3) No Monthly Reporting
We find it hard to believe that anyone could get away with this, but some companies offer SEO or Paid Search services without any regular reporting showing how the campaign is doing. If a company can't show you how your conversions, reviews, page views, proper backlinks, or rankings are changing on a month-to-month basis, then how do you know that your marketing efforts are working at all? There are always some grey areas when it comes to reporting metrics, but make sure your dental marketing company can walk you through reports and explain success!
4) Tons of Backlinks
In 2021, Google openly stated that total backlinks are irrelevant to your SEO success. Despite this, plenty of "SEO" companies still use backlink count as their primary measurement of success. These companies will promise you hundreds of new backlinks for your website, but in the end, you will likely find that all of these links did more harm than good to your SEO campaign. Avoid buying backlinks outright and always stay away from backlink farms...trust us on this one.
5) Hefty, Inescapable Contracts
Beware of companies that lock you into long-term contracts with zero options. Some black hat dental marketing companies may try to trap you into long-term contracts with hefty cancellation fees. This is a red flag, as it suggests that the company is more interested in making money from you than delivering real results. Look for a company that offers flexible, month-to-month plans (or will ask for a small time commitment to get the campaigns off the ground) so that you can evaluate their services on an ongoing basis.
Marketing with Your Practice's Future in Mind
By considering these factors, you can avoid the pitfalls of working with a black hat dental marketing company, potentially be penalized by search engines, and find a reputable partner to help you grow your practice. Remember, marketing is an investment in your practice's future, so it's worth taking the time to find the right partner to help you achieve your goals. Transparency, ethics, and joint-strategy with your marketing agency is imperative.