So you’ve determined that you need marketing help and your best route is to hire a marketing company or advertising agency to assist. Many businesses take this route since it may not be feasible to hire in house marketing staff. It’s very difficult to find one or two marketing staff that are capable of providing expertise in all aspects of marketing, such as social media, website design, print design, etc. The first lesson is that limited staff usually can’t do everything well, and therefore it can be most cost effective to hire experienced professionals who can efficiently perform the needed work.
The cheapest option is usually not the best option.
When choosing a marketing company, consider factors that will affect your return on investment. A company that understands your business and has successfully marketed other businesses in your industry may have invaluable insight and experience.
Whether it’s saving time or money, most people are on the lookout for a deal that offers immediate benefit. When it comes to marketing services, businesses are often bombarded with free offers, discounts, and promises of “top rankings in Google searches”. These sound enticing at first, especially when you are told that you will get something for FREE, but in the end, that might do your business more harm than good.
When it comes to services such as website design, content writing, or SEO, the cheapest is usually far from the best. Having a poor online presence can damage your professional image, and much worse, making inappropriate statements online can make you a target for enforcement action. Quality marketing takes time and the price should be associated with the amount of time it’s going to take to do the job right. If someone is telling you they can build a website for $1000, the work will likely by someone with little experience in a limited amount of time, or the work might be outsourced offshore, which can lead to all kinds of issues down the road.
Your marketing team needs to be committed to helping YOU – not promoting their own website/agenda.
When you hire a marketing company, the end goal should be to benefit your marketing efforts, not theirs. For example, social media posts should not direct your readers to the website of the company providing the posts. You shouldn’t use a marketing company that is secretly promoting their own website where they make additional revenue from ads for companies that might even compete with your pharmacy for each visitor’s discretionary income. This not only hurts your website traffic instead of boosting it, but takes visitors away from your social media page or website and there’s a good chance they won’t find their way back. A good marketing company understands the importance of keeping visitors on your site and prioritizes this in every aspect of your project.
HIPAA compliance is essential and you should select a marketing company with knowledge of HIPAA and specific regulations associated with marketing your pharmacy or healthcare company.
Not every agency understands HIPAA and HITECH requirements that apply to pharmacies and healthcare providers. It’s important to work with companies that understand the significance of properly transmitting and storing electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). Any company that has access to your patient’s Protected Health Information (clinical, financial or administrative) should provide you with a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). Fines for violations of HIPAA requirements are up to $50,000 per incidence and $1,500,000 per year.
Bottom Line: Understand how a marketing company is going to help your business before making any commitment. A really good (or forceful) sales pitch does not usually indicate that is the best choice. At Storey Marketing, we have seen many businesses fall into the trap of choosing a budget marketing agency and later regretting their decision when their marketing budget has been wasted and they are not getting the results they were promised. It’s also important to realize that you may end up spending much more money in the long run due to fines from failing to meet HIPAA requirements or to fix a website that has functionality issues. When you invest in your marketing strategy, it definitely pays for itself in the long run with additional customers, referrals, and increased traffic both online and in your pharmacy/business.
If you have any questions or want more information, please call Storey Marketing at 814.337.3441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.