Marketing is unlike any other essential business task. It’s one part research, one part networking, two parts trial and error (and data-mining), and three parts creativity. Needless to say, marketing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea—and that’s totally okay! But, that doesn’t mean you can abandon your marketing efforts entirely, because that’ll leave you with a big elephant in the waiting room (i.e., you’ll probably struggle to find new patients). That said, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of time on your clinic’s marketing—if you outsource, that is. However, while outsourcing may be the perfect solution to one clinic’s marketing woes, it may be a disaster for the next. Read on to decide where you land on that sliding scale.
Outsourcing can save you money.
Labor costs are typically the largest business expense in any company. According to this article, those expenses “can account for as much as 70% of total business costs,” as they “include employee wages, benefits, payroll or other related taxes.” Yikes; that’s a lot of dough. So, if you don’t have the budget to hire an in-house marketer or two, outsourcing could be the way to go.
Keep in mind that if you want to keep a marketing agency on tap for all your promotional needs, you’ll have to dole out a monthly retainer fee, which can range anywhere from $500 to $10,000. But, if you’re looking for some temporary marketing help (say, with designing a website or promoting a new therapeutic service), you’ll only have to pay one bout of project-related expenses.
It allows you to expand your marketing efforts—without taking up your (or your staff’s) time.
Marketing requires a very particular set of skills—skills that are acquired over time and can make marketing difficult for those who don’t have the right foundational knowledge. On that note, outsourcing can be a great option if you (and your staff):
- don’t like marketing,
- don’t have time to develop a sound marketing strategy, or
- would like to expand your marketing efforts—but don’t currently have the means to do so.
You’ll have access to marketing experts who can easily create a top-notch game plan.
You may have picked up some marketing know-how while running your business—like winning strategies for attracting direct access patients or perfecting your reviews—but at the end of the day, your expertise lies in your clinical judgement and bedside manner. Marketing agencies, however, employ experts who live and breathe marketing—and it’s safe to say that those marketers (whose job requires them to keep up with industry trends and search algorithm changes) might noodle up a brilliant idea that never would have crossed your mind.
You can pick and choose which tasks you’d like to outsource.
If there are some aspects of your marketing program that you can’t bear to part with, the good news is that you don’t have to! When you hire a marketing agency or freelancer, you don’t have to offload all your marketing to-dos. Rather, you can selectively choose which tasks you don’t want to deal with—whether they be in the realm of social media or PPC—and hand them off to someone else. Plus, if you’re outsourcing a specific task instead of an entire marketing strategy, your costs will likely fall on the lower side.
Outsourcing can cost a lot of money.
Outsourcing may save you money if you’re considering adding a new hire to your ranks, but if you’re currently handling all of your marketing on your own, then hiring an agency will be a big new expense. As stated above, marketing agencies can cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000 a month—if not more. It can be tough to budget for a cost like that—especially as reimbursement rates continue to fall each year. Before picking an agency—if that’s the route you choose—take the time to sit down, calculate the revenue each new patient brings to your clinic (on average), and decide what you can—or are willing to—pay for those patients.
You lose control.
Loss of Quality Control
If you’re the type of person who wants your hands in everything that goes on inside your clinic (i.e., you aren’t a big fan of delegation), then outsourcing might not be the best solution for you. When you hand off your marketing to an outside entity, you need to be able to let go of the reins and let the agency create and publish as needed. That’s not to say you won’t have any insight or influence, but you might not be able to see every little thing the agency produces.
Clashes in Culture
When you outsource your marketing to an agency, you also run the risk of igniting culture clashes. For example, if you run a tight ship while your chosen agency is more of a “work at your own pace (within reason)” kind of operation, you could get frustrated when deadlines are pushed or meetings delayed. The opposite situation could create friction, too, which is why it’s important to make sure your cultures mesh (or that y’all are at least on the same page).
Additionally, if the agency isn’t totally on board with—and queued into—your culture, brand, and overall message, they’re more likely to create and publish ill-fitting materials that don’t accurately represent your clinic.
Concerns with Privacy
When you outsource your marketing, you don’t just show the agency your clinic and let the marketers work their magic. You have to hand over sensitive details about your company, including:
- your marketing goals (which reveal your patient load and makeup),
- the keys to your website and/or social media accounts (password security, anyone?), and
- any topics you want your promotional materials to avoid (e.g., clinic problem areas).
And when you’re asked to compile and provide all that strategic firepower, privacy can become a big concern. Now, reputable marketing agencies will handle your data with care—but it doesn’t hurt to do your due diligence and research the company’s data security protocols before you sign a contract.
Some agencies may not be experts outside of their advertised specialty.
The section header says it all: be wary of agencies that claim they can do it all when they clearly have a specialty. Say, for example, that you’re looking for help creating (and refining) a website for your practice. You find a website development agency that looks great—and during your first consultation, the representative casually mentions that the agency can also handle your social media. Buyer beware! If the agency had social media experts, it would pitch its social media services equally—not as an afterthought. If you’re looking for marketing help in several areas, either enlist the services of one well-rounded company that hires marketers of all stripes, or hire multiple specialized agencies.
If you’re stuck in the middle and can’t decide whether or not to outsource your marketing, a rehab therapy-specific marketing software may just be the happy medium you’re looking for. With a platform like WebPT Reach, you stay in control of your marketing, but you also have the benefit of marketing automation and patient engagement tools designed to help you acquire, retain, and reactivate your patients. Reach’s automation features can save a lot of time (and money) for clinics who choose to keep their marketing in-house. Check out this page to learn more and schedule a tour.
Have you decided whether or not outsourced marketing is the right move for your practice? Do you have any questions for our marketing team? If you answered “no” or “yes” to those questions, respectively, then leave us a comment below, and we’ll get back to you!