Is it realistic for a provider to keep ownership of a telephone number that would be essential for a dentist to be able to keep using even after leaving the provider? That doesn’t sound to me like a principled business practice.
How to waste money on your internet marketing – a case studyDate: October 11, 2019
Category: Author: David Hall
Internet marketing is an unregulated industry that, because there is such a poor public understanding of what is done, attracts more than its share of sleazy operators. It is also so specialized that people with limited training can make some serious mistakes and waste a considerable amount of money. And because Google gathers data about your practice and your website from a variety of sources, you can do things outside of the website we have created for you that can damage the performance of your website.
One of the things that sets Infinity Dental Web apart from other marketing companies is that we promise certain results and we back that up with a written guarantee. However, because we can’t trust everyone else in this business with whom our clients may choose to do business, we have a disclaimer in the written guarantee:
“As a condition of the traffic guarantee and any other performance guarantees, Client agrees to keep Infinity Dental Web informed of all its Internet marketing activities and desist from those that will penalize the website performance, as advised by Infinity Dental Web.”
The point of this disclaimer—check with us before doing anything else on the internet. We wanted to share the experiences of some of our clients to underscore the importance of this. I’d like to spend most of this post telling you about one case that is particularly illustrative, and then touch briefly on a couple of other cases.
A client went to a meeting and there heard some great reviews about a company that does local search work for dentists, and so signed up. Had they checked with us first, we would have recommended against doing business with this company. We have had other clients who have had bad experiences in dealing with them. But alas, they are now stuck in a contract, spending several hundred dollars a month with a company that is probably having a negative net effect on their marketing. In fact, our data shows a 23% decrease in new patient conversions by the website since beginning to work with this company. And the contract with this company makes it difficult and expensive to cancel.
When you search online for reviews about this company, they have many glowing reviews and it is very difficult to find negative reviews. There are two reasons for this. One is that they have lawyers who aggressively go after negative comments online (which is why I haven’t named the company here). Another reason is that when a client complains and tries to get out of the contract, they will insist on a non-disparagement agreement as a condition of your avoiding getting sued.
One of the things this company has done is create a call tracking number and put it into over 50 directories, including Google, Yelp, Pinterest, etc. This is contrary to best practices for the industry. The best practice is to use the main practice phone number for these listings because consistency of data across the internet is a factor in the rankings in Google Maps. But it’s an advantage to the company to use their tracking number because they can then take credit for the phone calls from these listings, even though we were the ones who garnered their #1 ranking in Google Maps before this other company started.
Owning the tracking number is also an advantage to the company because it helps bind the client to the company. If this client ever decides to quit, they will lose the use of the number and it will take several months to re-populate the listings with their own office phone number.
This company has also started two blogs for the client, and there are several problems with the blogs.
The purpose of the blogs appears to be to create the impression that the company is doing work for the client, because they are useless as far as producing any marketing results. Blogging, to be of value, has to be attached to the website and has to have engaging, custom-written content. These two blogs are neither. They do have links back to the client’s website, but since they have been launched there has not been a single visitor who has clicked one of these links. If they had, it would show up in the site analytics that we have set up in the website.
Furthermore, one of the blogs has links for people to click to leave a review for the practice. The problem here is that one of the links invites people to leave a Yelp review. This is not only a direct violation of Yelp’s terms of service, but, if Yelp finds out that reviews are being solicited they might flag their Yelp listing with a consumer warning. At a minimum, Yelp will automatically reject the review because it comes from an invitation link like this.
Are these SEO tactics sleazy? That might be too strong a word, but they are certainly of very limited value and are apparently structured with the main purpose of creating the impression that the company is doing useful work on behalf of the client, rather than being structured to actually bring results for the client. The point we want to make here is that you need an insider’s view of these practices with a level of expertise in order to effectively evaluate them, and that is one of the reasons we are here for you.
A client gave access to their Google My Business listing to an individual who had a low level of knowledge about internet marketing of health care. This person listed “Family Service Center” as a category describing the practice. However, that category is for counseling, shelter, charity, and other services offered to families.
We have clients who are using outside companies to manage Google ad campaigns that are wasting some of their money. We see practices such as failing to target a locality, resulting in paying for clicks from searchers who live in other states.
There are some good vendors that we recommend. There are vendors that provide ways to improve your patient photography, that provide supplementary content to your website, call tracking and email services, reviews-gathering platforms, online chat services, and other services. We have applied our expertise to the experiences of our clients who have used these services. Please check with us.
As an example, we have a lot of data about reviews-generating platforms. When we learn of a new company entering this niche, we research them carefully. Some of them will post generated reviews on websites that patients don’t recognize and by getting these reviews from patients you will be hurting your chances of getting reviews on sites such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook that patients will actually consult before making appointments. Other platforms are very useful and we highly recommend several of them.
Another thing that sets Infinity Dental Web apart is that I have worked very hard to assemble a group of professionals with a high level of integrity combined with a high level of expertise. We actually do care about the results we are getting for your practice and if there is another company offering services that can enhance your results, we will happily share that with you. On the other hand, we do get frustrated when we see clients wasting their money or relying on people who know little about what they are doing.
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