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The dental marketing scams. Top 9 signs you’re being taken for a ride.

Many dental marketing companies will put a great deal of effort into selling you their services, signing a long-term contract, and then disappearing when you need something. Accountability is lacking from them. You can prevent this!

Here are the top 9 things you can look for when avoiding what I call the “do-nothing” dental marketing scam.

  1. Unavailable or unwilling to answer your questions (after you pay).

    It may seem strange that a dental marketing company would straight up ignore you, but I talk to dentists all the time who experience just this. The company is hot to trot with the sales process. They really make sure to answer your questions in order to get you to pay. Then, after you pay them, they are impossible to reach a few months later.

    Pro tip: Always make sure if you’re dealing with a salesperson only. See if you can communicate with the person who’s responsible for serving you. Ask how long this person has worked for the company. Ask if this person leaves, who would you be handed off to? If you feel you’re being ignored, you probably are. If this is you, it may be time to consult with a dental marketing expert who can audit what’s been done with your account (if anything).
  2. No reporting that makes sense.

    It can be natural to not understand some technical reports. After all, it’s in a marketing foreign language. Sometimes this is on purpose. For instance, do you ever feel like you need a dental SEO course just to understand what you’re buying? I offer such a course that can allow you or your dental practice team members to assist you and hold everyone accountable. If you don’t understand what SEO is for your dental practice, and how it helps you get more new patients, then it’s time to consider a shift in trajectory.

    Pro tip: Be sure you can have any marketing statistics boiled down to what matters most to you. Automated reports may not have easy-to-follow patterns, but as long as you can reach a dental SEO specialist or another marketing specialist to shoot you straight (in plain English), you’ll be taken care of.
  3. PPC Scams.

    Nothing has been more common in my years as the Dental Marketing Guy than seeing people become self-professed “PPC experts” with zero experience. If you think that you are paying your marketing company to simply run your credit card with Google with no real improvements and adjustments made, then it’s possible you are. If your dental marketing company doesn’t allow a third party to review your account, this is a big red flag. It is all too common in dental marketing to just say “trust us” and not allow a PPC expert to audit your Google Ads account.

    Pro tip: Make sure your company is actually working on your Google Ads or other PPC campaigns you’re working on by speaking to them and asking technical questions. Also, look for a Google Partner who has proven through Google’s basic qualifications that they can serve you competently. However, keep in mind that you should always trust your gut. Hiring a third party to audit your Google Ads account to see if it’s up to snuff is always a good idea. I personally encourage my clients to hire the best PPC experts in the world to review my work, and many times I do this voluntarily just to keep myself performing at the highest level.
  4. The SEO and Google Ads conflation scam.

    If your marketing company is claiming “SEO” is working while counting your Google Ads generated leads, this is a huge red flag. Be sure to distinguish as best you can the difference between paying for a Google Ad and actually succeeding in Google’s unpaid rankings.

    Pro tip: Ask your marketing professional to prove how much website traffic is coming from their actual SEO efforts. Although this can be difficult to track with geometric accuracy, Google Ads can be tracked perfectly, in many cases. Removing what you pay per click to Google, you need to know what you’re paying for. SEO is complex on the backend and it can be confusing. But ultimately it boils down to 2 questions that need to be answered regarding SEO.
  5. The fake backlinking scam.

    If you’re familiar with my dental SEO course, you’ll recognize that SEO oftentimes depends on building what are called “backlinks” to your dental website. Be sure you’re getting backlinks that Google actually counts as authoritative and relevant. Dental marketing companies who don’t have the right connections to help you with PR-style SEO will simply create a piece of content on an open-source platform such as Medium or Blogger or similar websites. They will then link to your website and present to you that it’s a “backlink.” While technically true, why doesn’t every other dentist in your hometown just do this to rank?

    Pro tip: work with dental marketing specialists who have the connections to create backlinks with real websites with real readership. I have case studies of this working in my dental SEO course.
  6. The opaque deliverables scam.

    Some dental marketing companies use words like “SEO” to describe a service that is ill-defined. This means they can do nothing and say they fulfilled their end of the bargain.

    Pro-tip: Know exactly what you’re being promised, and why it should help you get more new patients. Have it outlined in the proposal you sign.
  7. The “we know it all” scam.

    Nobody knows everything. Some dental marketing companies may claim to be experts in every area of dental marketing. While a very credible, long-standing agency may truly be a one-stop shop for all your marketing needs, be careful!

    Pro tip: Even if they’re legitimate, everyone can lose every now and then. Be sure to work with a marketing company that can admit that they’re stumped. I’ve had a few cases where I learned important lessons due to some oversight. I made sure to bring in the world’s leading experts to correct me in my ways. I did what I could to make it up to the disappointed clients and never made the same mistake twice. This is all because I had the humility to say that I need help from an expert in one area or another. Avoid know-it-alls who are overconfident.
  8. Cold calling scam.

    Did you get a cold call from a “Google-certified” SEO company? Be careful! Google offers Google Partner status to Google Ads experts, but they have no SEO certification course. Although there are a few very good SEO courses out there, they probably aren’t something you as a dentist would be familiar with. Name dropping big companies like saying they’re somehow associated with Apple, Bing, Google or Microsoft isn’t by any means a guarantee that they’ll serve a dentist well. In many cases, they aren’t associated with these companies, at all!

    The thing that has always fascinated me is how dental marketing companies might not earn their clients the same way a dentist would. Consider whether or not your marketing company is just good at selling to dentists, or if you actually are dealing with a company that specializes in what will actually get you new patients?

    For instance, if they are ranked #1 for “dental SEO expert” on Google, this would show that they at least know how to rank a website. Dental SEO is fiercely competitive compared to a dentist in a mid-sized town. But how many dentists do you know who cold call random people to see if they want a dentist? If the marketing company you’re working with is only good at cold calling, how will they serve you?
  9. The fake testimonial scam.

This is a huge one. Testimonials in dentistry can be offered for reasons other than good performance by the marketing company.

How did the testimonial(s) come about? Can you contact the dentist to confirm exactly what this marketing company did (if they are even associated with this dentist, at all)? Causation needs to be proven. Just because someone is popular doesn’t mean they offered their testimonial, and it certainly doesn’t mean they offered it for free. Beware of pay-to-play testimonials! Also, be sure to understand this marketing company actually caused the increase in new patients. Verify, verify, verify.

Justin

About the Author - Justin Morgan

Justin Morgan is the CEO and founder of what most of us affectionately refer to as the “DMG.” From all circles within the dental industry who address dental marketing as a topic, Justin Morgan is the dental marketing guy that everyone keeps talking about.

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