Why FREE Is Usually Your Most Costly Option

Everyone likes FREE stuff. Admit it, this includes you, too. But did you know that FREE can, in many cases, be extremely costly to your practice and potentially bankrupt you?

How can that be? How can FREE cost you your practice?

Here’s what we see happening to people who are extremely optimistic. They have a solid marketing plan, are regularly investing in their practice to attract new patients. And, yes their marketing costs money, $1,600-$2,600 or more per month to generate $60-100,000 a month in revenue.

Then… someone whispers the word FREE in their ear. A manufacturer or a buying group woos the practice with a FREE offer. They tell the practice they’ll give them a FREE website, or FREE Facebook advertising, or FREE social media marketing. And what do even some of the smartest medical practice owners do?

I mean, everybody likes FREE, so many people do the obvious thing. They cancel the marketing services they are paying for, the marketing that has been generating 20-40 new patient leads a month. After all, that way they can save thousands of dollars a month. Wouldn’t you want to do that, save thousands of dollars a month, too?

So what could possibly be wrong with that? You be the judge.

Five months ago, Bob in Texas signed up with MedPB for Facebook Advertising and started getting 40 new patient leads a month. By the end of month two, he had 80 new patient leads and was very happy indeed. But then he quit the program!

One of the manufacturers he worked with offered to do his Facebook advertising for FREE! How could he turn that down?

Last week, we got a call from Bob, asking about our Facebook Advertising program again. Turns out in the last 3 months, his “FREE” Facebook Advertising generated a total of 2 new patient leads. Sure he’d saved roughly $3-4,000 dollars but he’d lost out on 118 new patient leads.

By signing up for FREE Facebook Advertising, Bob had lost 118 potential new patients to his competition and around $165,00 in one-time revenue and over $2,200,000 in lifetime revenue. Does that make sense, to save a few thousand dollars in marketing that’s working and lose over two million dollars in revenue?

Sue in Illinois made the same mistake with her Google PPC, and it cost her her practice. She’d been struggling to get new patients in the door and to grow her practice, when she finally decided to spend some money on Google PPC, to see if it could get her phone ringing.

A few months later, the Google PPC campaign was working, generating 20 new patient leads a month. Which for her one-woman practice was keeping her busy in helping her make a profit each month. Then, given she had a steady stream of patients, she decided she could cancel her Google PPC ads and save some money. Or in other words, rely on FREE marketing and watch her bank account grow.

What happened when she pulled the plug on her Google Ad campaign? Her phone stopped ringing right away. In her case, almost all her new patients were coming from her Google Ads and when she turned them off, she stopped attracting new patients. Which meant that while she was saving some money, again a few thousand dollars, she’d lost her source of income. Her bank account went from growing to shrinking.

Two months later Sue called us to ask for help, but by now she was broke. She had no money for marketing and ended up declaring bankruptcy. Not a pretty tale.

Then there is the free website offer!

We hear about this one all the time, whether it’s an online marketing firm, a manufacturer or a buying group. They call the practice owner and offer them a brand new FREE website. It just sounds so tempting.

If you have a website that was built a few years back, looks a bit dated, or just isn’t generating new patient leads, which would you rather do?

  1. Pay 2 to 6 thousand for a new website?
  2. Get one for FREE?

A FREE website sounds almost as good as being given a free car, right?

There is just one problem. Imagine you went into the car dealer, looking to spend $20-30,000 on a new car. Then the salesperson says, hey can I interest you in a free car? Is the auto dealer going to give you an actual working top-of-the-line free car? Or are they going to give you one that needs constant work so they can make money off repairs? Chances are the free car wouldn’t even come with an engine or tires.

The same is true with FREE websites. Every client we’ve seen opt for a free website has seen their online leads plummet, along with their revenue. Sure, the price was right, but the hidden cost is they aren’t designed to convert traffic into appointments. The result is potential patients go to your competitors and your FREE website costs a fortune in lost revenue.

The bottom line?

When you hear someone mention FREE, it should be a big red flag. It’s a way to distract you from the fact that what they’re selling lacks real value. Just ask yourself the question, “If I want top-of-the-line (marketing or whatever) is it realistic to think I can get if for free? Would I give away my medical services for free?”

The 2 biggest problems with FREE online marketing

  • HUGE drop in website traffic
  • New patient calls disappear

Realize that when you opt for free, you invest nothing and typically get less than nothing. Yes, it takes money to make money. Look for the marketing services that provide the greatest return on investment (ROI).

Ready to stop reading & start growing your practice? Let’s talk.