Senior Living: When to Hire an Internal Specialist or an SEO Agency

On any given day, you or your team may have already dodged a call from an SEO agency looking to earn your business. If that’s the case – many of the concerns the agency representative raised in their outreach may have been similar in nature: your community needs digital marketing, and “Fill in the Blank Agency” is the answer. The need for digital marketing can sound like a broken record at times, especially for communities that understand the need to improve upon current strategies, but haven’t yet.

For senior living community marketing teams that understand the need for digital marketing, the question then becomes – who should my community partner with? Should my community hire a jack-of-all-trades to handle, or hire an outside agency?

Is your Community at a Digital Crossroads?

Unfortunately, without a concerted conversation, there are no easy answers. However, the senior living team at Linkmedia 360 wants to help your community make the most informed decision for its continued success.

To begin, review THIS YouTube video by Google’s own, Maile Ohye. We won’t tread over the well-worn ground Maile covers in the video, but keep the SEO hiring process Maile outlines at the forefront of your mind during this post:

  1. Conduct a two-way interview with your potential SEO. Check that they seem genuinely interested in you and your business.
  2. Check their references.
  3. Ask for (and you’ll probably have to pay for) a technical and search audit.
  4. Decide if you want to hire.

The four considerations Maile makes in the video will help your team differentiate between a reputable partner, and an agency that wants to take your money and run. Let’s take things a step further.

Say your team has interviewed SEO agencies and is torn between hiring an internal specialized team member, or hiring an SEO agency partner to perform the recommended strategies. How will your team know who to choose?

Top 3 Considerations for a Senior Living Digital Marketing Partner

Consideration 1: Time

We aren’t referring to the timeline necessary to make the decision to hire the individual versus the agency (though that’s an important consideration). Rather, we’re referring to the amount of time it would take an individual to perform the tasks needed to help your community, or entrusting the tasks to an agency. Remember, the digital strategies the individual or team would employ will take months to take hold. According to Maile in the featured video, it may take anywhere in the ballpark of four months to a year to measure a successful strategy.

Is the individual your team is considering hiring adept at handling the following strategies simultaneously:

  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Local Listing Management
  • PPC Campaigns
  • Custom Content Optimization
  • Marketing Automation
  • Blogging and Social Media
  • Relationship Management and Reputation Management
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Other burgeoning areas

…chances are, while that individual may be qualified to handle all of these services your community may need, their internal bandwidth may be limited. That’s where an agile agency is the clear-cut winner.

By partnering with a reputable SEO agency, your community could potentially have these strategies handled by an entire dedicated team. That way, the strategies are evenly distributed between a team of individuals and the focus remains on your community’s success.

Consideration 2: Cost

At this point your team understands your community has a need for digital marketing and is willing to address that need by either hiring one individual to work internally, or hiring an agency to handle the strategies needed. Due to the cost alone, hiring an individual makes the most sense on paper. After all, an internal team member will be intimately involved with your community’s day-to-day operations, and therefore, their recommendations will speak to your immediate issues.

It’s also an easier sell to pay the salary for one individual as opposed to dealing with the sometimes-complex pricing structures of a digital marketing agency. On paper, hiring an individual wins this consideration. However, imagine how efficient an entire team can be at implementing strategies that one individual would be responsible for. While hiring an agency isn’t as cost-prohibitive as hiring a single individual, it comes down to the size of your community and the strategies that actually need managed. Take those considerations seriously before making this decision.

Consideration 3: Insight

In our recent series of webinars, Phil Smith from Linkmedia 360 and Patrick Hart from MatrixCare walked participants through the evolving trends in senior living, including the rise of the digitally savvy senior. Do you feel your community is ahead of the curve with trends in senior living? If you asked that question inside your community, chances are you would receive an emphatic “Yes” across the board.

Throughout the process of deciding the best partner for your community, your team has probably heard creative ways to address the issues facing your community. Would you expect that same type of insight from an internal team member with ten years of tenure? Sometimes individuals may be too close to a situation to mine the insights necessary to enact change.

Change and progress aren’t achieved without difficult conversations, and sometimes an internal hire isn’t prepared to have that conversation due to their need for job security, and for knowing the turnaround for recommendations. An agency partner can cut through that by unearthing uncomfortable truths tied back to the original reason for their employment: helping their community partner achieve its digital marketing goals.

While a dedicated agency partner will act as an extension of your marketing team, they’re still operating separately. The agency is also accountable for upholding its client commitment, and the community can approach conversations differently when those expectations are firmly set in place. An outsiders insights can help your team see strategic opportunities that may otherwise be overlooked from a comfortable, internal hire.

Is Your Community Ready for an SEO Agency? Linkmedia 360 is Ready to Help!

Did this week’s post create more questions than answers? Contact our team and we’ll do our best to walk your team through the best solution for your community.

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