This is something that I see every week when helping small to mid-businesses. In writing this post my goal is not to put down every other digital marketing firm out there in an effort to try to make mine look amazing but to educate.
That being said let me tell you about a conversation I have almost daily. Surprisingly I find this very common with local businesses like dentists and chiropractors. It starts like this. My phone rings and I answer it and it is a local business asking for help with their online marketing efforts. This is great because I run a digital marketing company. I start to ask and understand what they are currently doing right now with their online marketing efforts. They tell me that they have hired X,Y or Z company who is doing their marketing for $299 a month. They start to tell me that the company promised them the moon (first placement in Google in 6 weeks etc). It’s amazing how similar these conversations can be. I start to dig into what the company is REALLY doing for them and typically find 1 or 2 things. First, the work either very low quality or just horrible. Second, if the work is ok – good then there is not enough of it to make any difference in a real marketing campaign.
Now comes the part in the conversation where I need to really help these businesses understand what they are getting for $299 a month. Most companies think that digital marketing is like buying a candy bar. They think the candy bar is the exact same candy bar that everyone has but that they can get it cheaper somewhere else. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see new businesses especially make. They don’t have a ton of revenue yet to spend on marketing so they try to do it themselves (then they realize that it is a full time job) then they hire the cheapest digital marketing agency they can find.
I bring all this up because I am tired of seeing good people being taken advantage of and not really understanding what it will take to get sales online as well as realistic time frames. They are usually told what they want to hear by the 207th sales person from the same company who has been calling them for the last 2 years trying to get the deal. Ask yourself, why are they so desperate to get this sale? The reason is because they have as many clients leaving their service as they do signing new ones. It’s a revolving door of abuse and overselling and mis represented standards that takes advantage of good people who do not know better because their business is not the internet marketing business.
If you have to ask your digital marketing company for reports or what is going on it’s a sign you have been taken. If you have been with them for a while (6 months or more) but have not seen anything of value from their services, then it’s another sign. If you believe that you got a “great deal” on your online marketing price, it’s another sign.
The cost of hiring the wrong firm is not just a cost in losing money it’s a cost in lost time and opportunity. I write this post to at least try to help people understand that the cheapest option is usually the worst option. Most companies have to do the digital marketing agency dance where they go from agency to agency (at 6 months -12 months with each agency) until they learn that there is usually not a “deal” or a cheap option for real digital marketing. Hopefully this post helps you see what is behind the curtain and helps you avoid thousands of wasted dollars and worse months to years of wasted opportunity.