Top 10 Scams To Avoid When Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency

It is no secret that selecting the right digital marketing agency can seriously help almost any business thrive today. Conversely making the wrong decision can set a company back years and tens of thousands of dollars directly and indirectly. Here are tips to help you avoid scams and outright fraud when selecting a digital marketing agency.

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

As I scroll through my social feeds these days I see offers that defy explanation with guarantees that just cannot exist. And more often than not when I investigate there is almost always a catch and the guarantee is unenforceable. Make sure to do your due diligence before committing and never ever allow yourself to be pressured into a decision. Read all contracts and be sure you understand any agreement before signing.

XX leads per month or we pay you $2000

The” we pay you” is a fairly new method to get people to sign up and on the surface, it sounds great!  You do need to read between the lines before jumping into this kind of a deal. More often than not it is part of a lead farm regenerating leads from Home Advisor, Angie’s List, or something similar. Very often the leads are older and have already been sold to many other companies. Whenever you see this offer you may want to just avoid it and spend your ad dollars elsewhere because there is always a catch.

We get you xx leads or it’s free

The “we get you XX leads or it’s free” deal does not tell the entire truth. How this deal usually goes is you pay a big setup and a big agency fee plus roughly $1500 in ad spend. They usually run regenerated ads on Facebook and sometimes it works. When this method does not work, they refund you the agency fee, but not the setup fee or add spend and good luck getting any money back. The agency usually pockets 4 to 5 thousand dollars on the losers and a lot more when it actually works. Once again this is one of those too good to be true offers and should be avoided.

Our digital marketing agency made certain companies a fortune

When you hear the “we made these companies a fortune” it should perk up your ears. Now some of these claims are good honest claims from honest digital marketing agencies. But more often than not you will find the claims exaggerated or downright false. The best thing to do is just research these companies to see results. You can check Facebook to see their ads and you can check their keywords in Google. If they are not ranking and they are not advertising, you know the claims are at best exaggerated.

Start your free trial

Now I don’t want to be a pessimist and free trials can often be a good idea. What I would do is make sure I know what the actual cost is and the terms of the trial. Far too often these free trials make cancellation difficult and lock you into a long-term contract. A free trial should be a period of true assessment with a simple exit and clear pricing. Once again I am not against free trials, but I always say look before you leap.

Metrics keep everyone honest.

Any good digital marketing agency knows the metrics of everything they do. Through proper analytics, they can isolate issues and optimize performance. They can also provide you with detailed metrics on cost per click, cost per result, and even cost per call. If they are unable or unwilling to reasonably forecast and provide final results reports; I would suggest passing on the opportunity. When you have no means to measure performance it is impossible to assess the metrics.

Reviews are a good indicator but rarely tell the whole story.

Many Digital marketing companies as part of their sales pitch will show you great reviews. And today many consumers trust reviews even more than personal referrals. But beware; companies are likely only going to show their great reviews as it only makes good sense. It is up to you the business owner to do more research and be wary of review astroturfing. This is the practice of simply posting fake positive reviews to boost a company’s online reputation. We would recommend checking all the online reviews provided by the BBB, Yelp, and Google as the most reliable.

Be sure you understand exactly what the plan is and is not.

Too often business owners jump into digital marketing plans without fully understand how it works or even the objective. Many owners say we hire a pro because we do not understand digital marketing. But it is recommended to at least have a basic understanding of the process, plan, and objective in writing at the onset. This will avoid confusion and allow the business to assess the performance as it applies to the contract and its objectives.

Avoid long term contracts in a new relationship.

A common practice in digital space is long term contracts. Contracts ensure cash flow for the marketing company and reduced fixed pricing for the client. With that said we would recommend a trial period of 3 to 6 months so there is ample time to assess the new relationship performance.  If the marketing company is great then you can always lock in a long-term deal. And if the service is not as advertised you can cut your losses and move on. In conclusion, avoiding long-term contracts early on will probably more often than not save you time, headaches, and money.

If you don’t know ask.

My father always told me “I don’t blame you for not knowing. I blame you for not asking”. This statement has served me well because the information is power. When you understand the problem and the proposed solutions your decisions are based on facts, not instincts. Be sure to ask questions when you don’t understand and if the answers are unclear, ask for clarification. Digital marketing is a large and complex field and you do not need to know everything because almost no one does.

Informed decisions

The most important thing I can recommend when selecting a digital marketing agency is to be informed. This can be the most important decision you make for the direction of your business so it’s important to make the right one.  Do not however get bogged down with analysis paralysis. If you know the plan, strategy, and reasoning then you will make an informed intelligent decision every time.

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