Ok, there gets to a point where my conscience won’t allow me to stand by and allow good honest-hearted business people get taken advantage of because a franchise marketing agency needs to hit their monthly sales quota or the other small agencies that do not care about their clients but are just money hungry. I call these guys the “Churn and Burn agencies,” and they are quite easy to identify if you know what to look for. Here are a few of those identifying markers that you want to keep an eye out for:
#1 – False Scary Social Media Reports
The old “Your Facebook page is in a critical state, and you’re losing thousands of dollars” kind of reports. Generally, they will use big scare tactics along with these kinds of reports to make you feel small — and won’t go into any details about what the actual “issues” are.
They will then come up with their “Solution” to fix the problem. The one that they created… see? Now it looks like they are the hero when in all honesty they just created the monster and now claim they will defeat it.
Sometimes though, it might not be as serious. But they will find a why to use these “Reports” to their advantage because they know us business owners love reports. For example, here is one that an agency delivered to one of our clients that had a bunch of incorrect information.
Here is what some of these reports will look like: they show you all the “missed opportunities” but when you dig deeper they are all things that the client already had. Some items were a clever misrepresentation of the information, and others were blatantly untrue.
Now look a little closer at this report: there is not one mention of Facebook ads, social media posts, or any other areas that are actually important to producing results for a business.
These reports are meant to scare businesses into hiring them into doing things that they truly don’t need in that very moment.
What to look for: Business owners who do not take social media and digital marketing platforms serious will ultimately lose in the long run. Just ask Blockbuster, Radioshack, Toys R Us, and Sears.
The point of it is that you need to find a person/agency that will sit down with you and explain why you need to start marketing your business through digital outlets, how they execute on these platforms and one that actually puts time and effort into your business’s digital marketing strategy. Stay away from the ones that use big words and don’t explain how they directly lead to results.
#2 – The promise of FAST results
This one and the next one are the ones that most business people fall for. Due to their lack of understanding about digital marketing platforms, many business people are set up with improper expectations that makes the sign a quick contract out of desperation. Though the agency “promises results” in their book its things such as followers, likes, comments, and views — which at the end of the day are results that can be purchased through 3rd parties (we will leave that subject for another day).
Now the business owner who is excited at the prospect of quick results starts paying $300 per month price point and quickly forgets they hired that agency, who then takes your money and waits till you call them with problems.
With that said, some agencies will offer social media management packages which provide only minimal organic growth. Those management packages aren’t the ones I’m talking about. I’m referring to the ones that say they will produce results by marketing your business for only $300 a month.
#3 – The “local [insert industry] marketing expert.”
So this one can be a little bit more difficult to pinpoint. Why? Because there are agencies that specialize in a particular industry legitimately. This can be a good thing, but some of the shadier marketers out there masquerading as the same thing, and it can be tough to tell the difference.
Here is where the danger lies:
Let’s say your name is Bob and you own “Bob’s Home Improvement.” You decide that you want to start marketing your business through Social and Digital platforms.
Here comes Sammy who is a part of “Online Home Improvement Marketing.” (I’m making these names up, so if that is that name of an agency, I was not aware and am not speaking about them.)
Sammy says that he is going to help you grow your business, and as a Home Improvement expert he knows exactly what to do.
You’re excited and ask for more details, to which Sammy continues to talk about how your Home Improvement business will thrive by working with him. He then sits you down and shows you something like this:
Sammy’s Business Class Package
$300 USD / month
One-time Startup Fee of $500
– Sammy’s exclusive Platform, including full access to fluffy content
– Website management including content publishing support & Mobile-Friendly Responsive Custom Design
– Localized SEO targeted to your home and adjacent cities, with Google Business & Bing Local management & support
– Google My Business Monitoring & Review Response Assistance (You have to respond to the review – Sammy is there for moral support)
– Helping Out Locally, our community engagement system
– Email with archiving & Spam filtering – includes five accounts (2GB each) (Sammy gets this for free from someone like Zoho or other providers)
Email Bonus: 20 additional email accounts with full support, extra 40GB of storage, archiving, and Barracuda Spam filtering ($56/month value – Free!)
Looks good right? But hang on a minute. Did you bother to investigate Sammy’s knowledge not of your industry, but the Digital Marketing industry? Yes, Sammy might know some things about Home Improvement, but how much does he know about developing a Digital Marketing strategy for your business? How much does he know about actual content creation and running Digital ads? Does he know how important telling your story is?
Did you see the package he offered you? It’s a lot of big words with absolutely ZERO efforts to get your business in front of the right people! Absolutely ZERO efforts to be transparent and genuinely help you go in the right direction.
Now here is where things get ugly. Sammy here isn’t just working with you; he is also working with all the other home improvement companies in town. (How else can they pay the bills for $300 a month?)
So that “SEO” he is doing for you? Yeah, it’s not happening. What Sammy is doing is sharing your content and recycling it for all his other Home Improvement clients. Clients who by the way could be your competition. See?
A real Digital Marketer or a real SEO expert would not touch your business for less than $800 a month. Just like you have to pay the bills, so do they.
We’re onto you “Sammy”.
In conclusion, here is what I recommend business owners do:
Take the effort to learn about the Digital Marketing industry and what the real experts are saying. You don’t have to be an expert yourself, but you need to know how this current shift in humanity affects the future of your business. It will help you avoid all of these agencies trying to take advantage of peoples lack of understanding of digital marketing. Also, throw those scare tactic reports in the trash.
#2 Stay away from the churn and burn agencies:
Don’t fall for these fluff agencies that add these big words to their packages that have zero impact on the growth of your business. Ask yourself if that $300 a month business explosion ultimate package will genuinely provide the results your business needs.
#3 Start Thinking Long Term:
EVERYTHING is long term. These marketing agencies will make it look like things that can be done fast, fast, and faster. The truth is that anything Digital will be a long term investment for your business. At times, yes results can happen fast — as I’ve seen with my own two eyes — but expecting ROI tomorrow will keep your business from achieving long term success in Digital.
#4 Start investing in digital:
You need to start investing in your businesses Digital Marketing. That can be through your time and efforts or by finding the person or agency that can. Whichever direction you choose, you need to start now.
If you have any questions, feel free to DM me or reach out to me on Socials – @suitsandtech on Instagram , Twitter, & Facebook or you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org