As a business owner you understand the importance of lead generation and gaining new customers.  When you are a digital marketing agency that practices unethical tactics that attempt to game the system, new leads are even more important.  That is because these companies find themselves flying through clients more quickly than you can say SEO.  In addition, many digital marketing agencies out there are 10 steps behind where they should be in terms of strategy and tactics, still focusing on factors that have no real effect on your bottom line.

So what does all this mean for you?  First, know that you will be solicited by (MANY) digital marketing agencies (OFTEN).  We would be surprised if a week went by without you receiving an email or phone call from one of these agencies.

Except from a typical seach engine optimization scam letter from digital marketing solicitors promising top rankings.

Watch out for SEO scams promising top Google search ranking.

Learn How to Be on the Alert for Internet Marketing Scams

There is much confusion in our industry as to the value of SEO, Social Media Marketing and Pay-Per-Click advertising.  Digital marketing agencies know this and there are many that prey on people. They understand that generating leads are critical, so they talk the talk, however, they don’t walk to the walk.  Here are a few phrases that when you hear them, you should run like the dickens…

  • We can make your site #1 in the search results in 6 months

    • There is no company in the world that can guarantee this claim.  There are just too many ranking factors that affect a #1 spot in a search engine.  In addition, whose search results are they talking about?  With personalization, no one is seeing the same search results, so blanket statements like this are completely unachievable.
  • We can rank you for “INSERT” keyword

    • We can probably get you to rank for “peanut butter colored boots with fur trim” too, but is that actually going to help you get conversions if you don’t sell that product, or if no one is searching for this phrase.   It is often the case that the keywords they say you are “missing out on”, have little to no value for your site and will not generate leads.
    • If the keywords do happen to be legit, how are they going to go about getting you to rank for those keywords?  Are they going to implement shady practices like paying for links or creating link farms and networks?
  • We use tricks or we have this secret tactic to get your ranked

    • There are no tricks in PPC.  It is a mathematical, scientific strategy. Anyone that tries to say ‘tricks’ is trying to trick you.
    • In terms of SEO and SMM, any reputable digital marketing agency should be transparent about the tactics they are using. When they say tricks or secrets, they might be using tactics that try to game the system by finding the loopholes in the Search Engine algorithm, i.e. “black hat SEO”.  You want to stay far away from those types of tactics because the Search Engines will catch-on and they will penalize your site.
  • Try us for free for 3 months

    • Digital marketing is hard work and requires an experienced team of people.  Anyone who is reputable is not going to offer their services for free.
  • Give us access to your analytics and we can tell you about all the opportunities you are missing out on
    • Never, let me repeat, ever give an agency that is vetting you administrative access to your accounts (i.e. Google Analytics or your websites backend).  Digital marketing agencies do not need that kind of access to make determinations on the goals, strategies and tactics that will help improve your site.  If you are in a proposal phase with an agency, you can give them read only access.  Once you are in contract with them, full access will be critical so that the agency will be able to give further insight into your sites performance, identify potential issues, etc.
  • Our company hung out with Matt Cutts last night and had a beer together
    • Google does not hang out and chat about secret stuff they are doing with marketing people.  In fact, they plant “mystery attendees” at conferences so they can find out what our industry is up to.
  • If you take this and you do this with it, then you go over here and do that, you get this
    • Be wary of firms trying to confuse you by comparing paid search results to organic search results.  One has nothing to do with the other and the tactical approaches are completely different for each.
  • We can give you more for less

    • Ever buy the copycat version of something only to have to replace it with the OEM version shortly after?  It ends up costing you twice as much in the long run.  If a company is offering services at a dramatically reduced price, chances are they are outsourcing work to people with less experience who often don’t have in depth knowledge or lack a real sense of the culture of the people that they are marketing too.
  • We can write content for $15 a page

    • You get what you pay for… grammatical errors, poor sentence structure, stolen content or a piece of content poorly translated from another language. In addition many of these companies actually own the rights to that content (did you see it in the fine print) which means they can repurpose that content all over the web.  Not only can having duplicate content penalize your site, it also reflects poorly on your business.
  • We can get you 500 links in 1 month

    • Chances are they are putting your site on very low quality directories or they are paying for links.  Either way, these links are likely to have little to no value and are not going to help your site at all.  In some cases, they can end up hurting your site and get you penalized by the Search Engines.
  • We are an awesome branding company and we can make your SEO rock

    • Digital marketing agencies are not the only companies that will be soliciting you.  There are many PR companies, branding agencies, web developers and other traditional marketing firms that are starting to realize the importance of digital marketing.  They are quickly scrambling to build teams within their organizations so that they can offer these services. Some of them will be successful, but many do not have a full understanding of this industry.
    • You can figure out very quickly just how much experience these companies have by taking a look at their websites.  What is the focus of their website?  What is their content?  Does it look like digital marketing services where just slapped up on the site?  Are they even there at all?  Who are their clients and what services are they using?  It can quickly become very apparent that they are not experts.

One last point: reputable digital marketing agencies are highly sought after.  That means their phones are ringing….people are calling THEM.  They don’t have time to find new clients because they are too busy managing the clients they are getting from word-of-mouth referrals. So, if you get a call from an agency who will revolutionize your  business, it’s likely they are more concerned about the status of their own.

Have you been solicited by a digital marketing agency recently?  We would love to hear about it.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 10, 2013 and is filed under Search Engine Optimization, Social Media in Marketing.

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