If you are searching for a marketing agency to help grow your business, you have no doubt seen the thousands of companies out trying to catch your attention. It can be incredibly difficult to distinguish one from the other, especially if you have no experience in the marketing world. All of us seem like good choices. Most of us have polished websites, highlights from previous clients, and a variety of popular services, but how can you choose?
Every agency will have its pitch and selling point, from price to experience. It is up to you, as the customer, to determine whether you believe what they are saying. With so much competition, you have to be wary of any grandiose promises or exclamations because these might just be attempts to stand out. I have read many blogs, viewed many social media accounts, and perused a great many marketing websites, and constantly see information that is questionable. Here are some of the most common lies marketers will tell you:
“We will triple your leads in less than one month!”
Wishful thinking or straight up lie? Many agencies offer lead generation services, but when you see excessive promises like this, you should be incredibly wary. I have even seen one declare it possible to double or triple your leads overnight! While it is possible to increase your leads quickly, it is an unlikely and reckless guarantee.
With inbound marketing, the general rule is that results take time. For some of our clients it took over 6 months before our marketing efforts took off, and for some it takes even longer. Patience can pay off big time.
If you see a crazy claim like this, don’t be afraid to ask the company exactly how they accomplish it. Vague strategies or questionable tactics will tell you everything you need to know. Lead generation is a difficult process to begin with, and claiming such large numbers without even knowing anything about your industry shows that the agency probably uses a cookie-cutter solution that might have worked once.
“We can increase your social media following by 300%!”
Another bold claim that I have seen time and time again in many company social media bios. It is always some variation on the promise to exponentially increase your following. There are never any references to the how. Some say that for X amount of money you can get Y amount of followers. Beware if you see links like this on social media because if you click on them, it might take you to a spam website or a malware site.
I do not recommend buying followers on social media as a business owner. These followers are not real, and will do nothing for your business. You should be using social media to connect with actual customers, nurture leads, and attract new people to your brand. Buying followers accomplishes none of these goals. In the long run, it could actually hurt you. Here is an interesting study on the dangers of buying Facebook Likes by AdEspresso.
If you actually want to increase your social media, just like lead generation, it takes time! You can try to take shortcuts in your marketing, but if you want long term success, you need to put in the effort. On social media, engagement is more important than the number of followers. Which is better for your business: 1,000 vocal fans that consistently share your posts or 100,000 follower bots?
“We will get your website ranked #1 on Google by the end of the week!”
Search engine optimization is a common offering of most digital and inbound marketing agencies. It is also something many businesses are looking for. Your search engine ranking is important if you want customers to find you. According to data from Chitika, the first page of Google results accounts for 91.5% of all traffic, so even if you are on the 2nd page, you will probably be ignored entirely.
The problem with SEO is that everyone is trying to do it, and there are only 10 organic spots on that elusive front page. The chances of getting to #1 are even slimmer, especially if you are attempting to rank for an ultra competitive keyword. Maybe the company will get you to number 1 for one search, but will it be a search that matters? Additionally, it is difficult to achieve any change in rankings quickly, and close to impossible in just one week.
There was a recent blog by Moz on how long it takes for link building to influence rankings. Link building is a common SEO tactic where you get other sites to link back to your site, which increases your authority and credibility. In Moz’s blog post, they found that on average it took 10 weeks to see 1 rank jump. Therefore, if you were somehow already on the front page in the #10 spot, it would take over 20 months or almost 2 years to get to #1 using link building. That seems a bit longer than one week.
When searching for a marketing agency, you need to be just as cautious as you are elsewhere online. Marketing is not some magic trick that will turn your business into a money making machine with the wave of a wand. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. Don’t take a chance falling into a scam or throwing your money away.
You want your business to last, so you should invest in it. Professional marketing services can help your company thrive in a legitimate way. You have to plant seeds that will grow over time; you can’t just rip out your neighbor’s plants, stick them in your garden, and try to take all the credit. Nobody likes a liar.