Marketing and business success go hand-in-hand, so it is vital to have a good agency in your corner. Marketing agencies all promise similar results — higher search engine rankings, increased ROI and extra revenue — and they often present a professional image. Occasionally though, they exaggerate the impact of their services, or overlook the needs of their clients. Although there is no 'one size fits all' solution to this problem, there is some basic guidance worth following. Here are three signs that might indicate when an agency is not up to the job.
1) They Prefer To Talk Rather Than Listen
Reputable marketing agencies will enquire about your business and the results you want to achieve. As well as explaining the best strategy to use though, they will listen to your feedback carefully. Whether you communicate with an agency by email, over the telephone or by video link, always play close attention to their manner. Do they seem genuinely enthusiastic about reaching the stated objectives, or do they appear indifferent and nonchalant, as if they are rattling through a script?
The questions they ask you can be revealing too. Do they take on board your comments and try to understand your business? Do you feel like you are having a two-way discussion, or are they just reciting pre-prepared, generic ideas?
2) Their Prices Sound Too Good To Be True
As a general rule when buying products, there is no harm in shopping around for the best value option, and the heftiest price doesn’t always guarantee the best quality. However, with professional online marketing services – as with any professional service – there is no way of getting around it; a rock bottom price always means a lower standard of service. Therefore, if you discover an agency that is disproportionately cheaper than its competitors, you should move on, or at least ask questions why – particularly if it claims to offer a great service and fantastic results with no proof.
Typically, low priced marketing agencies use dubious methods, such as spun content, keyword stuffing and paid links. Google is aware of most of these methods, so you are unlikely to succeed long term with them without risk of being penalised, even if you see promising short term results. If you have found a good agency that charges too much for your budget at the current time, ask if they offer flexible packages, or do consulting. This way, you can still receive expert guidance, which is far better than hiring a budget agency that damages your online presence.
3) They Make Unrealistic Guarantees
We’ve all seen our share of eye-rolling claims by get rich quick schemes. Some marketing agencies play the same card to attract clients, by guaranteeing them a ranking on the first page of Google, or X revenue in X months. Unfortunately, such guarantees are meaningless, because no one can manipulate Google's algorithm with 100% accuracy, and no one can make absolute predictions for sales and conversions. If they do rank your website on the first page, it could be for an irrelevant, uncompetitive keyword that brings you no visitors. The only certainty is that, when your agency contract is finished, your marketing budget will be gone – with no benefit to your business.
A trustworthy agency will rarely make this type of guarantee, because they know there are many factors at play beyond their control. They’d rather be conservative and over-deliver, than promise the world and fall short! This doesn’t mean that predictions and promises can’t be made, but promises should relate to service delivery, and forecasts should be based on past performance in various scenarios, and not presented to you on a platter as a guarantee.
No prizes for guessing an easy conclusion to this article – something about how, at JDR, we don’t do any of these things, but we’re not going to do that. We want you to review the evidence for yourself, speak to us yourself, look at what we’ve achieved for other customers, and assess for yourself whether we walk the walk or just talk the talk. We’re confident you won’t be disappointed.
Finding the right agency is the best way of securing long term growth and maximising the value of your marketing budget. If the agency you currently use shows any of the above red flags, or you stopped working with your previous agency due to problems arising from them, the JDR Group can help. Our team will support your plans for growth and help you achieve your potential. Contact us today to learn more.