Over the years I have worked with a few clients who have hired marketing specialists (many SEO folks are especially prone to this) that help them market their business. They spend hundreds, if not (tens of) thousands of dollars on this person who a) doesn’t provide (or even track) results b) promises the world or c) doesn’t show them how to improve their marketing when the specialist leaves. As some of these clients have seen, this frustrates me. Why? I expect more from people in my industry.
When working with you, someone should see where you are now, and where you can improve. They should share this information with you and send you a weekly or monthly report on how you are trending.
What are the success metrics for this effort? What can you track? At a minimum, they should be able to pull Google Analytics/Website data. At the high end they can pull sales revenue data. Sure, this takes time, but in the long run it helps you better understand the effort and results – helping you make better decisions.
Why is this important? You are paying someone money to do something, and if they can’t provide results and accountability, why are you hiring them? They should want to show you how they have improved your marketing efforts. You should want to see it because it helps you make better decisions. It is a win-win!
Here is the world. All yours.
What I can’t stand, more than anything, are these emails from SEO companies that say “Pay us tons of money and I can put you on #1 in Google”. Gaaaaah! Can you hear me screaming? This bugs me for a variety of reasons:
- You can’t promise the first place/page for any placement. You can try, but you have to remember many things come into play with organic search. Competition. Clicks. Consumer behavior. External links…. I mean really? How do these companies think this is okay? Oh wait, to my next point.
- If they do get you on the first page of something, it is probably with a keyword you don’t really want. If you are a photographer in Dallas, and someone gives you a keyword of “wedding portrait photographer wonderful supplies”, they can get you to number one. Why? It won’t get you any traffic (or anybody else). No competition = #1 placement. Money back guarantee satisfied.
- Many say they can get you links. Can you hear it: “Links for sale! Links for sale!” Ya, no. Maybe they have some quality links but many will be garbage. Guess what? Google can penalize you for bad links. Is it worth the risk? (hint: the answer is no) Basically, don’t do this. Go for quality when you can.
There is more… but I need to get off my soapbox before I lose everybody in this thread (thanks for hanging in there). The point: Don’t listen to folks that promise things that sound to be good to true….because if it sounds too good, it probably is.
All someone can promise is an improvement and give you tangible results (if you can get to this data)
Just so you know, marketing is not magic. When someone says they will do marketing work for you, they should leave you with bits of knowledge where you can make good business decisions to grow your business. No, they don’t need to leave their magic wand with you… but they can leave you with a little knowledge
For example, one new customer we have previously worked with a “SEO expert”. When she was done with the on site optimization, she disappeared. Sorry clients – the expert has left the building. Guess what? Their SEO did not improve AT ALL. They aren’t ranked and have had no search traffic. Zero. Zip. Nada. Why? She was so focused on site optimization she forgot to tell them to do off site optimization. This means, focus on links. Get people talking. Do stuff. Their site was (loosely) optimized and nobody is pointing to it. So, who cares? The magician disappeared. Sorry folks!
When your expert is done, make sure they tell you what they did and how you can continue the momentum they started. You aren’t going to pay them whenever you make a business decision – so you need to know how these things impact your business. One of our clients grew her SEO results by 115%. Between our on site optimization and the tips we gave her to maintain her SEO efforts she was able to grow her organic search traffic.
What You Are Saying Is…
There are some great folks out there but remember, there are also some lemons. Get out there and do some research. Talk to folks. Ask them what they are going to do when they are done to make sure you can maintain, or continue to grow that program.
Did you take a bite of lemon when you thought it was an orange? Make lemonade! Call some new folks and ask them about what they do. It is better to be on top of it than be frightened due to a bad experience. If you aren’t doing it, you can bet your competitors are.
Take what you learned and use it to your advantage. Got someone that wasn’t focused on results? Look for someone that is. There really are some great folks out there – you just have to find them.