THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCIES
If I haven’t posted in a while after this article, I may have been swallowed up by the back-street Digital Marketing agencies seeking revenge for letting out their secrets. Who knows, I may one day have a documentary on Netflix titled “the digital Marketing whistle-blower” – I know, I am getting way too carried away!
A Digital Marketing cold call transcript:
Me: Hi , Dean here from United SEO,
Customer: What’s this about?
Me: It’s in relation to Digital Marketing, do you have 2 minutes?
Customer: Digital Marketing? Thanks, but no thanks, I’ve tried to before & it doesn’t work!!
Me: I take it you have had a poor experience with a company before…. Do you mind if I asked what happened?
Customer: Nothing!! That’s the problem. I invested thousands and didn’t get any results. How do I know that your company won’t do the same?!
I’m tired of this kind of response from potential clients in the UAE. Yes, sometimes it’s a way of ending the attempt of a Cold caller, however I empathize with the customer as I hear it so much and they have every right to be frustrated.
I often try to figure out the best way to answer that question above. How do they know that the next company they invest in, will not do the same? Maybe whatever response I give, will not be enough to repair the damage & loss of investment. But I can try to prevent others from making the same mistake.
It’s very difficult for a customer who has a very little understanding or knowledge about an industry, to detect warning signs whilst in the process of choosing the right agency. Truth is, there is a stigma attached to the Digital Marketing industry within in the UAE. This is due to SOME companies who are offering a terrible service at cheap rates and in the process, tarnishing all of us with the same brush.
What I’m looking to achieve from this article, is to give the readers the opportunity to get a better understanding of our industry – from an insiders perspective and give you tips on what to look out for when you are in the process of looking for an Agency.
Below are a few tips that you can apply & follow in the process to help you find them:
1) IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN GIVEN RECOMENDATIONS FROM A TRUSTED SOURCE, THEN MAKE SURE YOU CARRY OUT RESEARCH BEFORE SHORTLISTING AGENCIES
The most common way to search for a service is through Google of course! But do not just let the rankings be the only validation you seek. Search the company on LinkedIn also. This will give you an overview on the business and an idea about how many staff they have working there. Try to look out for the job titles of the staff and where they are based. For example, if you search a company and they only have sales staff who are based in the UAE, it’s quite likely that the SEO technicians/Account Managers are based elsewhere or even worse, working for a different company who they outsource too. You are then in a situation, where you are outsourcing your marketing to a company that outsources your marketing. Get it?
2) HOW MUCH INTEREST ARE THEY TAKING IN YOUR BUSINESS? OR ARE THEY JUST INTERESTED IN MAKING A QUICK BUCK!
Once you have shortlisted some agencies the next step is to inquire. You will more than likely already have a campaign in mind that you are interested in. It could be SEO, Google Ads or Social Media.
The agencies initial interest should not be what campaign you are interested in, the first question that they should ask and try to uncover is “what you are looking to achieve?”. After all, you are not the one who should be deciding what campaign you WANT, it should be down to the specialist to suggest what campaign(s) you NEED!
Be aware of how much interest they are showing in your business and your needs. Sales people tend to switch to FULL SALES MODE & go off on a tangent about how reputable there company is, how they are the market leaders, how many great case studies they have and how many enterprise companies they are currently working with etc. At the end of the day, none of that has any relevance to you. All you really care about is what they can do for YOU!
I mean, can you imagine going on a date and the person just constantly talks about them-self. You would eventually switch off and start looking for an escape plan.
Business is no different. The customer should have a sense of feeling that your intentions are in the right place, you are genuinely interested in their company and understanding what they want.
3) HOW WILL YOUR CAMPAIGN BE MANAGED? MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHERE?
Digital Marketing agencies are not selling products, we are selling a service. That means you are investing in people. Generally speaking, the sales guy will not be the person solely responsible for the campaign, it will be handed over to an Account Manager/Campaign Manager. Now, how much access you have to that Account Manager is going to play a HUGE part in how successful the campaign is.
Make sure that the campaign is not being outsourced to any 3rd party company and more importantly, one overseas. This will slow down the process & you are left in the dark about who is responsible for promoting your business. SOME agencies are known to outsource their clients to minimize their overheads and maximize profits. Directly ask the question – Who will be my account manager? where is he/she based? Again, check on LinkedIn for the staff or ask to be introduced before you go ahead with the campaign.
Before you even begin the work to get onto the 1st page of google, you need to make sure you are on the same page as your Account Manager (see what I did there?) Afterall, you will be in a business relationship for a period of time, so you need to have a good understanding of how they operate.
4) WHAT IS THE STRATEGY? AND WHAT KIND OF PERFORMANCE RELATED GUARANTEES DO THEY OFFER?
Regardless of what campaign(s) you decide on running, it is imperative that they are tailored to fulfill your specific requirements. Take SEO as an example, It’s not just a case of choosing 20 or 30 keywords to be on the 1st page of Google, it’s about selecting the ones which are going to drive the right customers to your website or blog etc. Make sure that the Keywords they are suggesting are suitable. Try to put yourself in the customers shoes, would you search the keywords that they have suggested?
Let’s be honest here, as a business Owner Or Marketing Manager, you couldn’t care less how many keywords you have on Page 1 of Google, if they are not driving the customers to your website and generating you a good ROI, they may as well not be there! Same goes for Paid Ads on Google & Social Media. Creating an artistic & engaging Ad is one thing, but you need to ensure that the right audience is seeing your content, otherwise the leads that you generate will be worthless & a waste of valuable investment.
Lastly, let’s say the agent has convinced you that the strategy is bulletproof and your business will destroy the competition!!! How can you be sure that they will deliver? Ask if they provide any performance related guarantees. This way, you will have at least a little peace of mind that you have some leverage over the agency.
I hope the above points are helpful & become useful for future decision making. I’ll conclude this by saying that we are a company that practices what we preach. Are we perfect? Absolutely not! However, we are constantly striving to improve our quality & sustain the relationships with our clients on a long-term basis. So, feel free to get in touch If you would like to find out how we can HELP YOU.
You can connect with me on LinkedIn, drop me a direct message or send me an email on my address below. I’ve also put the link in for our company LinkedIn profile. Check us out!
United SEO LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/united-seo/