I’ve heard many stories of business owners being promised great results and ROI for work performed on their websites. The same people who have been fooled are from an older generation and less familiar with the internet. It says something about the types of businesses likely to fall prey to baseless promises; a marketing company knows when the client is clueless and won’t know any better. The company discussed here is owned by a 66 year old gentleman who was excited about 100 visitors to his website that didn’t result in sales, but was costing him $2000/month.
You can’t fall victim to anyone’s nonsense if you do your homework. Don’t take promises at face value and ask for reports to back up claims. If your marketing company gives you the run around and can’t support their claims, they are intentionally keeping you in the dark. It’s time to find a new marketing company.
You know what you’re looking for when you hire a new employee. You’ve figured out all the b.s. applicants make up over the years and have learned to ask the kind of questions that indicate whether or not your potential employee is qualified. You check references, look over portfolios, etc. If you can be as thorough with the marketing company you hire, you’ll be more confident that you’ll get results.
If the marketing company is not giving you a report on your traffic, you should be accessing it yourself. They can still tap into the information they need if you grant them access to a designated email address they provide. You should have control over your Google Analytics and Webmaster tools accounts. Familiarize yourself with the amount of traffic you have before the company starts, what your main keywords are and where your rankings stand. It doesn’t mean anything when someone promises to get your site on page 1 in Google. If the keyword has very low competition, that’s not a grand accomplishment. It’s something that should happen if the content is good on your site and you have a few quality links to the target page. If the keywords are highly competitive, they are not a good starting point.
You should know which tasks the marketing company plans to complete each month. Comparison shop and don’t aim for the cheapest company. Cheapest is usually overseas and your work may be misspelled, spammy, inaccurate or worse.
Marketing companies might control your on-site content, handle your social networking accounts, perform on and offsite analysis, tracking and optimization, but if you don’t know what to expect, you have no way of judging whether or not they’re doing a good job, let alone doing anything.
There are different specialties within the field. Most programmers don’t understand SEO. Graphic designers don’t care about the content. It’s difficult to find one person who knows it all, unless you find a company with specialists in each area. A company that does a great job of adding content may not be paying any attention to the duplication of the home page, the www vs. non-www version of all the pages, excessive on-page links, etc. as I’ve found to be the case with the above mentioned company.
Play it safe – be skeptical, ask questions, and by all means, if it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.
Theresa Happe works with Buy Domains where you’ll find available domain names for any type of online business.