Red Flags when Hiring
Online Marketing Company
In this episode, we detail the red flags business owners should be aware of when bringing on a digital marketing agency to help grow their business.
Does the agency 'walk the walk'? Do they treat you with an individualized approach - not a cookie-cutter one? Do they make BIG promises that seem to be too good to be true?
Check out this episode for some great insight BEFORE you sign that contract!
Jamie: All right, Adam.
Adam: Hey Jamie.
Adam: Oh man. I can't wait for today's topic. That's right today. We're going to talk about the top red flags when hiring an online marketing agency to come in and help your business grow.
Jamie: I can't tell you how many, it's probably 10 times a week. People contact me about SEO or social media or advertising on their website, whatever it is. And it seems like if they're calling me for an online service, you probably, maybe calling is not the best one.
Adam: Well, I know I get inundated by emails too. I just, yeah, just like you, I get emails. I get phone calls, all that stuff. So it is a, it's a big step when a business decides, okay, the time has come now to bring on experts to help me grow my business. So a lot of times, you know, if you're bootstrapping yourself, you know, you do it yourself as a small business owner, but then as your business grows and grows and grows, you hire staff, you bring on full time staff, but a lot of times hiring on a full time or even a part time person to do the online marketing for your company, doesn't make a lot of sense financially, or even from a technical perspective as well. So I wanted to go through and just give, give some great, I think in my opinion, great tips that we've run into that we've you know, from other of our clients, who've given us some horror stories. So I wanted to go through those with you. What do you think?
Jamie: Sounds good. It's not even Halloween yet.
Adam: Whew. That's not all the way yet. That's true. Okay. First point number one, we want to say what, what always baffles me when I'm looking at an online marketing agency is when they don't walk the walk, right? When they don't have a ton of online reviews for one, how are they going to be selling, you know, online credibility to their clients when they only have one or two, maybe three reviews online? I think that's that's for me, it's it's bewildering, but it's a in our industry, it's common. It's it's the, the last, I guess the last business they work on is their own. And that, that shouldn't be the case. Right. They should definitely walk the walk. Right.
Jamie: About how many reviews would you say is valid?
Adam: I'd say at least 25 30 reviews. It, it, it definitely depends on the market. So what happens is your competitors start getting reviews and then you start going, Oh, I gotta get more reviews than my competitors. So we say basically at least double whatever the competition is, that's what we ask. That's our goal for our clients, double, triple the amount of reviews they have. So that's what we do to in our case, of course, we're, we're, I think 25 times more than our closest competitor, just because we walk the walk. So we want to make sure that our company's SEO is done correctly. You know, when someone searches for our service, we want to show up just like, that's what we say for our clients. We're going to do for them. We want to be doing the same thing for our business or for our agency as well. So if you don't see that that's a red flag, right?
Jamie: Well, yeah. I mean, if they're saying, Hey, we can get you more reviews and they have three reviews and they're all five star, but a three is not a big number.
Adam: At one says they do, they have great cabbage. Then I've seen that one before.
Jamie: What platform are you saying that they should have these reviews on?
Adam: At least at the very least Google Yelp is a fickle mistress for all of us. I know for my marketing, for my agency Yelp, basically any review that I write goes filtered automatically. And then when our clients write reviews that Yelp can figure out that we're all kind of connected, even if they are a client. And then, so those are gone. We stopped. We, we do ask sometimes for reviews for Yelp and, but we definitely push Google much more because Google is the biggest funnel. So the other one I wanted to talk about is if they offer a guarantee, so we're going to guarantee that you're going to get whatever, whatever, whatever. So those low, so that big promise or an combined with that guarantee is something you want to really, really be suspicious of. And I know it sounds like you should be able to guarantee stuff, but guess what?
Jamie: Can't guarantee it.
Adam: I'm not in charge of Google. So Google puts out algorithm changes almost on a monthly basis and when they do it, shakes things up. And as long as we were doing the white hat stuff, we're doing stuff properly that Google wants to see, then we're fine. But that doesn't mean that, you know, for that one or two, or during that shakeup time that you're going to, that changes aren't going to happen. So we can't offer a guarantee, no matter how much I want to, I would love to, but what we can say, well, what an agency should say is, Hey, here's our demonstrated technical expertise. And when these changes do happen with Google or whatever, whatever platform you can trust us, that we know we have to be on top of that number one, and that we're able to pivot and stay on top of it for you. So you don't have to worry about it. So you want to make sure that if somebody is saying, we're going to guarantee such and such, you know, page one of Google, or we're going to guarantee that you're going to be in the three pack, you have to really kind of take that and say, Hm, that's really strange because you can't guarantee that you just can't.
Jamie: Well, I know I get emails all the time, you know, guaranteed top three placement on Google or you know, and then we see tons of them from not in the United States
Adam: As well. Yeah. I get those too. And you know, everyone wants a guarantee. So you're, you, you, as a business owner, you have to realize that guarantees in this industry are the, they're a definitely a red flag. Okay. So next one when you're talking to them, a lot of times agencies will say, Hey, we'll do an audit for you. And then we'll present that audit to, to you. And then we'll go through it for you go through it with you together. So during that audit time, when you've asked them to do that if they, if you're paying for it, you know, you want to make sure that they're able to demonstrate exactly give you examples of exactly what kind of reports you're going to be able to see from them. So those reports are really important because you want to make sure that everything is documented, right?
Adam: The, the, the changes that are going through the changes of your growth, you want to make sure that they're, they're going up, right? You want to see that curve go up. And of course there's going to be ups and downs. Like I said, cause there's algorithm changes, but just understand that, getting an example, showing, asking for examples of the reports that they give their clients, that's a basic thing and they should be able to say, yeah, no problem. Here you go. And that's okay. And they should actually be able to show you a report that they've done for your company. So that way you can see, you know, you can make a, have a baseline of what, what happens before, right? So that way you can see it's going up or not.
Jamie: Does anyone even ask for references anymore?
Adam: Um I don't know about this industry.
Adam: So it's really tough for me to give our client list to a potential client. And the reason is just because of privacy reasons I can't show them, you know, our, the backend of our client's websites or the backend of, you know, their Google, my business listing or whatever. If I don't have permission to do that, I'm not going to do that. So obviously we definitely have lost people because of it. And that's the way it goes. You know, if they want a list of people, of our references that they can call, then I'm saying as a client, I really don't want that client because how can I, they're going to call for example, Jamie, if you're a client, Hey, I'm calling about Adam. Tell me about Adam and Jamie. You're going to say, Oh yeah, awesome. First, you're going to say who this right.
Adam: Local SEO in 10 podcasts, you would think that would be anyway. So I have to balance that as an agency owner who I'm, I can't give my client's information out to some person who I don't know yet, right? The trust has to go both ways. So during this time of you know, demonstrating your technical expertise during that audit presentation, whatever you want to make sure that the person that they're doing everything to build trust with you. So that means they're showing up on time. Like if you have a zoom meeting, if they don't show up on time, big red flag, if they show up on time, but they don't show their face. That's a really weird one. They don't you know, all the basic stuff of being a normal human, you want to see that, right? You want to be able to trust that person.
Adam: I would hope so. I don't understand some people, whatever. Okay. Another one I want to make sure that I don't forget is if they're doing pay per click ads for you like Google or Facebook, they're going to set up a Facebook account for an ads account or a Google ads account. You want to make sure that you have owner access to that. So that means you're not just shown screenshots of stuff during, you want to be very, very much involved or have open access to all of those accounts. So I've seen age agencies who don't do that. And the reason they do that is so when the, when the contract is canceled by, by all data that they just spent the last six or 10, 12 months gathering for you, that all goes with them. And as the owner, I believe anyway, in my opinion, that's your information.
Adam: You, you spent the money to collect it, right. But I've seen plenty of agencies who say, Nope, it's in the contract. That's ours by. So that's a red flag for me. That that transparency thing is really important in doing business. I think it sounds like job security there. Yes, it does. So that's why I, I that's it. I don't want to shackle down our clients or anything like that. I think that's silly. So that for me is a red flag. You know, there, there might be, you might be fine with that as a, or you just might not know. So if you're a business owner and you're listening to this episode, that's kind of the, you can see that the culture of the agency that you're going with, right. If they're not willing to be on time, if they have slow response times, if they're not willing to give you access and they don't walk the walk for their business, then you probably want to go onto the next one.
Jamie: I would say at least half of the ones that approach me just have a Gmail email address.
Adam: Yeah. And I I'll tell you why they do that is because it's easy to do a farming system and email farm system using Gmail and that's so I can give 10 people access to that. And so I can give different people stages of that email that email sequence GMLs easiest. It's generally just one person. It's just, anyway, it's just one part, one solo guy. So, well, it looks like one person, but it could be you know, anyway, I I'm, I'm well aware of the the email systems that are out there that they send thousands and thousands of emails every day. So that's why both of us probably have gotten the same email from the same person many times. I mean, it just cause, you know, that's the way it is. It's a numbers game, right? That's all that the email stuff is.
Jamie: Number sure. This, you could keep on going with all the different red flags, but I think there's some really good information.
Adam: Good. Thank you. I think so, too.
Jamie: All right. Anything else you want to share?
Adam: That's all for today.
Jamie: Very good. So please make sure to share this podcast with your business. If people have been bombarded with emails, text messages now, and phone calls, this would be a great way to help them out to make sure that they do get a online marketing agency that is working in their interests. So make sure to rate and review this podcast too. So, thanks very much.