The Most Common Online Marketing Scams
You may or may not know a lot about online marketing. There are many companies out there betting that you don't know key pieces of information.
As a full disclosure, these strategies do, sometimes, work for customers but here are a few of the most common things to look out for as a potential client.
Watch for... Only Pay When / If You Rank Services
You only pay for rank. In principle this is a great idea and there are some good companies offering this service, but many companies who use this strategy will take risks or use a very cookie-cutter approach to ranking your site. This is a case of you get what you pay for. If you do decide to go this direction, be sure to do your homework and ask for references or examples of previous clients.
This is only for services offering to work for 'free' to get you ranked and should not be confused with the common practice of performance payments or goals tied to bonuses.
Takeaway: You often get what you pay for with free online marketing.
Watch for... Turn Key Service The Contractor Owns
The marketer will build the site, host it and do everything for you. On paper, this can sound great, but be sure to ask who owns the domain and the website. If you would not be the ultimate owner, you have to ask yourself what you will do if you decide to change services. If they are building a separate site, do they plan to outrank your current site and take that traffic?
Watch for... Changing or Hiding Contract Details
The marketer says one thing and the contract says something very different.
We all make honest mistakes, but be wary if the terms in writing are much more favorable to the marketer than what was discussed.
Humor: Picture Saul from Breaking Bad every time you think of this advice. The marketer only focuses on metrics that have little to do with performance. While it is important to provide transparency, what are 10,000 links worth if they don't bring your site more traffic, or worse they get you slapped by Google?
Watch for... Marketing = Magic
The marketer acts like online marketing is 'voodoo'. While it is good to let the experts do their thing (had to say that), it is also a good idea to educate yourself so that you can provide relevant feedback as a client.
Watch for... Overly Pre-Packaged Solutions
They completely miss the big picture or offer a static package with set deliverables. Marketing online requires technical skill, but you are trying to increase traffic, not buy 2 PR releases, 20 links and 30 social media likes. If you do go with a package deal, be sure that you know it is what you need to meet your actual business goals.
Watch for... Unrealistic Goals
They sell goals that sound unrealistic. This is pretty self-explanatory, but often customers overlook a deal being 'too good to be true' because they like the way the results sound. There are many great opportunities with online marketing, but ranking within a month for $50 or $1 cost-per0conversion in a highly competitive vertical may not be one of them.
As I mentioned above, these do not always lead to disaster, but all too often these are signs that something else should be considered. If you have any questions about whether a company is right for your needs, the solution is simple, just listen to what they are telling you and really consider the implications of each suggestion. This will go a long ways to telling you whether the suggestions are for your benefit or theirs.