I’m appalled, the more I hear from business owners who have been ripped off by marketing agencies. It’s a disgrace.
Thousands of dollars poured down the drain. And for many small business owners, that money has come off a credit card. It’s an uphill battle for them to pay it back.
Advertising has always been a risky business. But today, with digital marketing, it’s more of a Wild West than ever. Things are changing so fast, with so much new jargon and terminology – the average business owner is confused. They don’t have time to keep up with it all.
So, how do you avoid getting fleeced by an unscrupulous digital marketing agency?
The first thing to realise is, there’s really nothing new under the sun. I mean, there’s all this new technology and fancy-sounding marketing tactics. But the fundamental principles of marketing are the same as they have been since the beginning of recorded human history.
You have a product or service to sell. You identify a group of people who want to buy it. You tell them about it. They buy it. Money changes hands.
I realise in the modern world, it’s not quite that simple. There’s a vast choice of options for where to spend your marketing dollars. And the marketing agencies make it seem so complex. They confuse you with jargon and geek speak until your head is spinning.
They say you need to post to social media daily, write blogs and create videos, do SEO, get some Facebook ads running, do Google AdWords.
Get back to basics
Rather than rushing headlong into the latest and greatest marketing methods, which agencies try to sell you – stop for a while and THINK.
You need to answer some basic questions first.
Why should people buy from you, rather than one of your competitors? Until you can answer that question clearly, you will waste your money on any type of advertising. Until you can answer this question, you shouldn’t be spending anything on advertising!
What makes your business unique?
Next, think about all the marketing you have done in the past. What has worked? What hasn’t? If something has worked in the past, it makes sense to do more of it in future.
I’ve yet to see real results generated by people who keep jumping into all things new, the latest and greatest marketing tactics.
This is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make with digital marketing – partly due to pressure from “experts” – trying too many different things at once. AdWords, SEO, Facebook, LinkedIn, content marketing, video. They can all be effective. But it’s easy to spread your marketing dollars too thin and end up with mediocre results.
Master one marketing method first
It’s best to begin with just one digital marketing channel. Master it and maximise the results. Only then, move onto another channel.
If I had to recommend one channel to start with, it would be Google AdWords. The reason is, AdWords is the quickest way to get targeted traffic to your website. You can reach people who are searching on Google for the product or service you are selling.
Google AdWords also provides the acid test for your website. By sending targeted traffic to your site, you quickly find out whether it’s any good at converting those visitors into enquiries and/or sales.
The only thing that matters
The bottom line is, the only way to measure your marketing is by something most marketing agencies rarely talk about. Results! It either works or it doesn’t. Google AdWords works or it does not. Social media works or not. Content marketing works or doesn’t work.
I’ve been in the marketing business too long, seen too many business owners suffering after being ripped off – I can’t in good conscience take someone’s money unless I’m pretty confident I can get them results.
Do I get results 100% of the time? Unfortunately not. But it’s a high percentage. Sometimes there are more fundamental issues in a business that can’t be overcome by marketing alone. Prices can be too high – or too low. The business is selling something people don’t want. There are many reasons why marketing fails.
But if you have a quality product or service, which a large enough group of people want to buy, there’s no reason you can’t get results from your marketing.
Stop and think about what makes your business unique. Think about what has worked in the past and repeat it. Focus on one marketing channel at a time. Keep it simple. Measure results. And if something is not working, drop it fast – despite what any marketing expert tries to tell you!