For 10 years I have seen businesses thrive and businesses die from what they do online and a lot of it comes down to the online marketing company they hired.
Here’s what you should watch out for when hiring an online marketing agency. I hope this guide will help you because the odds are not in your favor.
But first, a small disclaimer. There are such things as bad products and services. Even though a marketing company does everything right, not all products and services are equal.
A good online marketing company is not going to save a tanking business. If you have internal issues or no budget, an online marketing company is not going to save you. It doesn’t work that way.
There are always exceptions but this guide is going to point you in the right direction.
But first, let’s answer this question.
Why hire an online marketing company in the first place?
There are a lot of reasons:
- More customers
- Build trust with future clients
- Increase sales
- Increase traffic
- Build influence
Does all of this happen overnight? No, it does not. Online marketing is extremely competitive and takes time, money, expertise, and patience.
Whether big or small, all companies need to have an online presence. If someone is going to buy your product or service they need to be able to look into your company and see some type of online presence.
We created a simple lead gen campaign for a body sculpting company. We were able to generate leads and free consultations at an excellent price, but there was one problem: our leads were setting up consultations and not showing up. Why were we losing them?
Because we were just doing a lead gen campaign. There was no nurturing campaigns, no remarketing, no followup, and no case studies. The company needed a full marketing campaign.
It builds trust.
Once you have established the fact that you do need to be online, the next question is…
Do you hire an in-house marketing team or do you hire an outside agency?
Hiring an in-house agency is a really good choice if you yourself know enough about online marketing. That way, you can manage a team and track the numbers.
But this is usually not the case.
What I have seen companies do is hire interns or hire a low wage employee that does not know what they are doing.
It’s not fair for new hires but they are expected to learn about online marketing and run a successful campaign without ever learning the basics.
You may have done this already.
We love competing against these types of companies. By the time the new hires learn enough to be dangerous, they have moved onto another company. Or they abandon their plans too quickly because they get pressure from above.
Plus, most of the hires just want a paycheck. Their performance is not tracked because nobody knows what they should be tracking.
If you want to compete you need to have good players.
A larger established business is in a little different situation. They can afford to hire the best. Bringing everything in-house could be a good solution. They’re the best suited to hire a full online marketing team and pay for their expertise.
Some of the most successful campaigns have come from in-house marketing teams being directed by a legit online marketer.
Doing this may not be in your budget. A team could cost hundreds of thousands a year, if not millions.
Big companies may find it to be more beneficial to hire an outside agency to train and run your campaigns.
At least until the in-house team gets caught up to speed.
Which brings us back to the start.
What things should you look out for when hiring a digital marketing agency?
Let’s get started.
The 5 Online Marketing Agencies to Watch Out For
1. Fooled By The Lowest Price And Size Of Company. (DexYP, network solutions, yellow pages, radio stations, etc.)
These agencies are a dime a dozen. They pitch a $300+ a month package to get you to page one of Google. The salesman’s job is to get you to pay as much as possible and stick you in a long-term contract. I have seen some of these contracts go as high as $9,000 a month.
A lot of dentists, plumbers, HVAC companies, and small local businesses get pulled into these contracts.
You may be in one now.
The price is attractive, but don’t be fooled.
Companies like DexYP, Dex Media, Network Solutions, YP are the exact opposite of what you want.
Think about it…
Who do they hire to manage your account? How many clients does that new hire take on?
My first hire was a young college kid that turned out to be a rock star. She loved online marketing. After 2 years she moved away and was hired by a company called Fusion.
She called me to ask a couple of questions about a client. I asked her, “How many clients are you handling?”
89 was the answer.
She said it was a total mess and she felt bad. But it was her job to try and keep them on as long as possible.
How can any one person handle 89 clients? Online marketing takes time and expertise. If your account is only getting 2 hours a month you will never make progress.
Here’s how these companies do it.
They have a client relationship manager (title may be different) that is in charge of talking with the client. Their job is to do everything possible to keep the client on board. If you go to cancel they will remind you that you have a contract that cannot be broken.
There will be a couple of weeks where they focus on your account until the next person complains.
When something on the campaign needs to be changed they will have the PPC person make the change. Who is that guy?
You don’t know. And you have no idea how many clients or accounts he is managing. It’s a terrible system.
Every marketing campaign requires quality time.
I think you can see the problem.
Better yet, just go read the reviews of these companies. Minus out the fake reviews and you should get a good idea of who you are hiring.
Just a word of caution on bad reviews. A few bad reviews are not a problem. Online marketing does not have a 100% success rate. 60% of businesses are going to succeed which leaves 40% disgruntled businesses.
So bad reviews happen.
The warning signs should go off when you see a consistency of bad reviews and mad businesses on complaint boards.
Paying the least amount possible is a great idea. I am all about bargain shopping, but you have to pay to play.
No legit marketing company is going to do what is necessary for $500 a month.
2. Fooled By The Lack Of Transparency. (Mystery Agency Where Everything Is Hidden And Secret)
Lack of transparency is one of my biggest issues with Online Marketing Agencies and it should be a big concern of yours.
You should have access to all the numbers and accounts behind your business. There should be a total transparency. If you want to see it, they should show it.
Why wouldn’t they?
Most do not want you to see how much money is actually going into their pocket vs how much is being spent on ads.
They will also try to hold you hostage, if you leave them.
Any marketing company that really cares about transparency gives clients full access to all accounts. It’s your business and you are paying money.
A word of warning. Don’t let these marketing agencies put your assets in their name and make sure they drive traffic to your website not some landing page that they create.
I am amazed at how many businesses turn over their domain names, website, Google Ads, and channels over to these agencies.
If you try to leave them, you will have a hard time getting everything back.
3. Fooled By Shiny Objects And Promises
Getting on page one of Google is not easy. Optimizing a Google ad campaign is hard. Creating quality content that people love takes a lot of time.
With online marketing…nothing is guaranteed and everything is a battle.
Marketing agencies that make crazy promises about how successful your online marketing campaign will be should be avoided.
How long does a good SEO campaign take? 6 Months to 2 years is a good time frame.
How long does it take to optimize a PPC campaign? Months.
There are exceptions. I don’t want to scare you away from Online Marketing. You can get customers quickly through ads.
Some businesses just need a few simple adjustments to start generating traffic and sales. Others need a full overhaul of everything.
Case in point.
A couple months back we took on a plumbing business. They had 3 different websites being run by 3 different marketing people.
One of the agencies (it’s a popular one) took their original website and placed it on their platform. They had years worth of awesome content that ended up being duplicated on a different website.
It was a total mess.
The 3rd agency was running their PPC campaign which was using another website for PPC. This agency didn’t even find out we switched the website for 3 months.
The account had not been checked in 3 months.
Don’t be fooled.
4. Fooled By The Agency That Doesn’t Practice What They Preach
This has to be one of the number one things to consider when hiring an agency. Do they themselves have a good online marketing campaign?
Do they have a good blog? Do they have a followup email sequence in place? Are they running ads? Do they eat their own dog food?
We have a couple of online marketing companies in my town that create sales through cold calling. They have no idea how to generate leads online. So they cold call the business and sell them on their online marketing packages.
Do you see the problem?
If an agency had a junky website and a terrible social media campaign, what makes you think they can do better with yours?
Why hire an agency for SEO help if that agency doesn’t seem to have their own SEO figured out?
If that agency cannot even get themselves positioning for their own organic phrases, then do you really think they’re going to be able to help you do so?
Be careful. Do a simple check and see what the online marketing agency is doing for themselves.
5. Fooled by Family, Friends, And Buddies
We have all heard this one.
The family’s neighborhood friend learned some coding and they are now in control of your digital marketing campaign.
I was in meeting with some attorneys last month that said this…
“My father-in-law likes to build websites and we have been waiting for him to build ours.”
Building a site and marketing a website go hand in hand. Once your family or friend builds your website then what?
One of the worst episodes I have seen was a couple of years back when I presented to a company that had their friend running their marketing.
He was charging them $15,000 a month and not doing the work. How did we know this?
The PPC account, emails, and campaigns had not been touched in weeks. The “friend” had been enjoying a monthly income without doing much work.
It’s good to hire family, friends or neighbors as long as they do marketing for a living.
Here are some of the questions you should ask when hiring a digital marketing agency.
- Do you have case studies?
- Do you have digital marketing for your own company?
- Do you track everything in Analytics?
- What failures have you experienced and why did the campaigns fail?
- Do I have full access to all accounts?
- Do I own the accounts when I quit using you?
- Do you use Google Webmaster Tools and follow their guidelines?
- How long will it take to see results? (run if they say a couple weeks).
- Will I be able to see actual spend within AdWords?
- How do you measure ROI?
- Do you take my calls and are you available when I need you?
I hope this helps. Just be careful because digital marketing is war and you want to have the best. Don’t go into battle with mediocre. It’s not worth it and you will lose a lot of time and money.
Time that you cannot get back and money that could have been spent the right way.
Not all digital marketing campaigns are going to be successful. The key is, to hire a company that gives you the best chance to win.
I Love Podcasts and I have been listening to some of the top Marketing Podcasts over the past 12 months. It’s kind of crazy that we can learn from the best minds in our industry all for free.
I am always preaching that people should skip college, listen to Podcast and watch YouTube Videos. You will learn more. It’s a great habit to get into especially if you are running a business. Podcasts can keep you focused and inspire you to keep moving. Plus it’s fun listening and learning about the struggles, challenges, triumphs, and successes that others are going through.
So here are…
The Top 10 Marketing Podcasts that are worth your time.
They’re in no particular order.
1. The Top by Nathan Latka (The Top Entrepreneurs in Money, Marketing, Business, and Life).
This podcast is awesome because Nathan doesn’t mess around. In business, there can be lot of fluff. People tend to beat around the bush but Nathan keeps them in line.
If you want to listen to all different types of Entrepreneurs in all different stages of their businesses, then The Top Podcast is for you.
Kudos to Nathan Latka for being consistent and providing us with great information.
The Art of Paid Traffic is jam-packed with great information on Facebook ads, Video ads, and other traffic avenues.
Last week on episode 92, I was able to apply the podcast to my business. The episode was all about how to increase your Facebook Video Ad Results.
Perpetual Traffic is a weekly podcast produced by Digital Marketer and hosted by Keith Krance, Ralph Burns (Dominate Web Media), & Molly Pittman (Digital Marketer).
Obviously Digital Marketer has spent Millions on Facebook advertising so they know their stuff. They provide some great value and are well worth your time.
Growth Everywhere is a lot like The Top. Eric interviews all types of Entrepreneurs. They give you a lot of little tips you can apply to your business. I also like the fact that Eric interviews people who are just starting out.
I am just getting into this Podcast. Basically, Conversion Cast is the only podcast that gets to the heart of the metrics. At least that’s what the description says.
I will be the judge once I listen to a few more episodes, but so far so good. They are short and sweet.
Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek. Many of you already know who Tim Ferriss is.
Tim is one of the only guy that can keep you entertained for 3 hours on one Episode.
The Social Media Marketing podcast is hit-or-miss for me. They have some good content, but I have to pick and choose what I want to listen to. They hit almost every social media avenue, so it’s a great start if you are looking to get an overall view of all things Social Media.
If you are running a SaaS business you have to listen to this Podcast. Jason Lemkin is all about getting you from $0 to 100m Annual Recurring Revenue. (ARR) It is jammed packed with ideas and great interviews.
If you have no idea what SaaS stands for, get in line. I probably heard this term for 2 years before I even knew what the word meant. SaaS stands for Software as a Service. Now doesn’t that feel better?
I actually ran into this Podcast while listening to music. Their commercials kept interrupting me so, I decided I would check it out.
Startup is the real story behind creating a business. Their format is amazing and very entertaining. The Gimlet staffs are storytellers and the production of each episode takes a lot of work.
You will know what I mean when you listen to an episode or two.
I live and breath Video Marketing so of course I am going to listen to a Podcast that is all about Video Marketing. I am a going to on an episode or two in the coming weeks.
Those are my top 10 marketing podcasts but I also listen to a couple of others that I am going to mention. You might like the honorable mentions better then my top 10.
I love marketing by Joe Polish and Dean Jackson
Anti-Preneur by Ben Settle
Marketing In Your Car by Russell Brunson
Self Made Man by Mike Dillard
The way to get the most out of Podcasts is to actually apply what they’re saying to your business. You’re better served by doing what they say, not just listening.
I like to listen to an episode, take action notes, and then apply those notes.
Good luck I hope you enjoy my Top 10 Marketing Podcasts now go listen and apply.
Your email campaign should be a major deal to you, and here’s why.
There are a few things here at Yinc that we deem pretty darn important. And one of them is your email campaign. Oh, you don’t have an email campaign? Then what are you doing with yourself?! Haven’t you ever heard the saying, “The money is in the list?” Because it is.
Your site should have a few forms on it. Something like a general form for visitors to get into contact with someone at your company (probably located on your “contact” page). And you probably should have one somewhere else that allows people to subscribe to your newsletter, or give their email address for some awesome offer. You always want to offer something to your customers in return for their information. This is how you will capture emails for your email campaign.
If you’re a health or fitness company, allow site visitors to download some recipes and boom! You’ve got an email. Maybe you have totally awesome guides that help people accomplish something. Allow them to download these completely free as long as they give their email. Or just give them an option to subscribe to your monthly/weekly/daily newsletters. But let them know you are going to give some good information in these emails, something of value. Make sure they are excited to sign up for what you can offer.
And then make it worth it!
By creating an awesome email campaign. I know, I know, you probably delete the majority of emails you sign up for without ever opening them. You’re probably thinking, I never open emails so why should I waste time creating emails that people aren’t going to read?
That’s when your subject line comes in! If you create an amazing subject line, people are going to want to open them up and read them. It’s the same with writing headlines. If you create a gripping ad headline, people are going to want to click on it…so create a gripping subject line and get those people clicking!
You can read our post about headlines to learn how to write some awesome ones.
Here’s a little bit of information that we’ve learned about subject lines and what gets opened and what gets tossed.
Bad words to not use in your subject line:
- Discount -38.8%
- Trial -45.6%
- Learn -35.5%
- Report -23.7%
- News -34.8%
- Even the word “free” gets a -3%
Some good words to use in your subject line:
- Weirdly enough “free delivery” gets a 50.5% opening rating
- Alerts 38.1%
- Sales 23.2%
- Breaking 35.4%
- Review 37.1%
- Limited 28.7%
If someone is signing up for you list, it’s usually because they want information that you can provide or are hoping for deals or exclusive information. So start with great content right out of the gate, and they will want to open every email from you that comes into their inbox.
So what should your email campaign contain?
It really depends upon your demographic, but you’ve probably heard our rant about the 4 happy chemicals and the one sad one inside your brain. If not, go read it, it’s fantastic and a real insight into how we make decisions as people. Basically you’ve got to get these people craving something right off the bat. Right in that subject line. Make it something they can’t pass up. Think about what gets you reading articles that pop up on your social media? What entices you? Then replicate it. Get your readers dopamine going.
Now for the good stuff, the meat and potatoes of the email.
We like to write our email campaigns like you would a movie. The introduction (headline) the pain, peril, and problem, then the solution, and then a call to action at the end.
So, what need are you going to fill for your clients? What can you offer them that helps their lives? What are they stressed about right now? Get their cortisol flowing so they feel a little tense.
Then hit them with the solution. How you can relieve that stress from their lives. Make them feel okay again, that you have a solution for them. And then end your email with a strong call to action.
But be careful, you want to sell your audience without them realizing you are selling them. Because no one wants to be sold to.
Make your emails fun and funny for your reader, but make sure they have a point and your reader knows what that is.
We really enjoy throwing in what we call a “Seinfeld Story.” Seinfeld is a whole show based around nothing. So throw in an email that’s about nothing. Write about what you did today, or some other mundane story. Make sure it’s still fun and entertaining, but make sure it’s also not a sales pitch. We like to add this one in around email 4 or 5. Which brings me to my next point…
How often should you send out emails?
We go off the Fibonacci sequence. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and then we like them to go out once a week. If you can’t do once a week, link your service (Infusionsoft, MailChimp, Aweber, etc) to your blog, so that your blogs will be sent out. Either way let your clients know that you’re still around.
And then when you have a new product or service, or maybe it’s sale season, send out a separate email giving discount codes or exclusive offers.
Just remember, the money is in the list, so work it baby, work it!
As many of you know I have 6 wonderful kids that keep me pretty busy.
Two weeks ago Camdyn (2) and Taya (4) discovered Taylor Swift. So I have spent the last 336 hours listening to “Blank Space” and “Shake it off” over and over again.
Normally this would drive a Dad crazy, but I am all for it. I love Taylor Swift and her lyrics are amazing. There is nothing better than cruising around in a Mini Van, stereo blasting, listening to two little girls fumble through the lyrics of a song. That is what I call happiness!
Taylor Swift was the 2nd highest paid Female Musician last year bringing in close to $64 Million. Why is that?
Answer: She has created what I like to call the “Attractive Character”
Think about it. Her songs relate to her audience. Taylor writes or co-writes every song on all of her albums and most come from her personal experiences.
People love Taylor because they see themselves.
“A key line in the song (Blank Space) “Ain’t it funny rumors fly, And I know you heard about me,” gives us a glimpse into what it’s like to be miss Swift, but it’s also very relatable to the average person. Many of us have heard things about others and ourselves that aren’t true. The art of a Taylor Swift song comes from being able to take personal experiences and having them translate into the lives of millions of other people. This is the reason Swift can still sell over a million copies of her album the first week and why all of her concerts sell out. She knows how to connect to people’s emotions.”
When it comes to building a business, writing emails, creating scripts, or interactive with our audience we need to create an “Attractive Character.”
A character that relates to our customers.
- Apple = Steve Jobs
- Oracle = Larry Ellison
- Disney = Walt Disney
Obviously, when building an attractive character you open yourself up to push back and criticism. That is just the way it is.
You will be tempted to return to your old ways of corporate talk and bore the heck out of your audience. A good indicated of progress could often times come in the form of criticism.
Two weeks ago I sent out an email about my cleaning lady stealing my wife’s camera. It was a great way to introduce our new watercolor videos, but I still get one or two emails where people seem to take offense no matter what I say.
Here’s a response from XXXX XXXX
“No good deed goes unpunished” huh? What a lovely message. Well let me encourage you that I find your email less than a good deed. In fact I found it insulting as the introduction was unnecessary and placed an unbalanced, negative light upon an almost universal spiritual message of giving – whether it is returned and appreciated or not.
So you may be encouraged to find that bad deeds don’t go unpunished either as I have no intention of rewarding such behavior by patronizing your business. How’s that for balance.” XXXX XXXX
Crazy, right? Who is this guy.
I know, I know, I am confused just like the rest of you… Who doesn’t love my emails?
Criticism and push back can be a great indicator that you are heading in the right direction.
Although I get some negative response, they don’t even compare to all the positive ones.
So do not be afraid to go out there and write about you, your experience, your triumphs and failures.
In the coming weeks I will try and do the same, I will share with you guys:
How I lost a million dollars in one day.
How $60,000 cold hard cash show up at my office in a Fedex package (You’re not going to believe where the money came from).
How I gained a net worth of 8 million by age 27 and lost it all by age 28.
How we made $400,000 in one day all because of a simple mistake.
The list goes on. I share these things, in hopes that I can help some business owner improve their business in one-way or another.
I am just like most of you. I am out their searching for my tribe…
We all want to find our tribe.
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. … Tribes need leadership. Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more. People want connection and growth and something new. They want change…you can’t have a tribe without a leader – and you can’t be a leader without a tribe.” Seth Godin
You know how last week I mentioned that I was going to deliver on the 13 online marketing strategies every companies needs, well this one ties into all of them…
When you are creating your email sequence, blogs, videos, etc. You will want to make sure you are relating to people and you do this through creating the “Attractive Character.”
Someone whom people relate to.
Attractive Character = You
Here is simple PDF that will help you create the “Attractive Character.” I got this from Russell Brunson.
Attractive Character PDF
I will leave you with another quote by Seth Godin
“If you’re remarkable, then it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise — ever.
The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.
Playing it safe. Following the rules. They seem like the best ways to avoid failure. Alas, that pattern is awfully dangerous. The current marketing “rules” will ultimately lead to failure. In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
P.S. I am going to be sending out another email on YouTube Marketing. You are now able to create annotation that will link out to a website.
I will explain in the next email.
Lead Gen, Business Marketing Or Advertising? You Need This!