If you were being scammed by your digital marketing agency, would you even know?

are you being scammed

We recently took over the digital marketing efforts for a business phone systems company who had been using another agency for their website maintenance, content creation, and social media marketing. While in the process of transferring their properties to our management we uncovered more than a few unpleasant – *cough* unethical – surprises.

Our new clients complained it took over a month to make small text changes to the site. This agency purchased about 1,000 fake Facebook likes, created and managed social media profiles without the company’s knowledge, and then sent unintelligible reports at the end of each month to chart their progress.

The best (worst) part of it all: when asked for the login credentials to the website and social profiles to transfer ownership, this agency took all the content offline and demanded thousands of dollars to have it put back up.

We’d like to say this is an isolated story, and these types of shady, and often times illegal, business practices are rare. That’s just not the case.

One agency took a client of ours (before they were a client) from the top spot in the Google search results to completely off the radar using black hat SEO techniques.

Another agency told our client his SEO expert had 25 years of SEO experience…which would put him at Stanford in the late 90s…helping invent Google.

The bottom line is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Developing the right marketing strategy requires quite a bit of knowlege, but even just choosing the right agency to help requires some knowledge of the industry.

We want to help. Here’s a list of some of the major red flags that should alert you if you’re being scammed by a digital marketing agency:

  1. Your access is limited. If you’re not given the highest levels of access to your own properties – website, social media – you’re dealing with a company that has something to hide. You own all the content on your website: the text, images, and videos, even if someone else designed it, wrote it, and built it on your behalf.
  2. Promises of Instant success. Want a 10,000% increase in Facebook likes and web visits by tomorrow?! Sound too good to be true? It likely is.
  3. Too much tech talk, too fast, too often. Sure, you’re dealing with industry experts and your knowledge may be entry level, but if every question you ask leads you deeper down a rabbit’s hole of industry jargon, experience tells us you’re being intentionally kept in the dark. Follow Warren Buffet’s rule of thumb and don’t invest in something you couldn’t explain to someone else.
  4. Too little real data. The first step to getting real data should be establishing the most important metrics to success. A good agency should help you establish those. If you’ve never determined what measures wins for your business, or you have and you just never see the measurements, you’re not getting the most for your money.
    Printing off a Google Analytics page doesn’t count, either. You should know what you’re looking at, and know what you’re looking for when you get your monthly metrics.

Should you get an outside opinion on your current digital marketing efforts?