Digital Marketing Scams

Avoid Digital Marketing ScamsStarting the search for a reputable digital marketing agency? It’s quick to realize there are hundreds available, and all are vying for your business–regardless if they are proven or not.

Many businesses–especially small- to medium-businesses–still carry the proverbial bad taste for digital marketing firms. Why? Poor results from what they had used in the past for either SEO, paid search, web development or reputation management. LSEO deals with these types everyday, and it takes much to prove there are some seriously reputable types out there.

But before we go any further, let’s have one quick word up front—if an agency guarantees a number-one position in Google move on. This is an impossible claim, as are those who promise the quality of the 80,000 Instagram followers for $200 or the content produced by a third-world country for $5 an article.

For many, it makes absolute sense to either outsource all or some of their digital marketing needs. Some of our current clients either fully outsource, or use us for select products, such as an intense SEO campaign, content marketing, or a product we specialize in, SEO PR.

To avoid dealing with incompetent companies or losing money, you must be on the look out. With that said, here are five things to guide when hiring a digital marketing agency.

Simple Research

Start easily; Google the agency and analyze the company’s online presence. Does its website truly represent the brand and products? How is the SEO? See any paid search ads? And while searching for other keywords for that digital marketing agency, such as “local SEO” or “Content Creation,” does the company pop up in Google AdSense ads?

Also, make sure to search the agency’s name with others like “Fraud” or “Scam” to make sure they have a clean profile.

Once you find an agency, reach out via contact information from its site, whether that’s a contact form or a number. How long did it take for a response? Once in contact, ask many questions about not only the services you are inquiring about, but also if the agency outsources (White labels) any services to others.

Credibility? Past/Current Clients? Publications?

Credibility means much, and this can be quickly established by things like awards and personal brands of those on leadership/executive teams. Dig deeply into this. Most agencies will have its awards and team accomplishments listed up front; look for this, and if it’s not displayed and you’re interested, ask for this info.

Find out what clients they have or currently work with, and research them. We have prospective clients ask to speak with some of our current clients, either through email or via phone. This should not be a problem for established marketing agencies, and provides the ultimate solution for credibility.

How about third-party publications? Any mentioned? One of LSEO’s strongest lead formation mediums are publications where we were mentioned or we wrote for, such as Forbes.

For e.g., our CEO Kris Jones has nearly two decades of digital marketing experience, and has established his brand—and LSEO’s brand—through the nearly 200 thought leadership articles he has authored across publications like Forbes, Inc. , Huffington Post, etc.

The stronger each member’s personal brand, the stronger the overall agency will be; keep a look out for credibility.

Objecting Reporting

Say the above points all went smoothly, and you’ve finally deciding on a reputable agency. The next step is to ask about reporting. For example, if you were requesting SEO services, you should expect at the very least a monthly report of data that includes both paid and organic traffic, referrals, mobile visitors, top landing pages, etc.

Having objective data is the most solid way to prevent a digital marketing agency from scamming; don’t just ask, demand it before any proposal is considered.

Leave Yourself an Out

All contracts should not only have scope of price and responsibilities, but also timelines. Make sure there is contractual language that states if deliverables aren’t completed on time, you have an out without losing money. There should be no missed deadlines or overspending on paid search campaigns such as those from Google AdWords Facebook.

Remember—there are hundreds of digital marketing agencies out there, but be weary of the numerous sour ones. Follow these four simple tips, and you’ll be sure to find a reputable one.

About the Author:

With over a decade of experience in business leadership and creating traditional content for an online voice, which includes ghost writing for major publications, Ron Lieback is the Head of Content Marketing at LSEO. If you’d like to get published on major publications like Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, and AMEX OPEN, contact us below.