What should you look out for when choosing a marketing agency.

I have come across too many clients lately who have invested large sums of money with slick presented marketing companies and got very little if anything except more invoices in return. This frustrates the hell out of me because I know the work that goes into a mid to highly successful campaign.

So I’m going to give you my top suggestions to reduce the risk of that happening to you or a business owner that you know is looking for a digital marketing agency.

1. Don’t sign a long term contract. In my mind this means 12 months or more. You need to able to exit any arrangement if it’s not working for your business. At a minimum have a 20 day cooling off period from date of signing any contract.

2. Get promises made during sales calls in writing. It’s really common for companies to promise everything on a call but unless it’s in writing you have no come back if they fail to deliver. They get busy in the sales cycle and often delivery gets left out of the actual delivery of service.

3. Look at how they approach you as a client. If they cold call you or use different marketing methods to what they are recommending to you then be cautious. If the method works well they should practice what they preach. Practice what you preach is a true signal of good business.

Image: Does the agency even have an office where they say they do on their website?

4. Avoid any company who tries to sell you a specific thing without taking time to understand your business and dream clients. So many people try and sell Facebook Ads or SEO and the reality is that may not be right for your business or it may not be the greatest opportunity to generate sales compared to other ones. These ad platforms are great but they just don’t work for some businesses.

5. Seek some form of performance commitment. Many companies will baulk at this but the reality is you are investing your dollars and they should be getting a return. If they aren’t getting you a return they should be doing something to make good. When you use a freelancer platform like UpWork you can set milestones for payment instalments you could try to go down this road.

6. Ask them who their marketing mentors are. If they are going to be writing ads ask who their favourite copywriters are. If they can’t answer or provide any specifics walk away. How do they stay current with trends and platform changes? most agencies will stutter at this question, no one fact checks them.

7. Trust your instincts. After you do your research you should have a feeling as to who is right to work with. More often than now trusting you gut instinct is a good policy. If it tells you that one companies promises seem too good to be true then they probably are.

if you’re not sure about something get a second opinion from someone you trust. I hope this gives you some good insights into navigating what can sometimes seem like the ‘Wild West’

Working With The Wrong People

When doing some design modifications and just couldnt get a look and feel I liked so I  was hiring a UX specialist to clean one of my design up and enhance the flow of the navigation to be a smoother customer journey and found a girl that was perfect ….on paper. I spoke with her about the job and she said she could do it but the conditions were not flexible at all.

Condition 1: She needs 14days even though we agreed that 7 days would be enough time to design test and implement. I asked why she said she needed 14 days, I asked why and she changed the conversation focus. This is alarming already and we have only had 1 call.

I expect to have at least another 3-5 calls with this specialist to get the project right. Red flag 1.

Condition 2: She wont accept online payments, no PayPal, Stripe nothing onine not even bank transfer she wants cash money. Red Flag 2.

Condition 3: She wants full control over all colours used for the design. To a degree this is ok but not if it screws with the style guide or branding. Yep, she went straight for the exact opposite colours that work against the branding. WTF man. Red flag 3.

Contractors/service these days that will not invest in SIMPLE ways to make their lives easier (square, venmo, ANYTHING to take a credit card) deserve to go bankrupt.

If the person will not take 2 seconds to make your customers lives significantly easier, imagine what a crappy job they will do when it requires them to actually invest effort.

Hiring A Marketing Agency or Freelancer

Here are some red flags to watch out for.

Social Media Marketing

Likes and follows don’t grow businesses, and paying for them is even worse. Any first mover advantage gained by being on a platform is erased in a year or so there may be a small benefit but it doesn’t last. Don’t spend time trying to replicate the “gurus” or famous people. They are trying to grow in a completely different vertical thats built on social status and nothing like your audience. 

Social Media in General

Social media is not a reliable enough lead source. Trying to get famous online while building a real business is not smart focus. Vlogging, Facebook lives and other random spur of the moment posting can detract from your brand and show people a side they don’t want to see. Yes it can add a hundred followers or email subscribers but will those people turn into customers? I say not.

Not Being Technical Enough To Answer Questions

They always need to consult someone in tech or someone at the office. If they really can help you they should know the minimum of what they are trying to sell. If you encounter this type of behaviour they would in most cases have an offshore team that handle all the strategy and technical work. I urge you to reconsider this type of deal as how can this person properly brief the next person if they themselves dont actually know how to do it, or even worse how do they quality assess that work coming back from the offshore worker. Thats a big question mark from me.

Trying to Upsell Everything At Once

If you sell a lawn mower, don’t try to get awareness on 9 platforms and then sell the lawn mower. Get really fucking good at attracting one type of person that buys a lawn mower and sell them a fucking lawn mower.

My advice on social media services, 

It’s been a rough realisation because while I’ve managed to build a some really awesome businesses I’ve wasted to much time also playing the “social media” fame game. I’ll tell you straight up, its by far the most unprofitable thing I do.  I can see the problem with the disjointed connection between you and the audience now, you should to. Avoid posting  pictures of yourself with quotes and motivational videos unless it helps target something you actually sell or promote, stop your wasting time on your podcast unless you are actively promoting it with paid ads that will help grow your following and stop trying to grow your FB likes to seem important it doesnt impact your business. Just focus on dominating your competition by getting and serving customers better than they can. Really dial in your USP.

What Are Some Positive Signs To Look For

The real industry guns are out there being all quiet and reserved on social media because they deliver such good results they are stalked and hounded by competitors and wanna bee’s they don’t watch TV. They don’t drink. They don’t pay attention to anything except their business and personal life. They don’t waste time worrying about what others think or try to be flashy. Their focus is on the end goal, but they should also not be robots and have some personality 🙂

The best marketers focus on one business, one community, and one or two ways of growing it, and then they just do that. Over and over and over and over. Then no one can beat them at it because its all they do.

95% of my income comes from my ads and my ability to turn the customers that come in from those ads into customers. Yet I’ve split 50% of my time trying to build up the “snowball” on social media. The result is half cut results in both. You can’t have it all.

In Summary

After watching/learning from Sam Ovens (I’d truly suggest you go watch his Youtube vids and listen really hard, its a lot of ugly real truth on real entrepreneurship) the past few weeks it’s become so painfully obvious that the people with awesome social media presence, 98% of the time are not the people with the best numbers or even any talent. They are dancing clowns. It’s all just smoke n mirrors to cover up that they can’t actually build real businesses and should be avoided, not copied or looked up too. In fact I’ve realized its a total fucking waste of time UNLESS your entire focus is social media to gain customers (logan paul/kylie jenner etc). If its not, fuck it turn it off and ignore.

The fact that Russel Brunson can post a vid (a true 9 figure champion) that gets 3000 views and some “guru” with a image/material shit gets 50,000 views just shows how lost people are and just how valuable a social media following really is (RB probably makes more than the guru does in a year Gorss in PROFIT in a week)

I can name off a list of every multi 8 and 9 figure earner I personally know or watch. None of these guys do very well on social media, hell some of them are total nobodies. All every single of one them does is just work on one thing and spend every day optimizing that one thing.

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