Why Some Marketing Agencies for Small Business are Out to Get Ya!
When we were growing up, cautionary tales usually referenced the Big Bad Wolf – a character with terrible intentions that often tricked the helpless protagonist into a bad situation. Now, all grown up, I hear about Big Bad Wolves all the time – in the form of other marketing agencies. Most of our clients come to us wounded from a past experience and assume we all run in the same pack.
That is definitely not true.
With so many Big Bad Wolf marketing agencies out there, we have an uphill battle to conquer here at Hot Dog Marketing. We’re not the low-cost leader. For the results and quality service we provide for our clients, we are a great value, but we charge money in exchange for time. Clients need to feel like they can trust us before signing up. That’s hard to do when they’ve tried other companies with monthly packages, big promises, and few results.
We’re not a retainer-only, flashy marketing agency either. Agencies with a high price point and self-important attitude should definitely deliver results, but they might leave your bank account empty and your heart full of resentment.
We’re not all bad. The good ones are out there. Just beware of these signs before getting in bed with a new agency.
Signs of a Bad Marketing Agency
Your marketing agency pulls everything down if you stop paying.
If your only option with that web developer or online marketer is a subscription service where your online listings and website depend on ongoing payment, you’re in trouble. We all want reoccurring monthly revenue. It’s how marketing agencies become sustainable, reliable businesses. All good marketing agencies should have to work to keep your business by delivering great service and results in order to keep that monthly fee. Marketing agencies that make you host your site with them or threaten to pull down all of your SEO when you stop paying are trying to build a business on negative relationships.
Tip: Any work that a marketing company does for you should be work you can keep, content you can own, and results you can maintain on your own if you chose to do it yourself.
Sidenote: Hot Dog Marketing does offer low cost website projects if we can host a site for 12 months. We do this to make it easier for new businesses to get started with us. It’s an option, not a requirement. After 12 months, we hope our service and reliability convinces you to stay with us.
Your only contact at the marketing company is a sales rep who has no idea what he’s talking about.
This is especially true of shady SEO companies. Speaking of Big Bad Wolves – I usually refer to these kind of SEO/online marketing companies as Wolf of Wall Street-type companies. They want to take over the world by dealing marketing packages that does . . . well, who knows what? The sales person definitely doesn’t know. He’s out to meet his quota – sell his penny stocks. These companies scale quickly by preying on small business owners without a lot of technical knowledge.
Tip: Your best kind of marketing partner is one that strives to educate you as much as serves you. You’ll have a better, more productive relationship if you understand what’s going on and can contribute to the work. Your business will benefit.
The turnover at the marketing agency is terrible. The employees are miserable.
Yuck. You own your own business, so you’ve likely chosen to get away from this kind of misery. Why take on this anguish by hiring a virtual marketing department of unhappy people. Even worse, if you start to build a rapport with someone at the agency and then he or she leaves, you’ll lose traction on your project. It’s hard to manage ongoing turnover. The right people, the right leadership, the right attitude are all important. Don’t undervalue it. It makes an impact of your project.
Tip: Why not check out review sites and see if employees post anything about their experience working at the company you’re interviewing? If the agency is too small to have a lot of past employees, ask about turnover during your consultations or ask the team members directly how long they’ve worked for the agency and if they love it. Because they should LOVE it.
They charge too little.
You get what you pay for. Brandon, our creative director, often uses tattoos as analogy of why you’d want to hire someone knowledgeable to handle your creative work for your business. Because with marketing and with tattoos, you often get what you pay for. You have to find the right marketing agency to handle your work and that often means stretching a little bit outside your normal budget-savvy ways. Marketing is an investment in the long-term sustainability of your business. The sooner you recognize that and find the right partner, the better. Don’t waste $100 a month somewhere and get nowhere. Wait until you can afford to work with someone that can really help.
I hope this helps shed some light on what to look for. You’re going to meet a lot of “marketers” in this town. Make sure you pick the right one to help you.
I’m a mom, a small business owner, and I’m a marketing professional with over a decade helping businesses with their branding and online presence. When I’m not spending time with my family or on my business, I love cooking (and eating), racquetball, yoga, and shopping. My favorite authors are Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Martin. My favorite movies are L.A. Story, Little Mermaid, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Trainspotting.