As you are probably already aware, hiring a digital marketing agency can be a surprisingly difficult task. Self-proclaimed ‘experts’ are everywhere, claiming that they’ll get you results. So how do you find a marketing partner that will actually provide the local business marketing services that fit your needs?
Before hiring a marketing agency it’s important that you think about what qualities, services and amenities you need from a marketing partner. From the very start, you want to get a sense of what your working relationship might be like. Here are 10 common issues with marketing agencies so that you can keep an eye out for potential problems.
10 Problems and Frustrations of working with Digital Marketing Agencies
1. Impersonal Strategies
“There is a lot of pressure to respond to leads from Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor extremely quickly. I’m really not interested in that type of rat race. I don’t have a secretary. I am my own office manager as well as my field manager.”
A common issue is that so many agencies out there don’t take the time to learn about your business and how it works. This is a problem because, without that understanding, marketers won’t know your values, KPIs, internal business challenges, targets, and reasons why marketing recommendations or tactics can or can’t be implemented. Instead, they push cookie-cutter strategies that aren’t personalized enough to drive real results for your specific business.
2. Lack of Care
“It was just bad. If you over-promise, you better over-deliver and they over-promised and under-delivered. We’re still having the same issues more than two years later.”
A common complaint about working with marketing agencies is that they are slow to respond and difficult to get a hold of. Then when you do get them on the phone, they talk more than they actually listen to you. Beyond emails and calls, too many agencies aren’t willing to act on feedback and change tactics or adjust a strategy when a client asks them to. They’re just going through the motions rather than being concerned with creating a positive result.
3. Lack of Transparency
“We’ve tried it again several times over with other companies over the past 4 to 5 years and nobody has delivered tangible results when it comes to building up our online presence.”
Digital marketing agencies are notorious for not being transparent with the work being done. They’ll over-promise but then when it’s time to execute, nothing happens. Even worse, they don’t give you access to the accounts they’re managing on your behalf. Don’t take their actions on faith. An agency must be willing to educate their clients, explaining what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. This includes providing proof, documentation, and access to the work they’re doing on your accounts.
A big discrepancy that many local businesses are coming to realize is that they are being promised the holy grail by their marketing agency, without fully realizing that a major part of their success is dependent entirely on themselves. Local business owners are promised the end result…”we’ll get you leads”, without understanding that to get to the end result, they have to complete A, B, C, and so on first…get more online reviews, manage their local business listings, publish blog posts, claim their Google My Business listing, etc. You can’t win show up at the Olympics and randomly win a gold medal without first putting in the work months to years prior.
4. Not Data-Driven
“We don’t get any data from him on the Pay-Per-Click stuff. I wouldn’t know if we got anything to show for it or not. That’s my concern at this point. We’re leaving for a reason and part of that is we don’t trust the guy.”
Digital marketing without tracking or goal conversions set up is a waste of money. Good data is what allows you to make better business decisions. Too often an agency won’t provide you with reports or analysis with real substance. Rather, they keep showing you vanity metrics like clicks and “likes” as KPIs. After all, without clear reporting, it’s extremely hard to tell if your marketing investment is paying off.
5. Expensive Fees
“I’m putting out all this money and I’m not getting a damn thing back and I’m spending money on advertising and it’s not panning out.”
Most marketing agencies charge on a retainer or fixed amount for specific jobs – and it’s usually a high rate. You pay them for pretty social media posts, ad copy, responding to reviews, etc. Those tasks can be important, but your marketing agency needs to be able to prove that they’re a good ROI. Can they demonstrate how their efforts positively affect your sales? Do they drive quality leads? A marketing agency that can’t show it’s worth is an expense.
“I’m to the point where I’m not happy with what’s going on with it because I see that even though I’ve thrown more money at it, things haven’t changed…”
Often marketing agencies are so heavily utilized by their customers that they’re slow to adapt and innovate with changing trends and technology. In the rapidly changing world of digital marketing, they need to show that they are keeping up with the curve in order to best serve your business.
7. Lack of Industry Specific Knowledge
“I trusted the wrong company and now I have to pay extra just to fix everything.”
Often marketing agencies promote themselves to small or mid-sized businesses in any industry. However, as the saying goes “a jack of all trades is a master of none”. Your marketing partner should be focused on your specific industry and have knowledge and experience of local business marketing services to drive highly qualified leads. Keep in mind, even if they do have an industry focus, they aren’t experts in your business; no one knows your business as well as you do.
8. No Transparency With Pricing
“…I’ve gotten screwed over by a bunch of them…”
Too often you pay a premium price, but find yourself paired with a junior marketer that doesn’t yet have the experience to effectively serve your business. Unclear service terms mean that you don’t know exactly what you’re paying for and how they can use your money for things like pay-per-click ads. For example, do they have measures in place to ensure that their ad spend stays within your set limits?
9. Lack of Customer Service
“They just weren’t there for me and they would never answer the phone or email me back.”
Another common frustration is how slow agencies are to get back to you. If your marketing partner can’t respond in 48 hours or less, how can you trust they care about your business? Lack of customer service and communication makes it clear that you’re not enough of a priority. That, at the end of the day, your bottom line and revenue are not as important as theirs.
10. You Don’t Have Any Control
“It was nothing but over-promise and under-deliver. We were anticipating getting anywhere from 25 to 30 leads a month and we didn’t even 5 leads. It was an absolute fiasco.”
The biggest issue about working with an ill-suited marketing agency is that they control the pace at which you grow and scale your business, not you. You’re dependent on them when you should have control over how successful your business is.
The Secret to Making Any Great Relationship With a Marketing Agency Work
If you do choose to move forward with a marketing agency, it’s important to understand that the relationship is a two-way street. You and agencies both have a role to play to be successful. While a lot is on the agency to deliver, it’s important to note that some of the work to maintain a healthy partnership falls on your shoulders as well:
- Be engaged
- Be accountable and don’t be afraid to hold your agency accountable either
- Be honest with feedback and when you’re unhappy
- Be willing to put in the work when necessary
Your agency isn’t a mind reader. Like you, they need clear communication to understand your needs. Moreover, they can’t do everything for you. Digital marketers are responsible for generating results, but you’re the one that has to close the deal and make your customers happy.
Surefire Local Is the Agency Antidote for Local Business Marketing Services
Established in 2010, Surefire Local supplies local business marketing services to small business owners who feel overwhelmed by the digital world. Surefire Local provides the platform, tools and expert support so that you can take control of your digital marketing with your own hands, and get the guidance you need along the way.
Hyper-focused on local businesses
Surefire Local is committed to helping small and medium-sized businesses connect and engage with existing and potential customers to continuously improve and expand their reach through measurable, multi-channel marketing. Leveraging Surefire Local’s technology enables you to identify and target digital roadblocks hindering your growth, gain and take actionable insight to attract and engage repeat customers as well as increase visibility and grow profits to broaden reach in your local markets.
Centralized, all-in-one local marketing platform
Surefire Local’s complete platform offers several digital marketing solutions in one central platform enabling you to gain a holistic view of all marketing efforts. Its intuitive and automated technology equips your business with real-time, actionable insights into which marketing channels provide the greatest rate of return, as well as guidance and advice on next steps to take. The platform enables you to generate new, qualified leads and guide digital marketing investments as well as elevate brand awareness and visibility to develop, grow and successfully scale your business.
Surefire Local is an OpenStack platform that allows various sales and marketing tools, systems and software to seamlessly integrate with its data. Built with RESTful APIs and open endpoints, the Surefire Local Marketing Platform was designed to scale with your business through integrations with
- Google My Business
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- QuickBooks Online
- GreenSky and Service Finance, as well as all Salesforce and other popular CRM platforms
- And more
Secure and easy to use
Surefire Local offers you business intelligence marketing software for overseeing and managing your activities, performance, and online presence. With only one set of credentials to log-in and mobile access, the platform can be utilized anywhere and anytime as your team changes and your business expands.
Proven history of success
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Get a Demo and Complementary Analysis of Your Digital Presence
Are you a growth-minded business owner who is tired of getting ripped off by marketing agencies who over-promise and under-deliver? Are you ready to take control of your digital presence YOURSELF by managing online reviews, business listings, paid ads, leads, and customer communications from one central platform?
Schedule a complimentary, personalized demo and learn how Surefire Local can help you see, manage and strengthen all your online activities, putting YOU in control of your digital marketing.