Okay, running a digital marketing agency is actually pretty cool. There are a lot of pros.
But if I had to pick ONE thing that really makes me crazy, its the difficulty level in establishing trust with new clients.
Business owners have been always been primed to be suspicious of any marketing agency, online or offline. Even the word “marketing” is icky. It gives me the creeps. “Marketing” makes people feel scammed and tricked. Nobody likes a savvy marketer! Ugh. Who wants to be “tricked” into buying something they don’t want?
Online marketing is even worse. Since its all digital, there’s rarely any physical evidence you can provide the client (that they understand) that proves you are actually doing anything for their website. Online marketers have definitely taken advantage of this, and they sell their clients nothing (seriously, absolutely nothing). Even big businesses do this, like Yellow Pages or GoDaddy. Its actually really smart on their part. They get you to sign up for some kind of technology service that you don’t understand, and you pay for it monthly.
Here are some examples of common “internet marketing” services that people like to pay for, that are absolute wastes of money. Keep in mind that the following services account for several million dollars in marketing spend.
-Services that charge you monthly to keep your listings on 3rd party sites “updated.” In reality they update your listings one time, and then do nothing on a recurring basis. Cha-Ching!
-Services that charge you monthly for “email” separate from your hosting company. This is usually the registrar. People get so nervous about the prospect of not having a personal email account, that they will pay whatever necessary to get this set up. In reality, this is included with any hosting account! Cha-Ching!
-Services that charge you monthly for a website. I know a guy who charges his clients $500/month to have a basic website kept online. I don’t even know how to describe what an insane scam this is.
-On-page SEO. Oh man this is the absolute worst. 9/10 SEO companies charge on a monthly basis for “on-page SEO optimization.” On-page SEO is actually a one-time setup. There are 30-50 person SEO agencies out there making absolute bank off of this one single “service.” Cha-Ching!
Someday I will do a full write up on these useless services. Its so important for people to be aware of, and every client thats ever come to us has been utterly raked over the coals by all this. We had one client recently who spent $30k on a simple WordPress website. Come on! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear stories like that.
This is where I really went into business with the *wrong* perspective. I thought that our company needed to provide actual results (silly me)! I spent 2+ years being a complete shut-in, studying SEO techniques in wee hours of the night. I had pretty much zero experience with the corporate world, and I had no idea that most b2b agencies make their money by selling the least amount of nothing possible to get by.
So now here I am, the owner of an agency that actually increases your bottom line (no fluff services), and no one believes it.
Its a real b*tch.
See, if our agency did provide fluff services, and we were constantly having to explain ourselves to our clients, that would be a different story. That would be part of the service (you pay us to spend a good chunk of our time reassuring you that our service is having some kind of intangible impact on your business).
And if you think about it, it makes sense. How many times do you purchase something, and the packaging is all awesome, and you think its going to be so amazing, but its really kind of a let down? This is typical. We are all used to it, and we know to expect it.
But 4theweb is a different animal. You look at it, and expect little from us, and then we just completely blow your mind. Its like we’re backwards, and everyone is afraid of us because we look different.