There are thousands of marketing agencies around the world, but which ones can you trust?
I am an active member of various marketing groups and forums and in this example a Content Marketing Manager posted about the deceptive practices their agency was using to help clients around the world. While I thought it was a hoax at first, I reached out to the person on LinkedIn and discovered the scenario was real & the marketing agency was deceiving their clients.
I can help your business avoid this situation by doing an audit on your current activities or reviewing your marketing performance vs the contracted services being promised. Learn more here
A MARKETING AGENCY CREATING FAKE WEBSITE TRAFFIC
BUSINESS OWNERS HAVE TO BE DILIGENT WHEN HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY
When I first saw the post in the group I figured it was another person wanting to debate the benefits of SEO or how to improve their performance. Within the marketing community this is quite common as we all learn from what others are doing so we can help apply that to our own work. Although what alarmed me was the honest admission from this Content Marketing Manager for a global marketing agency that the work they were charging their clients to complete wasn’t delivering any traffic & generated by fake users.
This unfortunately is a common practice, read my case study about the help I provided RealServe that uncovered a similar scenario where more than $18,000 was spent on SEO which generated no organic search improvements.
After my initial shock I went back to re-read the post to make sure I understood it all correctly. As you can see from the opening statements there is a lack of clarity around what the industry terminology means but it also demonstrates poor execution on behalf of the marketing agency as well.
Content marketing is typically the process of creating information that will benefit either existing or potential customers for your business. It could be advice, educational information, a deep explanation of a new product or service – the list is nearly endless. The execution of creating that content should be done in a way that aids SEO efforts.
For example if you were a boat transport business you could write a content piece about the different ways a boat can be picked up & transported to different locations around Australia. The information can help inform and educate boat owners and help them understand the options they have available. If that topic is searched for regularly then the business has a chance of being found online for it & get an advantage over competitors.
The two elements should be done to work together & then can be tracked with results measured using Google Analytics & Google Search Console.
Any business owner using an agency should be asking the question about who is going to be doing the work, how will it be performance measured & what is the strategy being put into any creation to begin with. While achieving Backlinks to a website can help your Domain Authority, if those connections are to poor quality websites and getting coverage on locations you don’t service – then what real value are they. In fact, some Domains will be considered toxic & having them link to your site can be harmful as Google ‘rates’ each site based on its overall quality and level of ‘spammy’ nature.
It’s a cliche for sure, but when you are doing digital marketing and spending marketing budgets on SEO you have to keep in mind that quality is much better than quantity. Sure there are lots of growth hacks available to get 10,000 website visitors to your site within a few weeks, although if those people are not really your target customer then what benefit is that traffic?
Can you even sustain it over a longer period of time?
This is where quality becomes more important and SEO efforts have to focus on getting in front of the people that will matter most to your business whether you are selling products or services. You will have a much higher chance of converting visitors to leads or sales.
Every single page on your website or post on social media can be tracked & measured to evaluate its performance – any marketing agency knows this, but they prey on the ignorance of business owners by either not showing them the information or creating pretty presentations that don’t reveal the complete truth.
I decided to engage the person who wrote the post as I was curious as to what company they worked for. Turned out they have been doing content marketing for more than two years and a number of companies. So this person has been involved with people’s businesses producing work in the marketing agency while knowing full well none of it was delivering results.
There is no excuse really for a business owner not knowing if new content on their website is delivering new visitor traffic. Read my article about the things a business owner should know about their website here
CAN A BUSINESS OWNER ASK FOR PROOF OF PERFORMANCE?
data is available from multiple sources to prove the results
Even if you are satisfied with the pitch and follow up media proposals, it important to make sure you clearly understand how proof of performance will be demonstrated. Of course a printed magazine or newspaper can’t provide much insight other than seeing your marketing promotion in the materials, although digital executions are different.
Let’s say you wanted a new product or service reviewed & written about on a website that was a paid content piece. The website owner should be able to show you exactly what traffic your article generated, where the readers came from, how long they spent reading it & if they clicked any links that were placed in the article.
You can look at your own Google Analytics reporting to see if you had more visitors when the story released. You can also look at Google Search Console to see if your search keyword rankings improved at all.
Either way you can see how well the activity performed. If you aren’t really sure you can hire me and I can audit the data for you.
WHAT WAS WRITTEN BY THIS CONTENT MANAGER
THE ORIGINAL GROUP POST WITHOUT ANY EDITS
Here is the original post, unaltered, where the Content Marketing Manager, with more than 2 years experience working with a marketing agency, was asking a question in Facebook group about SEO.
Imagine if this was an agency you were paying.