In the marketing and services game, we go head-to-head against several firms. It’s the nature of the game. Most businesses understand that they need help, but aren’t marketing experts so they reach out to several firms for proposals. I’ve seen more than one company fall for the marketing BS that some of these organizations/consultants spout off. They’ll often start by telling you how “your marketing is in peril” and “you’re falling behind because you’re not using the latest technology”, and “have you heard of trend X, it’s completely changing marketing!”

Warning Signs that the Marketing Firm You’re speaking with is a SCAM

They follow a fad. At the end of the day, marketing is marketing. Real pros will use all of the tools at their disposal to create programs for you that drive revenue. Yes, we each may have some specialties, but our businesses are not built on QR Codes or a single fad.

They make impossible promises. I’m sure you get those emails. You know the ones I’m talking about right?

If the marketing consultant you’re speaking with is making promises of number 1 position on Google within 90 days, then they’re scam artists. Search engines are like living entities, while online marketers can influence them in a positive way, search engines can also react in unpredictable ways. It’s like training a dog. You may be able to create positive behavior that you want, but your dog will always have his own personality that causes him to act differently given different environmental and local factors. There’s a lot of factors that can impact search engine rankings at any given time.

Deals too good to be true. Why would you pay thousands for a web developer to do your site when this guy in India is promising to do it for $250? You get what you pay for. What ends up happening is this guy in India builds you a website that is one sneeze away from collapsing. Same goes for paying for writers on the cheap. $5/article sounds good, but then you have to factor the time it takes you to read the content, make edits, and publish. Overall, it costs you way more of your time, then having a high-quality writer create it from the start!

Over emphasis of Technical SEO. Yes, technical SEO is important. Depending on your site you may even have hundreds of issues. But firms or consultants that overemphasize this and avoid discussing your website messaging, user experience, and overall content are definitely not focusing on the issues that will reap some of the biggest rewards.

Pre-packaged or Bundled Plans. If the firm you’re considering has an “add to cart” or checkout process, then you’re probably dealing with scam artists. Every business is unique and requires different strategies. You can’t just prescribe 1 Facebook post a day, 1 email/month, and a “gold” or “silver” SEO package and call it a day. True marketing firms and consultants need to understand your business, your market, and goals to create a strategy that encompasses the key areas of focus to help you get results.

Your website is being penalized or is not ranking in Google. If the consultant you’re working with sent you an email like this, then there’s a 99.9% chance you have a scam on your hands. True marketers don’t need to employ scare tactics like this or scream “DANGER! Will Robinson! DANGER!” to win your business. They understand you may have a need and will cite examples of areas that you can improve whether it’s through content strategy, keyword-driven SEO plans, more well-optimized landing pages, etc.

Questions to ask a marketing consultant or firm before you make your decision on who to hire:

  • What is your marketing background and qualifications?
  • What are some recent projects that you’ve worked?
  • What are your areas of focus?
  • What industries do you traditionally serve?
  • What do you think of our current marketing efforts?