As more businesses pursue an online income, the digital marketing industry has grown massively. Unsurprisingly, the growth has encouraged more ‘people’ to offer online marketing services, with varying results. The optimism around digital marketing has been dampened by stories of so-called ‘marketers’ milking brands and failing to deliver anything tangible. We see it all the time.
While most established agencies have built on traditional marketing skills to deliver digital services to clients, other companies / bloggers / retailers have rushed to add digital to their resume. The hurriedly-formed operations are a genuine danger to businesses and the entire industry. Bad, rushed and deceptive marketing can set your business back online. Just because a business or blogger has done well online doesn’t mean they can recreate that for you.
How do you spot the fakes?
It’s simple. Ask for references. Ask for evidence of how they grew sales – real sales – and business growth. It isn’t about ego-centric social media following growth numbers. We are talking proper sales and return on investment.
Look at their LinkedIn profiles.
In this day and age any digital marketer worth one’s salt will be active on Linkedin, well connected and well recommended.
Look for marketing awards they have won.
If they are any good at what they do, they will be proud of their achievements and subsequently won awards. Entering awards is cumbersome – trust me – I have entered plenty. But I am extremely proud of the results we get and feel we are totally deserving of the accolades we have won.
Don’t piss your money against a wall.
We see small businesses making the biggest mistakes and wasting loads of money going to ‘digital marketers’ who are cheap or are offering free stuff to help save them from declining reach on Facebook. Declining reach is a cause for concern, the result is fewer site visitors or enquiries thus dwindling sales. It’s at this point that people can be inclined to turn to outside support.
Do not rush to counter the online drop, it’s happening to everyone. If someone contacts you offering to double follower numbers or get you on page 1 of Google overnight – stop and think. At this time when all brands are vulnerable to Facebook’s declining reach, Google’s changing algorithm and new GDPR rules, taking on outside support seems logical, but be wary.
Think: what are your online goals?
Before rushing to spend money on AdWords, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, take time to think what you want to achieve online. For some businesses, digital transformation can mean taking their whole product range or services online. While this may be the case for you, you may also want to trial a product or a single offer online to begin.
If you’re unsure what to do, don’t panic, good digital marketers can carry out tests online using a fraction of your budget. These tests can help you decide how you want to progress online and you should expect to see reports based on goals that matter to you. You wouldn’t accept a marketer bringing droves of strangers needlessly to your store, so do not settle for online vanity metrics.
Our industry needs policed.
To finish off, I think there’s a growing consensus amongst us *marketing oldies* that the industry needs a much tougher, proactive approach to policing the digital marketers. Just like solicitors, accountants and so on, digital marketers need to be accredited. CIM have their accreditation – so that’s another useful tip. Seek out marketers who are accredited by CIM.
There is growing optimism that the industry is making some progress in cleaning up the digital swamp. One can only hope.
I do not mean to offend anyone in writing this and it is not about any one person or business in particular. It is just observations over the past year having mentored over 200 start-up’s and small businesses and seeing the consequences of wasted budget on poor quality so-called ‘digital marketers’.