I Have Been Involved In This Industry For Many Years And These Are The Frustrating Mistakes
I See When Talking To Local Business Owners... Ensure You Are Asking The Right Questions Before You Sign That Agency Service Agreement
Alan Tobutt B.Sc[Hons] Digital Marketing Consultant
Here are my ‘best practice’ guidelines that ensure these mistakes are avoided and why we are different:
1. All the accounts within a campaign I set up are owned by the client
business, not my Agency/Consultancy…
Ensure that when you enter into a agreement with an Agency/Consultant you have full ownership of the Accounts. This is valid for all your digital marketing properties:
- Google My Business Listings
- Google Adwords Campaign
- Facebook Business Page and Advertising Campaigns
- Your website domain name
- Promotional Videos/Articles/Reports
- The code to your website
- Social Media accounts (LinkedIn, Youtube Channel, etc)
What do I mean? Say, for example, you are having a Google Adwords Campaign set up and managed for you. As the weeks and months go by this account will become optimised and will be an asset for your business…providing you own it! There have been numerous occasions when a prospective client has asked me to audit their existing Google Adwords account and when we have approached the service provider they have refused both of us access!
What they are doing is actually ‘unethical’ in our industry and talking to my Google Adwords Account Manager recently about this he totally agrees with this positioning. That is one of the reasons why they have put together the Google Partners program to ensure Agencies/Consultants follow ‘best practice and procedures’. The correct way for this process to happen is if the Agency/Consultant creates an account within their MCC (My Client Centre) and sends an invite to the business owner so they have full access using their own login and password. Ensure you have full billing access and agreement on daily budget rather than giving over money they can invest.
I have no issues with another professional auditing my work and allow full access if the business owner asks. I have been trained by two of the best Google Adwords trainers – please check out Claire Jarrett and Mike Rhodes This level of expertise gives me the opportunity to present the power of digital to grow your business. Here are some images of me presenting recently at a local business networking event.
2. I offer a rolling monthly agreement with no tie-ins…
Ensure you do not lock yourself into long term contracts. If the Agency/Consultant is not doing a good job and not producing a return on investment why on earth should you stay for the duration of your contract. Sure, optimising of a campaign takes time, together with testing and regular feedback and reporting, but once this has been achieved you should have flexibility if you are unhappy with their performance.
3. The Truth About SEO Services in 2017...
The reality today is that Google has now become an advertising engine rather than a search engine and business owners who use paid advertising to get exposure and high ranking positions are being rewarded by higher returns on investment. Big players in the SEO industry are leaving because the effectiveness of their strategies just do not work anymore.
The most important factor here is this, SEO should be one of the last service offered to you...not the first! Your advertising, as well as your landing pages, need a thorough testing period before you begin to understand the most profitable keyword phrases for your local business. Your landing pages also need to begin to receive conversion rates above 5% for lead generation. That only happens when you test headlines, copy, video/images, calls to action, etc
Here's where I really get frustrated...what is the point of an SEO expert working for 9 months on ranking highly for keyword phrases that they have no idea will be profitable for the client? WHEN you have profitable keyword phrases and landing pages that convert, based on testing, THEN you discuss a local SEO campaign to get high rankings organically.
Agencies/Consultants have made big money from SEO services. If you pay £1500 - £3000/month for SEO work the profit is usually around 50%. What's more they are likely to outsource most of this work to foreign workers at a fraction of the price. On that matter, the same happens within some Web Design services.
The margins for paid traffic campaigns such as Google Adwords management are much smaller so, guess what, they are not the priority for the Account Managers/Salespeople.
4. Ethically, I can only manage one client per industry in a specific area…
Is the Agency/Consultant managing a campaign for your local competition as well as your own? How can they possibly compete against themselves when advertising? I know for a fact this goes on locally and it is totally unethical! So ask them if they are promoting another company, who are a competitor for your business, in your targeted local area.