There are many agencies out there willing to help small businesses with digital marketing. Unfortunately, not all of them are completely honest with the work they do and the results they provide. Some try to “trap you” with contracts while taking a large part of your marketing budget for their pockets.

As a digital marketing agency, it is disheartening for us to see businesses being taken advantage of. Instead of offering solutions, they are actually creating more problems.

This article aims to expose some of the tricks they use so you can ask yourself if they are truly right for your business. These tricky companies have great sales pitches, but you can use this information to save money and future headaches. You should feel confident to ask yourself (and your marketing agency) these questions and get positive answers.Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Who Owns Your Account?

One of the crazy ways agencies try to keep you as a client is by owning your account.

When you cancel your contract with them, you will have nothing left. Signing up with them is like paying a constructor to build your house and then telling you he will demolish it if you decide to change contractors.

This business model is great for the marketing provider, but it’s terrible for you and your business.

There is a much better way.

Always look for partners that let you own your account – instead of kidnapping your account and holding it hostage for ransom money.

Ask yourself this: Can you log into Google AdWords directly and see your account? If not, this is trouble!

Note: Beware of partners that say “you can always take your account with you” and really mean they will give you an Excel file of your data. This is not helpful! If you leave, you should be able to take your REAL account with you. If you end the relationship, you shouldn’t have to start your advertising campaigns from scratch.

Your accounts are part of your business, just like your website. Nobody should ever use your accounts to keep you as a customer. It’s just wrong!

Is Your Provider Inflating the Cost of Ads?

Sometimes agencies invent fancy names for their ads so they can mark up the prices to put more of your money into their bank account.

Let me be crystal clear. You should have direct access to all ad spend. Reports can be exported from Google AdWords that show every dollar spent and exactly what is was spent on.

You have the right to ask for these reports at any time.

How about this: you pay whatever you want to spend in advertising costs directly to Google, where you can see the charges clearly.

At Click Ass Marketing, we think that’s fair.

What Are You REALLY Paying For?

If you visit a marketing agencies website and have to call to get a quote, then there is something wrong.

They create “bundles” where you pay $2,000 a month, and tell you they will deliver approximately X clicks. But how much is going to media buy and how much is their commission?

Some reports show that companies are taking more than 60% of the money for commissions. That only leaves 40% percent for actual ads. Consider this example:

If you’re paying these companies $2,000 per month, then maybe $800 or $1,000 of that is being spent on paid media.

Does that seem fair to you?

The worst part is that many businesses who are probably happy with their services and don’t realize they could be getting twice as many customers if they weren’t wasting so much of their budget on hidden fees!

These companies blend together the cost of media, management fees and other “services” in packages so you never know what is what.

We think that’s crazy.

Don’t Get Ripped Off!

Use this checklist to figure out whether you are in trouble:

  • Can you visit your provider’s website and see fully transparent and easy-to-understand pricing information? No? RUN!!!!
  • Are you the owner of your own accounts on each ad platform? Can you log directly into your own Google AdWords account at any time? No? RUN!!!!
  • If you decide to stop working with your provider, can you take your account with you? Do all of the campaigns and improvements you have paid for over the years come with you? Remember, Excel spreadsheets don’t count. No? RUN!!!!
  • Are you paying for things in a bundled package? Service, media, and who knows what else all in “one easy price”? RUN!!!

Total transparency should be demanded of your digital marketing agency.

 

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