We have said it before, but we will say it again: Not all marketing is good marketing! Unfortunately, not everyone out there has your best interest at heart. Occasionally, someone may try to sell you something that you don’t need or charge extra fees when it doesn’t make sense. Other times they just plain try to scam you. As marketing professionals, there is no bigger pet peeve of ours than those that cheapen our profession. We hate to hear others are not doing their best and not taking good care of their clients! Here are a few ways you can make sure the professionals you work with are providing what they promised.
When you shouldn’t pay extra
First of all, estimates should usually be free. Paying for an estimate is like paying to see a price tag. Many companies, including ours, quote prices on individual projects. Most people understand that not every website we create takes the same amount of time for example. Still, unless they have only been in business a very short time, anyone should be able to tell you the cost for a project easily.
If you’re new to digital marketing, have a trusted business partner or employee look over service agreements and help you ask the right questions. A few questions we get asked often that are good examples involve web and graphic design services.
Before you ever agree to allowing someone to do design work for you, make sure you have in writing what you are purchasing. Ensure the individual or company is willing to provide at least one round of revisions on work within the agreement.
If someone designs you a logo and it is not at all what you discussed and then the individual wants you to pay extra for revisions, this is disheartening to say the least! If you completely change your mind about a design and the designer has to start all over, it is understandable that there are extra fees. However, one round of revisions is a standard any reputable business should be willing to provide as a general rule.
One way to know what type of web designer you are working with is to ask them if they charge extra to make your site mobile responsive. Mobile responsive means your website will be easy to view on a variety of devices and screen sizes such as tablets and smartphones. It is the standard in modern web design, and it should cost you NOTHING additional to have your site designed to be mobile responsive. Being charged to make your site mobile responsive is like paying extra for headlights on a car- it is something that simply should be expected no matter where you are buying it from.
Also, ensure that graphics, images or video files are given to you as high resolution files. The resolution of an image determines its quality. A high resolution image can be made tiny to be printed on a promotional item or huge to fill a billboard. It is possible to scale a high resolution image without appearing blurry or stretched. We cannot tell you how many times someone comes to us wanting a product like a branded t-shirt or brochure and we have to charge them to redesign their logo. This happens when they cannot get a high resolution file from the person that designed it. High resolution is a standard when it comes to design and anyone who charges you for the design should be able to present you with high resolution files.
If someone comes across as being too salesy, they probably are. We know there are honest salesmen out there, but sometimes this isn’t the case. Sometimes someone’s livelihood depends on selling you an advertisement whether you need it or not unfortunately. This often how it works with traditional marketing such as print, radio or TV ads. Before you throw money randomly at marketing efforts, ask yourself if it makes sense. Even a “good deal” is wasted money if the purchase does not reach your audience.
When you shouldn’t consider it at all
Beware when a company that isn’t even local contacts you out of the blue. This is a weird way to make connections, and it is not how most reputable marketing companies operate. We love letting businesses know about our services, but we go about it the same way we recommend you do it. We invest in marketing efforts that make sense for our business and building relationships with other business contacts. Cold calls are often sketchy in our modern, digital world.
A common marketing scam involves Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If a random companies reach out offering their services, run far away!
A company may claim that your Google listing can’t be found or that you are losing business because you are not listed in some random directory. You may get a phone call that says something like, “There is a problem with your online Google listings and customers cannot find you.” If you hear this, verbatim, please hang up and contact a trustworthy company to run a check for you.
They may state that they can get you to the top of Google’s ranking in your market for a few hundred dollars (or thousand). These scammers get away with this because SEO is a very specialized skill that most people don’t understand much about. If someone takes the time to do SEO right, you may not see the positive results for several months. Only pay for SEO from someone that you can trust. SEO can be pricey and time consuming, and it is hard to see what you are paying for at times.
Another common marketing scam involves your website domain. Your domain is the name of your website. Ours, for example, is lightalive.marketing. Website domains are registered at companies called registrars. You may get a letter that claims that your domain needs to be renewed. The letter will ask you to pay for the renewal. This scam works because most individuals don’t remember who their registrar is. Most registrar companies don’t send letters anyhow; most will end emails.
You can know if you are being scammed by visiting whois.net. This site will tell you who your registrar is by simply putting in the domain name. Then, contact the registrar’s customer service to ensure everything is in order.
Making business marketing decisions can be difficult. It is important to have someone on your side you can trust with your marketing budget. If there are any concerns you have about your marketing decisions, reach out. We are happy to help!