Businessman Hand

If you’ve been at the helm of a business as it launched its online presence in the past decade, you probably remember a period soon after launching where you started to feel pretty popular.

Out of nowhere, you were getting all sorts of calls, contact form submissions and emails from people who ensured that they would optimize your site for search, have you listed in every directory under the sun, increase your website’s traffic by 1000% and flood your pipeline with leads. Welcome to the overcrowded and overpromising space of digital marketing services!

The Commoditization of SEO and SEM

Because there are a whole lot of digital agencies, business directories, media partners, SEO freelancers and other variations thereof competing for overlapping business, there has been some level of perceived commoditization of the SEO/SEM industry. In this ultra-competitive atmosphere, what we’re seeing is some serious overpromising—and inevitable under-delivering—on behalf of the hopeful digital marketers.

Rather than trying to differentiate themselves in an email or cold-call, many competitors in the digital space think that their best bet to getting a foot in the door is to a) promise you exactly what they think you want to hear, and b) convince you that whatever you’re doing now is NOT WORKING because you’re not showing up in any directories or anywhere in search and without their help no one will ever find you ever!

Finding the Right Fit for your Business

It’s easy enough to ignore unsolicited emails and calls from alarmist marketers when you take your business online, but if you’re actively seeking marketing help, you may very well encounter this same approach; you outline your goals and the agency overpromises in order to get that contract signed.

As with choosing any service, this is all about doing due diligence. Ideally, you want demonstrated competency, experience, and specialization to match your business. Whether you’re talking to an agency, a media rep, or a Yellow Book salesperson, take a close look at what they’re offering and take advantage of a free consultation to ask questions:

  • What clients have they worked with in your industry, and how were they able to help them generate leads?
  • Can they provide applicable case studies and client testimonials?
  • What research can they provide about your market, your business, and your competitors to back up their recommended strategy?
  • How do they track leads, report progress and demonstrate ROI?

Marketing services shouldn’t be about guaranteeing results or making dubious claims. You’re not buying a prescription drug; you’re investing in a sound strategy to grow your business and the resources to execute that strategy. This process takes time, and your expectations may not always be realistic. Work with someone who’s not afraid to tell you that.

Simple Machines Marketing