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The Problem with “Cheap” Marketing Agencies

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Mary Fonvielle

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to hiring a cheap marketing agency, this phrase certainly rings true. We’ve heard plenty of horror stories from our clients about their past experiences with “budget” marketing agencies that never deliver anything but an invoice. Fortunately, there are plenty of red flags that will help your business avoid the same fate.

If you hire a cheap marketing agency without doing your research, your business may fall victim to these practices:

  • No transparency. Some marketing agencies won’t tell you exactly what they’re doing with your marketing budget and will give only vague reports. A good marketing agency will work with you rather than over you to help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
  • Holding your company’s social media pages and website hostage. This happens more often than you think, and it can really cost you if you want to recover those lost assets. If you aren’t given access to your own business, run the other way fast!
  • Poor communication. Has your marketing agency kept their results to themselves? Are you unable to access your own data and analytics? Your marketing agency should be available to answer all your questions and help you understand the strategies they implement and the results they’re recording.
You get what you pay for. The right marketing agency for your company may require a larger budget, but the results they yield should more than make up for the cost. 

Here are some red flags to look out for before you hire a marketing agency:

  • Black hat tactics. Paid links, keyword stuffing, and cheap filler content are all examples of shady “black hat” tactics designed to cheat the system and improve search engine rankings. Fortunately for web users, Google and other search engines have caught on to these tactics and will blacklist websites that use them. Unfortunately, that also means your website could be penalized for these tactics, which is bad news for your business.

    A good marketing agency will give it to you straight: an effective inbound strategy takes time and effort to build a foundation for lasting results. They’ll rely on tactics such as blogging, targeted ads, and other research-based strategies to help your website gain SEO rankings.

  • The “secret” to marketing. If your marketing agency offers you the inside scoop on the magical, “one size fits all” answer to digital marketing, look elsewhere.

    The truth is, there’s no “secret” to effective marketing--every company is different and requires its own unique strategy to succeed. Instead, look for a marketing team that will develop a strategy based on you. 
  • Bells and whistles. Plenty of marketing agencies can put on a show with shining sales pitches and “too good to be true” promises. The right salesperson can make you want to sign a contract right away before you know what you’re really getting into.

    Look a little closer, though, and pay attention to what they’re really saying. Are you being presented with solid data and real strategy examples, or are you being led on by vague terms and abstract ideas?

Like any bad relationship, getting involved with the wrong digital marketing agency can get messy fast. To avoid a bad breakup, do your research first.

Read reviews, meet with a potential agency, and ask lots of questions. The cost of hiring a “cheap” marketing agency can end up being much higher when you need to reverse the damage, but the right agency will work hard to turn your investment into results.

At Nu Agency, our team cares about your success. We’re all about forming partnerships with our clients and developing data-driven strategies to help you generate leads and get found online. Want to see how we market?

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