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Why Picking Up a Digital Marketing Agency Shouldn’t be like a Tinder Date

A few days ago, we received a request for a quote for ranking a handful of very specific keyword phrases.

As it was towards the end of the day, I responded back to the lead letting him know that we don’t give quotes for ranking specific keywords, that we don’t have set in stone one size fits all pricing and that each quote is typically backed by a quick site audit and competitive analysis, which I would be happy to provide.

I asked if we could schedule a time to talk the next day, so that I could learn more about their company, their online goals, and what they ultimately were looking to achieve through SEO.

Their response: “Well please provide me with a quote of what I can expect then because every other company we contacted seems more flexible with what they can offer”

Picking an Digital Marketing Agency isn’t as simple as swiping left or right.

More flexible? Um, ok. Great if you are a gymnast or yoga enthusiast, but not necessarily a key trait for selecting an SEO agency. Is flexibility something you want out of your accountant, lawyer or doctor?

“Sure, doc, I might have high cholesterol, but instead of exercise and a healthy diet, couldn’t we try more afternoon naps and a diet of nothing but beer and gummy bears?”

Yeah, probably not the best advice.

It’s Not You…It’s Me.

It's not you, i'ts me.

Undaunted, I took time the next day to look more into their company, their website and their industry. Upon closer inspection, their website’s homepage featured 3 different places for display ads, and no discernible way of generating revenue.

Add to this my gut feeling that this particular lead wasn’t a good fit for us as I client, I politely declined on providing a quote.

Their response: “No worries. We’ve found agencies that seem much more qualified and agreeable already. Best of luck.”

OK, hold on a second there, buddy. I’m sure there are others that are more agreeable, but I do take exception to the “more qualified” statement. Granted, there are a ton of excellent agencies out there, and there might even be a few with more years than WebRanking. But a wiliness to guarantee keywords, and to base pricing without doing any market research does not make you qualified. It makes you desperate.

And this is when I realized, we both wanted different things.  They were searching for a quick hook up and kept “swiping left” until they found “agreeable” matches based solely on price and a quick turnaround.

And here I was, yearning for a stable long-term relationship.

Sure I could have “put out” a quick quote, whispered sweet promises of top keyword rankings, and sealed a deal before I got to know you. To impress you, I could tell you about my “special relationship” with Google. But this isn’t about a one night stand, a weekend tryst or a hot burning summer love affair. It’s a dedicated relationship, a marriage between two companies (yours and mine), bringing different sets of skills to the table, while working towards the same goals.

I’d Really Like to Get to Know ‘Ya…

Call me old fashioned, but I want to learn about you first. What are YOUR online dreams, goals and aspirations. What do you want to achieve online? I can’t propose a campaign to help you get there if I don’t know where there is.

No offense, but these other “more qualified” companies just seem to want to get into your advertising budget’s pants. And sadly, they will tell you whatever you want to hear in order to do so.

What about the things that make you who you are… (Your content)? Did they ask about your lack of it, if you can produce it yourselves and if you have a strategy for doing so? And how do you get the word out about it?

Sorry, shallow content won’t get you results in Google.

What about your social media habits?

Did they ask if you’ve had a prior relationship with Google that turned out bad (and you got a penalty you just can’t seem to get rid of)?

Have you ever had to pay for it….you know with AdWords or Facebook Ads? How’d that work out for you?

Maybe it seems too forward, but did they ask to see your stats? Request a look around your analytics? Did they get deep and personal and peer into the inner workings of your site?

And what about Conversion Rate Optimization? Did they take the time to explain to you that your site’s design is antiquated, lacks clear calls to action and even with increased organic non-branded keyword traffic through an SEO campaign, you are going to struggle to convert those visitors into leads?

Or that based upon your needs, a PPC campaign might be the more satisfying option?

I doubt it. Because they really don’t care about you.

They aren’t looking to take you home to meet dear old Mom.  They just want to bed another client, focused on the conquest of quantity not quality.

So if you are looking for a quick score, and don’t mind that your relationship isn’t built to last, then by all means, swipe right and go with those “flexible” companies.

Popping the Big Questions

If you are looking for a real partnership, entering a relationship with a Digital Marketing Agency shouldn’t be a quick decision. You need to do your due diligence and ask yourself these important questions:

  • What are my goals for this relationship? Is this agency interested in what I want out of a it?  Do they have the ability to do what I need them to do?
  • Does this agency want to get to know me, my business and what I’m looking to achieve?  Or will I be just another number, in a long list of soon to be ex clients?
  • Is my choice based completely on money and finding the cheapest priced option, when what I should really be looking at is what I’m getting for my investment and the type of return I can expect?
  • Do I like the people I would be working with? Does it “feel” like a good match?
  • Do they have a plan for our future together?  They say they can help me, but have they told me how they will do it? What’s the game plan?
  • What do their past relationships have to say about them?
  • What happens if I get cold feed and want to back out? How long would I be stuck in the relationship?

You wouldn’t get married without first getting to know the person (well, unless it’s one of those Vegas stories), so why would you look to enter your company into a committed relationship without first getting to know your future marketing partner?

Finding that special someone isn’t easy. Don’t be in a rush. Don’t fall for pick up lines, or feel like the clock is running and you need to find that special somebody before it’s too late. Take your time in choosing the right team to partner with now, as it will help you avoid nasty costly break ups and will pay huge dividends for you down the road.

Trust me, in this industry,“it’s complicated” isn’t reserved just for Facebook statuses.

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