If you’ve been dazzled by promises to boost your web traffic, social media following, or search engine ranking, you’re not alone. There are, unfortunately, plenty of so-called marketing experts who are more charlatans than real consultants, and they’re happy to take your money without actually getting you the promised results.
If anyone promises the following to you, run in the other direction.
1. He promises an astronomical number of social media followers practically overnight. The reality of social media is: you can’t automatically get people to follow you. There’s no instant pudding. Instead, you’ve got to focus on providing value that makes people want to connect with you on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook.
These snake oil salesmen either use automated accounts that will follow you (but there’s no real person behind them) or employ overseas folks who are happy to follow your brand for a little financial incentive. Either way, you’re not getting what you really need: targeted followers who are likely to become customers.
2. He assures you he can get you the #1 spot on search results. Problem is, he doesn’t tell you what search term he can get you to rank for. Often it’s something no one would search for, or want to be ranked for, like “best pizza joint this side of the River Jordan,” or your company name, which you should automatically rank #1 for.
If you’re looking for a magic bullet in any component of marketing, you’re going to be disappointed. Your competitors are also spending time and money trying to be at the top of search results for well-searched terms, and no one can guarantee you’ll sit at the top.
3. His social media presence is nonexistent. If you were getting a haircut, wouldn’t you pay attention to the hairstyle of the person putting you in the barber’s chair? Wouldn’t you want reassurance that pink mohawks were not her specialty? It’s the same with marketing: if someone claims to be an expert at social media, he should have a fair amount of activity on his own social profiles. If he doesn’t, or if his accounts are just self-promotional, you can’t have confidence that he’ll do better with your accounts.
4. He doesn’t have references. Any successful marketer should be able to give you a list of satisfied clients who would be happy to speak about their experiences with his brand. He should be able to show examples of his work. If he can’t, you can’t know what you’re investing in.
5. He doesn’t have a strategy. If you present your problem (you want to increase sales, get more web traffic or better engage contacts through social), a real marketing expert should be able to demonstrate his plan for helping you achieve your goals. It’s not your responsibility to determine how you’ll reach a wider audience; it’s his. If he simply wants to charge you for various marketing activities without being able to explain how he sees them working for you, don’t waste your money.
A professional marketing consultant listens to you and your needs, and works with you to decide on the best way to achieve your goals. He’s willing to set milestones so that you can assess his efforts, and he’s open to you being involved in the process.
Don’t be fooled by someone who offers you the moon at a low, low price. Because, after all, you get what you pay for.