In any business relationship, transparency is important! If you don’t know what you’re getting for your money, you really shouldn’t be spending it.
Even though digital marketing is a specialized industry that can be difficult to understand for some, the same rule applies. Anyone you hire for digital marketing services should always keep you updated on what they are doing and why.
Why Is Transparency Important?
Transparency is important for ANYONE that you do business with, period. But, for digital marketers it is even more vital… there are some specific problems that can arise when your firm isn’t completely up front with you.
Known in the industry as “black-hat” methods, there are a number of practices that can artificially improve your results very quickly in the short term but will draw the ire of Google.
With these, you’ll end up worse off than when you started before too long.
A good digital marketing firm will have no problems going into detail about what they do for you and why, and how it fits with Google’s guidelines.
If the firm you’re working with doesn’t want to tell you about what they’re doing… you could be in for a nasty surprise before too long.
Work Stops but Billing Continues
A common complaint against digital marketing firms is that often, their clients don’t know exactly what they’re getting for their money. In many cases… that’s because they aren’t getting anything!
An unfortunately common practice is to set up a campaign at the start, and just let it go indefinitely without looking at it again. While “Set it and forget it!” may be appropriate for a countertop rotisserie device, it’s not going to get you much for your money.
Especially when your firm may forget to work on your behalf, but doesn’t forget to bill you every month.
Distant and Hard to Reach
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You’re in the market for a service, and sales representatives are happy to talk to you. You find one company that looks better for you than the others, and talk to the rep in more detail.
The rep gives you all the information you ask for and is eager to talk to you, day or night, whenever you want.
And then once you’ve signed the contract and are no longer a prospect… poof! They’re gone, and you can’t reach anyone!
This is a common problem in a lot of industries, and digital marketing is no exception. In addition to having a hard time reaching a person, you’re having trouble figuring out how your campaign is going.
If things are going well that’s one thing, but if your campaign is having problems, you NEED to have someone you can reach easily, and who will get back to you promptly.
And in any case, anyone doing business with you should at least check in with you regularly and let you know how things are going.
What Should You Look For?
So who should you be doing business with? The answer of course depends on your specific situation, but you’ll end up with the best results long-term if you look for the below:
Much as black-hat methods will run the risk of angering Google, white-hat methods will work entirely within the rules to serve you, to set you up for long-term success and avoid penalties or bans.
Any digital marketer worth hiring will use EXCLUSIVELY white hat methods to work on your behalf.
Even if it takes longer to see a result (which it most likely will with SEO services), being able to sustain your success for years will be much more valuable.
Until you decide to end a campaign, there really is no such thing as being “done” with it. The internet is always changing, after all, and your competitors will be making moves of their own.
There’s no way to “lock in” your results, you just need to keep pushing ahead.
Because of this, your digital marketing partner must continue to work on your campaigns.
They need to be adjusting keyword targets, helping you with fresh content, building new links with important sites, and quite a bit more!
Ideally your service agreement will have specifics about what you will be getting on an ongoing basis, so there is no room for surprise or ambiguity.
“How is my campaign doing?” is a question you should never have to ask. Between regular communication from the firm you are working with, and reports they provide, a transparent digital marketing partner will never leave you wondering how things are going.
Your digital marketer needs to communicate with you both directly as well as by providing analytics to document exactly what is going on with your campaign.
You need to be able to see what works and what doesn’t, and make your decisions accordingly.
In addition, your digital marketer should be communicating with you directly, not waiting for you to call when there’s a problem.
The best of the best will provide a centralized hub that allows you to track all your analytics and includes a feed that automatically sends you updates whenever there is new activity on your behalf.
And of course, they need to spend time getting to know you and keeping up to date on your business.
If they are invested enough in your success to forge this level of connection, then odds are they’ll be providing you with the best possible service.