If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a business owner or manager considering your Internet marketing agency options. There are plenty of Internet marketing agencies in Vancouver and all have their own ways of setting up and pricing the packages they sell.
We’ve heard from a number of business owners – some already frustrated, and some who were unaware of the untruthful actions taken by their Internet marketing agency. This blog post will show you what’s happening to other businesses all over the Lower Mainland and how you can avoid getting burned the same way.
Vancouver’s Internet Marketing Agency Problem #1: Inflated Click Prices
A growing epidemic in our industry is the issue with inflated click prices in Paid Search Advertising. I’ve heard from a number of business owners here in the Vancouver area about the services and suspect pricing policies of ReachLocal, a large Internet marketing agency. Let’s just say a lot of business owners aren’t overly happy. Some people have published their frustrations. Our own Sam Araki did his own review of ReachLocal over a month ago. Some business owners are shocked when they hear about this growing problem with ReachLocal. We literally see their jaws drop.
And the fact remains that these inflated click prices are a problem. ReachLocal is a renowned culprit for this. Here’s what inflated click prices mean for businesses: You don’t get what you pay for – you get LESS. How do they do this? ReachLocal always spends your ad budget. Always. And what they do is take a chunk – around 50-60% of it as their cut. Let me be clear: I’m not demonizing them for taking a cut of your ad spend. They’re a business and they operate to make a profit. However, 50-60% is extremely high. Something more normal would be around 10-20%.
- If you’re a business using ReachLocal’s services, this isn’t a call to stop everything you do with them. Just stay informed on the structure of your ad spend. You deserve to know. Transparency is important.
- If you’re not a ReachLocal client, be clear with whoever your Internet marketing agency is on pricing and ad spend. If you have no agency, consider one but be aware of what agencies offer.
Vancouver’s Internet Marketing Agency Problem #2: Ridiculous Admin Costs
To build on the theme of transparency, businesses are always concerned with where else their marketing spend is going. Again, let me harp on the fact that every business is in business to make a profit. There’s no questioning that. However, to allow just a small portion of total spend to go to pay-per-click with the rest going to “administration costs” is absolutely asinine.
Such is the case with Yellow Pages’ 360 Solution. This is Yellow Pages’ digital marketing solution for businesses that want to be found in search results. We’ve heard from a few business owners on the Yellow Pages 360 Solution and decided to create a case study. In the case study, we found out that an inordinate amount of budget was going to Yellow Pages “administration costs”. I’ll let you check out the case study to find out the exact number and how our team dissected the numbers. Again, it’s fine for an Internet Marketing agency to eat cake but let the client have theirs too! In this case, the business, not the agency, should be doing the bulk of the eating. This is just another example of something that the average Internet Marketing agency won’t tell you.
Vancouver’s Internet Marketing Agency Problem #3: The “In-House” Fallacy
There’s this desire for agencies to refer to themselves as “In-House”. In case you’re unsure what the term actually means, it simply refers to a business that conducts all of its operations in its home facility. We see countless Internet Marketing agencies here in Vancouver call themselves “In-House agencies” and the reality is that this is simply not true.
Our agency conducts all operations – every channel within Inbound Marketing – in-house. So that begs the question…
If Not An “In-House” Internet Marketing Agency, Then What?
Most of the Internet Marketing agencies in Vancouver that call themselves “In-House” typically contract certain operations out. Here are the common ones:
- Paid Search. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising requires a lot of time dedicated to managing each account because of all the intricacies therein – managing ads, ad groups, keywords and so on.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While a lot of on-page SEO can be done in-house, Internet Marketing agencies prefer to outsource off-page SEO. Why? Link building takes a lot of time and effort. Outsourcing your off-page SEO to the wrong company (this happens A LOT!) can have disastrous results. We know first-hand: upon taking over a client’s account, we encountered an ugly SEO mess that had been perpetrated by an overseas provider (which the client was sadly unaware of)..
You’re asking yourself “Why should I care?” Well on a given phone call or in your correspondence with your agency, you want to be able to cover all bases of your Internet Marketing strategy. You’ve likely been sold on the premise that everything is done in one house. And if you have, you may have been lied to. Do yourself and your business a favour and get all the information you deserve.
There’s no incentive for them to tell you about click prices, true costs and the structure of their agency. They can go about their business and you’ll never know. But transparency is important. It builds trust and strengthens the client-agency relationship. That’s what we all want and what’s the end result? Better results and happier days – and in rainy Vancouver, we can always use those.