We all know how vital it is for the growth, or very survival, of any business to spread its brand. Today’s consumer has no lack of choice and most times the only thing that separates a successful venture from an unsuccessful one is exposure. This can make business owners desperate to achieve this level of visibility.

Unfortunately, where there is desperation, there is also someone looking to take advantage. You merely need to google search to see how many companies or individuals there are that offer marketing services. Many promise almost unbelievable exposure and traffic increases, at what could seem like an acceptable price. Not all of them can (or plan to) give you what they promise.

This can be especially fatal for small businesses who find it hard to grow in the first place. Investing in marketing without results can be a serious blow.

In this article, we would like to help you separate the good from the bad. Read on to find out what kind of marketing scams are out there and how to spot them.

 

Marketing scams

Marketing fraud

This can be an umbrella term that sits above most of the following types of scams. Simply put, marketing fraud is when a marketing company promises you more than you can deliver. This type of scam can be aimed at business looking to hire marketing services or normal, everyday customers buying a product. A simple example is a marketer claiming his product “cures cancer in under 10 days, guaranteed” when he knows this isn’t true.

Special “Google Relationship”

Ehhhhh! No company has a special relationship with Google that can give their clients higher search rankings. Also, don’t believe anyone trying to convince you they know, or got hold of the “Google Algorithm”. Even if they did, this algorithm is dynamic and constantly changes.

Secret Strategies

Marketing has existed as an industry for many years now. There is nothing like “special techniques” that can guarantee their clients better results. Only hard work and industry savvy can do that.

Ownership of Content

If you pay for digital content in order to generate traffic on your domain, you should own it. Any SEO company that withholds ownership of content for themselves in the small text is shady at best.

Affiliate Marketing Scams

Unfortunately for affiliate marketing, it has been hit with scandal after scandal. It is a completely legitimate industry and has amazing potential. Its biggest flaw was its recruiting system that’s similar to pyramid schemes and how that was exploited. Any affiliate marketing program that does not sell quality, legitimate merchandise and generates money from external sources other than membership, is a scam.

How to spot a marketing scam

First Impressions

If you contact the company or display interest and they jump right into designing a solution or immediately bombard you with packages – beware. How can they possibly help you achieve your goals if they have not taken the time to ask you what you want? Imagine entering a cafe and telling the barista you want something to drink. Without asking anything more information he hands you a Latte Mocha (hot, tall) and tells you it’s $5. Suspicious isn’t it?

Be realistic

We are all for a bargain, don’t get us wrong. But if a marketing company promises to make you the next Microsoft overnight for a mere few hundred dollars then something is fishy. Any marketing company worth their salt will manage your expectations, after all it’s their reputation on the line as well. They want you to spread good opinions of them

Verify reviews/Testimonials

The internet has made it possible for anyone to be an amateur sleuth. Many companies are not above fabricating glowing feedback on their own services. This can easily be uncovered by contacting the companies/people they list, reverse searching an image or checking if profiles really exist on social media.

Language matters

There are a few different things to look for here:

  • Too good to be true – Everyone who uses Facebook often can spot these titles from a mile away. When a company overuses superlatives and tries to oversell themselves, your cynic senses should be tingling.
  • Guarantees – Yes, you want to know that the service you pay for will work. The truth is many aspects of marketing is altruistic and hard figures are almost impossible to pin down.
  • Spelling and grammar – Chances are a marketing company will have to create a lot of content for you. If they can’t even be bothered to use 100% correct language themselves, how can they claim to be reputable?

Metrics don’t lie

When screening potential marketing companies try and find out if they have any analytical data on their previous projects. This will give you an idea of what kind of numbers you can really expect. If at all possible ask if they have any real-time ticking progress representations. Anyone can put random figures on their site and claim it is the truth. Also be careful if a company does not list any of their previous clients, or achievements. A reputable company with nothing to hide won’t just sit on their success stories.

Regular reports

If a marketing company does not offer regular reporting (Google Analytics is a MUST), you know they have something to hide. This should be part of any marketing service after you sign up. This way you can see your growth against projections and can back out if promises aren’t kept.

The golden rule is, do not trust anything that sounds too good to be true, secondly don’t trust anything just because someone says so, and lastly don’t trust. Considering how vital marketing is to any company, it is worth the extra time, effort and money to properly assess a marketing company and pay for a legitimate and more reliable service.