Exposed: The Shocking Truth Behind Marketing Agencies Preying On Contractors | Ep. 22

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We’re rolling into episode 22 of the Trades Secret Podcast where hosts Devon Hayes and Amanda Joyce are telling horror stories about hiring the wrong marketing agency. Don’t worry. There are some happy endings. 

Seriously, when we’re listening to someone tell a story about being taken advantage of, how is it that it’s the most obvious thing ever when it happens to somebody else? But when it happens to us, we’re clueless. We may even go so far as to say, ‘That would never happen to me’.

These incoming horror stories are for you! We’re not trying to rain on your parade but we truly care about people’s businesses enough to devote an entire episode to exposing the sneaky ways agencies can take advantage of you.
 
So, buckle up because we’re pulling back the curtain on the common mistakes people make when signing with the wrong ad agency and how to protect your business:
 
Episode Covers:
  1. Real stories from business owners and what it cost them
  2. Common pitfalls of choosing the wrong agency
  3. Why owning your website is a big deal
  4. Why having access to your ad account is an even bigger deal
 
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Send us your questions, comments, feedback, praise! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Transcription: 

Amanda Joyce:

Hi, I’m Amanda Joyce.

Devon Hayes:

And I’m Devon Hayes. And today’s topic is the Shocking Truth Behind Marketing Agencies Preying on Contractors. And here’s why you should care. Construction is a competitive space, and the financial impact of working with a predatory agency could potentially put your business under.

Welcome to Trades Secrets, where we demystify digital marketing to help contractors get the most bang for their marketing bucks.

Amanda Joyce:

This is for you if you’re a contractor looking for actionable marketing insights.

Devon Hayes:

Learn from home services industry experts to elevate your business through simplified marketing strategies.

Amanda Joyce:

Let’s dive into today’s trade secret.

Before we dive into this topic, I feel like we, first and foremost, have to talk about what inspired us to dive in on this. This was Devon’s recent feature on a podcast that we absolutely love, that really speaks to the contracting space, contractor evolution. Devon, do you want to talk a little bit about that real fast, about just being on the podcast and…

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, absolutely. Benji Carlson, he is the host of Contractor Evolution, and it’s the podcast from BTA, Breakthrough Academy. So I know a ton of contractors work with them. I think their membership is at over 500 now. But they’re very widely respected as business coaches in the contractor space.

And in March, I was on an episode that talked specifically about how not to get screwed over by SEO agencies. And after that podcast aired, it opened up the floodgates to phone calls, emails. We have met contractors from literally all over the world. That was really exciting to be on a platform like that and be able to share that really good media information that makes an impact on a lot of people’s businesses.

But with that, we heard some of the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking stories of contractors everywhere being taken advantage of. And we’ve been doing this since 2014. So we kind of thought we’d heard it all.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah.

Devon Hayes:

And then this podcast aired, and with it came a whole new set of stories and a whole new set of ways that contractors were really falling prey to predatory marketing practices. So we figured, let’s share them. Let’s all learn together and protect yourself, protect your business. And that’s what we’re diving into, just some of the worst stories we’ve heard the past month.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. There were tears shed. It was crazy to hear some of this stuff. And it was really cool though too, to hear a lot of people, when we got on these discovery calls, talk about how one or two of the insights that you shared on the podcast particularly really resonated with them, and whether, in some cases, it helped them avoid getting into a really bad situation with an agency. They heard it just in time. And in other cases, it kind of allowed them to realize that their gut was right, and that something wasn’t right in their current situation. But so even though we’ve got some bad stories that came out of it, there was some really good that came out of it too. A lot of people just learned things that we really hope saved them from making really, really tough marketing decisions that could have really upended their businesses. So we’re going to talk about some negative stuff, but we’re going to talk about some positives too.

Devon Hayes:

That’s true. There was the guy that he was literally about to sign on the dotted line with an agency when he asked one of the seven questions that was included in that podcast, and we’ll put a link to that in the episode description. But he said, “Will I own my website when I’m done with you?”

Amanda Joyce:

At the end of the day.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah. “At the end of the day, do I own this?” And they were like, “Well, I mean, we could get you the files.” So the answer was no. And so that was one soul saved. And it was really cool to hear that.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely.

Devon Hayes:

Because some of the kind of implications of working with an agency, besides the amount of time lost, if you’re working with someone on organic search engine optimization, that takes a lot of time. That takes 9 to 12 months to really be effective and start consistently getting you those organic leads.

And so aside from time wasted, just the financial burden that your business will face when you partner with the wrong agency is-

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah, it’s crazy.

Devon Hayes:

It’s crazy. Which is, it just makes us really want to stress this point even more.

Amanda Joyce:

That much more.

Devon Hayes:

I mean, it might seem like we’re beating a dead horse because we kind of have talked about some of the specific stories in the past, or seven questions to ask an agency before hiring them. But these were, again, more stories that we just wanted to share and get out there so that your business is protected, and you can make smart business choices, and because you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know the questions you’re supposed to ask.

And overall, it can put you years behind if you’re putting thousands of dollars into the wrong agency. And those thousands of dollars are being either stolen in some cases or completely mismanaged, either due to the agency not caring or strictly incompetency, which we saw sadly a lot of. So-

Amanda Joyce:

Yes, yes.

Devon Hayes:

With that-

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely.

Devon Hayes:

Let’s dive in, Amanda, to just some of these stories that we heard over the past month.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah.

Devon Hayes:

Oh gosh, what we have first here? Oh, [inaudible 00:06:07].

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah. One of them that really killed me, because I do media management, this one I literally, just pulls in my heartstrings. We spoke with a woman who was just such a sweet person. Her business is her everything. And she had hired this agency, and she was paying them, I believe it was $4,500 a month out of her contract.

Devon Hayes:

$4,800.

Amanda Joyce:

Was supposed to be… What was it?

Devon Hayes:

$4,800.

Amanda Joyce:

What was that? Sorry. $4,800. Okay. $4,800 of her contract was supposed to just be hard marketing dollars that were going to be being spent on her behalf. So they weren’t being spent on her credit card, but this agency was supposed to be spending this money on her behalf.

She figured out right at the end of her 12-month contract that I think they’d spent $100 on ads for her. They were charging her every month as if they were spending all of that money on her behalf. And she had gotten absolutely nothing out of. I mean, it’s fraudulent at the end of the day. That was one that I’m like, I mean, I don’t think she had the money to turn around and sue them, but I mean, I think you could make the case that that was pure fraud. But again, she probably would’ve spent an equivalent amount of money to just go make the case against this agency. So that one was just like, oh my gosh. It was just so hard to hear. Her phone was not ringing. And she thought, and she’d been paying for ads that just were not being rendered.

Devon Hayes:

And to add insult to injury, when she finally was looking at everything, I mean this poor lady, and she’s been in business for, I think, 18 years. And she’s about to close her doors, and she had finally taken the leap to invest in marketing. But insult to injury, when she confronted them, they all hopped on a Zoom call together. And this agency was very much like, “Yeah, we just didn’t spend it. And oh no, we didn’t do those newsletters either that we were supposed to be doing monthly.”

Amanda Joyce:

Just kind of very-

Devon Hayes:

The money’s gone.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah. No empathy, just like-

Devon Hayes:

Nonapologetic.

Amanda Joyce:

And in no hurry to give her any money back. I think they were offering to refund her final month that had just hit her credit card. And even that, she was still having to chase them down to give the money back.

Devon Hayes:

They were trying to not refund the full month, but say, “Well, we need to cover X, Y, and Z costs,” or whatever after they’d stolen money for the past 11 months. So that one was brutal. That was horrible.

Amanda Joyce:

Yes.

Devon Hayes:

So lesson learned there. Make sure it’s your credit card that is connected to your ad account so you can see-

Amanda Joyce:

100%.

Devon Hayes:

… how much money is being spent in your ads.

Amanda Joyce:

And yeah, and you can get the credit card points. That’s huge for a business as well. If you’re spending $4,000 a month on ads, put it on your own credit card and get those points and then pay the agency the management fee.

Devon Hayes:

Speaking of ads, I’m going a little out of order on our list, but there was a painter that we talked to, and he had another issue with the agency managing his Google Ads.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah, yeah.

Devon Hayes:

So in his case, that the agency closed their doors. Nobody’s answering the phone, but yet his ads are running.

Amanda Joyce:

Yet his credit card is still getting dinged for ads. He has no, he can’t log into the ad account to change it or turn it off, and he couldn’t get ahold of anybody at the agency whose doors had closed. That one’s even hard to even give a tip on how to avoid that because, but at the end of the day, any agency that’s at all ethical, if they’re deciding they’re going to close their doors, they should be contacting every single person they’re working for and ensuring that every credit card that’s currently being used on behalf of a client, that the spend has stopped. So again, that’s one that’s hard to avoid, but if they seem like maybe business is a little rocky, it might be time to chat with your agency prior to something that terrible happening.

Devon Hayes:

And again, that goes back to what we’ve said over and over again too, is making sure you have access to your ads account. If he had access, he could pause the ads.

Amanda Joyce:

Just turn it off. Absolutely.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah. Just turn them off.

Amanda Joyce:

I mean, in that case too, a worst case scenario, he could have gone and just canceled his credit card, and it would’ve probably had wide-sweeping implications across his entire business, but at least the ads, worst case scenario, you can’t get in the account and can’t get ahold of the agency, cancel the credit card, and they can’t charge you anymore.

Devon Hayes:

Yes, and sticking to our Google Ads theme, this next one, so this next one is awesome. We were lucky enough to be able to actually take a peek under the hood and look at the backend of Google Ads. And Amanda did just a quick audit. And-

Amanda Joyce:

Yes.

Devon Hayes:

… what she found was like, cue the dun dun dun.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah. As a matter of fact, we were kind of combing through it together on a Zoom, and there were multiple times that both of us had an audible gasp. We’re like, “No landing pages?”

Devon Hayes:

And I’ll be honest, I’m a visitor in paid media, organic SEO, that’s my thing. And Amanda is the paid media guru. But even I understood just pure incompetency.

Amanda Joyce:

Yes, it was rookie league is what it was. This one didn’t seem as if it was malicious like a couple of the other things we’re going to talk about today.

Devon Hayes:

No.

Amanda Joyce:

But this just seemed like lack of experience and just some big losses.

So in this case, as one of the things we were just referencing, this particular campaign didn’t have any landing pages. So they were spending a good amount of money for this contractor who was, it meant a lot to them, this ad spend. It needed to really work for them. And they were just driving traffic to different pages of their website. So as we talked about in a previous podcast that we’ll link here as well, we talked about the importance of landing pages because they keep, if you’re going to pay $50 a click, you want to make sure there’s one really clear thing you want someone to complete, have a very obvious lead form or whatever it is, so that they will take action so that that $50 isn’t wasted.

And in this case, they were just driving into a website that the calls to action weren’t even very clear. There was a lot of information about just materials that they use in their service offerings. And so they were paying all this money to just drive traffic that was just bouncing straight out the site. So that one really hurt, that really hurt.

And then we were digging a little further. And another thing, the number of conversions actually looked pretty good, but as soon as we segmented and looked at what they were, it was the vast majority of them were people, they were counting things like people just clicking through to the website as a conversion. And for those of you that this vernacular isn’t necessarily resonating with, when we say conversion, we typically mean a contact. So it should be someone picking up the phone and calling you or completing a lead form, because at the end of the day, that’s adding to your, that’s driving new potential customers to your business.

But if you are running an ad campaign and optimizing it for conversions, but the conversions you’re counting are people just clicking through to your website, that’s junk traffic, honestly, and it’s not doing you any good. And Google has rolled these things out in recent years to set things to automate things. So you can say, optimize my campaign for more conversions, but if you’re counting a click through to your website as a conversion, Google’s confused, and they’re just optimizing to get more of that same traffic that’s just people clicking to your website and not taking an action. So it’s this really gross cycle that just, I’m sorry, this is probably more detail than we wanted to go, but it’s just wasting money.

Devon Hayes:

So pretty much, when I think most contractors, when they hear the word conversion, they anticipate that’s a form fill or a phone call or booked an appointment, not, oh, somebody spent 30 seconds on my website. Right?

Amanda Joyce:

Exactly.

Devon Hayes:

So yeah, that one’s brutal. And then I think the last one with the Google Ads in that same account, even I was like, “That’s weird.” Broad match. They had the specific service set on broad match. And like I said, guys, I’m a visitor in paid media, so I will explain it to you in layman’s terms. Imagine Googling pizza versus Googling pizza delivery near me. So if I say pizza, I might get a definition. I might get a Wikipedia. I might get a restaurant.

Amanda Joyce:

A recipe.

Devon Hayes:

I might get a recipe card. I might get served videos. I might get served the origin of pizza. I might get served, I don’t know, ads for frozen pizza, pick up pizza, you name it. Versus pizza delivery near me where that is going to serve me the local pizzerias that deliver to my zip code. So when you’re spending money for those ads, if you were to say plumber as a broad phrase, well, that’s pretty expensive. You’re going to get a lot of impressions, but there’s no commercial intent, so it’s just making it rain for no reason.

Amanda Joyce:

Exactly. And so in this case, the term was just roofing. So just at the core of the keyword intent is already not there. And then on top of it, they had it set on broad match, which in Google terms means you’re saying, “You can show me for roofing or any term that you think is even mildly related to roofing, I’m willing to pay $50 for that click.” Versus you can set it on tighter restrictions. So you can say, like the reference you were just using, roofing contractor near me, and you can put it on a tighter match type so Google can’t get too creative with it, and they have to really only serve you for that very specific keyword.

So those were just egregious, just wastes of money. And again, the intent was there. It didn’t seem like somebody was in there intentionally wasting money, but when you look at it, and you’re over a year, that was $56,000 of spend in this particular campaign. And almost all of the conversions were people just clicking on the website. That one hurt.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, that’s a burn because that’s straight cash just gone.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah.

Devon Hayes:

Like bellying up to the high roller section and putting it all on black, and it’s red.

Okay, so oh my gosh, this was a random one. We saw an agency that charged by the keyword that they’re going to rank you for. I have a feeling maybe we didn’t have the full picture, we didn’t understand, but I’ve talked to a lot of other fellow SEOs, put it out in our SEO Mastermind group. I’m like, “Has anyone ever heard of charging by the keyword?” And I mean, nobody had. So I’m not alone in this. But yeah, that was a random one where it’s like, “Well, we’ll optimize you for these five keywords.” Sometimes there’s services like a cloud stack service, which is too technical to get into. So that kind of thing could make sense for a number of keywords. But overall, monthly services being charged by the keyword-

Amanda Joyce:

It was weird.

Devon Hayes:

That’s-

Amanda Joyce:

The only thing I could think from it was that I felt like they were trying to make it very clear that you can only measure our success based on these five keywords. So don’t get mad at me if you make up another one, and you’re not ranking for it. But the whole nature of SEO is that you’re trying to grow over time and gain ranking for more and more related keywords. So it’s very backwards to be solely focused on five.

Devon Hayes:

Well, yeah, and especially because, so being they use an exact phrase match, okay, so maybe that model works, but with Google, and their AI, they’re anticipating what the user’s intent is for a search phrase. So you could type in a keyword and get served results that don’t have that exact phrase on anything that pops up, but they think they know what you’re looking for. So that’s why you’re served what you’re served in Google. So to have your pricing be based off of exact phrase match keywords is just, that was a new one.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah.

Devon Hayes:

And it just-

Amanda Joyce:

And again, if someone’s trying to charge you…

Devon Hayes:

… for most of the services, it didn’t make sense.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah, if someone’s offering that pricing to you, be skeptical and ask some questions. Because also, you might pick those five keywords at the beginning and not realize that down the road they actually aren’t even really working for your business. You have to let the data speak to you and help you understand where you want to be focused. And to your point too, search behavior changes all the time, and the way Google’s serving things up changes. So even if the keyword works right now in the beginning of Q2 of this year, by the time you’re maybe even starting to get some visibility for that keyword, the search intent could be totally different. Or they could update the algorithm, and suddenly they’re showing DIY content for that keyword. So I digress.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, so that was a new… I would ask a lot of questions on that one.

Oh, that one was brutal. Okay, so number five on here, we were checking out one website, and I just clicked through on their address from the footer of the website, and it went to a competitor’s Google business profile listing. So I was like, this doesn’t even, just this doesn’t make sense to me. So I asked some questions. The businesses were not related. It was just this particular agency literally just copied templates over for every contractor they worked with, maybe swapped out some text and some images, but missed some things. And I think that, and it can happen in different areas, but for it to happen specifically in the same market, just a few kilometers down the road, I was like, oh, brutal. So we saw that. So make sure if you know are working with an agency, a niche agency, no doubt this one was, which is great, but ask them about their templates.

And usually, when it’s a templated site, it’s a lot less expensive than a custom site, so I see the draw, but don’t trust that everything’s been swapped out. Kind of take the time to put in the legwork, look at your footer, click through on every link, make sure that the social icons go through to your social media profiles, just the map embeds, make sure it’s your address. Just some brutal misses, even if the text might be right, in this case, the text wasn’t even right on the address, but the link and the address were wrong. So take the time, go over it with a fine tooth comb. If it’s a cheaper site, and I don’t want to say cheap, it’s great for a conservative budget, and there’s definitely a place for things like that. So I’m not knocking it. I’m just saying when you have a less expensive site that’s templated and copied over, take the time to go through it because that address sitting on there for at least 12 months has impacted them and is helping their competitor right down the road. So that one was brutal.

Let’s see here. Oh, the spiteful, malicious agency. They’re-

Amanda Joyce:

This probably took the cake for, like you said, it was so malicious.

Devon Hayes:

Malicious.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah.

Devon Hayes:

Intentional. And agencies are not always perfect, and I think none of us are. None of our businesses are perfect. It’s how you handle the problem. It’s how you handle whatever pops up that I think says a lot about the character and the business and who you’re working with.

Now, this contractor, they’d been under a 12-month contract with an agency. It ended December 31st. January 1, all of a sudden this business’s website was de-indexed from all search engines, meaning a specific command was given on the backend to hide the website from search engines looking for this business or search engines to crawl this business’s website. So it was blocked. So there’s a file that says, crawl me, don’t crawl me, or look at me, don’t look at me. This entire website was set to, hey, don’t look at me. I don’t want to be found. I don’t want to be seen. So for over three and a half months, her website had been removed from all search engines.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah, and it was crazy too, when you identified it, when we were on that discovery call, and then even when we went back internally and were chatting with our developers, we actually had to dig to find where, I mean, it wasn’t even just a little widget that was flipped. It was hard coded into the website. So she really needed a developer that knew what they were doing to go pull it down. She couldn’t have even Googled it and gone and figured it out on her own. It was really just blocked.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, because sometimes WordPress sites, yeah, there’s Yoast, and you can toggle a little button. No, this one wasn’t an easy toggle. It was like, I’m going to update the robot’s .txt file and set the entire site to no index and then bury that file in a place where it doesn’t usually exist. Went out of their way to be malicious, not an accidental thing. So that was just really… And how would she ever know that? How would she ever know? She just figured, oh, it’s January. It’s cold here. It’s slow. No, she had been completely removed from every search engine.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah. Even when we just Googled their business name, she literally did not come up at all. She was completely, as far as Google was concerned, her website didn’t exist.

Devon Hayes:

No. The only way we could see her site was we just took the domain name from her email and plugged it into a browser, and then of course, it came up because the site wasn’t down. She would’ve gotten a notification about her site being down. So something you can do to check that and see if you’re being indexed, if you type the word site, go to your favorite search engine, type the word site, do a colon, and then just type out the URL for your website and hit enter. Don’t do a space between site, colon, website. And then it will tell you how many pages are being indexed on Google. And then you can do a gut check.

And you should do this anyway because, and we’ve talked about this in other podcasts, but with the influx of content recently in recent months, Google is deindexing pages that you don’t want to deindex. So you have to go manually request indexing after it takes it down. I mean, sometimes it’s service pages, sometimes it’s just a blog post. But it would be good, especially now, I would encourage contractors to kind of follow that tip because if you see your numbers, the number of pages indexed by Google, decreased by 30, and you have a 60-page site, you’re going to want to get in there and request that they be reindexed or stored in Google’s database again. So that’s something you can do to cover yourself and protect your neck.

Amanda Joyce:

Good tip. Good tip. Another one that you actually, we encourage all you guys, of course, to go check out Devon’s full podcast with Contractor Revolution. And this is one of the examples that she gave, but then we ran into it again. Awesome. We ran into it again while we were chatting with people after the podcast had aired. This whole situation where you own a website. You’ve got your own WordPress. You meet an agency. They woo you. You decide you’re going to get in a partnership with them. They say, “Go ahead, just hand us over your website. We’re going to put it on our host. We’re going to put it on our own proprietary content management system. We’re going to take care of it for you.” They can give you a litany of reasons why it’s going to be so great for you.

And at the end of the day, you can host with an agency. We’re not telling you not to do that. But in this case, they take it. They put it on their proprietary content management system. And then when the client decides they want to leave the partnership, then they just just offer to email you over a bunch of files and just give you your deconstructed, crumbled up website that no longer functions. So you give them a working website, and they give you back files. This is another one that just cuts us to the core, but unfortunately, we have seen it in enough places now that we’re realizing what a common practice that can be for a lot of agencies that really want to push that proprietor content management system that they’re offering.

Devon Hayes:

It’s like the, what? The golden handcuffs. And they usually sell it and position it really well with, you get this enhanced reporting, and you get to follow the customer’s journey from whatever, soup to nuts. And so it’s sold as a way to get really detailed reporting.

And at the end of the day, there’s tools that do that outside of their proprietary software. And we keep saying proprietary because that agency owns it. It owns the editor. It owns the reporting. It owns the system that your website is living in. And then once you leave them, they don’t care to rebuild your site the way you had it before. So they’re just going to give you your original files that probably don’t have any content that they created for you or any updated images or anything from your duration of the contract with them. They’re going to give back to you what you started with however many years prior to joining that agency.

So that’s one of those hard lessons too. So if it sounds, and it does sound good, you’re like, “Yeah, SEO’s expensive. I want to know where my customers are coming from. I want to know where they click through. I want to know where they fall off.” Google Analytics does that for free, so you don’t have to pay for that kind of reporting. It’s free. That’s all changing in July when they’re dropping universal analytics and going to a different style, kind of a wonkier, less charming version of Google Analytics that we’re all just. We’re going to be mourning-

Amanda Joyce:

Dreading.

Devon Hayes:

… universal analytics for sure because it’s not as user-friendly to you, to the customer, to the contractor. It’s going to be one of those charts and graphs, less, just more clutter, less clarity on what’s happening on your site, unfortunately. So we will think through that.

Amanda Joyce:

However, yeah, nonetheless, don’t get wooed by someone telling you that they’re pri… You say it for me. I’m having that word salad right now.

Devon Hayes:

Predatory. Predatory? Is that the one?

Amanda Joyce:

Oh no, priorit…

Devon Hayes:

Proprietary.

Amanda Joyce:

Yes. What is wrong with me? Proprietary content management system. At the end of the day, Google Analytics is going to suck for a hot minute, but there’s a million tools out there that will help you see exactly what they’re trying to get you excited about. Thank you for saving me, Devon. I appreciate it.

Devon Hayes:

That happened to me the other day. It was the word magnet, and I was like, “Magenet, magnant, mag.” We’ve been there.

Amanda Joyce:

Magnanimous.

Devon Hayes:

It’s just simply magnet. I couldn’t… Anyways. All right, so-

Amanda Joyce:

Okay, last one.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, last one.

Amanda Joyce:

Social media profiles.

Devon Hayes:

Oh my gosh. I’m just-

Amanda Joyce:

I can’t even. So this, every time we get a new client, this is always, it’s painful to get accesses. It’s always a thing, logging in and doing all the things. It’s already painful. But then when we run into people who worked with an agency previously, who it’s that whole thing again where they maybe charged you to manage your Facebook page for how many years. And then you’re like, okay, I’m ready to move on. And then they don’t give you access to that profile.

It’s painful on a lot of levels. You lose the reviews and all that, but it’s also terrible if then you can’t go in and update it if you have a new address or anything like that. Or maybe there’s an old tracking number on it that no longer goes to you, and you can’t get into the profile to update it. And with Facebook, there’s really no, we’re trying to help somebody right now go through this process of reclaiming a page that’s just sitting out there, and there’s no recourse. It’s just… So that’s a really, really, really painful one. So please, if you’re working with an agency, no matter how much you love them or how much you hate them, ask for access today to all of your social profiles. Make sure you can get into all of them, because that can be really detrimental and have really long-lasting effects if they’ve created these profiles for you, and they won’t give you access.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, and it’s so crazy because you think nowadays, I feel like in the contractor space, especially, Facebook is really, really popular. There’s tons of groups. But even to this day and age, we are still seeing a ton of agencies sell a Facebook profile to someone that’s already got 2300 followers. And so it makes you look bigger than you are, and you think it’s going to be helpful. It’s not, just slow grow. Don’t be wooed by that because you want a true organic base of people that support you, support your business. They’re probably local.

Amanda Joyce:

Who will engage with your content because they actually know you and like you as a business.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, absolutely. So just take your time and be consistent and just don’t go for the shiny object of thinking that it’s all these followers. It’s the engagement on your profile, not the number of likes or followers on the account. So keep that in mind and don’t be wooed by the shiny object of over 2000 followers, and we’ll manage the account for you because we own it. Yeah, it’s don’t do it. Yeah, so I know the social one.

And then especially with this case we’re talking about, we can’t connect the Instagram profile to the Facebook account that we do have access to because it’s connected to the other one. The address is wrong. The phone number is wrong. There’s horrible SEO implications for non-uniformity across your name, address, phone number. So it’s just a nightmare beyond what you can imagine. If you’re like, oh, I’ll just start from scratch, it doesn’t matter because the other one will still live out there, and it still has the wrong information. This one has the wrong phone number for our client. It’s out of service. So it’s just brutal.

Amanda Joyce:

Another horror story.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah. So now let’s polish a turd. Let’s talk about the positive takeaways from today’s episode and all these horror stories.

Amanda Joyce:

Yes. So yes, it’s our goal in talking to you guys about these predatory marketing practices to help you avoid them and help you ask smart questions so that you don’t get duped in the future. And maybe you can even help out a friend that tells you, “Hey, I’m talking to a marketing agency.” Just make sure you’re helping spread the love. Let’s pay it forward and make sure that we can help people avoid these things.

Devon Hayes:

Definitely. And I think we’ve, I mean, we talk about this one all the time, own your accounts, have access to everything, every account. You know what? We’ll put a list. We will put a list in the episode notes. We actually have a downloadable that we created so you, we’ll link to that, and you can download it, and it lists out your Google Search console, Google Analytics, obviously social profiles, you probably know, but your hosting account. We list them out for you in this download. So own your digital assets.

And then just overall, trusting your marketing partner is huge. And a good marketing partner is going to be transparent with you. They’re going to be very upfront. They’re going to report the good with the bad. If you ask for access, if you don’t have it, they’re going to give it to you. Just that’s the kind of relationship that you want to have with someone with your marketing partner. Well, I guess in life too, transparency is always great in every relationship, but just ask these questions. And any agency worth their salt will happily add you as an admin or give you access to any of the accounts that you don’t already have access to.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. And another one is just know your scope. We know that you’re a busy business owner, but if you’re paying monthly for a certain amount of services to be provided, you don’t have to check in on it every month, but do a gut check every… One of the people we talked to is paying for blog content that was never written, and a year later they figured it out. It’s definitely on the agency for not doing it. But they should have… Just go to your website and look at your blog. Are they really publishing as often as they tell you are? Are they really publishing to your social channels as often as they tell you they are? And honestly, most agencies, again, that are worth their salt, if you can push it back on them, say, “This is within our scope. I need to be reported to quarterly. Let me know how many blogs hit my blog? How many social posts hit my social profiles?” But at the end of the day, whether you’re making them help you manage the scope, or you’re doing it yourself, keep an eye on scope.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, that’s a great tip right there. Just know your scope, have it outlined. Are they supposed to be doing a newsletter? All of those things you just mentioned, I think, yeah, that’s helpful. And it kind of sucks when you have to be the GC of all your marketing people and have to manage them, but especially those first few months until you get in a cadence and a rhythm, and you kind of feel good, you know where to check, and you’re seeing the content come through. You’re probably looking at it for approvals, but it’s an important piece, especially if you’re first getting into paying an agency for marketing.

And we know that’s quite a big investment. We know we’re not cheap. A lot of agencies, some are, some are not, but when you’re investing, you have every right to know what’s being done on your behalf. So don’t be afraid to ask for it and just keep a short little list by your desk. Like, “Oh, did they do four blogs? Did they do the newsletter?” You might not be able to see all the work that goes into SEO. Not might, you won’t. There’s certain KPIs, which there’s other blog podcasts on measurable KPIs on SEO, but where was I going? I don’t know. Just knowing the scope of what your agency, the deliverables, is going to help you just keep them honest. And then just don’t think of marketing as just kind of signing a check and paying an invoice once a month. It really should be collaborative, and that mindset alone will help you avoid a lot of these issues.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. So there you have it. I hope we didn’t scare you too much. And we hope we gave you some good insights that’ll help you be more comfortable with your marketing partnership.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah. So thanks for listening. Stay tuned. If you got anything out of this, please share this with your friends and tell them how great we are. We appreciate you.

Amanda Joyce:

That was today’s Trades Secret. Thanks for listening.

Devon Hayes:

Did you find this helpful? We’re just getting started.

Amanda Joyce:

Subscribe, and don’t miss our next reveal.

Devon Hayes:

Until next time.